You must always anticipate resistance and opposition to your endeavors. Often it is a rough start. Keep heart and you will prevail.
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#38, line 3, #30
This hexagram is composed of the trigram Li above, i.e., flame, which burns upward, and Tui below, i.e., the lake, which seeps downward. These two movements are in direct contrast. Furthermore, Li is the second daughter and Tui the youngest daughter, and although they live in the same house they belong to different men; hence their wills are not the same but are divergently directed.
OPPOSITION. In small matters, good fortune.
When people live in opposition and estrangement they cannot carry out a great undertaking in common; their points of view diverge too widely. In such circumstances one should above all not proceed brusquely, for that would only increase the existing opposition; instead, one should limit oneself to producing gradual effects in small matters. Here success can still be expected, because the situation is such that the opposition does not preclude all agreement.
In general, opposition appears as an obstruction, but when it represents polarity within a comprehensive whole, it has also its useful and important functions. The oppositions of heaven and earth, spirit and nature, man and woman, when reconciled, bring about the creation and reproduction of life. In the world of visible things, the principle of opposites makes possible the differentiation by categories through which order is brought into the world.
Above, fire; below, the lake.
The image of OPPOSITION.
Thus amid all fellowship
The superior man retains his individuality.
The two elements, fire and water, never mingle but even when in contact retain their own natures. So the cultured man is never led into baseness or vulgarity through intercourse or community of interests with persons of another sort; regardless of all commingling, he will always preserve his individuality.
Six in the third place means:
One sees the wagon dragged back,
The oxen halted,
A man’s hair and nose cut off.
Not a good beginning, but a good end.
Often it seems to a man as though everything were conspiring against him. He sees himself checked and hindered in his progress, insulted and dishonored.1 However, he must not let himself be misled; despite this opposition, he must cleave to the man with whom he knows he belongs. Thus, notwithstanding the bad beginning, the matter will end well.
As an image, it is fire. Fire has no definite form but clings to the burning object and thus is bright. As water pours down from heaven, so fire flames up from the earth. While K’an means the soul shut within the body, Li stands for nature in its radiance [glow].
THE CLINGING. Perseverance furthers.
It brings success.
Care of the cow brings good fortune.
What is dark clings to what is light and so enhances the brightness of the latter. A luminous thing giving out light must have within itself something that perseveres; otherwise it will in time burn itself out. Everything that gives light is dependent on something to which it clings, in order that it may continue to shine.
Thus the sun and moon cling to heaven, and grain, grass, and trees cling to the earth. So too the twofold clarity of the dedicated man clings to what is right and thereby can shape the world. Human life on earth is conditioned and unfree, and when man recognizes this limitation and makes himself dependent upon the harmonious and beneficent forces of the cosmos, he achieves success. The cow is the symbol of extreme docility. By cultivating in himself an attitude of compliance and voluntary dependence, man acquires clarity without sharpness and finds his place in the world.2
That which is bright rises twice:
The image of FIRE.
Thus the great man, by perpetuating this brightness,
Illumines the four quarters of the world.
Each of the two trigrams represents the sun in the course of a day. The two together represent the repeated movement of the sun, the function of light with respect to time. The great man continues the work of nature in the human world. Through the clarity of his nature he causes the light to spread farther and farther and to penetrate the nature of man ever more deeply.
1. Cutting off of the hair and nose was a severe and degrading punishment.
2. It is a noteworthy and curious coincidence that fire and care of the cow are connected here just as in the Parsee religion. [According to the Parsee belief the Divine Light, or Fire, was manifested in the mineral, vegetable, and animal worlds before it appeared in human form. Its animal incarnation was the cow, and Ahura-Mazda was nourished on her milk.]