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Blog post: Hexagram 4, line 1

hilary

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Hexagram 4, line 1

paraglider
Here at the very beginning of Not Knowing, there’s a line that says,

‘Sending out the ignoramus,
Fruitful to make use of punishing people,
To make use of loosening fetters and manacles.
Going on in that way is shameful.’

Or, you know, something along those lines. It’s a little too early to be certain, when the line is only just starting to learn. Let’s take this one step at a time…

‘Sending out the ignoramus’​


The first two words of the line: fa meng, 發蒙 . Fa literally means shooting an arrow, something you can see very clearly in the old form of the character. So we get a picture of launching the ignoramus into the world where she can start to learn – very fitting for the first line of Hexagram 4.

However… fa meng is also a single phrase meaning to ‘dispel ignorance’ or, with the ‘eye’ radical added to meng, to open someone’s eyes to the truth. And that also fits this moment of the hexagram. The combination of applying punishments and removing fetters should be especially eye-opening.

There are translators who follow each approach:

  • ‘to make a fool develop,’ Wilhelm
  • ‘to illuminate the naïve youth,’ Deng Ming Dao
  • ‘Enlightening an ignorant,’ Huang
  • ‘Folly is dispelled,’ Minford
  • ‘One sends out the Meng-beast,’ Schilling (a bit odd…)

I especially like R.J. Lynn’s version:

‘With the opening up of Juvenile Ignorance, it is fitting both to subject him to the awareness of punishment and to remove fetters and shackles, but if he were to set out in this way, he would find it hard going.’

‘Opening up’ seems fitting for what the archer of fa might do to meng: jettisoning its protective cover and exposing her to the open air.

Or how about Stephen Field’s ‘Letting go of ignorance’? That captures the idea of loosing an arrow – and almost makes it feel as though ignorance is only maintained if we deliberately hold on to it.

‘…making use of punishing people…’​


‘Using’, yong 用, is a concept I think we as diviners can easily relate to: this line is a good moment for this; the quality of time can best be used this way. And the beginning of Not Knowing, a time for opening up ignorance, or letting it go, is a good moment for punishing people and releasing shackles and manacles.

On the face of it, that seems to be an odd combination – surely keeping people shackled is part of punishing them?

Some people resolve this with a different translation: not ‘making use of punishing people’, but ‘using punished people’ – in other words, using convict labour. Naturally, it would help to unshackle them first. Harmen Mesker translates,

Exposed ignorance.
Favourable to use prisoners (as slaves).
Remove hand- and foot shackles
As these hinder going.

This makes excellent sense in its own terms. But then I also appreciate the subtlety of the traditional view, with its tricky balance between punishing and release, and what that tells us about dispelling ignorance. First you need to learn that you don’t know everything, and discover that actions have consequences. Then you also need to be free to move – to experience as many consequences as possible, in fact.

R.J. Lynn‘s footnotes are often a treasure-trove of insights from the interpretive tradition. For this line he has…

  • Kong Yingda’s explanation: the ignoramus is acting without inhibitions, so the threat of punishment is useful – but if he set out under ‘the dao of punishment’ then ‘there would be a mean-spirited aspect to what he does.’ What’s needed is an internalised sense of what’s right.
  • Cheng Yi’s idea that removing the fetters is an image for removing ignorance. (Loosing the bow, loosening the shackles?)
  • Zhu Xi saying that you need first to punish, then to see what people do once freed.
  • And still others who solve the whole punishing vs releasing question by saying that it’s the release that means shame. (Not that I agree, but it’s interesting!)

From all this, I like the idea that both punishments and freedom are teaching/learning tools, and especially the freedom to incur punishment. We need to be unshackled to experience the real world, not just learn the rules.

Not Knowing, its Decrease – and an aside about context​


The same few words in the Yi can give rise to so many translations because they lack context. If this were part of a historical account of building a city wall, then we could be sure it meant ‘use convict labour’; if we’d just read about some wrongdoers being captured, we’d opt for ‘punishing people.’ But the Yi gives us only this little vignette, thirteen words long in total, without any helpful, scene-setting context.

Except… there is context. Actually, there are two distinct kinds of context: the moment of the reading, which can always bring a different meaning to the fore, and the structure of the hexagrams.

So from the structure here, we know that this moment is the beginning of Hexagram 4 – first steps for an ignoramus – and that it’s connected with Hexagram 41, Decrease.

Sun, ‘Decrease’, means harm or weaken, so there’s a clear connection to punishment. But the hexagram also brings in the idea that decrease can be for the sake of something higher. That gives us the idea that 4.1’s punishment might be a ‘learning experience’.

(Bradford Hatcher was way ahead of me here: ‘Consequences,’ he says, ‘can diminish the options, and still not diminish the child.’)

Huang’s example​


One more possibility for the xing ren, ‘punished people’. Xing is an old word for severe punishment, but it also meant ‘be a model, example, imitate.’ Alfred Huang uses this meaning:

‘Enlightening an ignorant. Favorable to set examples. Operating with shackles, going forward: humiliation.’

Maybe there are only positive examples here, no punishment at all?

What’s shameful?​


Not all translators see any ‘shame’ here at all. ‘Lin’ can also be read as ‘hindrance’ or ‘distress’, and then ‘going on, shame’ turns into ‘hinder walking’. But at least tradition, common sense and reading experience all agree that any problems with this line come from leaving the shackles on. Wilhelm – not for the first time – put it best:

‘Discipline should not degenerate into drill. Continuous drill has a humiliating effect and cripples a man’s powers.’

We might add that anything that keeps us in line mindlessly, without the need to think or make a choice, is shameful.

Interestingly, practically all the different translations of this line come round to this same basic idea. ‘Remove the manacles and shackles so they can walk,’ says Field, re-punctuating; ‘punish with loosened manacles and shackles. Severity brings distress,’ says Minford. ‘While penalties are useful to illuminate the naïve youth, take off the fetters – to go too far leads to sorrow,’ says Deng Ming Dao.

