THE GNOSTIC BOOK OF CHANGES

Please select the chapter or hexagram below!

 

19 -- Approach -- 19

 

 

HEXAGRAM NUMBER NINETEEN --

APPROACH

Other titles: The Symbol of Advance and Arrival, Nearing, Overseeing, Condescension, Getting Ahead, Promotion, Conduct, Drawing Near, Becoming Great, The Forest, Advance, Advancing, "Two people advancing together; or a good influence which hasn't been seen or felt for some time, is approaching." -- D.F. Hook

 

Judgment

Legge: Approach means successful progress through firm correctness. In the eighth month there will be evil.

Wilhelm/Baynes : Approach has supreme success. Perseverance furthers. When the eighth month comes, there will be misfortune.

Blofeld:Approach.Sublime success! Righteous persistence brings reward. However, when the eighth month is reached, misfortune will befall. [The eighth moon of the lunar calendar corresponds approximately to September.]

Liu: Approach. Great Success. It is of benefit to continue. When the eighth month arrives, then there will be misfortune.

Ritsema/Karcher: Nearing, Spring Growing Harvesting Trial. Culminating tending-towards the eighth moon: possessing a pitfall. [This hexagram describes your situation in terms of approaching and being approached. It emphasizes that acting without immediately expecting to attain what you desire is the adequate way to handle it...]

Shaughnessy: The Forest: Prime receipt; beneficial to determine; arriving at the eighth month there is inauspiciousness.

Cleary (1):Overseeing is creative and developmental, beneficial if correct. In the eighth month there is misfortune.

Cleary (2):Overseeing is very successful, beneficial if correct. If you go on until the eighth month, there will be misfortune. [If you ride on the momentum of the time and do not know to turn back, at a certain point deterioration will inevitably set in, after flourishing has reached its climax, and there will surely be misfortune.]

Wu:Condescension is great, pervasive, and persevering, etc. [Condescension as used in several judgments has two meanings: to condescend (or to look down from a higher position) and to press forward with authority.]

Hua-Ching Ni: Advance. It is beneficial to go forward with a positive attitude, but be mindful of the cyclical nature of things.

 

The Image

Legge: The earth over a marsh -- the image of Approach. The superior man is inexhaustible in his instruction and unflagging in his nourishing support of the people.

Wilhelm/Baynes: The earth above the lake: the image of Approach. Thus the superior man is inexhaustible in his will to teach, and without limits in his tolerance and protection of the people.

Blofeld: This hexagram symbolizes land rising above a marsh. The Superior Man's teaching and his affection for his juniors are inexhaustible. Nothing hinders him in his care for the people. [The lower component trigram suggests the nourishment which the Superior Man gives joyfully to others. The upper trigram symbolizes the great bulk of those who benefit.]

Liu: The earth above the lake symbolizes Approach. The superior man's will for instruction has no limit. He is boundless in his support and protection of the people.

Ritsema/Karcher: Above marsh possessing earth. Nearing. A chun tzu uses teaching to ponder without exhausting. [A chun tzu uses] tolerating to protect the commoners without delimiting.

Cleary (1): Above the lake there is earth, overseeing. Superior people use

inexhaustibility of education and thought to embrace and protect the people without bound.

Wu: There is ground above the marsh; this is Condescension. Thus the jun zi realizes that there is no limit to the ideas of education and there is no boundary in the protection of people.

COMMENTARY

Confucius/Legge: In Approach we see the dynamic lines gradually increasing and advancing. The lower trigram is the symbol of Being Pleased, and the upper of Being Compliant. The strong line is in the central position, and is properly responded to. It is the way of heaven to bring progress and success through firm correctness, however the advancing power will decay after no long time.

Legge: Approach suggests the approach of authority -- to inspect, to comfort or to rule. The figure shows two dynamic lines advancing on the four magnetic lines above them. Their action will be powerful and successful, but it must be governed by rectitude and a caution that understands the nature of continuous change.

 

NOTES AND PARAPHRASES

Judgment: Two steps forward are followed by one step backward.

The Superior Man remains true to the Work regardless of fluctuations within the psyche.

The meaning of Approach is derived from the two dynamic lines advancing from below to encounter the magnetic lines above. These two are firm allies, and the action of the superior man in the Image suggests that their ascent is one of benevolent regard for the welfare of their subordinates -- only the third line need change for the hexagram to become number eleven, Harmony. We are reminded of the proper relationship between the ego and the Self -- when they advance together, the magnetic forces in the rest of the psyche are eventually transformed.

