The new era is now. Adapt to it.
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63 – Sixty-Three Chi Chi / Aftermath
Boiling Water over open Flame, one might extinguish The other:
The Superior Person takes a 360 degree view of the situation and prepares for any contingency.
Success in small matters if you stay on course.
Early good fortune can end in disorder.
Victory at the expense of another is a merciless taskmaster.
The precarious balance here is reflected in the lines of the hexagram: each of the yin lines rests upon a strong yang line — a seemingly perfect arrangement.
But the scales will be tipped with the change of any one line.
And there WILL be change.
Tireless vigilance and an answer to every challenge — that is the uneasy Seat of Power occupied by the conqueror.
This hexagram is the evolution of T’ai, PEACE (11). The transition from confusion to order is completed, and everything is in its proper place even in particulars. The strong lines are in the strong places, the weak lines in the weak places. This is a very favorable outlook, yet it gives reason for thought. For it is just when perfect equilibrium has been reached that any movement may cause order to revert to disorder. The one strong line that has moved to the top, thus effecting complete order in details, is followed by the other lines, each moving according to its nature, and thus suddenly there arises again the hexagram P’i, STANDSTILL (12).
Hence the present hexagram indicates the conditions of a time of climax, which necessitate the utmost caution.
AFTER COMPLETION. Success in small matters.
At the beginning good fortune.
At the end disorder.
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.
‘Water over Fire’ – Fractal artwork by Sven Geier, 2001
Water over fire: the image of the condition
In AFTER COMPLETION.
Thus the superior man
Takes thought of misfortune
And arms himself against it in advance.
When water in a kettle hangs over fire, the two elements stand in relation and thus generate energy (cf. the production of steam). But the resulting tension demands caution. If the water boils over, the fire is extinguished and its energy is lost. If the heat is too great, the water evaporates into the air. These elements here brought into relation and thus generating energy are by nature hostile to each other. Only the most extreme caution can prevent damage. In life too there are junctures when all forces are in balance and work in harmony, so that everything seems to be in the best of order. In such times only the sage recognizes the moments that bode danger and knows how to banish it by means of timely precautions.