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Blog post: The Image of Stripping Away

hilary

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The more closely I look at the Image – the Daxiang wing, I mean – the more I think whoever wrote it was a sage.

One tiny example… you know how most of the hexagrams’ Images tell you what the ‘noble one’ would do? And then there are three that tell you about the prince, and seven that tell you about the ancient kings. (I’m sure that if someone looked hard enough, they’d find the reason behind all these choices.) And then there is just one hexagram that does something different:

‘Mountain rests on the earth. Stripping Away.
The heights are generous, and there are tranquil homes below.’

Literally, this just says ‘above thus generous, below tranquil homes’: it uses the simple words for ‘above’ and ‘below’, generally used to describe the positions of the trigrams. Of course, it’s usual to translate this as ’superiors’ or ‘those above’, so we can understand it as social commentary about how a stratified society can function smoothly – but it doesn’t actually mention any people.

Perhaps this is talking about how the ruling class needs to keep the underclass pacified with generosity to avoid social instability, or perhaps it’s talking about the flow of water and minerals from the always-eroding mountain down into the valley. Perhaps (as Wilhelm says in Book III) it’s a picture of how to avoid Stripping Away, or perhaps it’s a picture of how Stripping Away is a constant natural process, and not a disaster after all.

But however you interpret this, this*is the only Image with no human figure to imitate or become. It’s depersonalised: there’s nothing to model yourself on but a landscape – or just relative positions within a landscape. And if you think about it, this makes absolute sense: if you’re undergoing Stripping Away, this is not a time to think about the person you might become, what you aspire to or could grow into. It’s fruitless to have a direction to go, and so that sage who wrote the Image is careful not to suggest a direction. Instead there is just a mountain on the earth, and generosity and tranquility, and ongoing change as a way of being.
 
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sooo

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‘Mountain rests on the earth. Stripping Away.
The heights are generous, and there are tranquil homes below.

I like this a lot. Giving is the more hidden, but no less important aspect of 23. Focus of 23 is typically on losing, stripping, rather than a time to be generous: returning to the needs of the every day folk, and creating a tranquil town, or tranquil homes. Nice image.
 

pocossin

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. . . this is the only Image with no human figure to imitate or become. It’s depersonalised . . .

Like Deng Ming-Dao's art which "excludes the human form or any other references to society or civilization".
 

hilary

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Mm. Well, 23's valley is inhabited, but the individuals are out of sight.

I like this a lot. Giving is the more hidden, but no less important aspect of 23. Focus of 23 is typically on losing, stripping, rather than a time to be generous: returning to the needs of the every day folk, and creating a tranquil town, or tranquil homes. Nice image.
Yes. Mind you, while I've seen a couple of people achieve mountain-like generosity on receiving this hexagram, I don't think I've managed it yet. I find this image more remote, harder to live up to, than maybe any of the others.
 
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sooo

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Mm. Well, 23's valley is inhabited, but the individuals are out of sight.


Yes. Mind you, while I've seen a couple of people achieve mountain-like generosity on receiving this hexagram, I don't think I've managed it yet. I find this image more remote, harder to live up to, than maybe any of the others.

Understood. Understanding the benevolence in stripping, intellectually, is one thing, but believing it, knowing it in your heart and gut, is something else. And really, we're quite possibly not supposed to accept it easily. Otherwise, there'd be no reason to give, for no one to give to. It's what doesn't accept which needs tranquility. But to the giver, the loss of ones hut becomes the means to be carried along.
 
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maremaria

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hope you don't mind sharing a personal experience with 23


I recently “discovered” the image of 23. There is a person in my life going through a big transition and has all this emotional up and downs and what is more , a certain decision created some new problems to confront in a area of my everyday life.

I asked Yi “what is my role in his life, now” and “How can I helped that person” hex 23 unchanging in both questions ! With all those knifes and the endless cutting ( lol) in the lines, the Images’ texts didn’t fit at the beginning., didn’t make sense. Confusion :confused:

So I had to be the mountain to hear the mountain and I had to be the earth to hear the earth. The mountain talked about my individuality, the earth about nourishing and then it made sense . Because , in the certain situation by giving that person what was important at the moment didn’t really affected my self. So by giving up something I really didn’t need I could give a chance to the both of us. And then the stripping idea in the image’s text became visible.
 
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sooo

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Also in 23 is the idea of looking behind or beneath the surface, stripping the surface to get to the real thing or core, the essential. Not a comfortable process but an important one, and a delicate one when assisting a friend with it.
 
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maremaria

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Also in 23 is the idea of looking behind or beneath the surface, stripping the surface to get to the real thing or core, the essential. Not a comfortable process but an important one, and a delicate one when assisting a friend with it.

I'm not that generous !!! Don't want to give wrong impression . :D
If there wasn't any seed inside the fruit I would kept the mountain .:rolleyes:

But seriously, yes. agrees
 

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