…or am I imagining things?
A brief note about this post: after someone let me know he was unsubscribing because he hadn’t been able to understand any of my posts, I’ve aimed for a mix of generally-intelligible things and pure Yeekery. Yeekery is that which is only intelligible to Yeeks; a Yeek is someone who sees hexagrams everywhere, might say they are having a horribly 39 day, for whom it’s old news that hexagrams 63 and 64 are one another’s nuclears, and who can’t even remember a time when they didn’t know that the expression ‘regrets vanish’ only appears in the Lower Canon. (OK, maybe allow for a little exaggeration for effect, but you know who you are.)
This post is Yeekery.
I’ve just started working on some new entries for my ‘Words of Change’ glossary – a nice, simple, non-Yeeky little book. I started looking at ming, mandate, and when that appears in the various layers of the text:
Zhouyi: 6.4, 7.2, 7.6, 11.6, 12.4, 49.4, 56.5
I notice that there’s a predominance of line 4, which makes sense to me. Line 4 is the minister’s line, the muscle-flexing, ‘what can I do here? what work is there for me?’ line – a good moment to learn about mandate.
I can’t see any patterns with the zhi gua, but there may be the glimmering of one in the trigrams: qian becomes xun twice, kun becomes gen twice, kan becomes kun and li becomes qian, and dui becomes kan. When qian becomes xun (6.4, 12.4), the mandate feels like something to work with in a time when you cannot bring about immediate change. And when kun becomes gen (7.6, 11.6), these are rulers’ mandates – received at the summit of the mountain – that mark the beginning of a time to build.
I get the sense there is a story being told, from a mandate that’s an alternative to fighting the status quo, through orders, building and labour, through the immensely long gap between 12.4 and 49.4 when mandate finally changes, and then the moment when ming is simply the work you have to do, your own quiet haven within the order of things. This is the first and only time ming reaches line 5, where it can be wholly identified with individual will and intention, and it does seem to be a symmetrical reflection of 7.2 in meaning as well as the changing of trigrams. It’s certainly come a long way from 6.4 to reach its zhong, ‘in the end’, in 56.5.
Here is the part where I wonder if I’m seeing a real pattern or a coincidence:
The mandate is mentioned in the Daxiang in hexagrams 14, 44, 47, 50 and 57. Hexagram 14 has qian below li; 56.5 changes li to qian. 44 has xun below qian, and 6.4 and 12.4 change qian to xun. And 47 has kan below dui, and 49.4 changes dui to kan.
Then the pattern, if there is one, breaks down: 50′s component trigrams differ by two lines, and 57′s not at all, so neither could represent a single line change. (All that can really be said for them is that 50 follows 49 and 57 follows 56, the last two Zhouyi mentions of mandate. But maybe this is a little weak, even for me.) And despite 7.6 and 11.6, there is no mention of mandate in the Daxiang of 15.
Probably my imagination, then. Only… there does seem to be at least a resonance in meaning between the line texts and ‘their’ Images.
‘Fire dwells above heaven. Great possession.
The noble one ends hatred and spreads the good,
She yields to heaven and rests in her mandate.’
…with the Traveller’s Retreat…
‘Below heaven is the wind. Coupling.
The prince sends out mandates and commands to the four corners of the earth.’
…with the times when there’s mandated work to be done even though you cannot master the argument, cannot set the world right, cannot achieve great or lasting things… cannot take the woman because such a match would not last…
‘Lake without water, Confined.
A noble one carries out the mandate, fulfils her aspiration.’
…with the moment of truth and confidence when time and will flow together and the mandate changes…
What do you think? Am I imagining things, or might the writers of the Daxiang have had something like this in mind?