I’m repeating myself here, but never mind – it bears repeating. The Yi is wonderfully made, with mind-boggling depth. One of the ways this manifests is in the relationships between changing lines and their zhi gua, the hexagram that follows from the change.
For example, 49.3 changes to Hexagram 17, Following:
‘Setting out to bring order: pitfall,
As words of radical change draw near three times,
There is truth and confidence.’
This is Radical Change that needs to Follow, to flow, to arise naturally and bring people with it. So it’s no time to ‘bring order’, to impose discipline and make change happen: what’s needed is conversation, or reflection, revisiting the idea of change again and again, creating trust and unanimity.
‘Setting out to bring order’ is my rather long-winded translation for zheng, 征: ‘journey’ or ‘march’, as in the Long March. Originally, this referred to a military expedition, when the king or his general raised an army and marched out to reestablish order and control. In readings, this tends to represent fixing things: active intervention to sort stuff out and make it work. Naturally, there are good and bad times for this – but isn’t it striking to find a warning against zheng in the middle of a hexagram about revolution?
The same warning comes again in line 6, which changes to 13, People in Harmony:
‘Noble one transforms as a leopard,
Small people radically change their faces.
Setting out to bring order: pitfall.
Settling with constancy: good fortune.’
I think the challenge of Hexagram 13 is to create harmony between people who are allied in the same cause, but not from the same clan. They meet out ‘in the wilds’, outside any one people’s territory, and need to cross the great river to get beyond their parochial mindset.
So where Radical Change tends towards People in Harmony, the need is not to impose order, not to dominate, but to accept the kinds of change that different people are capable of. The noble one’s constancy bears fruit, says Hexagram 13; settling with constancy is good, says the line that points there.
I didn’t choose these two lines at random, but because of what I find really breathtaking about the structure of the Yi: that you can often see how the zhi gua for multiple line changes are also a perfect fit. Each time I notice a new example of this, it gives me pause for thought: what else haven’t I noticed? how much more am I missing?
And sure enough, these two lines, the only ones in Hexagram 49 that warn you against military action, change together to reveal Hexagram 25, Without Entanglement.
How can you have a revolution without entanglement – without going against the laws of heaven, without unfounded belief or futile action? Through Following, through Harmony among People – and by not setting out to bring order.