The Book of Changes

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T'ung Jên / Fellowship with Men Concording People


The image of the upper trigram Ch'ien is heaven, and that of the lower, Li, is flame. It is the
nature of fire to flame up to the heaven. This gives the idea of fellowship. It is the second line
that, by virtue of its central character, unites the five strong lines around it.
This hexagram
forms a complement to Shih, THE ARMY (7). In the latter, danger is within and obedience
without --the character of a warlike army, which, in order to hold together, needs one strong man among the many who are weak.

Here, clarity is within and strength without-- the
character of a peaceful union of men, which, in order to hold together, needs one yielding
nature among many firm persons.





It furthers one to cross the great water.
The perseverance of the superior man furthers.

True fellowship among men must be based upon a concern that is universal. It is not the private interests
of the individual that create lasting fellowship among men, but rather the goals of humanity. That is why it is said that fellowship with men in the open succeeds. If unity of this kind prevails, even difficult and dangerous tasks, such as crossing the great water, can be accomplished. But in order to bring about this sort of fellowship, a persevering and enlightened leader is needed --a man with clear, convincing, and inspiring aims and the strength to carry them out. (The inner trigram means clarity; the outer, strength.)

To be furthered to cross the great water means to put the effort in the projects because under these
conditions they will bring progress. But a social group should be organized by somebody capable who
takes it ahead, for that reason the virtuous man's perseverance is mentioned. The virtuous man's perseverance resides fundamentally in maintaining the union.


Heaven together with fire:
Thus the superior man organizes the clans
And makes distinctions between things.

Heaven has the same direction of movement as fire, yet it is different from fire. Just as the luminaries in
the sky serve for the systematic division and arrangement of time, so human society and all things that
really belong together must be organically arranged. Fellowship should not be a mere mingling of
individuals or of things --that would be chaos, not fellowship. If fellowship is to lead to order, there must
be organization within diversity.

The fire burning under heaven symbolizes the presence of a cause, of a project; therefore, fire means a
point of interest, with the result that the men meet around it. Heaven along with fire means impulse,
generation; it could be interpreted for that reason as the instinctive force that bids to carry out the
desires, their sense spreads up, that is to say, towards heaven that would be the conscience and, in a
higher plane, the cosmic conscience.

The meeting around the fire means community, as well as common interest, meeting reason, parliament
and so on, giving the idea of need for organization, of a classification and certain configuration of lists in
which each individual and each thing occupies its place.


Nine at the beginning means:

Fellowship with men at the gate.
No blame.

The beginning of union among people should take place before the door. All are equally close to one
another. No divergent aims have yet arisen, and one makes not mistakes. The basic principles of any kind of union must be equally accessible to all concerned. Secret agreements bring misfortune.

Being the first line of the hexagram, this one represents the instant in which one is entering in a group or certain association. The gate represents the step towards the change; this implies a change of attitude as well as situation. To pass over the gate symbolizes the decision to take it and make it, it means to
enter to a new circle.


To pass over the gate also means to leave and, at the same time, to enter, that is to say, to leave an old
form behind to enter to a new one. To look for new relationships doesn't constitute an error and, to make
it, it is not a reason of blames, because it is the usual thing in a society; for that reason nobody would
take such an attitude wrong. Also, the image of crossing the gate to join the men gives the idea of
convenient action, since this supposes solitude on the side to be abandoned and company on the other
side. To cross the gate would also mean that has arrived the moment to carry out what is owed and to
communicate it, the idea of joining the men.

In another analysis level. To cross the gate to join the men could be interpreted as it has been the door
that was looked for, that is to say the possibility has opened up for being where we want, where no
mistake is found and no one would even be sorry, for that reason it wonders: Who could accuse him for
such an attitude?

Six in the second place means:

Fellowship with men in the clan.

There is danger here of formation of a separate faction on the basis of personal and egotistic interests.
Such factions, which are exclusive and, instead of welcoming all men, must condemn one group in order
to unite the others, originate from low motives and therefore lead in the course of time to humiliation.

