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suzy

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Hi, folks. Thought I'd share a series of readings tonight that I found rather bemusing.

Background to my question: I resigned my job as planned, giving informal notice that I'd work about another month (depending on the assignment) and then take my month's vacation. At the same time I confidentially lodged a complaint with HR about my boss, who hates my living guts, has been slandering me, and -- I feared -- was going to try do something bad out of spite. (In case you're wondering, it really is just spite -- I'm a fairly well-regarded person at this firm and have consistently been rated an "outstanding" employee.) I told HR I didn't want to make a big deal out of it, I just wanted to work out my remaining weeks in peace. I genuinely expected them to protect me. Instead: HR told my boss, boss said I was insubordinate, and they fired me. Even though I'd already resigned! Cheated me out of a month's pay, a month's vacation. Then the boss arranged to destroy my personal files and years of research on my computer, without even allowing me access. At first I thought all this was illegal, but here in Maryland in the good ol' USA, there's a legal doctrine called "at will employment," which basically means an employer can do absolutely anything to an employee as long as it's not sexual/racial/religious discrimination. Just plain old meanness is perfectly legal. Nevertheless, I've been contemplating seeing an attorney and having him at least send a letter to file a protest and maybe, maybe, get some kind of compensation -- perhaps my vacation pay or something.

First question to I Ching: "What are my chances of getting some compensation from Company X?"
Answer: 41 Decrease, changing lines 3, 4, 6 to 34 Power of the Great.

When I first saw the 41, I thought, ah, well, it's saying give it up, just accept the loss. But then the judgement and the line readings seemed to encourage perseverance and undertaking, and 34 talks about justified action, so I thought...maybe this is a positive reading after all? I began to focus on line 3 in 41, and wondered if it was saying I should "go it alone" or consult an attorney? (Each version I have has a different take on the import of this line.) So...

Second question to the I Ching: "Is it better to go it alone rather than enlist an attorney's help?"
Answer: 46 Pushing Upward with changing lines 1 and 2 to 36 Darkening of the Light.

This seemed like a big "yes," and I thought maybe 36 was just expressing the context of my situation. But I proceeded with the reverse question:

Third question to I Ching: "Is it better to enlist an attorney's help rather than go it alone?"
Answer: 44 with changing lines 2 and 5 to 56 Wandering.

I took this as a negative on the attorney. Risky liasions, and even a suggestion that this is just a passing fancy. (Note that I have already been making plans to meet with a particular lawyer on Monday, and have had every intention of at least talking to the guy.) So, since the I Ching seemed to think going it alone was better, I asked the following clarifying question:

Fourth question to I Ching: "So, if I write a good letter stating my case(and without an attorney), what are my chances of getting compensation from Company X?"
Answer: 56 Wandering with changing lines 1, 2, and 3 to 38 Estrangement.
Huh? This wasn't what I expected at all! Attorney is bad, and now it seems going it alone is bad too. So...

Fifth question to I Ching: (meekly) "How should I go about seeking compensation from Company X?"
Answer: 29 Danger, with changing lines 1, 5, and 6 to .....wait for it....41 Decrease!!!!

And so we come full circle. With this last reading, the I Ching seems to be saying, "Look, you got the wrong idea with the first reading: when I say Decrease, I mean Decrease!!! Deal with it!"

You see now why I'm afraid to offer help with anybody else's reading. I can barely understand my own!!!!
 

suzy

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Follow up. I'm now having a crisis of faith.

A couple of hours after the readings above, I decided to simply ask the Yi: "How should I deal with this Company X situation?" I was open to whatever wisdom the Yi could offer. The answer: 23 Splitting Apart, with all the lines changing to 34.

This was a very sobering reading. The yi seems to be saying, unmistakably: Do nothing. This is an exceedingly dangerous time, evil people are slashing at cushions, just keep yourself well out of it. Any move results in disaster.

And now the crisis of faith: how do I follow this advice when it just seems so morally wrong to let this pass, and so demeaning to my own self-respect? How do I explain to my parents -- who are eagerly awaiting the news from the lawyer -- that no, I'm not even going to send a mild letter of protest because an ancient Chinese book told me not to?

