I CHING

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I CHING


20
Kuan / Contemplation (View)

A slight variation of tonal stress gives the Chinese name for this hexagram a double meaning.
It means both contemplating and being seen, in the sense of being an example. These ideas are
suggested by the fact that the hexagram can be understood as picturing a type of tower
characteristic of ancient China.



A tower of this kind commanded a wide view of the country; at the same time, when situated
on a mountain, it became a landmark that could be seen for miles around.

Thus the hexagram
shows a ruler who contemplates the law of heaven above him and the ways of the people
below, and who, by means of good government, sets a lofty example to the masses.

This hexagram is linked with the eight month (September-October). The light-giving power
retreats and the dark power is again on the increase. However, this aspect is not material in
the interpretation of the hexagram as a whole.

THE JUDGMENT

CONTEMPLATION. The ablution has been made,
But not yet the offering.
Full of trust they look up to him.

The sacrificial ritual in China began with an ablution and a libation by which the Deity was invoked, after
which the sacrifice was offered.

The moment of time between these two ceremonies is the most sacred
of all, the moment of deepest inner concentration. If piety is sincere and expressive of real faith, the
contemplation of it has a transforming awe-spiring effect on those who witness it.

Thus also in nature a holy seriousness is to be seen in the fact that natural occurrences are uniformly
subject to law. Contemplation of the divine meaning underlying the workings of the universe gives to the
man who is called upon to influence others the means of producing like effects. This requires that power
of inner concentration which religious contemplation develops in great men strong in faith. It enables
them to apprehend the mysterious and divine laws of life, and by means of profoundest inner
concentration they give expression to these laws in their own persons. Thus a hidden spiritual power
emanates from them, influencing and dominating others without their being aware of how it happens.

This first step in the sacrificial ritual is a concentration and purification ceremony that transforms both the
worshipper and the spectators. The worshipper is symbol of an important person acting with maximum
commitment and sincerity. This attitude transforms and teaches to the spectators, no with words but with
the example.

THE IMAGE

The wind blows over the earth:
The image of CONTEMPLATION.
Thus the kings of old visited the regions of the world,
Contemplated the people,
And gave them instruction.

When the wind blows over the earth it goes far and wide, and the grass must bend to its power. These two
occurrences find confirmation in the hexagram. The two images are used to symbolize a practice of the
kings of old; in making regular journeys the ruler could, in the first place, survey his realm and make
certain that none of the existing usages of the people escaped notice; in the second, he could exert
influence through which such customs as were unsuitable could be changed.

All of this points to the power possessed by a superior personality. On the one hand, such a man will have
a view of the real sentiments of the great mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived; on the
other, he will impress the people so profoundly, by his mere existence and by the impact of his
personality, that they will be swayed by him as the grass by the wind.

The wind that blows over the earth represents the supervision that reaches to all places. It also means
capacity of means, for that reason the old kings traveled around the world to know people and to instruct
them. The old kings are the symbol of an old wisdom: to observe to know and to adapt the teachings to
the reality of the people. The old kings traveling also means the continuos actualization of the norms, of
the order.

In a personal level this means to adapt and actualize old beliefs to current times.

THE LINES

Six at the beginning means:

Boy like contemplation.
For an inferior man, no blame.
For a superior man, humiliation.

This means contemplation from a distance, without comprehension. A man of influence is at hand, abut
his influence is not understood by the common people. This matters little in the case of the masses, for
they benefit by the actions of the ruling sage whether they understand them or not. But for a superior man
it is a disgrace. He must not content himself with a shallow, thoughtless view of prevailing forces; he
must contemplate them as a connected whole and try to understand them.

This person doesn't understand the situation that contemplates. This implies ignorance and a marked
disorientation. An attitude such this supposes a limited capacity of the fellow and a lack of analytic
aptitude. However, if he is somebody uneducated or a boy, this doesn't constitute a lack.

But, if he were an experienced man, such a behavior would be pathetic. This also means to be left
without arguments, a situation that surpasses the own knowledge, lack of the appropriate reaction, etc.