The ins and outs of translation make surprisingly little difference to this: to dispel ignorance, we need freedom of movement, so we’re available for new experience.

paraglider
 

dfreed

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‘Sending out the ignoramus,
Fruitful to make use of punishing people,
To make use of loosening fetters and manacles.
Going on in that way is shameful.’

But at least tradition, common sense and reading experience all agree that any problems with this line come from leaving the shackles on.
From all this, I like the idea that both punishments and freedom are teaching/learning tools, and especially the freedom to incur punishment. We need to be unshackled to experience the real world, not just learn the rules.
Thanks for sharing this. Setting aside for the time being his 'Dodder' translation of Hex. 4, for me Richard Rutt's translation of Line 4.1 feels similar to other translations:

(Pulling dodder)
Favorable for giving punishment,
or for removing shackles and fetters.
Distress in travel.

In this and the other translations, I sense a push-pull between too much 'punishment' - or authority; and too little - removing shackles. And my first reaction is to be a bit befuddled: so which is it, is it favorable or does it cause distress 'in travel' (to act, move forward) by being too strict - by 'giving punishment, or by being too 'free' - and removing shackles and fetters? But then moving past my initial befuddlement:

* I can image a Zhou general needing to transport prisoners of war back to the capital (where they will be offered in sacrifice); he must loosen their shackles enough so they can walk, but not so much that they escape (or that they keep tripping over their too-loose fetters?)

* This brings to mind the song and music video of Pink Floyd's The Wall - where the students are either sitting in a classroom with a severe and harsh teacher (i.e. bricks in the Wall), or they are running free and wild ('teacher, leave those kids alone!'). While it makes for a great video and song (at least I think so), I'm not really sure that either scenario - on it own - leads to much learning, or to really being free.

* It reminds me too of when I - in an ancient, far distant past - was in band class in junior high school; our regular teacher got sick and a long-term sub, Mr. Goodman, took his place. Greg - as we came to know him - knew very little about teaching music, but he did 'open up' (remove the fetters from) our class in different ways: we all discussed together what songs we wanted to play and how we'd perform them; those who were more proficient taught those who were less proficient on their instruments. However, he also made sure that if we wanted to perform in the band that we needed to attend class and show up for practice (i.e. to apply discipline).

We ended up doing a comedic-musical performance: we started off with Greg leading us in version of the theme from the film, Romeo and Juliet (if memory serves me); he then tried to lead us in a rendition of Tiny Tim's 'Tiptoe Thru' the Tulips'; but we were so bad (on purpose), he gave up and walked off in disgust; but then the band - without a leader - launched into a good rendition (in my estimation) of Wilson Pickett's 'In the Midnight Hour'. It was very well received. As an aside, Greg also encourage us to protest against girls not being allowed to wear pants or jeans at school - which sort of dates this story I think. (Greg eventually got let go from his job, perhaps for wanting - or trying - to remove a few too many shackles?)

So .... here we have a mythic tale of how applying punishments (discipline) and loosening shackles and fetters can work together! (And I can imagine Stephen Karcher mining this for its mythic-poetic-Jungian meanings: a tragic love story; walking gently through fields of tulips; the tribe playfully playing music together; the magical and mysterious midnight hour .... and young women becoming free to wear what they want to - and good lord knows where that might lead: first they'll want to wear jeans, and next they might want to dress as (and be) astronauts, soldiers, carpenters, mothers, or doctors, or they might even translate the Yi !!!) And did all this happen, or get set into motion by alchemy - by a potion made of dodder plants? Or in Greg's case, another plant substance, now legal and available in many U.S. states and Canada?

* Generally I think this calls for taking the Middle Way or Tao: if we want to learn - and/or learn from our mistakes - we need to have boundaries and also a certain amount of freedom within those boundaries; so that whatever limitations, requirements, boundaries are placed upon us don't themselves become the central issue or bones of contention - which then get in the way of learning, of moving forward ('in travel').

Or as Hilary said above: 'the idea that both punishments and freedom are teaching/learning tools, and especially the freedom to incur punishment.'

Another thing that came to mind: it seems that the language of the translations point to an (or the) 'other' - that all this applies to others, and not to ourselves. For example, we have:

4 - It is not I who seek the young fool(s); The young fool (or fools) seeks me. (Wilhelm)
4 - We (or I) do not seek the dodder; the dodder seeks us (Rutt)
4.1 - To make a fool (e.g. someone else) develop / It furthers one (e.g. us) to apply discipline (Wilhelm).

I think then that this makes it a bit too easy to make the 'fool' or 'young fools' be someone else, and that therefore it is 'we' (me, myself, I, ourselves) whom the fool is seeking, or we are the ones whom are loosening fetters /and or applying discipline - or taking action to correct others foolish mistakes.

But it takes on new and perhaps more profound meanings (that I think Hilary also mentions): that in a given situation, we (or me) are the fools who need to develop, or need to be disciplined' - that it is I who needs to be disciplined or have my shackles removed ....

Best, D
 
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hilary

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Another thing that came to mind: it seems that the language of the translations point to an (or the) 'other' - that all this applies to others, and not to ourselves. For example, we have:

4 - It is not I who seek the young fool(s); The young fool (or fools) seeks me. (Wilhelm)
4 - We (or I) do not seek the dodder; the dodder seeks us (Rutt)
4.1 - To make a fool (e.g. someone else) develop / It furthers one (e.g. us) to apply discipline (Wilhelm).

I think then that this makes it a bit too easy to make the 'fool' or 'young fools' be someone else, and that therefore it is 'we' (me, myself, I, ourselves) whom the fool is seeking, or we are the ones whom are loosening fetters /and or applying discipline - or taking action to correct others foolish mistakes.

