Align action with internal rhythms with the cosmic flow.
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17 – Seventeen Sui / Following
Thunder beneath the Lake’s surface.
The Superior Person allows himself plenty of sheltered rest and recuperation while awaiting a clear sign to follow.
No mistakes if you keep to your course.
Thunder from the Lake — the lulling, rhythmic roar of the faithful tide, eternally wearing away the stone of the shoreline, forever obedient to the phases of the moon.
The pull of the moon on the tide is the Following called for now.
As mighty as the tide is in its own right, it is ever the puppet of the invisible, irresistible gravity of the moon.
The trigram Tui, the Joyous, whose attribute is gladness, is above; Chên, the Arousing, which has the attribute of movement, is below. Joy in movement induces following. The Joyous is the youngest daughter, while the Arousing is the eldest son. An older man defers to a young girl and shows her consideration. By this he moves her to follow him.
FOLLOWING has supreme success.
Perseverance furthers. No blame.
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.
Thunder in the middle of the lake:
The image of FOLLOWING.
Thus the superior man at nightfall
Goes indoors for rest and recuperation.
In the autumn electricity withdraws into the earth again and rests. Here it is the thunder in the middle of the lake that serves as the image – thunder in its winter rest, not thunder in motion. The idea of following in the sense of adaptation to the demands of the time grows out of this image. Thunder in the middle of the lake indicates times of darkness and rest. Similarly, a superior man, after being tirelessly active all day, allows himself rest and recuperation at night. No situation can become favorable till one is able to adapt to it and does not wear himself out with mistaken resistance.