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I Ching Hexagram 37 - Chia Jen / The Family (The Clan)

hexagram 37

Introduction

The hexagram represents the laws obtaining within the family. The strong line at the top represents the father, the lowest the son. The strong line in the fifth place represents the husband, the yielding second line the wife. On the other hand, the two strong lines in the fifth and the third place represent two brothers, and the two weak lines correlated with them in the fourth and the second place stand for their respective wives. Thus all the connections and relationships within the family find their appropriate expression. Each individual line has the character according with its place. The fact that a strong line occupies the sixth place-where a weak line might be expected-indicates very clearly the strong leadership that must come from the head of the family. The line is to be considered here not in its quality as the sixth but in its quality as the top line. The Family shows the laws operative within the household that, transferred to outside life, keep the state and the world in order. The influence that goes out from within the family is represented by the symbol of the wind created by fire.

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Judgement

The Family. The perseverance of the woman furthers.

Judgement Commentary

The foundation of the family is the relationship between husband and wife. The tie that hold the family together lies in the loyalty and perseverance of the wife. The tie that holds the family together lies in the loyalty and perseverance of the wife. Her place is within (second line), while that of the husband is without (fifth line). It is in accord with the great laws of nature that husband and wife take their proper places. Within the family a strong authority is needed; this is represented by the parents. If the father is really a father and the son a son, if the elder brother fulfills his position, and the younger fulfills his, if the husband is really a husband and the wife a wife, then the family is in order. When the family is in order, all the social relationships of mankind will be in order. Three of the five social relationships are to be found within the family-that between father and son, which is the relation of love, that between the husband and wife, which is the relation of chaste conduct, and that between elder and younger brother, which is the relation of correctness. The loving reverence of the son is then carried over to the prince in the form of faithfulness to duty; the affection and correctness of behavior existing between the two brothers are extended to a friend in the form of loyalty, and to a person of superior rank in the form of deference. The family is society in the embryo; it is the native soil on which performance of moral duty is made early through natural affection, so that within a small circle a basis of moral practice is created, and this is later widened to include human relationships in general.


The Image

Wind comes forth from fire: The image of The Family. Thus the superior man has substance in his words and duration in his way of life.

Image Commentary

Heat creates energy: this is signified by the wind stirred up by the fire and issuing forth form it. This represents influence working from within outward. The same thing is needed in the regulation of the family. Here too the influence on others must proceed form one's own person. In order to be capable of producing such an influence, one's words must have power, and this they can have only if they are based on something real, just as flame depends on its fuel Words have influence only when they are pertinent and clearly related to definite circumstances. General discourses and admonitions have no effect whatsoever. Furthermore, the words must be supported by one's entire conduct, just as the wind is made effective by am impression on others that they can adapt and conform to it. If words and conduct are not in accord and consistent, they will have no effect.



The Lines

Nine at the beginning means: Firm seclusion within the family. Remorse disappears.

The family must form a well-defined unit within which each member knows his place. From the beginning each child must be accustomed to firmly established rules of order, before ever its will is directed to other things. If we begin too late to enforce order, when the will of the child has already been overindulged, the whims and passions, grown stronger with the years, offer resistance and give cause for remorse. If we insist on order from the outset, occasions for remorse may arise-in general social life these are unavoidable-but the remorse always disappears again, and everything rights itself. For there is nothing easily avoided and more difficult to carry through than 'breaking a child's will'.

Six in the second place means: She should not follow her whims. She must attend within to the food. Perseverance brings good fortune.

The wife must always be guided by the will of the master of the house, be he father, husband, or grown son. There, without having to look for them, she has great and important duties. She must attend to the nourishment of her family and to the food for the sacrifice. IN this way she becomes the center of the social and religious life of the family, and her perseverance in this position brings good fortune to the whole house. In relation to general conditions, the counsel here is to seek nothing by means of force, but quietly to confine oneself to the duties at hand.

Nine in the third place means: When tempers flare up in the family too great severity brings remorse. Good fortune nonetheless. When woman and child dally and laugh it leads in the end to humiliation.

In the family the proper mean between severity and indulgence ought to prevail. Too great severity toward one's own flesh and blood leads to remorse. The wise thing is to build strong dikes within which complete freedom of movement is allowed each individual. But in doubtful instances too great severity, despite occasional mistakes, is preferable, because it preserves discipline in the family, whereas too great weakness leads to disgrace.

Six in the fourth place means: She is the treasure of the house. Great good fortune.

It is upon the woman of the house that the well-being of the family depends. Well-being prevails when expenditures and income are soundly balanced. This leads to great good fortune. In the sphere of public life, this line refers to the faithful steward whose measures further the general welfare.

Nine in the fifth place means: As a king he approaches his family. Fear not. Good fortune.

A king is the symbol of a fatherly man who is richly endowed in mind. He does nothing to make himself feared; on the contrary, the whole family can trust him, because love governs their intercourse. His character of itself exercises the right influence.

Nine at the top means: His work commands respect. In the end good fortune comes.

In the last analysis, order within the family depends on the character of the master of the house. If he cultivates his personality so that it works impressively through the force of inner truth, all goes well with the family. In a ruling position one must of his own accord assume responsibility.

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