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Wilhelm's 31.4

C

candid

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I've been thinking about Wilhelm's 31.4

If a man is agitated in mind,
And his thoughts go hither and thither,
Only those friends
On whom he fixes his conscious thoughts
Will follow.

Friends: Those reliable thought-streams that are a constant - rather than those which are always coming and going. By focusing on the thoughts which come and go we miss the constant in our life. By asking: How am I doing today? Is my mind satisfied or unsatisfied? Am I in a good mood or bad? Am I doing well or poorly? And, why? These are the inconsistent things (friends/associations) in our minds which prevent a constant and steady sense of being. To steady the stream of our thoughts we should not question too much our state of mind, mood or temperament - and all the detailed associated reasons for such.
 
C

candid

Guest
The relating 39.4:

Going leads to obstructions,
coming leads to union.
 

bradford_h

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Hi Candid-
I think you've got it. To put it another way, agitation and ambivalence in ones own mind will be mirrored in the quality of your alliances and friendships. My own rendering

Persistence (is) promising
Regrets pass
(If) unsettled (and) ambivalent (in whether) to go (or) come
(Your) alliances will conform to your thinking*

Then I have a footnote
* 31.4 This line is too often misunderstood in its "easier" translation of: "Friends are following your thoughts." This is usually thought to refer to a superstitious belief related to telepathy or subliminal communication. What the line is really saying is: to the extent that one's personal orientation in life is chaotic, one's relationships will reflect this randomness. This idea is especially important in the fan yao, 39.4, where the subject is in more of a guidance or leadership position. Xiao Xiang 31.4 uses the word Guang, exemplary.
 
C

candid

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Hi Brad,

I can see what you're saying, and I think I'm saying something different. Yi refers many times to friends, and we typically think of that as meaning a social order of external associations. I'm saying that this social structure originates first within the psyche of the individual, even if there is no application to other people.

Awhile back here I posed the question: what would 13 mean if you were stranded alone on a desert island? I could as easily have used 45 as the example, or 24 (friends come and go), or 8, or 37, etc.

In 31.4, I believe it has nothing to do with external friendships, at least until the inner order is established. Then as with everything, application may extend to include those social structures outside our inner dominion. But even if no such external association is possible, the meaning applies just the same.
 

bradford_h

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Hi Candid-
Agreeing to disagree here.
I can go as far as saying that friends, etc. CAN refer to the population of the inner world.
But I just don't think that the authors living in the Early Zhou were anywhere near as narcissistic as we are in this culture, or as obsessed with (or self-conscious of) the inner world as modern psychology and the self-help movement has "helped" this culture to become. But obviously the two worlds were connected in a whole or continuum, since that's what this line is all about, no matter which population you focus on.
 
C

candid

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Hi Brad,

Seems like a fair disagreement.

But I am curious how you would apply these hexagrams if you had no contact with other people? Or would you throw the book into the sea?
 

bradford_h

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Hey-
I practically Have no contact with other people.
I live alone in a tiny town, where I'm just about the only intellectual :-(
I'm a 5 on the Enneagram, and an INTJ, with Mercury and Uranus retrograge.
The field I've chosen, for all my backgroud in science, linguistics and logic, is populated largely with unquestioning New Age believers.
Coffee and funnies at the bookstore are the bulk of my social life, and I rarely allow myself out of my room.
Well, exaggerating a bit, but I'm still not that social an animal. Yet maybe, if I had no contact at all with other people, I might throw Myself into the sea, while holding my book.
 
C

candid

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Brad,

I think there?s a substantial difference between self-understanding and narcissism. I can not imagine that even the Early Zhou confused the two. But regardless how we could define this self contemplation, the seeker would be in pretty good historical company. And then of course we have examples like 20.5 and 20.6.

I also believe it?s important that a lesson from a historical event and culture is able to transcend the historic qualities of that lesson. That livingness depends on the application toward the current culture. I realize this may evoke nightmarish visions of New Age ?make things fit where it feels best?, but that isn?t at all what I?m implying. Introspection of inner psychological workings must not only imitate the culture of origin; it must also give life and meaning to ones current life. And besides all this, the Early Zhou didn?t invent the phenomenon, it merely observed, contemplated and recorded it.
 

shefa

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i think 31.4 is what the secret is all about ("the secret" as in the popular book and movie, etc.) It is the law of attraction. it is telling me that the content of my mnd if being reflected back to me in my world. it is making a connection between the inner and outer.
 
L

lightofreason

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Hex 31 shares space with hex 33. They are both about enticement but 31 is cooperative, 33 competitive.

31.4

line position 4 is controlled by hexagram 16 and covers enthusiasm and use of foresight. Expressed through 31 gives us a state described by analogy to hex 39.

39 covers (a) standing up to the mindless flow, being an island of 'stability' and (b) going with the flow to bypass an obstruction.

Thus 16 expressed through 31 is described by analogy to the characteristics of 39. You can interpret 31 as a face and 16 as a specific configuration of facial muscles that, upon this face, give us a look of generic 39. What does generic 39 look like? - more standing up against the flow - the enticement is this act itself, of being able to stand up against the flow and so contains the enthusism and foresight of 16.

Chris.
 

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