On the Current State of Democracy – a reading from the I Ching

One may wonder whether the world’s democratic institutions are unravelling in the face of their neglect and the exploitation of peoples’ discontent by unscrupulous and powerful (oligarch) autocratic forces.
The I Ching warns that, though we have achieved a pinnacle of human achievement as a civilization, peoples’ complacency and indifference to the influence of bad actors imperils the status quo and the health of our society.
The long term outlook is favorable for the survival of democracy.
This is supported only if  first, the level of general awareness of the world’s citizens expands enough to check the pattern of decay that has taken hold, and second, enough people are in a position and able to serve to preserve it.
It has been shown that too many people have been placed in positions of power and influence who have been corrupted by the seduction of the promise of personal gain.  They need to ask “at what cost?”.  Everyone must ask “at what cost have we neglected our civil duties as citizens and nations?”
The first thing is to wake up.  Then, serve.

Meditation: LA021-780319 – You Will Feel Totally Conscious

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Today: I Ching – Previous Readings

Read the text from Richard Wilhelm's and subsequent translations of the I Ching

#63, line 4, #17

The transition from the old to the new time is already accomplished. In principle, everything stands systematised, and it is only in regard to details that success is still to be achieved. In respect to this, however, we must be careful to maintain the right attitude. Everything proceeds as if of its own accord, and this can all too easily tempt us to relax and let things take their course without troubling over details. Such indifference is the root of all evil. Symptoms of decay are bound to be the result. Here we have the rule indicating the usual course of history. But this rule is not an inescapable law. He who understands it is in position to avoid its effects by dint of unremitting perseverance and caution.
In a time of flowering culture, an occasional convulsion is bound to occur, uncovering a hidden evil within society and at first causing a great sensation. But since the situation is favorable on the whole, such evils can easily be glossed over and concealed from the public. Then everything is forgotten and peace apparently reigns complacently once more. However, to the thoughtful man, such occurrences are grave omens that he does not neglect. This is the only way of averting evil consequences.
In order to obtain a following one must first know how to adapt oneself. If a man would rule he must first learn to serve, for only in this way does he secure from those below him the joyous assent that is necessary if they are to follow him. If he has to obtain a following by force or cunning, by conspiracy or by creating factions, he invariably arouses resistance, which obstructs willing adherence. But even joyous movement can lead to evil consequences, hence the added stipulation, “Perseverance furthers” – that is, consistency in doing right – together with “No blame.” Just as we should not ask others to follow us unless this condition is fulfilled, so it is only under this condition that we can in turn follow others without coming to harm.
The thought of obtaining a following through adaptation to the demands of the time is a great and significant idea; this is why the appended judgement is so favorable.  

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