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4. Mang [Inexperience]


Thwan, or Overall Judgment (Attributed to King Wan)

Mang (indicates that in the case which it presupposes) there will be progress and success. I do not (go and) seek the youthful and inexperienced, but he comes and seeks me. When he shows (the sincerity that marks) the first recourse to divination, I instruct him. If he apply a second and third time, that is troublesome; and I do not instruct the troublesome. There will be advantage in being firm and correct.

[Legge] As Kun shows us plants struggling from beneath the surface, Mang suggests to us the small and undeveloped appearance which they then present; and hence it came to be the symbol of youthful inexperience and ignorance. The object of the hexagram is to show how such a condition should be dealt with by the parent and ruler, whose authority and duty are represented by the second and sixth, the two undivided lines. All between the first and last sentences of the Thwan must be taken as an oracular response received by the party divining on the subject of enlightening the youthful ignorant. This accounts for its being more than usually enigmatical, and for its being partly rhythmical.

Comments on the Thwan

1. In Mang we have (the trigram for) a mountain, and below it that of a rugged defile with a stream in it. The conditions of peril and arrest of progress (suggested by these) give (the idea in) Mang.

2. 'Mang indicates that there will be progress and success:'—for there is development at work in it, and its time of action is exactly what is right. 'I do not seek the youthful and inexperienced; he seeks me:'—so does will respond to will. 'When he shows (the sincerity that marks) the first recourse to divination, I instruct him:'—for possessing the qualities of the undivided line and being in the central place, (the subject of the second line thus speaks). 'A second and third application create annoyance, and I do not instruct so as to create annoyance:'—annoyance (he means) to the ignorant.

(The method of dealing with) the young and ignorant is to nourish the correct (nature belonging to them);—this accomplishes the service of the sage.

[Legge] The trigram Kan has for its symbol in the natural world a mountain, which stands up frowningly, and stops or arrests the progress of the traveller. Stoppage, understood sometimes actively, and sometimes passive]y, is called the virtue or attribute indicated by it. Khan, as I said [in Introduction, Chapter 3, Par 4.3], has water for its symbol, and especially in the form of rain. Here, however, the water appears as a stream in a difficult defile, such as ordinarily appears on an approach to a mountain, and suggesting perilousness as the attribute of such a position. From the combination of these symbols and their attributes the writer thinks that he gets the idea of the character (not the entire hexagram) Mang, as symbolical of ignorance and inexperience. See on 'the Great Symbolism' below.

Down to the last sentence of paragraph 2, all that is said is intended to show how it is that the figure indicates progress and success. The whole representation is grounded on the undivided line's being in the central place. It is the symbol of active effort for the teaching of the ignorant in the proper place and time; this being responded to by the divided fifth line, representing the ignorance to be taught as docile, 'will responds to will.' But the subject of line 2 requires sincerity in the applicant for instruction, and feels that he must make his own teaching acceptable, and agreeable. All this serves to bring out the idea of progress and success.

Then finally in the young and ignorant there is 'a correct nature,' a moral state made for goodness. The efficient teacher directing his efforts to bring out and nourish that, the progress and success will be 'great;' the service done will be worthy of 'a sage.'

Great Symbolism

(The trigram representing) a mountain, and beneath it that for a spring issuing forth form Mang. The superior man, in accordance with this, strives to be resolute in his conduct and nourishes his virtue.

[Legge] 'The spring here issuing forth' is different from the defile with a stream in it, in the explanation of the Thwan; different moreover from 'rain,' mentioned also as the phenomenon which is the natural symbol of Khan. The presence of water, however, is common to the three. But the water of the spring, or of the stream, would flow away from the hill, and not be stopped by it; as an emblem therefore of the ignorance and inexperience denoted by Mang it is not suitable. Ku Hsi says that 'the water of a spring is sure to move on and gradually advance.' This may serve as a symbol of the general process and progress of education, though it gives no account of the symbolism of the hill. It serves also to explain in part the transition of the writer to the subject of the superior man, and his dealing apparently with himself.