Six in the second place means:

Contemplation through the crack of the door.
Furthering for the perseverance of a woman.

Through the crack of the door one has a limited outlook; one looks outward from within. Contemplation
is subjectively limited. One tends to relate everything to oneself and cannot put oneself in another's place
and understand his motives. This is appropriate for a good housewife. It is not necessary for her to be
conversant with the affairs of the world. But for a man who must take active part in public life, such a
narrow, egotistic way of contemplating things is of course harmful.

The vision power of this person is limited. In ancient China the unmarried women couldn't leave their
homes, them only viewed the world through the peephole of the door. Therefore, this person has limited
means to contemplate the reality. This also implies dogmatism or lack of knowledge. Such attitude can
be excused in somebody with limited possibilities but no in a capable man.

In another interpretation level, to look through the opening of a door would mean to act undercover or
espionage in favor of a weak fraction.

Six in the third place means:

Contemplation of my life
Decides the choice
Between advance and retreat.

This is the place of transition. We no longer look outward to receive pictures that are more or less
limited and confused, but direct out contemplation upon ourselves in order to find a guideline for our
decisions. This self-contemplation means the overcoming of naive egotism in the person who sees
everything solely form his own standpoint. He begins to reflect and in this way acquires objectivity.
However, self-knowledge does not mean preoccupation with one's own thoughts; rather, it means concern
about the effects one creates. It is only the effects our lives produce that give us the right to judge
whether what we have done means progress or regression.

This person is evaluating the acts of his life. This supposes that he is in a very special moment that has
taken him to similar meditation. Being the third line of the hexagram it could be inferred that he is in the
maturity period, in the middle of his way, and he faces changes, to important decisions that will shape his
future. Thus he meditates about what has made well and badly. This way, making a realistic balance he
will see clearly towards where he goes. Then, he will have the opportunity to change on the way, if this is
not the convenient one.

Six in the fourth place means:

Contemplation of the light of the kingdom.
It furthers one to exert influence as the guest of a king.

This describes a man who understands the secrets by which a kingdom can be made to flourish. Such a
man must be given an authoritative position, in which he can exert influence. He should be, so to speak, a
guest-that is, he should be honored and act independently, and should not be used as a tool.

This line shows the continuation of the third line situation. Here, to contemplate the light of the Kingdom
means to discover the true possibility to triumph, of knowing the form of achieving the success. The
Kingdom means the basic idea, the enterprise; the splendor of the Kingdom represents that in its
maximum realization point, therefore, to contemplate it implies to know how to make it. To be the king's
guest means to be an important part of the matter, to be a key piece of the objective, and to occupy a
worthy position.

Nine in the fifth place means:

Contemplation of my life. The superior man is without blame.
A man in an authoritative position to whom others look up must always be ready for self-examination. The
right sort of self-examination, however, consists not in idle brooding over oneself but in examining the
effects one produces. Only when these effects are good, and when one's influence on others is good, will
the contemplation of one's own life bring the satisfaction of knowing oneself to be free of mistakes.

This person occupies an outstanding place and he observes that his life has been correct.
Contemplating the response of people to his deeds and words he is also able to examine himself. This
means that he has seen what he has made for them, that is to say that the qualities of his subordinates
are the product of his work.

Nine at the top means:

Contemplation of his life.
The superior man is without blame.

While the preceding line represents a man who contemplates himself, here in the highest place everything
that is personal, related to the ego, is excluded. The picture is that of a sage who stands outside the affairs
of the world. Liberated from his ego, he contemplates the laws of life and so realizes that knowing how to
become free of blame is the highest good.

Here reference is made to a way of contemplating the direction of the life starting from the observation of
the laws of life. This way, a parameter can be settled down between these laws and the own behavior.

Here, to be a virtuous man implies there is total agreement with his attitude before law, for that reason he
makes no mistake. However, he is still worried about the world. That is why his ambition is not slacken.