But it takes on new and perhaps more profound meanings (that I think Hilary also mentions): that in a given situation, we (or me) are the fools who need to develop, or need to be disciplined' - that it is I who needs to be disciplined or have my shackles removed ....
Indeed. I think tradition is right, and the 'I' who speaks in the Judgement text is the Oracle itself - or, by extension, anything the querent's engaging with and seeking an answer. Sometimes the world at large.

As for dodder... on the one hand, Redmond pours very convincing scorn on the idea:

This is a clear instance of the tendency inspired by the Doubting Antiquity movement to substitute far-fetched meanings for received ones that are quite clear. That a plant seeks someone is self-evidently absurd, particularly as the sacredness of parasitic plants is not attested in any Chinese text, at least of which I am aware.

On the other hand, dodder actually does urgently seek a parent plant - it has a limited time in which to find one before it will die off - and I found the idea quite fun to play around with.

Your band teacher sounds excellent.
 

dfreed

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As for dodder... on the one hand, Redmond pours very convincing scorn on the idea: ....

.... This is a clear instance of the tendency inspired by the Doubting Antiquity movement to substitute far-fetched meanings for received ones that are quite clear ....
Perhaps quite true, I don't really know. And of course like any farmer, we don't want the 'dodder' to grow so out of control that it strangles our other crops - which might be of use to us.

On the other hand, one thing that comes to mind is the idea that many have shared on this forum: that the Yi has a voice and/or that it acts like (or is!) a living entity, e.g.: 'I asked the Yi ...' or, 'the Yi responded to me ...' or 'the Yi seemed to know what my real question is ...' and so forth.

If we were to extend this idea further - e.g. the Yi as a living, conscious, supremely-aware being - than we can also easily assume that 'it' (or she, or they) not only knows the correct response (to even our unspoken heart-felt questions), but that it also knows which translation of the Yi we're using, and it's appropriate response takes this knowing into account. So, if I get 'Dodder' as my response (via Rutt), then perhaps I can (or should) assume that this is the Yi's most appropriate and correct response to my query.

Also ... I've never thought of Richard Rutt as being part of "the Doubting Antiquity movement" or any movement really ... I've just never thought about it much at all. And more to the point - I just happen to like much of his translation and find it useful, if a bit quirky at times.

And finally (as the dodder finds a hold and grabs on!), if we acknowledge the not-so-far-out notion that the the Zhouyi started out as an oracle, and that it contains (or may contain) snippets of omens, songs and maybe spells or incantations, then for Dodder to show up in the Yi is not so far-fetched .....

From Rutt's Translation Notes for Hex. 4, dodder: Waley explained meng as ‘dodder’, a parasitic flowering plant with no roots or leaves. Like other parasites, it attracts superstitious respect. Ode 48 tells of gathering dodder, apparently as a charm ..... Gao Heng understood meng as a short form for ‘blindness’, punning with the later Confucian interpretation: ‘a youth’. Hexagram statement: The quotation may be a spell to avert misfortune after accidentally harming dodder. (p. 297).

* One thing I appreciate about Rutt is that he often explains why he made or decided upon a particular translation, but he also acknowledges other translations or ways of seeing the same thing, as he did here.

And finally, finally (dodder, dodder everywhere!): in one instance I made 'dodder' (maybe a loan word for?) a school of small fish - like herring, sardines, or sand lance; so, here we have a 'school' of not-so-smart (young, youthful, foolish, childlike, ignorant, ignoramus) fish, who need to be schooled. And we need Professor Dodder - Greg Goodman, the substitute band teacher - to teach them, but neither too severely nor too leniently!

All the best, D
 
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hilary

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I am a huge fan of Rutt and his footnotes. Also Lynn, and Schilling - you can never have too many footnotes.

Yes, I agree we can assume that the oracle will make good use of the translation we have to hand. But there is a giant grey area round here...

If all someone has is a pile of translation-free New Age twaddle labelled 'I Ching', might they be missing out on something, or do we just say the oracle will speak through any version to hand?

(Is there a reason to consult the I Ching instead of opening the phone directory at random?)

Do we get to make the words of the text mean whatever we feel like, missing out some and changing the meaning of others? Or might this approach be a little fishy?

And at the opposite extreme, does meng 'really' mean dodder? Is Hexagram 36 'really' about a pheasant and nothing to do with hiding brightness at all? (And if so, have all the readings with 36 been completely misinterpreted for the past couple of millennia?) Do we need to stop doing readings until we have definitive answers to all this?
 

dfreed

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If all someone has is a pile of translation-free New Age twaddle labelled 'I Ching', might they be missing out on something ....
Most of the people who I am familiar with here seem to shy away (at the very least!) from the New Age twaddle, and there seems to be some agreement that that is what it is. But as to whether someone likes (or uses or agrees with) Rutt, or Wilhelm or Barrett or ... that seems to be based on personal choice and what works for each of us. I have my 'criteria' for what works - I'm assuming others have theirs as well.

It's not unlike if we want to make use of particular aspects of the Yi or not - multiple moving lines, trigrams, translations of the Oracle Script characters, Wings commentaries, Ideal / Shadow / Nuclear hexagrams .... and so on.

As to 'Dodder' and Rutt in particular, it seems to me that he has a solid basis for his translation, or at least that's how it seems to me. But whether you, or I, or anyone agrees with that or not, I think is a far different beast than someone grabbing a word or meaning from some totally unrelated source, as some of the New Age (and other) Yi twaddle appears to do. What do you think?
Do we need to stop doing readings until we have definitive answers to all this?
Good lord! I hope not. But then again you forgot to mention 22 Bedight (which I believe is an older word for 'adorn' but reminds me of 'delight'); and 30 Oriole, and oh don't get me started on 33 Pig! ... or the Outskirts Altar, Moon Pit (which reminds me of Moon Unit, Frank Zappa's daughter), the Ghost River and the River-Mountain Festival. Just saying :cool:

Best, D
 

IrfanK

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And at the opposite extreme, does meng 'really' mean dodder? Is Hexagram 36 'really' about a pheasant and nothing to do with hiding brightness at all? (And if so, have all the readings with 36 been completely misinterpreted for the past couple of millennia?) Do we need to stop doing readings until we have definitive answers to all this?
These kinds of questions have been on my mind since my interest in the modernist bronze age reconstruction began. Quite a few of the reconstructions add nuance, while some are just weird. I do like to think there was some continuity between the Zhou and the Han, that people just didn't completely forget the old meanings, but built on them, built more sophisticated frameworks around them. The Han didn't arrive by space ship from another planet, after all. If there's just no relationship at all, then I think I'd generally stick with the received version.

