Sam Crane has found quite a question to ask this time:
“What does this second hurricane suggest for President Bush’s hold on the Mandate of Heaven?”
Sam’s understanding of the Mandate is that it “is rooted in how well people are being treated and protected and served by their government.” So the relevant issue for him is not whether there are hurricanes, but what condition the people find themselves in afterwards.
Yi answered with Hexagram 3, Sprouting, changing to Hexagram 7, the Army.
Sam has given a very good general interpretation, and Allan Lian has followed up with some specific, detailed line-based interpretation about the officials and levels of government involved.
As Sam says, Hexagram 3 (thunder and running water, chaos) is startlingly relevant to the subject matter. But as an answer to the question it’s just plain startling. What does this suggest for Bush’s hold on the Mandate? It’s Sprouting – or if you prefer, it has Difficulty at the Beginning. Steve Marshall suggested that it’s a large assumption to make that Bush has the mandate in the first place. Indeed. The reading seems to be saying that this has the potential to be where he starts to find it.
(The time-scale may seem surprising, but then in China, the Mandate was applied to dynasties that endured for centuries. It might make better sense to think of Bush receiving and holding the Mandate on behalf of the Republicans – or the political class – as a whole.)
To take the whole ‘sentence’: Bush’s hold on the Mandate begins here, though with difficulty, motivated by the spirit of the Army. One of the associations of this hexagram is actually making one’s political position more secure: Wu Jing Nuan says, “At the time of sprouting, you must define and protect your territory.” So the current chaos can also be creative, and it is an opportunity for his authority to ‘take root’ and strengthen.
The spirit of the Army, Hexagram 7, is to focus on a goal, take responsibility, get organised, and make it happen. As second hexagram, I’d see this as the motivation: Bush’s approach to or understanding of the situation. His administration is likely to conceive of this as a new front to fight on. (Haven’t there been images of Bush riding a military vehicle through New Orleans?) The Army contrasts with Hexagram 8, Seeking Union, which I would associate more with conscious policy choices about the kind of society a government wants to encourage. Hexagram 7’s mindset is perfect for Getting Things Done; it causes problems only when the laser focus becomes blinkered vision. One way in which the dangers of Hexagram 7 could become manifest here would be by pouring unlimited funds into a campaign for reconstruction, without being entirely clear about where those funds must be taken from.
‘Encircled by rocks.
Harvest from staying put with constancy.
Harvest from setting up feudal lords.’
The translation Sam found for this one – ‘establishing a chief’ – is excellent. Bush needs to stay in the centre, concentrate on the big picture, and delegate. He needs also to accept the solid reality of the problems he faces, and gather information from ‘feudal lords’ on the ground, before he even thinks of setting a ‘direction’.
‘Now beginning, now turning back,
Now driving a team of horses.
Not outlaws, marital suitors.
Woman-child constancy: not nursing a child.
Ten years go by, then nursing.’
The story here is of a suitor setting out with his horse team to collect a bride. At first there are obstacles, or perhaps just hesitation, but he gathers his courage at last and goes forth. As Brad Hatcher reads it:
‘He thought that the hard part was over, once he and his horses were ready to go.
His team is assembled, and presence majestic. He will sweep her from her feet.
So he holds his breath, paces and waits for a sign. And tries not to look like a fool.’
(His big show is all well and good, but the young woman is not ready to commit to him yet.)
Wu Jing Nuan points out that marital alliances would be a way to cement political ones and ‘establish familial roots of territory’. I’m not sure exactly how to apply this line, though I don’t doubt that Bush is the initially-hesitant suitor. Is there some specific political alliance that I just haven’t heard about from over here in the UK? If not, then perhaps this might have to do with his attempt to ‘court’ the people in the stricken areas: a long-term undertaking. (Again, I don’t think this is just about Bush individually.)
‘Sprouting, its essence.
Small constancy: good fortune.
Great constancy: pitfall.’
The ‘essence’ is more prosaically translated as ‘food’ or ‘fuel’: it’s the energy source for growth. This is the leader’s position, of course, but Sprouting calls for â€˜small constancy’ from its leader. Great constancy, under the circumstances, might be some grand recovery plan conceived of at the centre; small constancy would be more responsive to local realities, and probably using a higher ratio of intelligence to funds. The ideal leader here would admit ignorance and be willing to be guided into real innovation.
So… looks to me as though, according to Yi, these events could give Bush (or perhaps the ‘dynasty’ he represents) the beginnings of a hold on the Mandate – if he can delegate intelligently, show he’s making a long term commitment, and above all stay responsive and not impose big ideas from the top down.
For those closer to events, does this interpretation seem to fit?