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59. Hwan [Dispersion]

010011

Thwan, or Overall Judgment (Attributed to King Wan)

Hwan intimates that (under its conditions) there will be progress and success. The king goes to his ancestral temple; and it will be advantageous to cross the great stream. It will be advantageous to be firm and correct.

[Legge] Hwan, the name of this hexagram, denotes a state of dissipation or dispersion. It is descriptive primarily of men's minds alienated from what is right and good. This alienation is sure to go on to disorder in the commonwealth; and an attempt is made to show how it should be dealt with and remedied.

The figure is made up of one of the trigrams for water and over it that for wind. Wind moving over water seems to disperse it, and awakes naturally in the beholder the idea of dissipation.

The intimation of progress and success is supposed to be given by the strong lines occupying the central places. The king goes to the ancestral temple, there to meet with the spirits of his ancestors. His filial piety moves them by the sincerity of its manifestation. Those spirits come and are present. Let filial piety—in our language, let sincere religion—rule in men's minds, and there will be no alienation in them from what is right and good or from one another. And if the state of the country demand a great or hazardous enterprise, let it be undertaken. But whatever is done, must be done with due attention to what is right, firmly and correctly.

Comments on the Thwan

1. 'Hwan intimates that there will be progress and success:'—(we see) the strong line (in the second place) of the lower trigram, and not suffering any extinction there; and (also) the weak line occupying its place in the outer trigram, and uniting (its action) with that of the line above.

2. 'The king goes to his ancestral temple:'—the king's (mind) is without any deflection.

3. 'It will be advantageous to cross the great stream:'—(the subject of the hexagram) rides in (a vessel of) wood (over water), and will do so with success.

[Legge] 1. This paragraph has been partially anticipated in the notes on the Thwan. The second line is said to suffer 'no extinction,' because the lower trigram is that of peril. The Khang-hsi editors say that the former part of this paragraph shows how the root of the work of the hexagram is strengthened, and the latter part how the execution of that work is secured.

The conclusion of paragraph 2 is, literally, 'The king indeed is in the middle.' This does not mean, as some say, that the king is in the middle of the temple, but that his mind or heart is exactly set on the central truth of what is right and good.

The upper trigram Sun represents both wind and wood. To explain the meaning of Hwan, the significance of wind is taken; the writer here seizes on that of wood, as furnishing materials for a boat in which the great stream can be crossed.

Great Symbolism

(The trigram representing) water and that for wind moving above the water form Hwan. The ancient kings, in accordance with this, presented offerings to God and established the ancestral temple.

[Legge] The 'in accordance with this' must be equivalent to—'to remedy the state of things thus symbolised.' What follows certainly amounts to this, that the ancient kings considered the services of religion, sincerely and earnestly attended to, as calculated to counteract the tendency to mutual alienation and selfishness in the minds of men. How they operated to have this beneficial effect we are not told. Nor is it easy to account, for the extension of what is said in the Text about the establishment of the ancestral temple to the presentation also of offerings to God. Probably the writer had the same idea in his mind as in the Great Symbolism of hexagram 16, q.v.

Line Statements (Attributed to the Duke of Kau)

1. The first SIX, divided, shows its subject engaged in rescuing (from the impending evil) and having (the assistance of) a strong horse. There will be good fortune.

[Smaller Symbolism] 1. 'The good fortune attached to the first six, divided),'is due to the natural course (pursued by its subject).

[Legge] Line 1, at the commencement of the hexagram, tells us that the evil has not yet made great progress, and that dealing with it will be easy. But the subject of the line is weak, and in an odd place. He cannot cope with the evil himself. He must have help, and he finds that in a strong horse, which description is understood to be symbolical of the subject of the strong second line. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] 'The natural course' pursued by the subject of line 1 is, probably, that required by the time.

2. The second NINE, undivided, shows its subject, amid the dispersion, hurrying to his contrivance (for security). All occasion for repentance will disappear.

[Smaller Symbolism] 2. 'Amidst the prevailing dispersion, he hurries to his contrivance (for security):'—he gets what he desires.

[Legge] 'Line 2 is strong, but in an even place. That place is, indeed, the central, but the attribute of the lower trigram Khan is peril. These conditions indicate evil, and action will be dangerous; but the subject of 2 looks to 1 below him, and takes shelter in union with its subject. Since the commentary of Khang-zze, this has been the interpretation of the line. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] 'What the subject of line 2 desired' would be his success in counteracting the prevailing tendency to disunion.

3. The third SIX, divided, shows its subject discarding any regard to his own person. There will be no occasion for repentance.

[Smaller Symbolism] 3. 'He has no regard to his own person:'—his aim is directed to what is external to himself.

[Legge] Line 3 is weak, and in an odd place. A regard for himself that would unfit its subject for contributing any service to the work of the hexagram might be feared; but he discards that regard, and will do nothing to be repented of. There is a change of style in the Chinese text at this point. As Wang Shan-zze (Yuan dynasty) says:—'Here and henceforth the scattering is of what should be scattered, that what should not be scattered may be collected.'

4. The fourth SIX, divided, shows its subject scattering the (different) parties (in the state); which leads to great good fortune. From the dispersion (he collects again good men standing out, a crowd) like a mound, which is what ordinary men would not have thought of.

[Smaller Symbolism] 4. 'He scatters the (different) parties (in the state), and there is great good fortune:'—brilliant and great (are his virtue and service).

[Legge] Line 4, though weak, is in its correct place, and adjoins the strong 5, which is in the ruler's seat. The subject of 4, therefore, will fitly represent the minister, to whom it belongs to do a great part in remedying the evil of dispersion. And this he does. He brings dissentient partizanship to an end; and not satisfied with that, he collects multitudes of those who had been divided into a great body so that they stand out conspicuous like a hill.

5. The fifth NINE, undivided, shows its subject amidst the dispersion issuing his great announcements as the perspiration (flows from his body). He scatters abroad (also) the accumulations in the royal granaries. There will be no error.

[Smaller Symbolism] 5. 'The accumulations of the royal (granaries) are dispersed, and there is no error:'—this is due to the correctness of the position.

[Legge] Line 5 gives us the action of the ruler himself;—by his proclamations, and by his benevolence. Ku Hsi and other critics enlarge on the symbolism of the perspiration, which they think much to the point. P. Regis avoids it, translating—'Ille, magnas leges dissipans, facit ut penetrent(ur?).' Canon McClatchie has an ingenious and original, so far as my Chinese reading goes, note upon it:—'As sweat cures fevers, so do proclamations cure rebellions.' Both of these translators miss the meaning of the other instance of the king's work. [Legge: Smaller Symbolism] The view given of paragraph 5 is that propounded by Ku Hsi.

6. The topmost NINE, undivided, shows its subject disposing of (what may be called) its bloody wounds, and going and separating himself from its anxious fears. There will be no error.

[Smaller Symbolism] 6. 'His bloody wounds are gone:'—he is far removed from the danger of injury.

[Legge] Line 6 is occupied by a strong line, which has a proper correlate in 3; but 3 is at the top of the trigram of peril. The subject of 6 hurries away from association with the subject of it, but does so in the spirit of the hexagram, so that there is no error or blame attaching to him.

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