Gently use you influence with your attractive power. Welcome those who are willing to join you.
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31 – Thirty-One Hsien / Attraction
The joyous Lake is cradled by the tranquil Mountain:
The Superior Person takes great satisfaction in encouraging others along their journey.
He draws them to him with his welcoming nature and genuine interest.
This course leads to marriage.
There is no greater natural law in the Cosmos than Attraction.
From the magnetic pull of an atom’s nucleus to the centrifugal force that spirals a galaxy, the face of the universe is shaped by Attraction.
On a human scale, it is Attraction that fuels procreation and furthers our species.
Yet it is also Attraction that spawns greed and covetousness, threatening our extinction.
Attraction is the underlying force of the situation in question.
You are refined or debased by the objects of your desire.
What gravitational pull are you now under?
Around what sphere of influence do you circle?
Can you use your own ability to attract?
The name of the hexagram means “universal,” “general,” and in a figurative sense “to influence,” “to stimulate.” The upper trigram is Tui, the Joyous; the lower is Kên, Keeping still. By its persistent, quiet influence, the lower, rigid trigram stimulates the upper, weak trigram, which responds to this stimulation cheerfully and joyously. Kên, the lower trigram, is the youngest son; the upper, Tui, is the youngest daughter. Thus the universal mutual attraction between the sexes is represented. In courtship, the masculine principle must seize the initiative and place itself below the feminine principle.
Just as the first part of book 1 begins with the hexagrams of heaven and earth, the foundations of all that exists, the second part begins with the hexagrams of courtship and marriage, the foundations of all social relationships.
To take a maiden to wife brings good fortune.
The weak element is above, the strong below; hence their powers attract each other, so that they unite. This brings about success, for all success depends on the effect of mutual attraction. By keeping still within while experiencing joy without, one can prevent the joy from going to excess and hold it within proper bounds. This is the meaning of the added admonition, “Perseverance furthers,” for it is perseverance that makes the difference between seduction and courtship; in the latter the strong man takes a position inferior to that of the weak girl and shows consideration for her. This attraction between affinities is a general law of nature. Heaven and earth attract each other and thus all creatures come into being. Through such attraction the sage influences men’s hearts, and thus the world attains peace. From the attractions they exert we can learn the nature of all beings in heaven and on earth.
A lake on the mountain:
The image of influence.
Thus the superior man encourages people to approach him
By his readiness to receive them.
A mountain with a lake on its summit is stimulated by the moisture from the lake. It has this advantage because its summit does not jut out as a peak but is sunken. The image counsels that the mind should be kept humble and free, so that it may remain receptive to good advice. People soon give up counseling a man who thinks that he knows everything better than anyone else.