Here reference is made to those groups acting out of functionality inside a community; that is to say, they
are managed with selfish and mean ends; with the result that it is spoken of men who form a clan.
Fellowship with men in the clan means to be disconnected, to lose relationships, to withdraw, and to fell
in a base, degrading way.

Nine in the third place means:

He hides weapons in the thicket;
He climbs the high hill in front of it.
For three years he does not rise up.

Here fellowship has changed about to mistrust. Each man distrusts the other, plans a secret ambush, and
seeks to spy on his fellow form afar. We are dealing with an obstinate opponent whom we cannot come at
by this method. Obstacles standing in the way of fellowship with others are shown here. One has mental
reservations for one's own part and seeks to take his opponent by surprise. This very fact makes one
mistrustful, suspecting the same wiles in his opponent and trying to ferret them out. The result is that one
departs further and further from true fellowship. The longer this goes on, the more alienated one becomes.

This one retires of the social life and abandons the competition. To hide weapons means not to be under
conditions of attacking, that is to say to be in an unfavorable social situation; however, the fact of hiding
weapons in the forest represents the intention of putting them in a safe place, to use them when
conditions change.

The fact of withdrawing towards a high hill points out, in certain way, that conditions have forced the
person in question to retreat, implying forces against those are defending are very powerful. The high hill
represents a place of great vision; therefore it can be said that is vigilant and expectant. To retreat
toward a high hill, it represents also the exile. The three years mean a cycle that must be completed.

Nine in the fourth place means:

He climbs up on his wall; he cannot attack.
Good fortune.

Here the reconciliation that follows quarrel mover nearer. It is true that there are still dividing walls on
which we stand confronting one another. But the difficulties are too great. We get into straits, and this
brings us to our senses. We cannot fight, and therein lies our good fortune.

To climb up the wall means that one tries to transgress the norms. However, one has difficulties, and one
can not attack. But this turns out to be a fortunate situation, since there won't be bigger problems as
consequence of one's intent; one realizes its impossibility and then accepts the norms.


The fact of not
being able to attack means that the wall is effective, that is to say the social order is solid and one will
not gain the support of the masses.

Nine in the fifth place means:

Men bound in fellowship first weep and lament,
But afterward they laugh.
After great struggles they succeed in meeting.

Two people are outwardly separated, but in their hearts they are united. They are kept apart by their
positions in life. Many difficulties and obstructions arise between them and cause them grief. But,
remaining true to each other, the allow nothing to separate them, and although it costs them a severe
struggle to overcome the obstacles, they will succeed. When they come together their sadness will
change to joy. Confucius say of this:

Life leads the thoughtful man on a path of many windings.
Now the course is checked, now it runs straight again.
Here winged thoughts may pour freely forth in words,
There the heavy burden of knowledge must be shut away in silence.
But when two people are at one in the inmost hearts,
They shatter even the strength of iron or of bronze.
And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts,
Their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.

The conflicts maintain divided the men --third and fourth yang do not want that second yin and fifth yang
meet, a similar situation is founded in Chun / Difficulty at the Beginning (3)--, for that reason at the
beginning they weep and lament, but they finally laugh. Their weep and lament refers to the
consequences of such divisions, sufferings and attacks. Then they laugh, symbolizing the conclusion of
such differences, the agreements.

Nine at the top means:

Fellowship with men in the meadow.
No remorse.

The warm attachment that springs from the heart is lacking here. We are by this time actually outside of
fellowship with others. However, we ally ourselves with them. The fellowship does not include all, but
only those who happen to dwell near one another. The meadow is the pasture at the entrance to the town.
At this stage, the ultimate goal of the union of mankind has not yet been attained, but we need not
reproach ourselves. We join the community without separate aims of our own.

The union of men in the meadow, besides free union, means formal union. This way, the bases to begin
the progress are given, for that reason, there are not laments. But a true union doesn't still exist from the
feeling, since this is only external, with the result that the goal has not still been reached; at the moment,
this is only a situation of good intentions.