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Memorizing the I Ching Hexagram 21. Shih Ho / Biting Through

Trojina

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Oh, I hardly think I'm so different from anyone else, lol.

Yes, there is the whole punishment thing in this hexagram, but just as with a pragmatic view of 4, a pragmatic view of 21.6 isn't punitive, so much as it is a natural and cyclical occurrence of nature. I mean, you don't bite through meat to punish it, do you? So, it can mean punitive action, but it can as easily mean a firm or committed decision. or getting to the bottom of things.

I agree and I still find it quite hard to mentally equate punishment with decisive committed action. Punishment is something one person inflicts on another to deter them from repeating a behaviour and its upheld by a rule or a law. I find that quite hard to marry that with an idea of taking firm and decisive action to solve a problem - after all this need not involve any concept of punishment at all. Like you say one does not bite through meat to punish it.

Then again I guess when one has to make a hard decision or firm stance about something it often can mean making oneself or someone else uncomfortable. Maybe this hexagram comes up often when discomfort/trouble (punishment) are unavoidable consequences of doing what needs to be done.

Like with Rosadas example of reporting the care worker who didn't respond to her mother. In order to rectify things it was unavoidable for her to have to risk making someone else uncomfortable, there was no option, she could hardly just allow her mother to go on suffering being unattended.
 
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bruce_g

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I agree and I still find it quite hard to mentally equate punishment with decisive committed action. Punishment is something one person inflicts on another to deter them from repeating a behaviour and its upheld by a rule or a law. I find that quite hard to marry that with an idea of taking firm and decisive action to solve a problem - after all this need not involve any concept of punishment at all. Like you say one does not bite through meat to punish it.

Then again I guess when one has to make a hard decision or firm stance about something it often can mean making oneself or someone else uncomfortable. Maybe this hexagram comes up often when discomfort/trouble (punishment) are unavoidable consequences of doing what needs to be done.

Like with Rosadas example of reporting the care worker who didn't respond to her mother. In order to rectify things it was unavoidable for her to have to risk making someone else uncomfortable, there was no option, she could hardly just allow her mother to go on suffering being unattended.

Punitive judgment is appropriate when it is to protect the rights and safety of other people, and for that, sometimes inordinate restraint is required, i.e. line 6. I have no problem equating 21 with that. But, not every instance of 21 entails punitive judgment, or at least it shouldn't. Would 1/64th of Yi be dedicated to punishment? Not as I understand it. Life requires discipline and making tough decisions, times when procrastination won't "cut" it. That, I could understand 1/64th of Yi being dedicated to. Losing the clarity of line 5, one forges on, discontent, exceeding proper measure, and in doing so, lose their senses.
 

getojack

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Yes, maybe 'control' is a better word than 'punishment'. Going back to the poem Luis posted on Biting Through...

Control
must be imposed
from without
should it fail
to arise
from within.​

Or, 'Control your thoughts and emotions, or they will control you.'
 

rosada

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Just for the record I thought I'd recount some of my adventures of this last week...

The day we were focusing on 21.4 I got a temporary crown fitted onto a molar I broke when I bit down on a piece of hard candy:

21.4
Bites on dried gritly meat --- Bites on stale valentine candy.
Receives metal arrows --- Receives metal molar crown.
It furthers one to be mindful of difficulties -- I should have taken the address when I started off for the dentists office.
And to be persevering --But even though I got lost three times I found it.
Good fortune.-- The actual work was pain free with very nice people.

21.5
Bites on dried lean meat --- Decided to bite into a list of errands to run, things to buy.
Receives yellow arrow --- Received, was able to get, everything on the list.
Perseveringly aware of danger --- These big city prices were kinda scary.
No blame --- But I did what I had to do, paid what I had to pay, not a problem.

A particularly nice day. If the day really was evidence of this line, I will concider 21.5 one of the more favorable lines in the book.

21.6
His neck is fastened in the wooden caugue,
So that his ears disappear.
Misfortune.

Awful time arguing with the phone company. They admitted the unjust charges were their mistake but no one had the authority to solve the problem or keep it from happening again. Talk about people who feel they are beyond The Law! Not sure how this really relates to 21.6, except maybe I should have known better than to have even tried.
 

hilary

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Ouch... you'll be remembering 21.4, then...

As for the phone company - none so deaf, my Dad used to say, as them as won't hear.
 

nicky_p

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I know that we've moved onto hex 22 but I have a little story of recieving 21.6 that was so spot on that I thought I'd share.

Last year my friend was going through a tough time. She was having problems at work, with where she lived and an ex-boyfriend was hassling her in a scary way to the point where she'd reported him to the police. She was supposed to be coming round to my house for a catch up and something to eat and she didn't show up. To begin with I was a little miffed but as the hours went by without even a phone call I became less angry and more and more worried. Phone calls to her mobile were unanswered - it just rung and rung. Images of this chap catching up with her and doing things that I didn't like to think of were forefront in my mind and if I'd had a car I'd have been in it and banging on her door to check she was OK. I asked the yi what was going on and recieved this line: 21.6-51

I just knew she was OK. That she couldn't hear her phone. I also knew something else - I'd been getting to the point of being so worried that I was thinking of calling the police myself - she'd left with me the incident number in case anything happened to her so I knew she was worried enough about it - and recieving 21 was a great big green light on that notion! I felt a bit bad calling them knowing she was actually OK but the thing Bruce said about nature being cyclical - it was like I had to make this step in the chain for anything further to happen.