.... and 30 Oriole, and oh don't get me started on 33 Pig! ... or the Outskirts Altar, Moon Pit (which reminds me of Moon Unit, Frank Zappa's daughter), the Ghost River and the River-Mountain Festival. Just saying :cool:
Hehe. I detect a subtle dig against Stephen. Well, I'm not going to argue. All I can say is that when I was reading Shaugnessey's "Composition," I often had TIC open for comparison. All of those weird, extravagant ideas in the Myths section, presented without any footnotes or indications of how he got the ideas ... and then you see, ah! He got that directly from Shaughnessey! And did something interesting with it! I saw it with Kui, Zhen, Wu Wang, and a few others. I really liked how he handled Wu Wang, looking at the reconstructed idea of "pestilence," then linking it back to the more traditional idea of "innocence," or "disentangling." There's still heaps I don't get, maybe he got those from Kunst or someone I haven't read. But I've begun to realize that if I don't get something he says, it probably does just mean I haven't worked it out yet. I'm more curious than dismissive when it happens now. He is my great example of someone who does try to find the relationship between the reconstructions and the traditions, which is exactly what I think makes the reconstructions interesting.
 

dfreed

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I detect a subtle dig against Stephen. Well, I'm not going to argue.
When I first read Karcher, I emailed him with some questions - but I never heard back. In my mind I had this wild fantasy that I'd drive up my island, then catch the ferry across to Port Townsend - where he was living at the time (about an hour's travel from my place) - and I'd treat him to a beer or coffee, and ask him, 'what the heck does .... mean?'. I have also seen two short videos - now no longer on the internet - of him teaching an I Ching course - and I was very taken by what he said, especially regarding the transformative (and perhaps healing) nature of the Yi.

So perhaps a 'gentle, playful dig' would better describe it.

Recently, I was thinking about Karcher's 'Ideal' hexagrams and how you arrive at them: you take the trigrams from the Houtain Bagua (or later heaven trigram) Circle; and replace them with their corresponding trigrams in the Fuxi Bagua (or early heaven trigram) Circle ....

Now talk about a quirky idea - to take two unrelated trigram arrangements, perhaps developed centuries or even a millennium apart - and turn one hexagram into the 'Ideal' for another hexagram? I mean, for sheer quirkiness I think that has Rutt's 'Dodder' or 'Bedight' etc. beat by a mile!

If there's just no relationship at all, then I think I'd generally stick with the received version.
But then again, is there really no relationship, or is this just an instance when you just haven't worked it out yet?
I've begun to realize that if I don't get something he says, it probably does just mean I haven't worked it out yet. I'm more curious than dismissive when it happens now.
I think we accept and dismiss ideas, ways of seeing, etc... all the time. But perhaps 'dismiss' means (or should mean?) that at a given moment we don't find a particular idea, or concept, or translation, or way of seeing the Yi to be either useful or meaningful for us; or at this moment, we just don't understand it. So we instead 'fall back' on what we think we know, a.k.a. the 'received version'.

It seems to me that our discernment about what we accept and / or dismiss can be fickle at times, even though we try to rationalize it or deny that we are perhaps not being as 'rational' as we like to think.

For example, we might not like Rutt's quirky translations and rhymes, or his translation of Hex.4 as a 'dodder' instead of calling it 'youthful folly' - or we don't like the idea of thinking of a 'dodder' as a fish or a school of not-so-bright fish'; but at the same time, we'll embrace (or 'be open' to) Karcher's Bright Omens, or his 'Queen of the Dead' or his 'Dwelling and the Ghosts who haunt it'.

Or we'll embrace the 'received version' and say we don't like the New Age twaddle, or we don't really like (or trust) the 'Doubting Antiquity' movement, but then we'll embrace looking at the very old oracle and bronze script and characters, to see what meaning they can add to the 'received version' (even though the 'received version' we're reading may not seem (or even be) related at all to these older meanings).

Or, despite all our rationality, and digging and research, we'll say that we really like Wilhelm or Rutt ... simply because they 'speak to us' - even if our digging and research might suggest faults in their logic or their translations.

Best, D
 

dfreed

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‘One sends out the Meng-beast,’ Schilling (a bit odd…)
Hilary, I'm curious, I assume that you mean Dennis Schilling here, correct? And if so, was this originally in German (since his Yijing is in German) and you translated it? I know he is wrote the forward to "I Ching: The Book of Changes (Great Works that Shape our World)", but my understanding is this is Legge's translation and Schilling only wrote the forward.

Best, D
 
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hilary

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Yes, it's in German. I'm discovering the hard way how rusty my German really is. Lovely book, though, with lots of footnotes.
 

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Hi Hilary
Hex 4 Not Knowing to my way of looking at it recounts a developmental process. A process moving from Not Knowing to one of knowing what we dont know. A journey mixed in clarity and confusion.

The scene is set in 4.1 after having experienced the trauma / chaos of Hex 3. Here the root issue of hex 4 is being addressed like trying to dig up the roots of an gnarly old tree stump.
In order to dispel the suffering brought about by Not Knowing (Sending out the ignoramus) it is initially beneficial to engage in a new set of rules through a strict and disciplined regime as the ignorance has become very deep rooted (Fruitful to make use of punishing people,) At the same time it's going to help if old thoughts and actions - the habits that have trapped us in our comfort zone of Not Knowing - can be loosened with a view to discarding them completely (To make use of loosening fetters and manacles).