This hexagram recognizes the inevitably slow progress of the Work (" Rome wasn't built in a day"), and that advances are always followed by retreats. The point is that if one maintains the will to advance, one can be confident that the Work is advancing, regardless of appearances.

(Confucius) tried his best, but the issue he left to Ming. Ming is often translated as Fate, Destiny or Decree. To Confucius, it meant the Decree of Heaven or Will of Heaven ... Thus to know Ming means to acknowledge the inevitability of the world as it exists, and so to disregard one's external success or failure. If we can act in this way, we can, in a sense, never fail. For if we do our duty that duty through our very act is morally done, regardless of the external success or failure of our action.
Fung Yu-Lan -- A Short History of Chinese Philosophy

Without changing lines, the hexagram suggests a progressive advance in the matter at hand. Nature being what it is however, no advance can be sustained indefinitely and an eventual regression can be expected. (This observation is such a truism that we must assume it is more than usually applicable to the current situation.)

Line-1

Legge: The first line, dynamic, shows its subject advancing in company with the subject of the second line. Through his firm correctness there will be good fortune.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Joint approach. Perseverance brings good fortune.

Blofeld: All approach -- righteous persistence will bring good fortune! [All approach can be taken to mean that all things desirable are converging upon us.]

Liu: Approach with sincerity. To continue brings good fortune.

Ritsema/Karcher: Conjunction Nearing, Trial: significant.

Shaughnessy: Prohibited forest; determination is auspicious.

Cleary (1): Sensitive overseeing leads to good results when correct.

Wu: Pressing forward with a companion will be auspicious.

Hua-Ching Ni: Advance impartially. One should start in this manner and continue in this direction. Good Fortune.

 

COMMENTARY

Confucius/Legge: His will is set on doing what is right. Wilhelm/Baynes: His will is to act correctly. Blofeld: This is because what is willed is carried out in righteous ways. Ritsema/Karcher: Purpose moving, correcting indeed. Cleary (2): Because the intention and the action are correct. Wu: Because his aspiration is correct.

Legge: Line one is dynamic in his proper place. The danger is that he may be more strong than prudent -- hence the caution requiring firm correctness.

 

NOTES AND PARAPHRASES

Siu: At the outset, the man advances with his associates to a higher position. He must remain more prudent than strong in doing right and not be carried away by the popular will.

Wing: Begin your endeavors in the company of those who share your enthusiasm. This will give you the kind of strong support necessary to achieve your aims. At the same time you should be certain that you are pursuing worthwhile goals. Continuing in your principles brings good fortune.

Editor: The texts of the first two lines are almost identical. As the only two yang forces in the hexagram they support and reinforce each other in their advance on the yin lines. The image suggests an ego-Self accord in the work of pacifying disparate forces within the psyche. If this is the only changing line, the new hexagram becomes number seven, Discipline, which reinforces the idea of a disciplined dynamic advance. In the context of certain questions, the Confucian commentary here sometimes seems more accessible than the original line.

If you want to go your original way, it is the way you make for yourself, which is never prescribed, which you do not know in advance, and which simply comes into being of itself when you put one foot in front of the other. If you always do the next thing that needs to be done, you will go most safely and sure-footedly along the path prescribed by your unconscious.
Jung -- Letters

A. Mutual advancement. Ego and Self are in accord. Advance the Work.

Line-2

Legge: The second line, dynamic, shows its subject advancing in company with the subject of the first line. There will be good fortune; advancing will be in every way advantageous.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Joint approach. Good fortune. Everything furthers.

Blofeld: All approach -- good fortune! Nothing is unfavorable. [All approach can be taken to mean that all things desirable are converging upon us.]

Liu: To approach with sincerity brings good fortune. It is beneficial for everything.

Ritsema/Karcher: Conjunction Nearing: significant. Without not Harvesting.

Shaughnessy: Prohibited forest; auspicious; there is nothing not beneficial.

Cleary (2): Sensitive overseeing is good, beneficial all around. [The second yang is also in the momentum of gradually increasing strength, but at this point it is best to keep still and not ride on the momentum to try to advance; then it will be good and beneficial all around.]

Wu: Pressing forward with a companion will be auspicious. Everything will be advantageous.

Hua-Ching Ni: Impartial advance without prejudice continues…

 

COMMENTARY

Confucius/Legge: This is because those to whom the advance is made are not yet obedient to the ordinances of heaven. Wilhelm/Baynes: One need not yield to fate. Blofeld: This indicates that there is nevertheless some disobedience. Ritsema/Karcher: Not-yet yielding-to fate indeed. Cleary (2): This is addressed to those who are not yet in harmony with the universal order. Wu: There are still those who do not obey the ordinances of heaven. [Since prosperity of the yang is considered a good omen and meets the approval of heaven, presence of the four yin in the yang’s path of advance is indicative of disobeying the ordinances of heaven.]

