36 Clouded Perception > 22 Cosmetics, Make-up < 40 Relief
This gua is the inverse of the preceding one, Proceeding Forward. There is a well
known Chinese maxim: tao guang yang hui, which means hide one’s light and bide one’s time.
This is the connotation of Brilliance Injured. By proceeding one is taking a risk, even risking
injury. When one’s brilliance is injured, it forces one to hold back, nurse one’s wounds. It is
then favorable to proceed further.
The name of the gua consists of two ideographs. The first one, ming, is composed of the
symbols for a sun, on the left, and a moon, on the right. The Chinese saying “Sun and moon,
brightness” indicates the character of ming. The second ideograph, yi, is composed of two
symbols, a big man and a bow. If one is familiar with the gua Great Harvest (14), Great
Accumulation (26), Great exceeding (28), and Great Strength (34), one can recognize that the
ideograph of “great,” da, forms the background of yi. Here, yi represents a great man or a big
man. In the middle there is a bow. The text employs the image of a large man with a bow to
express the act of injury.
The structure of the gua is Earth above, Fire below—a picture of the setting sun.
The brightness of the sun is hidden by the earth. Darkness envelopes more and more,
representing a situation of hardship. Such a situation was encountered by King Wen when he
was imprisoned by the Tyrant of Shang. King Wen was bright within and gentle without. He
adopted the art of tao guang yang hui—hiding his brilliance and biding his time—in dealing
with an extremely difficult situation. To be bright within and gentle without was one of the
highest virtues in ancient China. To the ancient sages, only the bright and the gentle could
overcome the dark and the unyielding. Only the wisest and, at the same time, the strongest
could appreciate this virtue and cultivate it.
Geopolitical Yi Casts continued:
Someone in the MoA comment section who seems very well informed about Russia was expressing concern that RF isn’t serious about this entire thing and keeps hesitating, holding back, compromising, missing opportunities etc. He called it ‘strange, strange.’ I replied that most likely this is because what we think we are seeing is largely a product of deliberate deception. Then I thought to ask the Yi about this.
Above, I have pasted in an introductory description from the excellent Alfred Huang ‘The Complete I Ching’ book. Have wanted to show the guas with explanation just because it adds an authentic historical element to the Reading which has nothing to do with my interpretation, but also because Image alone is part of any oracular process versus conceptual word-laced mind. And since this readership is not Chinese, some explanation of the red squiggles seems to be in order. Sometimes I include a little more of the text, as in this case.
Even though am departing a little from what Huang has written, my interpretation derives from a first take formed early on whilst writing out the hexagrams and then builds from there with further input from the classic commentaries plus other analysis that flesh the Reading out after which I compose the front page Judgment and/or accompanying verse which ideally is all anyone needs to grasp the Reading. Of course, if the subsequent inputs disagree too much with the initial reactions, that first take might go through a few iterations or be abandoned altogether – though this only rarely happens. Be all that as it may, in this case I nudged things in a certain direction because of several factors which I share for those who enjoy Yi-gazing:
First, when there is only one line changing it is regarded as more important. Some interpreters will base their entire Reading on the commentary for that one line. In my case I also pay particular attention to which line it is, in this case the sixth. Since the Query is about the strategy behind the military SMO on the ground in Ukraine, the sixth line would represent the highest level of strategy and here, significantly, it is changing. And then we have the two main Hexagrams, 36 Primary and 22 Derived. 36 shows the Sun (fire trigram) below Earth; so there is light but it is blocked, hidden or sinking making vision less clear than if it were above the Earth. 22 depicts Fire/light in a Mountain, or often described as fire at the base of a mountain illuminating the surface including all the various particulars such as bushes, trees, creatures, rocks and so forth – in other words looking at the surface not the interior which is why it is called Grace or Adornment or Surface Appearances. This too has to do with perception issues, in this case perhaps that surface appearances may not tell the whole story.
So both Hexagrams involve perception issues and since the Query has to do with perception – is the SMO as it appears or is it deceptive? – and given the changing line is at the Grand Strategy level, this is why my initial take was that the Yi was giving a fairly clear answer: ‘yes, it is kabuki.’ As mentioned in the document attached, this is hardly surprising given one of the main approaches in war, as Sun Tzu pointed out millennia ago, is deception. Frankly, it would be strange if mucho deception were not in the mix. However, in our minds the situation is relatively clear: “‘Russia’ is fighting in ‘Ukraine’ which is supported by ‘the West’ in order to determine who gets to run Eastern Ukraine or perhaps the whole of Ukraine if the two sides cannot come up with a workable compromise. If there is deception, it’s just on the tactical ground level, trying to fool the enemy as to where the next attack will take place, how many tanks and soldiers they have where and so forth. We rarely have doubts about the meta narrative.”
And yet in WW I, for example, a large party of communist luminaries was able to travel from Manhattan to Halifax to London to Berlin to Stockholm to Moscow with a large amount of money in order to kick off what became a major revolution and the end of a long-lived monarchic dynasty. Though the UK was at war with Germany and their men on both sides were dying in their hundreds every day, this party could pass through many jurisdictions ostensibly in life-or-death conflict without harm. How can such a thing be? Because what is going on at the ground level, for example, might be quite different from what is going on at a higher level. Similarly, in WWII many Standard Oil tankers regularly passaged across the Atlantic, where there were fierce struggles between Allied shipping to the UK and German U-boats, without harm. How come? How did the U-boat commanders know that these tankers were going to Hamburg not London? How come the US and UK Navies never figured it out? Did they not notice the tankers going all along through the Channel to Hamburg? Something doesn’t add up. Again, what is happening on one level – major conflict with men dying in foreign fields – is seemingly not happening at another level, where elites keep trading with each other and coordinating various activities seemingly without hostility. Strange, strange indeed.
Note: this Cast sees the repeated presence of Hexagram #36 from the previous cast querying whether or not ‘the WEF is evil or good’ albeit in that case as The Derived. #36 is generally regarded as one of the most negative Hexagrams. (Hmmm….. what if the WEF and the SMO are somehow connected… is that perhaps what is being hidden behind our mainstream media kabuki theatre curtains???)
Anyway, this Yi Reading strongly suggests that, at the very least, things are not as they seem, that the highest Grand Strategy level in #36 (which involves hiding one’s light) does not necessarily reflect what we see on the cosmetic ‘make-up’ #22 ‘make-up’ surface.