The Catch 22 in this hexagram is that in the beginning we don't know what we don't know. Our Not Knowing is total. However, more than likely, we will have gained an inkling around the nature of our ignorance and that the obstacles to our developing the faintest touches of knowing lie within us. This seems to me to be a rite of passage from 3.6 to 4.1 and it will not be to our credit if we throw a dust sheet over, cover up or walk away from that inkling. (Going on in that way is shameful).

There is no shame in ignorance however the ultimate shame is being dishonest with ourself - especially when we carry on with the old lies and stories after we have gained a sniff of the truth.

...of course it may be nothing like that at all.
 

IrfanK

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Hi Hilary
Hex 4 Not Knowing to my way of looking at it recounts a developmental process. A process moving from Not Knowing to one of knowing what we dont know. A journey mixed in clarity and confusion.
Hmm. The feeling I get from Meng is that of an old person giving advice to a young person, knowing that it's going to be ignored. But accepting that it's going to be ignored, that the young person is too young to catch the wisdom. That's natural at that stage of their life. Maybe they will remember in twenty years time and realize then.
 

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Hmm. The feeling I get from Meng is that of an old person giving advice to a young person, knowing that it's going to be ignored. But accepting that it's going to be ignored, that the young person is too young to catch the wisdom. That's natural at that stage of their life. Maybe they will remember in twenty years time and realize then.
We all have a wise old person within us who stands firm in their knowing. Does he want to buy into the dramas of youthful folly? No he does not. That wise part of us accepts that other parts of us are unknowing and have not even smelt the aroma of wisdom, let alone catch onto it, and so allows and accepts the words, behaviours and life experiences that the immature youth creates.

As you say it may take 20 years to for the Not Knowing to become Knowing.
 

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We all have a wise old person within us who stands firm in their knowing. Does he want to buy into the dramas of youthful folly? No he does not. As you say it may take 20 years to for the Not Knowing to become Knowing.
How you describe this - a wise old person (a man?) who is wiser than, and dispenses wisdom to folly-filled youth - brings to mind an Abrahamic God dispensing the ten commandments to his folly-laden Children of Israel. And we can only hope that they live long enough to become as wise as this old white guy is!

Instead, I see this as mythic and metaphoric, describing how any of us - regardless of how old or wise we are (or think we are!) might be the ignoramus, or be foolish, or we can - regardless of our ages - be wise and knowing. I mean, just think of all the old(er) men who have caused so much damage and harm in our world because of their folly, greed and ignorance?

Hanging out with Rutt again this morning, I'm starting to like 'Dodder' (his title for Hex. 4) more and more - certainly more than hanging with a bunch of (young or old) ignorant, foolish fools (from the Yi or from life, and not the people in this thread). So, instead we have:
Line 4.2:​
Pulling dodder.
Favorable for giving punishment, OR for removing shackles and fetters.

Rutt describes 'dodder' as a 'parasitic flowering plant with no roots or leaves'. Besides seeming like a plant that is 'ripe' for omens, divination, and potions (like 'eye of newt') - I assume it was also not well-liked or received by farmers, since it would attach itself to their crops and destroy them. And I can imagine that the King was none too pleased either with having his crops destroyed!

So here we have an omen, or maybe a King or diviner's pronouncement, that we should 'pull dodder' (or if you want, removing youthful folly).

But not so fast! There is also a note of caution here and a question: (which perhaps comes from long-held knowledge of farming and the Earth): in pulling dodder are we at the same time harming or destroying the very crops we're trying to save? Are we removing the dodder-like shackles or are we harming or 'punishing' our crops?

This reminds me: many years ago I rented a house, and when I moved out, friends helped me clean and move. My friend Marsha (whom is a few years older than I am) worked on getting rid of the ice that had accumulated in the freezer. She did this by stabbing at the ice (the 'dodder' in this tale) with a large knife! She ended up removing the ice (removing the shackles) - but she also stabbed holes in the tubes that carry the coolant! My 'punishment' ended up being that I had to buy my landlord a new refrigerator!

Best, D
 
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my_key

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How you describe this - a wise old person (a man?) who is wiser than, and dispenses wisdom to folly-filled youth - brings to mind an Abrahamic God dispensing the ten commandments to his folly-laden Children of Israel. And we can only hope that they live long enough to become as wise as this old white guy is!
No that's not how I see him. He is not a god-like figure of biblical proportions more a conduit for and a recipient of our conversations with Yi. As with Yi he chooses not to engage with the folly rather than dispensing the ten commandments.
His nurturing rule seems to be one strike and you are out.
Instead, I see this as mythic and metaphoric, describing how any of us - regardless of how old or wise we are (or think we are!) might be the ignoramus, or be foolish, or we can - regardless of our ages - be wise and knowing. I mean, just think of all the old(er) men who have caused so much damage and harm in our world because of their folly, greed and ignorance?
I agree. Wisdom does not necessarily come with age. Neither is folly, greed and ignorance purly an attribute of the young.
Hanging out with Rutt again this morning, I'm starting to like 'Dodder' (his title for Hex. 4) more and more - certainly more than hanging with a bunch of (young or old) ignorant, foolish fools (from the Yi or from life, and not the people in this thread). So, instead we have:
Line 4.2:​
Pulling dodder.
Favorable for giving punishment, OR for removing shackles and fetters.

