Sunday, November 23, 2008

Obama's Moment and Hexagram 23 of the I Ching

In Richard Lynn's translation of Wang Bi's The Classic of Changes , hexagram 23, "Peeling", is a most appropriate symbol for the state of the America which Barack Obama inherits, and must guide. The hexagram depicts a state of "peeling" which has occurred, and is a sort of dire situation which was left to progress unchecked. The deterioration is nearing its apex and reversal; however, it needs the firm guiding hand of "a superior man of many qualities".

In line 6 (the top and final transition line of the hexagram) , Wang Bi speaks of " a large fruit, uneaten". This points to the potential for some new option, which has not been tried and which may reverse the damage. In the commentary, Wang Bi continues: "If [the leader] be a noble man, he will be borne up as in a carriage by the common folk; but if he be a petty man, he will allow peeling to happen to humble huts [i.e., America's economic and job crisis, and foreclosure calamity which the Bush Administration has left unchecked]; for he would never fulfil the role of the sovereign."

Obama stands poised to "obtain the carriage" and be "borne up" by the mass of Americans. He certainly is no petty man; he has the calm and sincerity of which the I Ching speaks praises, and to which it gives the label, "the superior one".

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