SATURDAY

It was hard not to be pathologically ethnocentric growing up in white suburbia. For the longest time, the only foreign phrase I knew was “cul de sac.” The cultures of other countries just blended together in an alienating, undifferentiated blur. So forgive me if I have conflated the I Ching and the Kama Sutra in the past or if I couldn’t tell the difference between the “Preponderance of the Small” and the “Congress of the Cow.” The I Ching would have been really valuable back in my patchouli-dabbing days, when what I called going with the flow my parents called a goddamn waste of tuition. I could have thrown the Ching and used it as a sort of hippie Magic 8-Ball. Should I buy the Vanagon or the Thing? Should I try the missionary position with Sunflower or attempt the more difficult Chimney Sweep with Wintersweet? And it sure would have been nice to have some help when deciding between ’shrooming at the New Potato Caboose show or ’Tussin’ it up with Widespread Panic. Apparently, however, the book has been around for several thousand years, first used “among the courtly shaman diviners of ancient China…as one of the first efforts of the human mind to place itself in the universe.” That seems a little more advanced. Thomas Michael (pictured), assistant professor of Chinese religion at George Washington University, presents “An Introduction to the Chinese Book of Changes” at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, at the S. Dillon Ripley Center’s Lecture Hall, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $130. (202) 357-3030. (David Dunlap Jr.)