The only inactive line in this hexagram is that concerning intuitive feeling, direct awareness of our circumstances; without this awareness of the “other” we are insensitive to feelings other than our own, which is necessary to the way the tao operates. The common name of the hexagram is “the army” and an army could not fight if it was aware of and sensitive to the feelings of the other, its enemy; we do not have any real awareness of another’s feelings unless we can share them. This single yang line 2 also gives conditions for dispassionate, pragmatic judgement such as the professional soldier has.
At the base of the hexagram we have doubt and an inability to flow outwards and then a forceful outer action which overcomes this obstruction and permits movement again. The outcome of this is often unpleasant and disruptive but this violence is compensating for a lack of ability to flow.
Whether this effect is showing in our personal or collective identity, our difficulty with this pattern is that by its nature, its movement goes too far; an army that rights wrongs and then stops is rare, more often there is vengeance, so to control the situation, discipline is necessary.
The Chinese Oracle
For individual or social identity to maintain itself these qualities are necessary. As in an army, there has to be an indisputed leader and coherent action. That this is good fortune and not error needs to be said because so much strict dominance has a bad name, its power being abused throughout the whole history of identities. Power and dominance are not in themselves evil (narrowing) but may easily be used by the narrow; perseverance in following the tao makes the leader a vital link in a chain instead of the despot he may otherwise become.
Line 1 goes yanglife force shows less change
In this tao of forceful outer action, it is important that we assess the outer situation correctly or the force we use will be destructive only. The outer situation depends upon inner energy emerging in this line so we note that this energy is becoming inactive.
The “orders” or the ordering of our action need to take account of the life force. With the life force creating less change, we need to be in firm control of our forcefulness so that it does not go beyond what the situation requires.
Line 2 goes yinintuitive feeling more active
Here we expand our awareness of the tao by feeling both inner and outer, both the life force and its outer effects (as the three top lines are all accepting).
The number three, meaning change, here shows that a change in our approach is the outcome, or award, of this moving line.
Line 3 goes yangouter world changes less
Here we become less active in a situation which requires activity. We are perhaps applying a rule we have learned which is against aggressive action, some conditioning. No rule applies to all situations and what we need in action is spontaneous response as well as experience to guide us. Experience comes from the dead past whereas the present is alive and changing.
The past is dead, it cannot change to meet circumstances and the warrior requires spontaneous reactions to avert disaster. This is our situation also; our progress depends upon our present awareness, not rules we have learned.
Line 4 goes yangaccepting the outer state less
Identity withdraws its interest from the outer world. This is not to say that our activity ceases but that our identification in the activity lessens.
It may serve us better if we are not immersed in the outer battles. We may see more clearly if we are not.
Line 5 goes yangless awareness of intuition
A difficult situation arises as we become less aware that our intuition is not active so that our present reading of our situation is governed solely by rules we learned in the past.
For the inner interpretation, the wild beasts are rampant autonomous feelings which we need to bring under control so that we do not commit errors. The elder is our older (past) experience which is in control of the situation while the younger and present experience is saddled with all these dead ideas or feelings. Continuing in the old way will bring misfortune.
Line 6 goes yangour inner being accepts less
When our inner being, our ongoing self, changes less in this tao the forceful reaction to being blocked has completed itself.
In this context, the man of low ability is one who has little control so that not much cohesion comes to the inner self. The prince, or young king symbolizing new identifications, has to be able to bring our various aspirations into one picture after the disruption.