But how has this reaction come about? Because I threwthree small coins into the air and let them fall. roll. andcome to rest, heads up or tails up as the case might be. Thisodd fact that a reaction that makes sense arises out of atechnique seemingly excluding all sense from the outset, isthe great achievement of the I Ching. The instance I havejust given is not unique; meaningful answers are the ruleWestern sinologue and distinguished Chinese scholars havebeen at pains to inform me that the I Ching is a collection ofobsolete"magic spells. " In the course of these conversationsmy informant has sometimes admitted having consulted theoracle through a fortune teller, usually a Taoist priest. Thiscould be"only nonsense"of course. But oddly enough, theanswer received apparently coincided with the questionerspsychological blind spot remarkably wellI agree with Western thinking that any number ofanswers to my question were possible, and I certainly cannotassert that another answer would not have been equallysignificant. However, the answer received was the first andonly one: we know nothing of other possible answers. Itpleased and satisfied me. To ask the same question a secondtime would have been tactless and so i did not do it: "themaster speaks but once. " The heavy-handed pedagogicapproach that attempts to fit irrational phenomena intopreconceived rational pattern is anathema to me. Indeedsuch things as this answer should remain as they were when

To return to the hexagram itself There is nothing strangein the fact that all of Ting, THE CALDRON, amplifies thethemes announced by the two salient lines. The first line ofthe hexagram savsA timg with legs upturnedFurthers removal of stagnating stuffOne takes a concubinefor the sake of her sonNo blameA timg that is turmed upside down is not in use. Hence theI Ching is like an unused caldron. Turning it over serves toremove stagnating matter. as the line savs. Just as a mantakes a concubine when his wife has no son, so the I Chingis called upon when one sees no other way out. Despite thequasi-legal status of the concubine in China, she is in realitonly a somewhat awkward makeshift so likewise the magicprocedure of the oracle is an expedient that may be utilizedfor a higher purpose. There is no blame, although it is arexceptional recourse

The second and third lines have already been discussedThe fourth line savsThe legs of the ting are broken.The prince's meal is spilledAnd his person is soiledMisfortuneHere the ting has been put to use, but evidently in a veryclumsy manner, that is, the oracle has been abused ormisinterpreted. In this way the divine food is lost, and oneputs oneself to shame. Legge translates as follows: " Itssubject will be made to blush for shame. Abuse of a cultutensil such as the ting (ie, the I Ching) is a grossprofanation. The I Ching is evidently insisting here on itsdignity as a ritual vessel and protesting against beingfinely usedThe fifth line savsThe ting has yellow handlegolden carrying rings.Perseverance furthersThe I Ching has, it seems, met with a new, correct(yellow)understanding, that is, a new concept(Begri) bywhich it can be grasped. This concept is valuable(golden)There is indeed a new edition in English, making the bookmore accessible to the Western world than beforeThe sixth lineThe ting has rings of jadeGreat good fortuneNothing that would not act to further

Jade is distinguished for its beauty and soft sheen. If thecarrying rings are of jade, the whole vessel is enhanced inbeauty, honor, and value. The I Ching expresses itself hereas being not only well satisfied but indeed very optimisticOne can only await further events and in the meantimeremain content with the pleasant conclusion that the I Chingapproves of the new edition.I have shown in this example as objectively as I can howthe oracle proceeds in a given case. Of course the procedurevaries somewhat according to the way the question is put. Iffor instance a person finds himself in a confusing situation,he may himself appear in the oracle as the speaker. Or, if thequestion concems a relationship with another person, thatperson may appear as the speaker. However, the identity ofthe speaker does not depend entirely on the manner in whichthe question is phrased, inasmuch as our relations with ourfellow beings are not always determined by the latter. Veryoften our relations depend almost exclusively on our ownattitudes, though we maybe quite unaware of this factHence. if an individual is unconscious of his role in arelationship, there may be a surprise in store for hincontrary to expectation, he himself may appear as the chiefagent, as is sometimes unmistakably indicated by the text. Itmay also occur that we take a situation too seriously andconsider it extremely important, whereas the answer we geton consulting the I Ching draws attention to someunsuspected other aspect implicit in the questionSuch instances might at first lead one to think that theoracle is fallacious. Confucius is said to have received onlyone inappropriate answer, i.e., hexagram 22, GRACE-athoroughly aesthetic hexagram. This is reminiscent of theadvice given to Socrates by his daemon-"You ought tomake more music"- whereupon Socrates took to playing theflute. Confucius and Socrates compete for first place as faas reasonableness and a pedagogic attitude to life areconcerned; but it is unlikely that either of them occupiedhimself with"lending grace to the beard on his chin, as thesecond line of this hexagram advises. Unfortunately, reasonand pedagogy often lack charm and grace, and so the oraclemay not have been wrong after all

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