I know many of you have been consulting the I Ching for years, and must have come up against situations like this where the advice was very, very hard to follow. I'd appreciate hearing any stories that might help me.

(P.S. I'm aware of the school that argues that when all the lines are changing, just look at the one that isn't -- and in this case that would give me line 5, the sole positive line in the whole of hex 23. But I don't follow that method because, frankly, I don't see the justification for it.)
 
C

candid

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Hi Suzy,

I interpret your above readings as mostly saying the same thing. The only difference is that it marked your power and progress through your questioning process, and eventually brought you back to the beginning - because that is where you again wound up.

Yi, as I read it, councils to not press forward on the matter. The reasons expressed correspond to inner conditions, an unbalanced mindset. You are opposing the strong one, that is, your superior. I relate this as your inner superior, not necessarily that of your old boss, though that's a possibility also.

The good news is the top line in 23. There is a large fruit still uneaten. That which is superior gains a carriage. This could mean you will be awarded severance pay or similar compensation, or it could be referring solely to your inner worth, which is restored and finds a vehicle to utilize it. Possibly another job? In solitude, it could simply mean that you regain control of your inner strength.

Many of us here at Clarity either are struggling with similar employment issues or have struggled with them in the not-too-distant past. You're not alone, Suzy. Hope that gives you at least a little comfort.

Hang in there.

Candid
 

bfireman

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Suzy-
I interpret your divinations also with the general message that any external action now would be inappropriate. MHO is that you are wise to heed its advice for now... Especially at times when an emotional response to a situation(external or internal), seems appropriate, it is my experience the yi generally counsels some form of retreat until you see more clearly w/ less reactive tendencies. Seems like struggling against your external situation now would lead to much difficulty. Such is life at times, it seems you have a great opportunity here to progress and learn some good lessons. Remember, your happiness and peace of mind is not dependent on anything external.

With that said, here is a story, very similar to yours... In late November I decided I was going to leave my job. I had a plan, like yourself, ... mine was to find another job, give my two weeks after christmas(so I could get my x-mas bonus), and then leave. Well, my boss overheard me one day leaving a message w/someone expressing my desire to meet and explore possible employment. Needless to say, a week later I was laid off, all about 2 weeks before x-mas. Defnitely not part of the plan, and I was really hoping for and needing that x-mas bonus. It was pretty difficult, not knowing what was going to happen, being very financially strapped, and not having another job. What began to make the outlook brighter and relieve the stress and tension I was under was simply a matter of changing my outlook to the situation. All of this was also reflected in a series of divinations over the course of this time. It turned out that being laid off was much better anyway, because now for 6 months I can collect unemployment(which does not pay all the bills, but sure does help during this transition time). I do not know where you are, in the US or not, but if you are in the US you should look into this option as soon as possible. The main point though, is that when times are difficult and you allow yourself to be led by your fears about your situation, everything appears bleak and impossible. If you can manage to step back and detach yourself a bit from all the internal drams, some clarity will emerge. Things will present themselves, developing trust and letting go of the feeling of needing to control things now will help a lot. Sometimes things happen for a reason, IMHO, and that reason will reveal itself in time. Meanwhile, the more you can remain calm and detached through the difficult times in your life, you will gain strength and peace. Change is inevitable, see what the opportunities and lessons are in your situation. Sometimes, other people are just assholes. Best not to get sucked into their negative energy. Look into your options objectively, and if there is nothing you can do, maybe it is just best to let it go... Just my advice... Hope all works out well for you. Peace - Brian
 

hilary

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Hi Suzy,

I do see what you mean by bemusing - it would take a herculean effort to fit every last detail of all of those together. And how you interpret each reading affects your understanding of the next, which I know from experience can lead up some very convoluted garden paths...

Perhaps it might be best to start out with 41. If you look through the Judgement and Image of that one, it does acknowledge the presence of frustration and bewilderment: asking why, or asking what it's for, or how it can possibly work (according to translation), and having to stop your feelings from running away with you.

