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40. Kieh [Unloosing, Removing]


Thwan, or Overall Judgment (Attributed to King Wan)

In (the state indicated by) Kieh advantage will be found in the south-west. If no (further) operations be called for, there will be good fortune in coming back (to the old conditions). If some operations be called for, there will be good fortune in the early conducting of them.

[Legge] Kieh is the symbol of loosing,—untying a knot or unravelling a complication; and as the name of this hexagram, it denotes a condition in which the obstruction and difficulty indicated by the preceding Kieh have been removed. The object of the author is to show, as if from the lines of the figure, how this new and better state of the kingdom is to be dealt with. See what is said [in the 'Comments on the Thwan,' below] for 'the advantage to be found in the south-west.' If further active operations be not necessary to complete the subjugation of the country, the sooner things fall into their old channels the better. The new masters of the kingdom should not be anxious to change all the old manners and ways. Let them do, as the duke of Kau actually did do with the subjugated people of Shang. If further operations be necessary, let them be carried through without delay. Nothing is said in the Thwan about the discountenancing and removal of small men,—unworthy ministers or officers; but that subject appears in more than one of the lines.

Comments on the Thwan

1. In Kieh we have (the trigram expressive of) peril going on to that expressive of movement. By movement there is an escape from the peril:—(this is the meaning of) Kieh.

2. 'In (the state indicated by) Kieh, advantage will be found in the south-west:'—the movement (thus) intimated will win all. That 'there will be good fortune in coming back (to the old conditions)' shows that such action is that of the due medium. That 'if some operations be necessary, there will be good fortune in the early conducting of them' shows that such operations will be successful.

3. When heaven and earth are freed (from the grasp of winter), we have thunder and rain. When these come, the buds of the plants and trees that produce the various fruits begin to burst. Great indeed are the phenomena in the time intimated by Kieh.

[Legge] 1. The meaning of the hexagram is brought out sufficiently well in paragraph 1 by means of the attributes of the constituent trigrams.

2. How it is that the movement indicated in the first condition will 'win' all does not immediately appear. The Khang-hsi editors say that 'moving to the south and west' is the same as 'returning back to the old conditions,' and that 'winning all' and acting 'according to the due medium' are descriptive of the effect and method without reference to the symbolism. Another explanation might be devised; but I prefer to leave the matter in doubt.

3. Paragraph 3 shows the analogy of what takes place in nature to the beneficent social and political changes described in the text, as is done very frequently in this Appendix [that is, Appendix 1, 'Treatise on the Thwan'].

Great Symbolism

(The trigram representing) thunder and that for rain, with these phenomena in a state of manifestation, form Kieh. The superior man, in accordance with this, forgives errors, and deals gently with crimes.

[Legge] It is a common saying that thunder and rain clear the atmosphere, and a feeling of oppression is relieved. The last paragraph of [the 'Comments on the Thwan,' above], however, leads us to understand the Symbolism of the phenomena of spring. The application seems to refer to the gentle policy of a conqueror forward to forgive the opposition of those who offer no more resistance.

Line Statements (Attributed to the Duke of Kau)

1. The first SIX, divided, shows that its subject will commit no error.

[Smaller Symbolism] 1. The strong (fourth) line and the weak line here are in correlation:—we judge rightly in saying that 'its subject will commit no error.'

[Legge] There is a weak line, instead of a strong, in the first place; but this is compensated for by its strong correlate in 4.

2. The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject catch, in hunting, three foxes, and obtain the yellow (= golden) arrows. With firm correctness there will be good fortune.

[Smaller Symbolism] 2. 'The good fortune springing from the firm correctness of the second NINE, (undivided),' is due to its subject holding the due mean.

