On January 20, 2017 shortly after Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S. President, I put my copy of the I Ching on the table, my three Chinese coins on top of the book, folded my hands around the coins and book, and mediated for awhile about this question: What of Donald J Trump’s Presidency?
I held the three Chinese coins with this question in mind and tossed them six times to generate one of the 64 possible hexagram responses. The I Ching’s answer was Hexagram 45 Tsui/Gathering Together (Massing), with a changing third line resulting in hexagram 31 Hsien/Influence (Wooing). In the blog entry The I Ching on Trump’s Election – Gathering Together I reflected and wrote a commentary on this response. The Six in the third place is especially important to read and when this weak line changes to a strong line it gives us Hexagram 31 Hsien/Influence (Wooing), further insight about the future. Below is Hexagram 31 and then my COMMENTARY follows.
31. Hsien/ Influence (Wooing)
_________ above Tui The Joyous, Lake _________
____ ____ below Ken Keeping Still, Mountain
The name of the hexagram means “universal,” “general,” and in a figurative sense “to influence,” “to stimulate.” The upper trigram is Tui, the Joyous; the lower is Kên, Keeping still. By its persistent, quiet influence, the lower, rigid trigram stimulates the upper, weak trigram, which responds to this stimulation cheerfully and joyously. Kên, the lower trigram, is the youngest son; the upper, Tui, is the youngest daughter. Thus the universal mutual attraction between the sexes is represented. In courtship, the masculine principle must seize the initiative and place itself below the feminine principle. Just as the first part of book 1 begins with the hexagrams of heaven and earth, the foundations of all that exists, the second part begins with the hexagrams of courtship and marriage, the foundations of all social relationships.
To take a maiden to wife brings good fortune.
The weak element is above, the strong below; hence their powers attract each other, so that they unite. This brings about success, for all success depends on the effect of mutual attraction. By keeping still within while experiencing joy without, one can prevent the joy from going to excess and hold it within proper bounds. This is the meaning of the added admonition, “Perseverance furthers,” for it is perseverance that makes the difference between seduction and courtship; in the latter the strong man takes a position inferior to that of the weak girl and shows consideration for her. This attraction between affinities is a general law of nature. Heaven and earth attract each other and thus all creatures come into being. Through such attraction the sage influences men’s hearts, and thus the world attains peace. From the attractions they exert we can learn the nature of all beings in heaven and on earth.
A lake on the mountain:
The image of influence.
Thus the superior man encourages people to approach him
By his readiness to receive them.
A mountain with a lake on its summit is stimulated by the moisture from the lake. It has this advantage because its summit does not jut out as a peak but is sunken. The image counsels that the mind should be kept humble and free, so that it may remain receptive to good advice. People soon give up counseling a man who thinks that he knows everything better than anyone else.
Six at the beginning means:
The influence shows itself in the big toe.
A movement, before it is actually carried out, shows itself first in the toes. The idea of an influence is already present, but is not immediately apparent to others. As long as the intention has no visible effect, it is of no importance to the outside world and leads neither to good nor to evil.
Six in the second place means:
The influence shows itself in the calves of the legs.
Tarrying brings good fortune.
In movement, the calf of the leg follows the foot; by itself it can neither go forward nor stand still. Since the movement is not self-governed, it bodes ill. One should wait quietly until one is impelled to action by a real influence. Then one remains uninjured.
Nine in the third place means:
The influence shows itself in the thighs.
Holds to that which follows it.
To continue is humiliating.
Every mood of the heart influences us to movement. What the heart desires, the thighs run after without a moment’s hesitation; they hold to the heart, which they follow. In the life of man, however, acting on the spur of every caprice is wrong and if continued leads to humiliation. Three considerations suggest themselves here. First, a man should not run precipitately after all the persons whom he would like to influence, but must be able to hold back under certain circumstances. As little should he yield immediately to every whim of those in whose service he stands. Finally, where the moods of his own heart are concerned, he should never ignore the possibility of inhibition, for this is the basis of human freedom.
Nine in the fourth place means:
Perseverance brings good fortune.