In practice this one does quite often seem to come up when you're not feeling in the least willing to make an offering of what you divined about and let it go. 23, too, acknowledges that this is extremely hard, and cuts closer than just financial support.

I agree with everyone else, that pursuing this has to be a bad idea. Look where 29 ends up - ouch. At all events, you might put it on hold for a while and see what unfolds. As Candid said, 23,6 is good news - also, it advises moving on completely.

Good luck!
 

suzy

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Thanks, everybody, for the help and insight. I'm glad (well, not exactly glad) that you all pretty much see these readings the same way.

Looking back over the sequence, it seems clear that the Yi was consistently urging me to simply move on -- even in the answer to Question 2. Hex 46 the judgement, and hex 41 line 6 are particularly (eerily) specific references to my plan right now, which is to sell my house here, move south to live with my folks for a while, and study/write books/have babies (and, as veterans of another thread may recall, eventually build a cottage on my parents' land). That was the whole point of my resigning in the first place. The idiotic "firing" has, in one respect, just moved up the timetable by a month or two. But in another respect, it has also deprived me of many thousands of dollars I was absolutely counting on!!!!

Brian, thank you so much for sharing your story. God, people can be assholes, can't they? What drives them? (never mind -- rhetorical question for the ages.) The unemployment is a good idea, but I've got two problems: a) I was "fired," which in Maryland renders me ineligible, and b) I'm not actually looking for another job of any sort, which seems to be another requirement for unemployment benefits. But specifics aside, I appreciate your sharing a very similar situation that has, in some kind of funky way, actually turned out for the best. I agree wholeheartedly with your philosophy. For me, that's the main gift of the I Ching, and the thing that over the years has transformed me from a very feisty shoot-from-the-hip person to someone who tries (despite my nature) to always look for the good, to study the situation with detachment, to observe carefully the energy at work without getting bogged down in emotion and ego. The emotion and ego (and feistiness) are still very much there, but I continue trying to point my compass towards the Sage.

Candid, thank you for the encouragement. I know from references in the various fora that you have had some kind of unpleasant employment-related experiences, but I don't know what they are. But I sense enough to respect your wisdom! As for the top line in 23 -- yes, it seems kind of promising, but I believe this is a fruit which I must wait to ripen and fall of its own accord. That seems to be the import of all the readings. Do you agree?

Hilary, thank you for more confirmation. And your comments on 41 and 23 were interesting; I went back and studied them more. I also went back and tried to get a deeper understanding of 34, which (like 41) also showed up twice. At first I read that as "you are justified, you are in the right;" but later saw a more subtle interpretation, more about acting correctly -- which sometimes means not acting at all. And so, perhaps it is serving as a kind of bass note to the rest of the readings, a theme if you will....
 
C

candid

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Suzy,

Based on Wilhelm's 23 -6 changing, yes, I'd agree that the fruit falls when ripe. It also sure seems that you will "have your own day in court", whether that be literal or figurative. It marks a change over in conditions and sense of justice. At least that's how I read it.

Still, its good to remain open. So much of the readings (and your questions) seem emotionally charged. I'd say that's the portion which need temperance on your part.

41 Decrease anger and instinctive behavior. 34 - Control your power and energy. 46 - Use your will to accomplish this. 36 - Guard your light. 44 - Emotions come to power again. 56 - Protract no law suit. 56 - Repeated. 38 - Maintain your individuality, act cautiously. 29 - Maintain your individuality, no matter what! 41 - Decrease your anger and instincts.

Yes, it goes full circle.

Its not who you are that's in question here. Its how you are. There's a huge distinction between them. One you have no control over. But how you are is totally within ones ability to control. Its the trainable part of our personality. The part which remains open to change. The large fruit still uneaten?