Rutt describes 'dodder' as a 'parasitic flowering plant with no roots or leaves'. Besides seeming like a plant that is 'ripe' for omens, divination, and potions (like 'eye of newt') - I assume it was also not well-liked or received by farmers, since it would attach itself to their crops and destroy them. And I can imagine that the King was none too pleased either with having his crops destroyed!
I like the idea of Dodder too. Our ignorance can be seen as 'parasitic flowering'. Parasitic plants absorb food through their root like organs that penetrate the tissue of a host and may even kill it. It's goal is self perpetuation by feeding on the host to the point that it can severely diminish the host and even kill kill it. Dodder (meng) itself according to Rutt can also be seen as 'blindness'. I fancy that ignorance, folly and Not Knowing perpetuate themselves in the same way and so 'the dodder seeks us' because that is how it gains nourishment. We may not seek dodder, however that doesn't mean that we do not already have it secreted away in our psyche..
But not so fast! There is also a note of caution here and a question: (which perhaps comes from long-held knowledge of farming and the Earth): in pulling dodder are we at the same time harming or destroying the very crops we're trying to save? Are we removing the dodder-like shackles or are we harming or 'punishing' our crops?
I agree that there is a government health warning on the manner in which we address our dodder manifestation. It needs to be treated with respect and honour otherwise as your ice pick story relates untold damage can be caused and our level of suffering can be greater than expected.

One thing that I am not in agreement with in Rutt's Translation Notes is his assertion regarding Heagram 3 and 4 together i.e. " There is no clear thematic connection between these two heagrams". This could stem from his self imposed limitations of translation format.

Maybe that's for another thread though.
 
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rosada

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Regarding hexagram 3 and 4 together:

3. Difficulty: They said it couldn't be done!
4: Fool: But I, poor fool, didn't know that and went ahead and did it anyway.
 

rosada

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I think the title of hexagram 4 is misleading in that we tend to think of "Youthful Folly" and "Not knowing" as meaning someone who is carefree or someone who does not know something that others already do know. I think 4 should be thought of as "A New Experience" or something that emphasizes that we're at a point where NO ONE - not even God Almighty - knows what will happen next. Also the text talks about punishment and shackles and stories of slaves but for the purposes of understanding the energies here I think it's helpful to interpret this line as meaning one can't progress, can't learn, any more without trying, getting out there and having some actual real life experience. Like if you were to ask, "How can I learn to ride a bike?" this response would mean, "You can’t learn by asking more questions. You have to climb on and experience it. If you fall off (punishment!) that's okay, get back on (persevere). You certainly aren't going to learn chained to your chair (shackles need to be removed)."
 
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dfreed

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Like if you were to ask, "How can I learn to ride a bike?" this response would mean, "You can’t learn by asking questions. You have to climb on and experience it. If you fall off (punishment!) that's okay, get back on (persevere). You certainly aren't going to learn chained to your chair (shackles need to be removed)."
I tend to agree with you here, and I think it could be open to variations of interpretation; for example, 'you can't learn to ride a bike by just asking questions (though asking questions and getting good answers can be helpful). You learn if someone shows you how a bike works, where the brakes are ... and then lets you hop on and ride and - if it's part of your learning - they may need to let you fall down, or get scared, or ...." .

Or, another possibility: someone just asked me to teach them how to ride a bike - I've never don't that before, so I asked the Yi, 'how can I best help someone learn to ride a bike?' and the Yi responded ... "4.1. Pulling dodder. Favorable for giving punishment, or for removing shackles and fetters." What the heck does that mean?

Or, "4.1 - To make a fool develop It furthers one to apply discipline. The fetters should be removed. To go on in this way brings humiliation." 'Going on brings humiliation? What the heck does that mean?'

Best, D.
 

rosada

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I think “going on in this way brings humiliation” means to go on with fetters is humiliating. If you’re still using training wheels when you’re no longer a little kid it’s humiliating.
 
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moss elk

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in the beginning we don't know what we don't know. Our Not Knowing is total.

I've noticed this about human beings.
We are all born embodying three absolutes.

Totally beautiful,
Totally magical,
&
Totally ignorant.

Our work in life is to retain two of these qualities, and eliminate the third at every opportunity.
 

rosada

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Maybe a suitable title for 4 would be The Experiment.
 

my_key

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Or, "4.1 - To make a fool develop It furthers one to apply discipline. The fetters should be removed. To go on in this way brings humiliation." 'Going on brings humiliation? What the heck does that mean?'
For me the way of humiliation is sustained wallowing in our ignorance. Continuing the themes, patterns and behaviours that unknown to us were creating the chaos of Hex 3. Going on in that mindless, unconcious way of chaos while now carrying an inkling of our folly, a seed of knowing if you like, that there is a different way - this is what brings deep humiliation: we are in authentically fooling ourselves.

By 4.5 we have accepted (know of) our 'foolishness'. By 4.6 we are not quite so 'not knowing' and are being encouraged not to succumb to our old 'outlaw' behaviours or those of their immature cohorts in the gang (Billy the Kid et al). We can then begin our ride off into the sunset through the trials and tribulations of hex 5, hex 6, hex 7, hex 8 etc until we have woven the web sufficiently to be able to see things a lot more clearly at hex 30. Beyond this we are off on another great adventure.

....or it may be nothing like this at all.
 

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(Re: Line 4.1) By 4.5 we have accepted (know of) our 'foolishness' ....
My_Key:

It seems you are very much seeing a progression from one hex to another (3 to 4) - or pairing of these - and then a progression through the lines: e.g. Hex 3, lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 leading to Hex 4, lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

I know that this is not an uncommon way of looking at the hexagrams and lines. But I tend to not delve that deeply into the pairings, or the sequences of either the hexagrams or lines; it's just a different way of looking at things:

If I (or someone) were to say: "help with picking a master's program" ... and they were to then get 4.1 as their response, I would focus on the words / images of that line - and perhaps the Hex. 4 statement; and I'd look at the movement / meanings / associations of the trigrams (and here we have water changing to lake).

(And the thing is, if I get 4.1, I'm not sure what "by 4.5 we have accepted (know of) our 'foolishness'" has to do with my reading or how I'd apply it?)

This doesn't preclude me looking at other aspects or other stuff; it's just that most often this gives me more than enough info. to try to make sense of. But if I were to delve more into it, I'd probably start by looking at the core, or nuclear trigrams; and lately I've been exploring the Jiao Gua or reverse pairs, where the trigrams 'swap' places: so for Hex. 4 (Mountain above Water), I'd look at Hex. 39 (Water above Mountain), and if I had line 4.1, I'd then look at 39.1 - or maybe 39.4. But that's all experimental at this point.

