Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Short Note on Hexagrams Sixty Three and Sixty Four

Just as hexagrams one and two are prototypes for all the hexagrams that follow, so too are hexagrams sixty three and sixty four and they give us an overview of all that is given previously. In that sense they are outside the main body of the book of the I Ching. As such the story really begins with hexagram three (difficult beginnings) and ends with hexagram sixty two (Preponderance of the Small). In contradistinction to hexagrams one and two which have only yang lines and only yin lines respectively, hexagrams sixty three and sixty four have an equal amount of yin and yang lines and they all relate to each other. The only difference between the two is that in hexagram sixty three all the lines are in their proper place while in hexagram sixty four none of the lines are in their positions of correspondence. It would seem thusly that hexagram sixty three would be very favorable while hexagram sixty four would not; but that is not the case. The reason for that is is based on the second law of thermodynamics which says that "all things left to themselves will deteriorate." This however is only half the law. If it were not, evolution as taught in our science classes would be totally impossible. (As it is they continue stubbornly to teach variations of the evolutionary theory in schools as fact which in reality are totally indefensible based on the latest scientific date. That is not to say there is no evolution - but that is a subject of a different matter.) The flip side of the second law of thermodynamics is that when things have completely deteriorated, they take on the form of energy, and energy, being conscious, regroups itself into a higher form of matter that is better able to handle the stress that created the original deterioration. This is a process that goes on eternally.

So, in hexagram sixty three we have a condition of perfection that cannot last. Line four says, "The finest clothes turn to rags. Be careful all day long." Here, thousands of years ago in this book the second law of thermodynamics was already delineated, and we think we are so smart today! But since in hexagram sixty four, even though non of the lines are in their correct places, they do relate to each other, and therefore are able to reconnect, and create new balance and harmony. Therefore hexagrams sixty three and sixty four together do have some affinity with hexagram three,"Difficult Beginnings."

The crux of the situation for these two hexagrams together is that there is the need for the careful delineation of things. The commentary on the image of hexagram sixty four says, "If we wish to achieve an effect, we must first investigate the nature of the forces in question and ascertain their proper place." It is possible for this to be done in hexagram sixty four because all of the lines relate. The problem with all commentary and all written treatises on the Book of Changes is that we don't know how to do that. And that is why there is such a need to study the book and "listen to the master" rather than just trying to divine our relationships and our careers.

From the Taoist position, the need to "investigate the forces in question and ascertain their proper place" refers more to the integration of energy within the human body and develop a right balance of yin and yang which keeps the body ageless and in perfect health. Unfortunately, the very few people who understand this in the modern age are not talking about it, and you can't expect them to as the vast population of people on earth do not have the necessary moral integrity to effect such a change in their bodies, and even if they could, they could become very dangerous to society. So such things are best left secret. From the Confucian point of view, the differentiation and ascertaining relate more to the nature of society and how ruler and subject, father and son, mother and daughter, and man and wife should interact with each other. Hexagram thirty seven deals with this very directly. However, the societal viewpoint proclaimed in hexagram thirty seven is not very popular, at least in western society due to views of "equal rights" between men and women. Therefore we will not get into that aspect too much either.

We can, however, look at it this way. Line two of hexagram thirty seven says, "She should not follow her whims. She must attend within to the food." If we substitute the term yin for she, which is certainly permissible in understanding the I Ching, we have something that is a little more along taoist lines of though, and shows that yin energy should be within. Therefore, the inside of a body is considered yin, and the outside yang. If yin energy just follows its "whims" and goes where it pleases, the inner organs do not get fed the proper energy and the integrated energy needed to keep the organs healthy. Yin and yang must interact with each other in the proper way. If they do not, we have the problem discussed in the sixth line of each of the first two hexagrams where in one it says,"Arrogant dragon wll have cause to repent." and in hexagram two it says, "Dragons fight in the meadows." Remember that in the commentary on hexagram two it says, "But strictly speaking there is no real dualism here, because there is a clearly defined hierarchical relationship between the two principles." The key here, in terms of our relationships, in terms of our interactions with employees and employers, in terms of our interactions with authority figures, is to figure out the right relationship between these two energies, and be able to integrate them into their proper places where they can harmonize with each other. Only then do we gain true wisdom. Only then do we have the chance of becoming a "Chuang Tzu." But the point of integration is not easy to ascertain, and take years and years of study. I as well as everyone else am on a quest to understand the proper integration of these two energies, in order to make my and our lives work, and to be happy and productive in a society full of individuals with their own personal energies. This is the ultimate goal. It is described in hexagram sixty four. (Here the book comes to a close, only to find that at the end of the road is a new beginning, and "we will come to the place where we started, and know it for the first time.") The image says, "Thus the superior man is careful In the differentiation of things, So that each finds its place."

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