If this were me, I?d ask, how do I want to be? I?d use mental imagery to imagine seeing myself as how I want to be. Am I anxious? Am I making other people uneasy? Am I being forthright? Am I being loving? Crude? How do I want to be? These are all adjustments I could make in the picture I am imagining of ?how I want to be.? Who I am is irrelevant, as there?s nothing I can do to change that. How, is a different matter. What furthers me is, adjusting how I am, not who. Being true to my real nature is my life?s goal. Adjusting how I am is the means of attaining it.

Candid
 

suzy

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How do I want to be? Well, I want to be approximately $12,000 richer....
biggrin.gif


No, seriously, how I want to be in this situation is dignified and correct, not aggressive, but also holding to my self-respect and not being a doormat. I actually thought that having a lawyer send a letter would be the best way to achieve that. My idea with the lawyer was not to be aggressive and certainly not to engage a lawsuit -- I know a lawsuit wouldn't fly, and I don't want to fight. I was just hoping for a dignified letter of protest and request (maybe) for severance pay, free of any emotion I might evince if I tried to communicate directly. But I will think on this more. Could be that the company would automatically see any communication from a lawyer as hostile, and my situation would only be further compromised.

Enough about the particular reading -- I'm more interested now in the difference between Candid's style of interpretation and my own. Candid, I love your "swift, succinct, intuitive" approach, which is well in evidence above. The style of interpretation I'm working with now, as you may be able to tell, is focusing more on the individual line readings and really, really understanding them. It was actually my experience here at Clarity that led me in that direction. Before I came here, I was using books that took the sort of "big theme" approach to each hexagram, and almost muddled (as I see it now) the individual line readings into a various expressions of exactly the same "spiritual" message. (I don't mean that YOU are doing that, Candid -- not at all -- but there are some books that do.) It was when I came to Clarity, and saw Hilary and others boldly reading Wilhelm's line translations and really mining gold there, that I had a re-think. It solves a problem I was starting to feel with the other approach, which is that when you pay insufficient attention to the line readings, the hexagrams start to feel static and purely "situational" -- more like Tarot cards -- and you miss the spot-on dynamism of the lines.

The challenge for me now is to balance these two approaches. I'm not very good at that yet -- witness my troubles with 41 Decrease!
 
C

candid

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Thanks Suzy for your compliment.

The overly simplified approach I typically take here is based on the idea that most people want to know what time it is - not how to make a watch. When I first joined Friends here, I'd do as you've done, break each line down and add a commentary. However, there are those here that use that approach far better than I do (Hilary and LiSe for example). I suppose if others here used the simplified approach, I'd go back to the more symbolic approach. I think its great to see several approaches at work.

What I've found is, because Yi is so rich with symbolic, subconscious content we can read right past the intended meaning for the reading. That's fine if we're seeking to stir up our subconscious, as in mining, but I believe that most people most of the time really want a relatable answer to their question. Something where they can thunk their head, view the obvious and say, yes - of course - and feel they have a clear aim to do (or not do) something regarding their question.

To those who like understanding how the watch works, good luck. Its 28, for sure, inevitably. We stand alone in that place, hopefully ready and able to renounce the world - for just a glimpse at eternity and the secrets of this world, and of our life. But we realize there is no finish line. That's the biggest difference I see between a Buddhist view and a Taoist view. Buddhism strives for that final 'Ahh.' The Taoist perspective is, 'Ahh, now change comes.' I'm somewhere in the middle, 'Ahh.. here comes change, time for tea.' Perhaps this explains my terse commentaries?

I appreciate your contribution.

Candid
 

suzy

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Oh, I don't think your approach is overly simplified. I think it's wonderfully surefooted, and I'm envious. I just don't have enough experience yet to be able to emulate. If I go with the big picture thematic approach, I feel like I'm missing enormous bombshells there in the line readings -- and when I focus too much on the line readings I risk losing the forest for the trees. I'm still finding my way. More and more I do feel able to understand what the Yi is saying -- sometimes it's easy as pie -- but there are still readings where I'm simply flummoxed. Sigh. (The really bewildering ones I don't even post out of embarrassment -- like my current private struggle to figure out how the Marrying Maiden constitutes sound real estate advice....)