The issue for me - and one I've talked about before - is that I/we can very easily turn a reading with one hexagram with one moving line, into a reading that contains dozens of hexagrams and dozens of moving lines. What you describe above might be an example of this; you start with Hex. 4 and Line 4.1, but then you consider Hex 3 and it's lines (because they lead up to 4.1) and you then could look at the other five lines of Hex. 4, because they are part of the progression of the lines ... and so forth.

(One idea I have is that perhaps every hexagram and line can (or might) be connected to any other hexagram and line; at some point I might test it out: do a reading and then randomly (or with some limits) look at another hexagram and line (or lines), to see what they tell me about the hexagram and lines I actually got!)

Again, I'm not necessarily putting down any particular approach; I'm only saying adding in other hexagram and lines can very easily get to be too much for me, and it's way too easy to make all these other hexagrams and lines become the reading, instead of being background to or informational for the reading I actually got.

All the best, D
 

IrfanK

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The issue for me - and one I've talked about before - is that I/we can very easily turn a reading with one hexagram with one moving line, into a reading that contains dozens of hexagrams and dozens of moving lines. What you describe above might be an example of this; you start with Hex. 4 and Line 4.1, but then you consider Hex 3 and it's lines (because they lead up to 4.1) and you then could look at the other five lines of Hex. 4, because they are part of the progression of the lines ... and so forth.
I guess there are two issues to consider:

1) Is there any relationship between one hexagram and another and between the lines within a single hexagram?

2) If there is, is it helpful in a divination to examine that relationship?

There is disagreement on the first point. Some people see it all as fairly random and chaotic. People like Redmond and Rutt. And some people see connections everywhere. The thing is, if you start with the first assumption, then you will never find the connections, because you don't believe they exist. But if you think there are connections, you'll find them. Personally, I don't understand how anyone could not see that those connections exist, so that's me coming clean on my position. I was interested to read Shaughnessey, the hard-headed context critic, come out and find all sorts of relationships between lines and hexagrams in at least some cases. All without any reference to any of the later interpretations, just on the basis of an examination of the text of the Zhouyi. (If he's ever actually used the Yi for divination, he keeps very quiet about it.)

But then there's point two. Well, you raise a good point. It is easy to produce a bewildering map or flow chart of hexagrams and to get entirely lost in it. And I've seen a lot of people do excellent readings looking at nothing more than the line they receive. So, I think you do have to keep in mind that the answer to the question is in that line. But the relationships between the lines and hexagrams do help to explain the answer, give the background to it.

But more importantly, really, is that looking at those relationships gives you insights into how the book is constructed, how one situation flows into another, how things are interconnected. If you just want a quick answer to your question, just look at the line text you receive. But if you want to get a sense of the nature of Change, looking at the relationships is great. At the very least, I do look at all the lines in a hexagram, even if the answer to my question is found in only one of them. Together, the lines tell a story about what the hexagram means. That makes them worth reading, if you've got a few spare moments.

I've printed out Hilary's new Pathways course. It looks like fun.
 

my_key

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My_Key:

It seems you are very much seeing a progression from one hex to another (3 to 4) - or pairing of these - and then a progression through the lines: e.g. Hex 3, lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 leading to Hex 4, lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

I know that this is not an uncommon way of looking at the hexagrams and lines. But I tend to not delve that deeply into the pairings, or the sequences of either the hexagrams or lines; it's just a different way of looking at things:

If I (or someone) were to say: "help with picking a master's program" ... and they were to then get 4.1 as their response, I would focus on the words / images of that line - and perhaps the Hex. 4 statement; and I'd look at the movement / meanings / associations of the trigrams (and here we have water changing to lake).

(And the thing is, if I get 4.1, I'm not sure what "by 4.5 we have accepted (know of) our 'foolishness'" has to do with my reading or how I'd apply it?)

This doesn't preclude me looking at other aspects or other stuff; it's just that most often this gives me more than enough info. to try to make sense of. But if I were to delve more into it, I'd probably start by looking at the core, or nuclear trigrams; and lately I've been exploring the Jiao Gua or reverse pairs, where the trigrams 'swap' places: so for Hex. 4 (Mountain above Water), I'd look at Hex. 39 (Water above Mountain), and if I had line 4.1, I'd then look at 39.1 - or maybe 39.4. But that's all experimental at this point.

The issue for me - and one I've talked about before - is that I/we can very easily turn a reading with one hexagram with one moving line, into a reading that contains dozens of hexagrams and dozens of moving lines. What you describe above might be an example of this; you start with Hex. 4 and Line 4.1, but then you consider Hex 3 and it's lines (because they lead up to 4.1) and you then could look at the other five lines of Hex. 4, because they are part of the progression of the lines ... and so forth.

(One idea I have is that perhaps every hexagram and line can (or might) be connected to any other hexagram and line; at some point I might test it out: do a reading and then randomly (or with some limits) look at another hexagram and line (or lines), to see what they tell me about the hexagram and lines I actually got!)

Again, I'm not necessarily putting down any particular approach; I'm only saying adding in other hexagram and lines can very easily get to be too much for me, and it's way too easy to make all these other hexagrams and lines become the reading, instead of being background to or informational for the reading I actually got.

All the best, D
Hi David
In the comments I make here I'm only really trying to add some context to the position of Line 4.1 within the hexagram and then adding a view of a wider perspective. Context and perspective can be important pieces of background in any situation. There are indeed many ways to look at things and I wasn't really seeing, like you, that what I'd written as being something that would be considered fully if I had received 4.1 in a reading.

You are right that there are a multitude of ways to link lines to other lines and hexagrams to other hexagrams and then add more colour through consideration of changing trigrams.

