Support those with whom you share a bond. Your generosity will strengthen your community.
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48 – Forty-Eight Ching / The Well
Deep Waters Penetrated and drawn to the surface:
The Superior Person refreshes the people with constant encouragement to help one another.
Encampments, settlements, walled cities, whole empires may rise and fall, yet the Well at the center endures, never drying to dust, never overflowing.
It served those before and will serve those after.
Again and again you may draw from the Well, but if the bucket breaks or the rope is too short there will be misfortune.
There is a Source common to us all.
Jung named it the Collective Unconscious.
Others hail it as God within.
Inside each of us are dreamlike symbols and archetypes, emotions and instincts that we share with every other human being.
When we feel a lonely separateness from others, it is not because this Well within has dried up, but because we have lost the means to reach its waters.
You need to reclaim the tools necessary to penetrate to the depths of your fellows.
Then the bonds you build will be as timeless and inexhaustible as the Well that nourishes them.
|Wood is below, water above. The wood goes down into the earth to bring up water. The image derives from the pole-and-bucket well of ancient China. The wood represents not the buckets, which in ancient times were made of clay, but rather the wooden poles by which the water is hauled up from the well. The image also refers to the world of plants, which lift water out of the earth by means of their fibres.
The well from which water is drawn conveys the further idea of an inexhaustible dispensing of nourishment.
Raga Kumbha meets a young woman at a well, and asks for water.1
THE WELL. The town may be changed,
In ancient China the capital cities were sometimes moved, partly for the sake of more favorable location, partly because of a change in dynasties. The style of architecture changed in the course of centuries, but the shape of the well has remained the same from ancient times to this day. Thus the well is the symbol of that social structure which, evolved by mankind in meeting its most primitive needs, is independent of all political forms. Political structures change, as do nations, but the life of man with its needs remains eternally the same-this cannot be changed. Life is also inexhaustible. It grows neither less nor more; it exists for one and for all. The generations come and go, and all enjoy life in its inexhaustible abundance.
However, there are two prerequisites for a satisfactory political or social organisation of mankind. We must go down to the very foundations of life. For any merely superficial ordering of life that leaves its deepest needs unsatisfied is as ineffectual as if no attempt at order had ever been made. Carelessness-by which the jug is broken-is also disastrous. If for instance the military defense of a state is carried to such excess that it provokes wars by which the power of the state is annihilated, this is a breaking of the jug.
This hexagram applies also to the individual. However men may differ in disposition and in education, the foundations of human nature are the same in everyone. And every human being can draw in the course of his education from the inexhaustible wellspring of the divine in man’s nature. But here likewise two dangers threaten: a man may fail in his education to penetrate to the real roots of humanity and remain fixed in convention-a partial education of this sort is as bad as none- or he may suddenly collapse and neglect his self-development.
Water over wood: the image of THE WELL.
The trigram Sun, wood, is below, and the trigram K’an, water, is above it. Wood sucks water upward. Just as wood as an organism imitates the action of the well, which benefits all parts of the plant, the superior man organises human society, so that, as in a plant organism, its parts co-operate for the benefit of the whole.
1. The painting personifies Raga Kumbha, one of the eight sons of Sri Raga.
The soldier after his marriage to a young girl goes away on service for several long years.