As ever, thank you for your generous help and insight. I learn something here every day!
 

bfireman

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Candid-

I am not exactly sure what you mean when say "there is no finish line", and then say this is the difference you see between the Buddhist and Taoist view. Would you mind clarifying this? I am interpreting it one way, but I do not want to put words in your mouth. Obviously, there are differences in the methods of any spiritual path, including within a single system. Really just curious here, as I enjoy very much contemplating and meditating on these kinds of questions. As my understanding continues to deepen regarding both Taoism and Buddhism, I find the that although the particular paths towards understanding are different, the understanding itself is fundamentally the same. Taoism does teach about change, non-duality, and the inter-relationships of all things. So does Buddhism. Are you interpreting the Buddhist term "enlightenment" as the final "Ahhh", some sort of finish line? If this is what you mean, I do not see it this way. Ultimately I feel what is meant by the word "enlightenment" in the Buddhist view is a true perception of "emptiness", or as the Buddha said, "the lack of inherent existence of all phenomena". That is truly impermanence, the constant change and flux of mind moment to moment, not some kind of final destination or finish line. Anyway, what do you think? - Brian
 
C

candid

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Hi Suzy,

54 is unquestionably the most obscure of all hexagrams, in my opinion. But it provides a good example for simplification. You already have within you a female leader (Yin). If some other emotion rises to power within you, like a bad mood, be careful not to supplant your real female leader with the upstart of emotions. In other words, don't marry or get too familiar with that maiden. The way to do that is to see the bigger picture - the ?eternity of the end?. That way, she can take her proper place within the household (yourself) as a concubine in your royal family (your collective self). The maiden becomes a servant of your Yin, not the other way around.

There are other applications for 54, some very literal. But overall, this is the most common application.

They say first impressions are usually correct. If you just take that first surge of impression and run with it, you?ll nail it more often than not. I?d suggest seeing the obvious first. There?s plenty to read into with Yi but that first snap-shot is usually the intended answer, in my opinion.

Gotta run.

Candid
 
C

candid

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Hi Brian,

An excellent subject for discussion. Sorry I overlooked it in my morning rush to get ready for work. For now, I'll just copy a line from Wilhelm #52:

"While Buddhism strives for rest through an ebbing away of all movement in nirvana, the Book of Changes holds that rest is merely a state of polarity that always posits movement as its complement."

I realize this is an over-simplification and that the topic deserves more. I'm interested in hearing more about your perspective on the matter. I'm at work and it appears its going to be a busy day. I'll check back when I can to see if you've had a chance to post any further thoughts you have.

Cheers!
Candid
 

bfireman

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Hey there Candid! Yes indeed an excellent topic for discussion. I do not think I have much more to offer that would not be just me babbling on. As you said, I guess I am one of those who enjoys trying to understand how the watch works, and also how to fix it. I still feel like a baby at both though. Mostly, I just try to keep an open mind and hold all concepts and words as lightly as possible until true experience and understanding kicks in. So as far as enlightenment goes... well, I am just repeating things I have heard as best as I understand them. Definitely no direct realizations from this end. In terms of Buddhism vs. Taoism, well I pronounce wisdom in this corner and wisdom in that corner and both sides win. Still, there are differences, yet it does seem to be the main differences lie in the methods and specific practices used to achieve realizations vs. the realizations themselves. It seems the quote you stated addresses this, at least how I interpret it. The concept of emptiness is fundamental to an understanding of Buddha's teachings, as the concept of non-duality is fundamental to taoism. Lately I have been thinking about both. Here is my logic on why they are the same. Starting with a person, we could go either macro or micro... here I choose to go micro. Off we go...dissecting and breaking down until we can break down no farther. So, from person, we can choose any part of that person to look at, let's say leg. Ok, from leg, we could go further to knee, then to bone, then to cells, then to parts of the cell, then to.... until we go no further... protons and neutrons and neutrinos and whatever else all swirling around and transforming from energy to matter and back again. So, what empriness says is that any phenomena, any concept, any mind, thought, feeling, etc. lacks an inherent existence, meaning it does not exist independently in and of itself. The above example we started with the concept of person, and then tried to find the person. Wasn't in the leg, the knee, and so forth, until we realize that "person" lacks any inherent existence. Just a label we give to a collection of all the various parts, a concept. The eye consciousness of a person may perceive a table, yet when one investigates the concept of table, one ends up at the same conclusion, there is no table inherently existing independent of all other phenomena. In fact, table and person are fundamentally the same. Isn't this also the teaching of taoist non-duality. Just a concept; fundamentally there is no distiction between mind and what is perceived by mind. Duality is just a label of mind, with no true existence in and of itself. This is how I see it, now at least...

