Yi: Should we fire the Mason now? 60 > — < 27

Gua Hexagram #60

The ideograph attempts to express the original meaning of Jie, to set bounds. At the top there are two sets of lance-shaped bamboo leaves. Below the leaves is the character ji, providing the sound. Ji means immediately or instantly; it sets a time restriction. The left side of ji depicts a seed of grain with a tiny sprout at the top and two tiny roots at the bottom. On the right is a sickle. These two images suggest a picture of cutting grain and eating it immediately.

Originally the right hand image represented an ancient verifying token made of bamboo. When a piece of bamboo has been split in two, each half becomes a verifying token. If the two pieces match each other, then each person who has one holds a trustworthy credential. Tokens made of bamboo slips were commonly used by ancient governments to verify the identity of an individual.

I include this not to turn the blog into some sort of diary but as an example of using the Yi in everyday decision-making. Truth be told I don’t tend to use it for mundane, particular issues such as this so this cast was done mainly as an opportunity to examine whatever hexagrams thrown up in a different type of context than the broader, generalist geopolitical-philosophical which this blog and the substack have of late been exploring. In so doing various associations with the hexagrams in question are stretched or reexamined. Interestingly, #60 turned up just yesterday regarding Core Principles for Good society these days (as opposed to in ancient China or some such). Also #27 has arisen in three throws in a row first as derived, and now twice as Nuclear.

Which is interesting too, because one might not see how a hexagram one day describing how to create a good society – seeing as we are now participants in a New geopolitical world order being formed – is now arising the very next day about how to deal with a tricky, though not exceptional, personal situation. But the answer yesterday about Core Principles emphasized sincerity, setting limits, establishing good discipline whilst all along cultivating virtue and good health (#27) in family life – hmm, that’s a better summary than I published yesterday … understanding improves after marinating a little while.

But all those principles, excellent as they are for society as a whole, are also helpful on the individual level and indeed that is partly what yesterday’s Reading intimated in that paying attention to the small, to what is essential inside, not flying too high, setting limits etc., that is what works because that is what engenders virtue; and the development of virtue in society is a direct result of the collective development of virtue by each and every individual within it, each of whom is part of and thus helps determine the nature of the whole. As above so below and vice versa.

In the same way that the Yi can serve as a lens into the future by acting as a magnifying glass mirror into the deeper aspects of what is now transpiring in the present, so also we can understand broader society by the nature and actions of the particular individuals within it. The universe is holographic, so we should not be surprised that we can peer into the same hexagram to catch glimpses of the universal even as we are using it to examine any given particular. The Yi, in other words, is just like ordinary life; which is what we would expect in any source of time-tested wisdom.

Published by The Baron

Retired non-profit administrator.

2 thoughts on “Yi: Should we fire the Mason now? 60 > — < 27

  1. I threw my first I Ching in over 30 years yesterday. I found some skewers in the cupboard which I use as my yarrow stalks. I have been on a bit of a downward turn on Fortuna’s wheel of late, hat tip to Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
    I asked, “What do I need to do to keep my home from collapsing into nothing? How can I salvage this situation?”
    The I’s response: (after several miscounts of my stalks)

    #48 The Well

    __ __
    __ __
    __ __
    Thank you for opening the door!
    Warm regards from Venice CA!


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