CHAPTER VI. On the Nature of the Book of Changes in General

1. The master said: The Creative and the Receptive are indeed the gateway to the Changes. The Creative is the representative of light things and the Receptive of dark things. In that the natures of the dark and the light are joined, the firm and the yielding receive form. Thus do the relationships of heaven and earth take shape, and we enter into relation with the nature of the light of the gods.

Following out what has been said in part I, chapter XII, section 3, the method of the Book of Changes is presented here. The first two trigrams, the Creative and the Receptive, are shown as representatives of the two polar primal forces. The aim is to explain that matter is the product of energy. The light and the dark are energies. The interaction of these forces gives rise to matter--that is, the firm and the yielding. Matter makes up the form, the body, of all beings in heaven and on earth, but it is always energy that keeps it in motion. The important thing is to maintain connection with these divine forces of light.

2. The names employed are manifold but not superfluous. When we examine their kinds, thoughts about the decline of an era come to mind.

The names of the sixty-four hexagrams are diverse, but they all keep within the sphere of the necessary. Actual situations, just as life brings them, are described. The situations through-out are of such a nature as to make it plain that the reference is to an era of decline, the aim being to provide the means of reconstruction. It is pointed out that the body of ideas in the hexagrams stems from a time already confronted with phenomena of decline.

3. The Changes illumine the past and interpret the future. They disclose that which is hidden and open that which is dark. They distinguish things by means of suitable names. Then, when the right words and decisive judgments are added, everything is complete.

The wording in this section, and indeed of the whole of this chapter, seems to be rather uncertain, but the general meaning is easy to understand. Here again the various connotation of the Book of Changes are pointed out: hidden things are revealed in time and space, first symbolically by means of names and relationships, then explicitly by means of the judgments.

4. The names employed sound unimportant, but the possibilities of application are great. The meanings are far-reaching, the judgments are well ordered. The words are roundabout but they hit the mark. Things are openly set forth, but they contain also a deeper secret. This is why in doubtful cases they may serve to guide the conduct of men and thus to show the requital for reaching or for missing the goal.

The abstract, allegorical content of the hexagrams is here pointed out. The hexagrams permit of a general extension to all sorts of situations, because they present nothing but the laws that pertain to various complexes of conditions.

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