Adherence to social conformity should not dictate the form of one’s contribution to the community. Every individual has unique gifts to offer. Be yourself within the whole.
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#22, line 5, #37
This hexagram shows a fire that breaks out of the secret depths of the earth and, blazing up, illuminates and beautifies the mountain, the heavenly heights. Grace-beauty of form-is necessary in any union if it is to be well ordered and pleasing rather than disordered and chaotic.
GRACE has success.
In small matters
It is favorable to undertake something.
Grace brings success. However, it is not the essential or fundamental thing; it is only the ornament and must therefore be used sparingly and only in little things. In the lower trigram of fire a yielding line comes between two strong lines and makes them beautiful, but the strong lines are the essential content and the weak line is the beautifying form. In the upper trigram of the mountain, the strong line takes the lead, so that here again the strong element must be regarded as the decisive factor. In nature we see in the sky the strong light of the sun; the life of the world depends on it. But this strong, essential thing is changed and given pleasing variety by the moon and the stars. In human affairs, aesthetic form comes into being when traditions exist that, strong and abiding like mountains, are made pleasing by a lucid beauty. By contemplating the forms existing in the heavens we come to understand time and its changing demands. Through contemplation of the forms existing in human society it becomes possible to shape the world.1 Fire at the foot of the mountain:
The image of GRACE.
Thus does the superior man proceed
When clearing up current affairs.
But he dare not decide controversial issues in this way.
The fire, whose light illuminates the mountain and makes it pleasing, does not shine far; in the same way, beautiful form suffices to brighten and to throw light upon matters of lesser moment, but important questions cannot be decided in this way. They require greater earnestness.
1. This hexagram shows tranquil beauty – clarity within, quiet without. This is the tranquillity of pure contemplation. When desire is silenced and the will comes to rest, the world-as-idea becomes manifest. In this aspect the world is beautiful and removed from the struggle for existence. This is the world of art. However, contemplation alone will not put the will to rest absolutely. It will awaken again, and then all the beauty of form will appear to have been only a brief moment of exaltation. Hence this is still not the true way of redemption. For this reason Confucius felt very uncomfortable when once, on consulting the oracle, he obtained the hexagram of GRACE.
Six in the fifth place means:
Grace in the hills and gardens.
The roll of silk is meagre and small.
Humiliation, but in the end good fortune.
A man withdraws from contact with people of the lowlands, who seek nothing but magnificence and luxury, into the solitude of the heights. There he finds an individual to look up to, whom he would like to have as a friend. But the gifts he has to offer are poor and few, so that he feels ashamed. However, it is not the material gifts that count, but sincerity of feeling, and so all goes well in the end.
The foundation of the family is the relationship between husband and wife. The tie that hold the family together lies in the loyalty and perseverance of the wife. Her place is within (second line), while that of the husband is without (fifth line). It is in accord with the great laws of nature that husband and wife take their proper places. Within the family a strong authority is needed; this is represented by the parents. If the father is really a father and the son a son, if the elder brother fulfils his position, and the younger fulfils his, if the husband is really a husband and the wife a wife, then the family is in order. When the family is in order, all the social relationships of mankind will be in order.
Three of the five social relationships are to be found within the family – that between father and son, which is the relation of love, that between the husband and wife, which is the relation of chaste conduct, and that between elder and younger brother, which is the relation of correctness. The loving reverence of the son is then carried over to the prince in the form of faithfulness to duty; the affection and correctness of behavior existing between the two brothers are extended to a friend in the form of loyalty, and to a person of superior rank in the form of deference. The family is society in embryo; it is the native soil on which performance of moral duty is made easy through natural affection, so that within a small circle a basis of moral practice is created, and this is later widened to include human relationships in general.
Wind comes forth from fire:1
The image of THE FAMILY.
Thus the superior man has substance in his words
And duration in his way of life.
Heat creates energy: this is signified by the wind stirred up by the fire and issuing forth from it. This represents influence working from within outward. The same thing is needed in the regulation of the family. Here too the influence on others must proceed form one’s own person. In order to be capable of producing such an influence, one’s words must have power, and this they can have only if they are based on something real, just as flame depends on its fuel. Words have influence only when they are pertinent and clearly related to definite circumstances. General discourses and admonitions have no effect whatsoever. Furthermore, the words must be supported by one’s entire conduct, just as the wind is made effective by its duration. Only firm and consistent conduct will make such an impression on others that they can adapt and conform to it. If words and conduct are not in accord and not consistent, they will have no effect.