I Ching 7 Hexagram Shī (The Army) | The Book of Change

I Ching 7 Hexagram Shī (The Army)

I Ching 7 Hexagram Shī (The Army)

Keyword Discipline. Loyalty. Integrity.

Short Interpretation of Hexagram 7 – The Army Resist temptation and in love everything will go well. Conflicts at work will be resolved and health is on the rise.

I Ching – General Description

The sign is made up of the primordial signs Kkann, water, and Kkunn, the earth. With this is symbolized the underground water, which accumulates in the subsoil. In the same way, military force transforms the multitude into a people: invisible in peacetime, but always available as a source of power. The qualities of the primordial signs are: danger inside and obedience outside.He hints at the essence of the army, which in itself is a dangerous thing, while on the outside discipline and obedience must reign. Considering the individual lines. the lord of the sign is the strong nine in second place, to which the other weak lines submit. This line indicates the commander, since it is in the center of one of the two primordial signs. But since it is in the lower, not in the higher, it is not the image of the sovereign, but that of a capable general, who with his authority keeps the army in obedience.

I Ching – Comment on sentence

The army needs perseverance and a strong man.
Health without blemish.

An army is a mass which, in order to become an army, needs organization. Without firm discipline, nothing can be achieved. But this discipline cannot be obtained by violent means, it is instead appropriate that there be a strong man, who wins hearts, who arouses enthusiasm. In order to be able to express himself, he must have the unconditional trust of his sovereign, who in turn must, as long as the war lasts, leave him full responsibility. A war, however, is always a dangerous thing and brings with it damage and devastation. Therefore it must not be undertaken lightly, but only as a last resort, as a poisonous drug. It must be clearly explained to the people by an expert leader that the reasons are right and that there is a clear and understandable goal. Only if the war has a well-defined purpose to which the people can consciously lend themselves, that unity and persuasion force that lead to victory is born. But the leader must also take care that the passions of the unleashed war and the thrill of victory do not produce such an injustice that it cannot meet with general approval. Justice and perseverance are the fundamental conditions for everything to go smoothly.

I Ching – Image

Within the earth is water:
The image of the army.
Thus the noble, magnanimous towards the people, increases his masses.

The underground water is invisible in the womb of the earth. Thus also the warrior power of a people is invisible within its masses. Every farmer becomes a soldier when there is danger, and returns to his plow after the war. Whoever is magnanimous towards the people wins the love of the people; and the people living under a lenient regime will become strong and vigorous. Only an economically strong people can have warlike importance. It is therefore necessary to take care of its power by promoting its economic relations and governing humanely. Where this invisible bond exists between government and people, so that the people feel protected by it, like underground water in the subsoil, only there is it possible to carry out a war victoriously.

I Ching – Series

When there is a quarrel, the masses certainly rise up. This is why the sign follows: the Army. Army means mass.

I Ching – Single Lines

Analytical description of each individual line

I Ching – First line:

Six at the beginning means:
An army must move in good order.
If this is not good, it threatens disaster.

At the beginning of a warlike enterprise, order must reign. There must be a just and decisive reason, and the obedience and cooperation of the troops must be well organized, otherwise failure is the inevitable consequence.

I Ching – Second line:

Nine in the second place means:
In the middle of the army! Health! No stains!
The king bestows triple honor.

The leader must stand in the midst of his army. He must have contact with it and share good and bad luck with the masses he leads. Only in this way is he equal to the grave task incumbent upon him. He also needs recognition from the ruler. The honors he receives are justified, since it is not a question of personal preferences, but of honoring in the leader the entire army in which he resided.

I Ching – Third line:

Six in the third place means:
The army leads by adventure with itself in the carriage of corpses.

One of the explanations of this verse hints at a defeat as a result of the fact that people other than the chosen leader meddle in command. Another explanation agrees with this in the sense, with the difference that the expression ″ to take corpses with you in the carriage ″ is interpreted otherwise. During funerals and funeral sacrifices in China, it was customary for the deceased to be offered the sacrifice to be represented by a boy from his family, who sat in the place of the corpse and was honored instead of the deceased.From this rite this interpretation draws the sense that a “boy-corpse” is sitting in the carriage, that is, that authority does not emanate from the official invested with it, but from others who have usurped it. Perhaps the whole difficulty can be eliminated by admitting a spelling mistake (fann = all, per she = corpse). Then the meaning would certainly be: when by chance in the army the crowd becomes mistress (travels in a carriage) it is a disaster.

I Ching – Fourth line:

Six in the fourth place means:
The army withdraws.
No stains.

Faced with an enemy of superior forces, with whom it is hopeless to fight, an orderly retreat is the thing to do, so that the army is preserved from defeat and rout. It is by no means a sign of courage or strength to want to accept a desperate fight in any case.

I Ching – Fifth line:

There is game in the field.
It is beneficial to capture it.
Without blemish.
The eldest lead the army.
The least elderly leads corpses,
Then perseverance brings misfortune.

The game is found in the field, that is, it has abandoned its usual home, the forest, and has broken into the fields and devastated them. He hints at an enemy raid. In this case, vigorous struggle and punishment are well justified. Only the fight must be conducted according to the rules. It must not degenerate into a savage melee in which each defends himself on his own.This would lead, despite the utmost tenacity and valor, to disaster. Indeed, the army needs to be led by an experienced leader. War must be waged. The multitude must not simply couple whoever happens to be, otherwise it suffers a defeat, and, despite all perseverance, threatens disaster.

I Ching – Sixth line:

Six above means:
The great prince issues orders,
founds states, fiefs families.
Ordinary men are not to be used.

The war ended victoriously. Victory is achieved, the king distributes fiefs and family possessions among his faithful. But it is very important not to allow ordinary people to come to power. If they have cooperated, they are satisfied with money. But, in order to avoid any abuse, they must not be granted territories and sovereign rights.