The Book of Changes

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Hêng / Duration Perseverance

The strong trigram Chên is above, the weak trigram Sun
below. This hexagram is the inverse of the preceding one. In
the latter we have influence, here we have union as an
enduring condition. The two images are thunder and wind,
which are likewise constantly paired phenomena. The lower
trigram indicates gentleness within; the upper, movement

In the sphere of social relationships, the hexagram
represents the institution of marriage as the enduring union
of the sexes. During courtship the young man subordinates
himself to the girl, but in marriage, which is represented by
the coming together of the eldest son and the eldest
daughter, the husband is the directing and moving force
outside, while the wife, inside, is gentle and submissive.


DURATION. Success. No blame.
Perseverance furthers.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

Duration is a state whose movement is not worn down by hindrances. It
is not a state of rest, for mere standstill is regression.
Duration is rather
the self-contained and therefore self-renewing movement of an
organized, firmly integrated whole, taking place in accordance with
immutable laws and beginning anew at every ending.

The end is reached
by an inward movement, by inhalation, systole, contraction, and this
movement turns into a new beginning, in which the movement is directed
outward, in exhalation, diastole, expansion.

Heavenly bodies exemplify duration. They move in their fixed orbits, and
because of this their light-giving power endures. The seasons of the year
follow a fixed law of change and transformation, hence can produce
effects that endure.

So likewise the dedicated man embodies an enduring meaning in his way
of life, and thereby the world is formed. In that which gives things their
duration, we can come to understand the nature of all beings in heaven
and on earth.

Perseverance is the permanency of a phenomenon, of a state. The
duration means a cycle that should complete its time, its laws. But, in
order such a state to be effective it should be accompanied by
perseverance. Wang Bi says that perseverance can be achieved
whenever: 1) avoiding blame, 2) constant rightness and 3) having a
defined objective.

Duration, also means to stay, to resist, to continue in the position, but
not to be still, static, because it would be to be away from the movement
and therefore away from the duration.


Thunder and wind: the image of DURATION.
Thus the superior man stands firm
And does not change has direction.

Thunder rolls, and the wind blows; both are examples of extreme
mobility and so are seemingly the very opposite of duration, but the laws
governing their appearance and subsidence, their coming and going,
endure. In the same way the independence of the superior man is not
based on rigidity and immobility of character. He always keeps abreast
of the time and changes with it. What endures is the unswerving
directive, the inner law of his being, which determines all his actions.

The thunder and the wind represent sequences that are followed one
another, making possible a durable state. The thunder and the wind are
the symbols of the constant action, of the effect that lasts. Thunder and
wind give the idea of energy and force. Thunder and wind mean
continuity, thus the superior man is constant and it doesn't change his
plan. This means that somebody capable puts emphasis in its work and
continues steadfast with the objective that has been traced.


Six at the beginning means:

Seeking duration too hastily brings misfortune persistently.
Nothing that would further.

Whatever endures can be created only gradually by long-continued work
and careful reflection. In the same sense Lao-tse says: "If we wish to
compress something, we must first let it fully expand." He who demands
too much at once is acting precipitately, and because he attempts too
much, he ends by succeeding in nothing.

An anxious search of the duration can be disastrous. A state of duration
precise a logical time to be achieved, therefore the wish is not
opportune. It is out of reality, because it is in fact its conservation
through the time what will make it durable, and those terms cannot be
shortened because they are the very essence of the lasting thing.

Nine in the second place means:

Remorse disappears.

The situation is abnormal. A man's force of character is greater than the
available material power. Thus he might be afraid of allowing himself to
attempt something beyond his strength. However, since it is the time of
DURATION, it is possible for him to control his inner strength and so to
avoid excess. Cause for remorse then disappears.

The duration states what has begun to show the phenomenon has given
the first signs of lasting.

Nine in the third place means:

He who does not give duration to his character
Meets with disgrace.
Persistent humiliation.

If a man remains at the mercy of moods of hope or fear aroused by the
outer world, he loses his inner consistency of character. Such
inconsistency invariably leads to distressing experiences. These
humiliations often come from an unforeseen quarter. Such experiences
are not merely effects produced by the external world, but logical
consequences evoked by his own nature.

To be unhappy with the present situation, dreaming with unrealizable
goals and to be dependent of external approval weakens the character
and humiliation is the logical consequence.

Nine in the fourth place means:

No game in the field.

If we are in pursuit of game and want to get a shot at a quarry, we must
set about it in the right way. A man who persists in stalking game in a
place where there is none may wait forever without finding any.
Persistence in search is not enough. What is not sought in the right way
is not found.

Here reference is made to the duration in a completely disconnected
attitude of reality and the probable thing. The hunt in a deserted field
means going to look for what doesn't exist, or to look for in the mistaken
place. This also gives the idea of mere illusions, expense of energy in
sterile projects.

In another analysis level, the lack of preys represents the lack of
opportunities in certain situation, the lack of concrete objectives to
pursue. The lack of game means to lose the time.

Six in the fifth place means:

Giving duration to one's character through perseverance.
This is good fortune for a woman, misfortune for a man.

A woman should follow a man her whole life long, but a man should at all
times hold to what is his duty at the given moment. Should he
persistently seek to conform to the woman, it would be a mistake for
him. Accordingly it is altogether right for a woman to hold
conservatively to tradition, but a man must always be flexible and
adaptable and allow himself to be guided solely by what his duty requires

This means lack of character or initiative. Also means incapacity for
facing new circumstances. For a subordinate to follow orders is the
correct way, but for a director this is a pitfall.

Six at the top means:

Restlessness as an enduring condition brings misfortune.

There are people who live in a state of perpetual hurry without ever
attaining inner composure. Restlessness not only prevents all
thoroughness but actually becomes a danger if it is dominant in places of

Here reference is made to the lingering anxiety as a harmful thing. For
that reason, such attitude takes finally to the failure. Restlessness
means not to be emotionally up to the possible thing. Restlessness also
means uncontrolled acting.