Peace - Brian
 
C

candid

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Hi Brian,

There are so many different schools of both Buddhism and Taoism. And let us not forget Tibetan Buddhism. I'm reminded again of why I deny myself any isms, anities or ists.

I guess though the thought of being the chair is fundamental in oneness, regardless of which aspect of which religion strives to comprehend and then experience it.

Non-duality though, I've attributed more to Buddhist thought than Taoist. Taoism seems to recognize the equal role of Yin and Yang, whereas the Buddhist model strives to abolish the notion that there is anything but illusion.

The finish line I referred to earlier is the attainment of enlightenment, Nirvana. This is primarily a doctrine of Buddhism, not Taoism. To the Taoist (as I understand it), there is no finish line or final goal. Also, the role of time has meaning to the Taoist, whereas the Buddhist regards it also as illusion.

There do seem to be clear differences, though there are so many schools and sects of each that its hard for a novice like me to discern among them.

I'm satisfied with the road I'm on, whatever it may be called. There are two that make up one. There is dualism and non-dualism, individual and collective. There is self and non-self. One has a finish line. The other doesn't.

Namaste bro,
Candid
 

bfireman

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Candid-

Thanks for the reply. This is interesting. Like yourself, it is difficult for me to distinguish among various sects of different relgions as well as the nuances of their teachings. My goal is to extract what bits of wisdom I am capable of and see how that becomes part of me through contemplation and hopefully meditation and experience. A few things though I see differently...

Non-duality has always seemed to me essential in both taoism and buddhism, although named different ways it is equally impt. to both. In recognizing yin and yang, the taoists also recognize the concept of tai chi, or the interplay of these energies, and thus impossible to define one w/out the other. Ultimately, taiji springs from wuji, the supreme nothingness. At the moment I am thinking of this as something similar to the buddhist term emptiness in its ultimate direct realization. The concept is non-duality is hammered both time and again by Lao Tzu in his teachings, ultimately saying it is an illusion, just as the buddhists see it. IMHO.

I see now what you mean by finish line. Something to attain as a goal, not the definitive state that will remain fixed once reached. In that sense, buddhist paths 100% definitely have a finish line. They are particular teachings and practices designed as deep psychologies to investigate mind and eventually lead one completley to complete, direct, realiztions of emptiness which they call enlightenment. However, the Taoists have the same finish line. They call it immortality. There are just as many Taoist practices, paths, yet the paths consisting of internal alchemy strive exactly at such a direct realiztion of truth as do the buddhist paths. Just different words, yet still to me it is the same thing. And again IMHO. Just repeating what I have read and heard. I still try to hold all these concepts as loosely as possible, or at least that is what I am telling myself now(Ha!)

You do seem to be on a healthy path, reading your comments here on yi passages is always very inspiring and enlightening to me and I appreciate it. Tempered w/ compassion and humor and a light edge, you seem to me to be on a very sincere quest. Sweetness! For myself now, I am trying hard to simply things. Still exploring bits and pieces in reading and listening to teachings, yet also trying to simply my life in general and tai chi practice in particular. Also, through time and experience bits and pieces of yi are becoming more clear, thank God! Yet, most of the time yi is still a struggle with trying to discern truth in a divination. Occassionally the intuition seems right on, yet more often it is still conscious thinking and reflection where I am deriving meaning here. Anyone else out there have any thoughts on any of this?

Peace - Brian
 

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