If a man is agitated in mind,
And his thoughts go hither and thither,
Only those friends
On whom he fixes his conscious thoughts
Here the place of the heart is reached. The impulse that springs from this source is the most important of all. It is of particular concern that this influence be constant and good; then, in spite of the danger arising from the great susceptibility of the human heart, there will be no cause for remorse. When the quiet power of a man’s own character is at work, the effects produced are right. All those who are receptive to the vibrations of such a spirit will then be influenced. Influence over others should not express itself as a conscious and willed effort to manipulate them. Through practicing such conscious incitement, one becomes wrought up and is exhausted by the eternal stress and strain. Moreover, the effects produced are then limited to those on whom one’s thoughts are consciously fixed.
Nine in the fifth place means:
The influence shows itself in the back of the neck.
The back of the neck is the most rigid part of the body. When the influence shows itself there, the will remains firm and the influence does not lead to confusion. Hence remorse does not enter into consideration here. What takes place in the depths of one’s being, in the unconscious mind. It is true that if we cannot be influenced ourselves, we cannot influence the outside world.
Six at the top means:
The influence shows itself in the jaws, cheeks, and tongue.
The most superficial way of trying to influence others is through talk that has nothing real behind it. The influence produced by such mere tongue wagging must necessarily remain insignificant. Hence no indication is added regarding good or bad fortune.
I have waited a few weeks since asking the I Ching about Trump’s election to reflect on the changing line of a six in the third place, which generates Hexagram 31. This Hexagram provides additional insight as time moves on. This hexagram indicates that it is a time to influence (wooing) – to stimulate. The second part of The Book is about courtship and marriage – the building of all social relationships, which is what we now see Trump doing with lunches and dinners with Republicans need to pass their health care bill.
The Judgment suggests that with perseverance Trump will be successful, however, this requires Trump to “keep still within while experiencing joy without”. Trump can “prevent his joy from going to excess and hold it within proper bounds” by not tweeting, which would revel his was really just seducing and not courting his fellow Republicans. This is going to be challenging for Trump.
The Image is most telling and indicates the challenge facing Trump. The Image counsels Trump that his mind should be kept humble and free, so that it may remain receptive to good advice.
If we see Trump tweeting as he has the response says, “People soon give up counseling a man who thinks that he knows everything better than anyone else.” The chatter on the news this morning, is exactly this – how much longer will people accept his behavior before giving up on him.
In looking at the changing line which is now a nine in the third place, I am struck by the continuing issue from Hexagram 45. If Trump continues his “acting on the spur of every caprice, … it leads to humiliation.” Three consideration are suggested for Trump to ponder:
First, a man should not run precipitately after all the persons whom he would like to influence, but must able to hold back under certain circumstances. As little should he yield immediately to every whim of those in whose service he stands. Finally, where the moods of his own heart are concerned , he should never ignore the possibility of inhibition, for this is the basis of human freedom.”
We now wait to see what unfolds. sas
Note: Inhibition theory is based on the basic assumption that during the performance of any mental task requiring a minimum of mental effort, the subject actually goes through a series of alternating latent states of distraction (non-work 0) and attention (work 1) which cannot be observed and are completely imperceptible to the subject. Additionally, the concept of inhibition or reactive inhibition which is also latent, is introduced. The assumption is made that during states of attention inhibition linearly increases with a slope a1 and during states of distraction inhibition linearly decreases with a slope a0.According to this view the distraction states can be considered a sort of recovery state. It is further assumed, that when the inhibition increases during a state of attention, depending on the amount of increase, the inclination to switch to a distraction state also increases. When inhibition decreases during a state of distraction, depending on the amount of decrease, the inclination to switch to an attention state increases. The inclination to switch from one state to the other is mathematically described as a transition rate or hazard rate, making the whole process of alternating distraction times and attention times a stochastic process.
Calabresi, Massmo. (2017) Inside Donald Trump’s War Against the State. Time. March 9.
Wilhelm, Helmut, (1968). The I Ching Book of Changes, 3rd Edition. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.