When we consult the oracle we are like an artist in front of a blank canvas and the lines and images we chose to paint and include in our picture are all of our own creation. Like any artist the trick lies in knowing when enough is enough and with that realising that the painting is finished. With experience we gain a knowing when further brush strokes will only cloud the clarity of the picture. Overworking like with a painting can be the ruination of many a divination.
 

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I guess there are two issues to consider:

1) Is there any relationship between one hexagram and another and between the lines within ...
2) If there is, is it helpful in a divination to examine that relationship?
We've covered a lot of territory in this thread, from different meanings and way of looking at Line 4.1, to different ideas and way of approaching interpretation. Given that broad scope, it seems that another thing we could say is:

That among the many, many ideas and issues we've discussed here, two of these we might consider are: ....

Since you're "coming clean" on your position, I have to say, when I read what you said, above, it seems to me and feels to me that you're saying something like:
Irfan: there are really only two way of interpreting (and understanding) the Yi:​
* you can either interpret the Yi using the one and only correct way - by delving deeply into many translations, and many methods of interpretation that look at all the possible connecting lines and hexagrams; and by reading lots about the Yi's history and also the traditionalist, modernist, and even the doubting antiquity-ist; and by looking at the fan yao, and the pathways, and the shadow, nuclear and ideal hexagrams, etc. etc. etc....​
Or ....​
* you can interpret the Yi using a far more simplistic and dumbed-down method, where you only look at one translation and only at the text, images and symbolism. And you might end up with what appears to be a helpful, useful response, but that's only if you want a 'quick' (e.g. incomplete, simplified, stupid) answer to your query.​

I know I'm engaging in some hyperbole and sarcasm here, but it's not an exaggeration to say this is how what you are saying here feels to me. But since that's just based on my feelings, it makes me want to ask, is this what you mean, or do you mean something else?

If you just want a quick answer to your question, ...
I'm not sure what this means, though it feels related to what you said above.

I did a reading this morning, asking, or just stating, 'Today'. And the response I got - to my perhaps poorly-worded query - felt spot-on, and gave me lots to consider: I posed a query and the Yi responded in a way I understood and was meaningful for me. Besides this, I don't really know what more I should expect of the Yi, or of any oracle? Is there some hidden meaning, or teaching. or technique that I'm not hip to? Maybe if I read some Shaughnessey or Redmond, or if I gave Karcher or Richmond another go .... it might make me aware of what I'm missing?

Regards, D
 
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my_key

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I did a reading this morning, asking, or just stating, 'Today' and the response I got (to my perhaps poorly-worded query) felt spot-on, and gave me lots to consider: I posed a query and the Yi responded in a way I understood and was meaningful for me. Besides this, I don't really know what more I should be expecting of the Yi, or of divination? Is there some hidden meaning, or teaching. or technique that I'm not hip to? Maybe if I read some Shaughnessey or Redmond, or if I gave Karcher or Richmond another go .... it might make me aware of what I'm missing?
It sounds like you have a comfortable and fruitful relationship with Yi. You ask once and you get an answer that you understand as meaningful and therefore have no need to ask again. Maybe there is nothing more for you to do nor anymore to expect from divination. Perhaps anything you are missing will not have any significance for you beyond what you have already gained from your conversation.

Meng calls for a willingness in us to be open to new ideas and ways, so that we can develop our character to bring about furure success and the warding off of stagnation. Developing a relationship with Yi that brings meaning is important and shows that 'Youthful Folly' has not taken complete hold. Maybe the folly with any reading that we get a 'good enough' grasp of is plain and simply not following through on our new insights and understanding.

I have quite a few spare 'Youthful Folly' t-shirts that I can donate if anyone has not accumulated their own pile.
 

dfreed

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It sounds like you have a comfortable and fruitful relationship with Yi. You ask once and you get an answer that you understand as meaningful and therefore have no need to ask again.
My 'relationship' with the Yi is continually changing - and hopefully growing. Setting aside my most clear, concise, marvelous morning reading for a moment, I am sometimes baffled by what I read or see in a response. And it might take me more time, or (god forbid!) even reading another translation or looking at the trigrams, or the fan yao ... for me to better understand the conversation I'm having.

My main point is, I don't have sense of any one, correct way - nor any inferior way - of working with the Yijing. Or, more correctly, I use a method that works for me. As Harmen is very fond of saying, there are guidelines, not rules - for how we work with the Yijing.

Meng calls for a willingness in us to be open to new ideas and ways, so that we can develop our character to bring about future success and the warding off of stagnation. Developing a relationship with Yi that brings meaning is important and shows that 'Youthful Folly' has not taken complete hold.
I'm not sure if Meng or the Yi always 'calls for us' to be any certain way - at least not always, and not always in the same way.

Wilhelm's Hex. 4 Judgement starts, 'Youthful folly has success'. So, does this mean I should embrace Youthful Folly, that in fact I should let it fully take hold? It reminds me of the Zen Buddhist expression, 'Zen mind; beginners mind' - in the beginner's (or the young fool's) mind there are many possibilities (or ways of seeing or approaching a situation); whereas in the the expert's - or adults' - mind, there are few options.

Or ...

Rutt's Line 4.3 reads, 'Seeing a bronze arrow, having no bow. Favorable for nothing.' My immediate sense is, I don't see this as having much to do with 'youthful folly' (nor with 'dodder' for that matter) - but it could be saying that I / we need different parts or tools to complete a task: that I / we need both the arrow AND the bow, and that it is not helpful to just have - or just use, or just see - one of these.

Or that's one way that I - being the young fool, or the dodder - might look at this .... But what if my question is 'what should I have for dinner?' Then hmm, is it recommending to me that I shouldn't go a-hunting for my dinner (since I don't have both a bow and a bronze arrow ), but I should instead order takeout, or eat leftovers? :duh:

Best, D
 
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dfreed

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I have quite a few spare 'Youthful Folly' t-shirts that I can donate if anyone has not accumulated their own pile.
PS - if you're giving away free t-shirts, I'm game. Just private message me so we can arrange this.
 

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