[Legge] Ku Hsi says he does not understand the symbolism under line 2. The place is even, but the line itself is strong; the strength therefore is modified or tempered. And 2 is the correlate of the ruler in 5. We are to look to its subject therefore for a minister striving to realise the idea of the hexagram, and pacify the subdued kingdom. He becomes a hunter, and disposes of unworthy men, represented by 'the three foxes.' He also gets the yellow arrows, the instruments used in war or in hunting, whose colour is 'correct,' and whose form is 'straight.' His firm correctness will be good. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] The subject of line 2 is a minister or officer; and the Khang-hsi editors say that while straightforwardness, symbolised by the arrow, is the first duty of an officer, if he do not temper that quality by pursuing the due medium, which is symbolised by the yellow colour of the arrow, but proceed by main force, and that only, to remove what is evil, he will provoke indignation and rebellion. The 'three foxes' are not alluded to in this second paragraph.

3. The third SIX, divided, shows a porter with his burden, (yet) riding in a carriage. He will (only) tempt robbers to attack him. However firm and correct he may (try to) be, there will be cause for regret.

[Smaller Symbolism] 3. For 'a porter with his burden to be riding in a carriage' is a thing to be ashamed of. 'It is he himself that tempts the robbers to come:'—on whom besides can we lay the blame?

[Legge] Line 3 is weak, when it should be strong; and occupying, as it does, the topmost place of the lower trigram, it suggests the symbolism of a porter in a carriage. People will say, 'How did he get there? The things cannot be his own.' And robbers will attack and plunder him. The subject of the line cannot protect himself, nor accomplish anything good.

[Great Appendix, Section 1] 48. The Master said:—'The makers of the Yi may be said to have known (the philosophy of) robbery. The Yi says, "He is a burden-bearer, and yet rides in a carriage, thereby exciting robbers to attack him." Burden-bearing is the business of a small man. A carriage is the vehicle of a gentleman. When a small man rides in the vehicle of a gentle man, robbers will think of taking it from him. (When one is) insolent to those above him, and oppressive to those below, robbers will wish to attack him. Careless laying up of things excites to robbery, (as a woman's) adorning of herself excites to lust. What the Yi says about the burden-bearer's riding in a carriage, and exciting robbers to attack him, (shows how) robbery is called out.'

4. (To the subject of) the fourth NINE, undivided, (it is said), 'Remove your toes. Friends will (then) come, between you and whom there will be mutual confidence.'

[Smaller Symbolism] 4. 'Remove your toes:'—the places (of this line and of the third and first) are all inappropriate to them.

[Legge] What is said on the fourth line appears in the form of an address to its subject. The line is strong in an even place, and 1, its correlate, is weak in an odd place. Such a union will not be productive of good. In the symbolism 1 becomes the toe of the subject of 4. How the friend or friends, who are to come to him on the removal of this toe, are represented, I do not perceive. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] On paragraph 4 the same editors say:—'The subject of this line is not in the central nor in an odd place; he has for his correlate the subject of line 1 and for his close associate that of line 3, both of which lines are weak in strong places. Hence it is said, that they are all in places inappropriate to them.'

5. The fifth SIX, divided, shows (its subject), the superior man (= the ruler), executing his function of removing (whatever is injurious to the idea of the hexagram), in which case there will he good fortune, and confidence in him will be shown even by the small men.

[Smaller Symbolism] 5. When 'the superior man executes his function of removing (whatever is injurious to the idea of the hexagram),' small men will of themselves retire.

[Legge] Line 5 is weak in an odd place; but the place is that of the ruler, to whom it belongs to perfect the idea of the hexagram by removing all that is contrary to the peace and good order of the kingdom. It will be his duty to remove especially all the small men represented by the divided lines, which he can do with the help of his strong correlate in 2. Then even the small men will change their ways, and repair to him. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] What paragraph 5 says, that 'the small men retire,' means that believing in the sincerity of the ruler's determination to remove all evil men, they retire of themselves, or strive to conform to his wishes.

6. In the sixth SIX, divided, we see a feudal prince (with his bow) shooting at a falcon on the top of a high wall, and hitting it. (The effect of his action) will be in every way advantageous.

[Smaller Symbolism] 6. 'A prince with his bow shoots a falcon:'—thus he removes (the promoters of) rebellion.

[Legge] Line 6 is the highest line in the figure, but not the place of the ruler. Hence it appears as occupied by a feudal duke, who carries out the idea of the figure against small men, according to the symbolism employed.

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