Line Statements (Attributed to the Duke of Kau)

1. The first SIX, divided, (has respect to) the dispelling of ignorance. It will be advantageous to use punishment (for that purpose), and to remove the shackles (from the mind). But going on in that way (of punishment) will give occasion for regret.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'It will be advantageous to use punishment:'—the object being to bring under the influence of correcting law.

[Legge] The subject of the first line, weak, and at the bottom of the figure, is in the grossest ignorance. Let him be punished. If punishment avail to loosen the shackles and manacles from the mind, well; if not, and punishment be persevered with, the effect will be had. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Does line 1 set forth the use of punishment as the dernier resort, undesirable, but possibly unavoidable, to bring men in subjection to law?

2. The second NINE, undivided, (shows its subject) exercising forbearance with the ignorant, in which there will be good fortune; and admitting (even the goodness of women, which will also be fortunate. (He may be described also as) a son able to (sustain the burden of) his family.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'A son able to (sustain the burden of) his family:'—as appears from the reciprocation between this strong line and the weak (fifth line).

[Legge] On the subject of the second line, strong, and in the central place, devolves the task of enlightening the ignorant; and we have him discharging it with forbearance and humility. In proof of his generosity, it is said that 'he receives,' or learns from, even weak and ignorant women. He appears also as 'a son' taking the place of his father. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] The force of line 2 comes out fully in the Thwan.

3. The third SIX, divided, (seems to say) that one should not marry a woman whose emblem it might be, for that, when she sees a man of wealth, she will not keep her person from him, and in no wise will advantage come from her.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'A woman (such as is here represented) should not be taken in marriage:'—her conduct is not agreeable to what is right.

[Legge] The third line is weak, and occupies an odd place belonging properly to an undivided line; nor is its place in the centre. All these things give the subject of it so bad a character. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] That a woman such as is represented in line 3 should not be taken in marriage is clear enough; but I do not see the bearing of the illustration on the proper lesson in the hexagram.

4. The fourth SIX, divided, (shows its subject as if) bound in chains of ignorance. There will be occasion for regret.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'The regret arising from ignorance bound in chains' is due to the special distance of (the subject of this line) from the solidity (shown in lines 2 and 6).

[Legge] The fourth line is far from both the second and sixth, and can get no help from its correlate, —the first line, weak as itself. What good can be done with or by the subject of it? [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] Line 3 separates 4 from 2, and 5 separates it from 6. Weak in itself, it is farther removed than any other from the two strong lines in the hexagram, and is represented as 'cribbed' in its ignorance.

5. The fifth SIX, divided, shows its subject as a simple lad without experience. There will be good fortune.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'The good fortune belonging to the simple lad without experience' comes from his docility going on to humility.

[Legge] The fifth line is in the place of honour, and has for its correlate the strong line in the second place. Being weak in itself, it is taken as the symbol of a simple lad, willing to be taught. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] The fifth is the most honourable place in the figure, and here is occupied by a weak line. This looks, however, to the occupant of line 2, less honourable than itself, and is marked by the two attributes that are named. Compare what is said on line 2.

6. In the topmost NINE, undivided, we see one smiting the ignorant (youth). But no advantage will come from doing him an injury. Advantage would come from warding off injury from him.

[Smaller Symbolism] 'Advantage will come from warding off injury:'—(the subject of this line) above and (the ignorant) below, all do and are done to in accordance with their nature.

[Legge] The topmost line is strong, and in the highest place. It is natural, but unwise, in him to use violence in carrying on his educational measures. A better course is suggested to him. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] A strong line in the topmost place must represent, according to the scheme of the hexagram, one who uses force in the cause of education; but the force is put forth not on the ignorant, but on those who would keep them ignorant, or increase their ignorance. The subject of this line, therefore, acts according to his nature, and the subjects of all the weak lines below are cared for as is best for them.

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Editorial features of this edition © 2012 by Joseph F. Morales