Trying To Think
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Change - Eight Lectures on the I Ching
- Hellmut Wilhelm, PL 2464.Z7.W513

To be aware of what is constant in the flux of natures and life is the first step in abstract thinking ... the concept of constancy in change provides the first guarantee of meaningful action (p23)

The Creative and the Receptive are indeed the gateway to the Changes. The Creative is the representation of light things and the Receptive of dark things. In that the natures of the dark and light are joined, the firm and the yielding receive form. (p31)

The Book of Changes contains the measure of heaven and earth; therefore it enables us to comprehend the tao of heaven and earth and its order.
Looking upward we contemplate with its help the signs in the heavens; looking down, we examine the lines of the earth. Thus we come to know the circumstances of the dark and the light. Going back to the beginnings of things and pursuing them to the end, we come to know the lessons of birth and death. The union of seed and power produces all things; the escape of the soul brings about change. Through this we come to know the conditions of outgoing and returning spirits.
Since in this way man comes to resemble heaven and earth, he is not in conflict with them. His wisdom embraces all things, and his tao brings order into the whole world; therefore he does not err. He is active everywhere but does not let himself be carried away. He rejoices in heaven and has knowledge of fate, therefore he is free of care. He is content with his circumstances and genuine in his kindness, therefore he can practice love.
In it are included the forms and the scope of everything in the heavens and on earth, so that nothing escapes it. In it all things everywhere are completed, so that none is missing. Therefore by means of it we can penetrate the tao of day and night, and so understand it. Therefore the spirit is bound to no one place, nor the Book of Changes to any one form.
(I, 315-19, quoted on p69)

It is important to think of this representation as very concrete. Today we tend to speak of “symbols” in such a context, each person varying at will the distance between the symbol and the thing symbolized. In a magical world view, however, such as the one which has left its impress on the oldest stata of our book, a thing and its image are identical. (p35)

This attempt to view the totality of changing phenomena in terms of such a strict law of form may appear strange to us. The fact, however, that nature lends itself more easily to such systemizations than does the human mind is witnessed – to cite one example – by the arrangement, as rigid as natural, of the elements in the unbroken order of their atomic numbers. The occasional gaps, it became clear, were to be attributed to the state of chemical research and not to defects in the system. (p49)

The clouds pass and the rain does its work, and all individual beings flow into their forms.
(II, 3, quoted on p51)

He who is noble and has no corresponding position, he who stands high and has no following, he who has able peple under him who do not have his support, that man will have cause for regret at every turn.
(II, 16, quoted on p58)

The cosmos was not yet strange to him; it was not the subject of a specialised science; he lived in direct contact with the law of change, and the images were at hand, out of the store of ideas offered by the time and a living tradition. (p65)

Where disorder develops, words are the first steps. If the prince is not discreet, he loses his servant. If the servant is not discrete, he loses his life. If germinating things are not handled with discretion, the perfecting of them is impeded. Therefore the superior man is careful to maintain silence and does not go forth.
(I, 248, quoted on p71)

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