I was in the middle of reading out all of her details when my mobile rang. She'd gone round to another friend's and had fallen asleep on the sofa. The friend knew how she wasn't sleeping very well so had turned her phone onto silent to let her sleep. She was shocked at how long she'd slept, shocked that I'd rung the police and we did both laugh about it - a lot. She was also shocked at how much of an impact this guy was not only having on her life but on her friends' lives as well and how worried we were.

It was all good in the end. His hassling became less and she laughs a lot more now. Still brings a smile to think about it :)
 

heylise

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IC+ 21
...SHIH : bit away, chew; bite persistently and remove; snap at, nibble; reach the essential by removing the unnecessary. The ideogram: mouth and divination, revealing the essential..
Chris.

Does anyone know an english word or expression which means biting but can also be used for deciding?
I would love to make that shaman clear in the name as well. Biting is shaman + mouth. There must be more to it than just biting. Lawsuit, penalties so the law is followed... the shaman or wizard who gave the answer to the consulting of the gods was the one who handed the decision of the gods down to the people.
I guess deciding and biting are very close together.

Hexagram 21

LiSe
 

lucia

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And to chew things over also means to get through them to reach a point of understanding......

Lucia
 

Trojina

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"cutting the crap ?" :rofl: actually i quite like that for 21
 

hilary

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Yes, but one hopes that doesn't involve biting.

I'm stuck. Lots of toothy idioms fit with 21 - get your teeth into the problem, take it in, digest it... but there isn't much that means biting and deciding. Um. Being incisive?
 

Sparhawk

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We don't know what we want, but we are ready to bite somebody to get it.
Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it. Plan more than you can do, then do it.
Anonymous

Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it.
Thomas Jefferson (1743 - 1826)

If you can't bite, don't show your teeth.
Yiddish Proverb

A Rattlesnake, if Cornered will become so angry it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is - a biting of oneself. We think we are harming others in holding these spites and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves.
~E. Stanley Jones

I tell you this, and I tell you plain:
What you have done, you will do again;
You will bite your tongue, careful or not,
Upon the already-bitten spot.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits.
~Samuel Butler

Some old women and men grow bitter with age; the more their teeth drop out, the more biting they get.
~George D. Prentice

I think remorse ought to stop biting the consciences that feed it.
~Ogden Nash
 
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meng

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Samurai

Samurai_with_weapons_-_Kusakabe%2C_Kimbei%2C_1841-1934.jpg
 

Trojina

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i tend to think of 21 as the process of biting rather than the act of deciding. I always think of 43 as deciding. 21 seems to me more like the hard slog to get to the truth before the decision is made
 
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meng

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That's true. Except for me 55 is the judgment, while 21 is the litigation process: getting down to the truth of the case.

And using LiSe's 'shaman' as part of the translated name, that's made a lot of useful sense to me in the past. When I can't quite seem to clearly litigate a matter, I have to go beyond my normal rationalizing mind and make a decisive move or change. Quitting smoking was such an example for me of using shaman ability, because in myself I could not simply reason it, nor even fathom that it was possible to do. I chose Yoda as the shaman, actually, through his biting through to the matter quote: "Do or do not; there is no try."
 

my_key

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Does anyone know an english word or expression which means biting but can also be used for deciding?
I would love to make that shaman clear in the name as well. Biting is shaman + mouth. There must be more to it than just biting. Lawsuit, penalties so the law is followed... the shaman or wizard who gave the answer to the consulting of the gods was the one who handed the decision of the gods down to the people.
I guess deciding and biting are very close together.

Hexagram 21

LiSe

Many times when hex21 has come to me it's involved a 'superhuman' effort involving time (persistance) and will power (determination). The real change seems to come from within me rather than something external changing.
I offer some interpretations of bite which may add to the flavour here:

The angle at which the upper and lower teeth meet.
The corrosive action of acid upon an etcher's metal plate.
An excerpt or fragment taken from something larger.

Deciding is about determining or having the power to determine an outcome. Perhaps if we haven't yet got the power to detemine then the shaman can help us to rediscover that power along with our own actions of biting through. A bit like a pincer movement one coming from each of the two worlds.

Mike
 
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iamtheyeti

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New to the Forum

Hi, I'm new to the forums, and excited to have found a place so full of people knowledgeable and passionate about discussing and learning from the I Ching.

After coming up with 21 after asking a question regarding a summer full of untimely deaths in our family I did some reading/studying/meditating on this hexagram and these are some of my thoughts...

What part of eating is more enjoyable? the chewing when you experience all of the textures and flavors of the food, or the swallowing after you have "bitten through" the food. I think most people would answer chewing, yet is is after you have swallowed that the food is able to nourish the mind and body. Is chewing the journey/punishment and swallowing the destination/reward?

In reference to the metal arrow. I see this as the softness of teeth overcoming the hardness of the arrow. Can we really bite through a metal arrow? Probably not, but the image of softness conquering hardness is still a useful one. Sometimes difficult problems and situations require a softer approach rather than a bullrush. Steadiness and moderation can conquer quick, gut reactions to problems.

Finally, the trigrams in this hex of thunder and fire make me think of how thunder can awaken you and your senses and by "biting through" obstacles one can reach fire or enlightenment.

Hope this doesn't seem too silly and makes some kind of sense. It's my first post and I seem to be rambling :p
 

rosada

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Alexander and the Gordian Knot might be an example of 21. Biting Through.
-Rosada
 
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