Legge: Line two is dynamic, but in a magnetic place. This is counterbalanced by the central position and the proper correlate in line five.

 

NOTES AND PARAPHRASES

Siu: People who are not obedient to the ways of heaven are induced to follow the steadfast man in a high position. The future will be advantageous in every way.

Wing: What you propose to do wins sympathy and support from higher forces. So correct are your ideals that you can overcome even inherent difficulties. The future is bright indeed.

Editor: The differences in meaning between lines one and two are extremely slight in English translation. Cleary’s Buddhist commentary on the line suggests the idea of controlling the momentum of an otherwise favorable action. (See also his commentary on the Judgment.) Wu’s note on the Confucian commentary shows line two in immediate contact with four yin lines, interpreted here as recalcitrant forces. On another tack, if we take Ritsema/Karcher's version of "Conjunction Nearing: significant...” literally, we can imagine two possible approaching syntheses (line 1 and line 2), one of which may be more auspicious than the other. Only the context of your query can provide a plausible interpretation of these very different readings.

If Jung's method is used in the analysis, the change initiated by the conflict proceeds under the guidance of the individual's own unconscious. The analyst does not assume that he knows the answer to the problem but sets out with his patient to explore the unconscious and seek the solution. He is necessary to the proceeding because he has a technique for interpreting the obscure unconscious material thrown up in the dreams and fantasies; also, he is needed as a fixed point to which the patient can cling during the transition, when all values are under question and all landmarks may disappear.
M. E. Harding -- Psychic Energy

A. An approaching conjunction of forces (or obvious choices) will nullify an adverse bias in the situation.

B. An alliance for progress furthers the Work.

C. Ego and Self administer the psyche.

Line-3

Legge: The third line, magnetic, shows one well pleased indeed to advance, but whose action will be in no way advantageous. If she becomes anxious about it however, there will be no error.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Comfortable approach. Nothing that would further. If one is induced to grieve over it, one becomes free of blame.

Blofeld: A willing approach, but there is nowhere towards which it would be advantageous to set out. Feeling regret on that account involves no error.

Liu: Cheerful approach does not benefit further. If one fears regret, no blame.

Ritsema/Karcher: Sweetness Nearing. Without direction: Harvesting. Already grieving-over it: Without fault.

Shaughnessy: Sweet forest; there is no place beneficial; having been saddened by it, there is no trouble.

Cleary (1): Presumptuous overseeing is of no benefit. If one is troubled over this, there is no blame.

Cleary (2): … but if you trouble over it, there will be no blame.

Wu: Condescending for flaunting purposes has nothing to gain. If he is concerned of his behavior, he will make no error.

Hua-Ching Ni: Easy advancement. If one abuses one’s position, there will be trouble in the long run. If this tendency is corrected immediately, there will be no blame.

 

COMMENTARY

Confucius/Legge: She shows herself well pleased to advance, but her position is not that appropriate to her. If she become anxious about it her error will not be continued. Wilhelm/Baynes: The place is not the appropriate one. A fault that induces grief no longer exists. Blofeld: The foregoing is indicated by the unsuitable position of this line. However, if we grieve for it, we shall not be involved in error for long. [At present, there is no goal or destination towards which it would be profitable to move; however, if we sincerely regret this, it will not be long before we emerge from the rut.] Ritsema/Karcher: Situation not appropriate indeed. Fault not long-living indeed. Cleary (2): Once you trouble over it, blame will not last long. Wu: He is out of place. His error will be temporary.

Legge: Line three is magnetic, neither central nor in her correct position, and therefore her action will not be advantageous. Being at the top of the lower trigram of Pleased Satisfaction, she is well pleased to advance. Anxious reflection will save her from error.

 

NOTES AND PARAPHRASES

Siu: The man gains power, influence, and comfort. There is danger of relation and carelessness in dealing with others. But if he becomes apprehensive about his actions, he will not continue in his error and will avoid troubles.

Wing: An easy Promotion is possible now. This might lead to a careless attitude on your part. There is danger in such overconfidence. If you are quick to recognize the need for continuous caution, however, you can avoid mistakes that would otherwise harm you.

Editor: The image depicts a case in which one’s powers are not equal to the challenge. Ritsema/Karcher translate Without direction: Harvesting as: “No plan or direction is advantageous; in order to take advantage of the situation, do not impose a direction on events.” That is, success demands that you refrain from action or drop the subject of inquiry. Their rendition of: Grieving-over it means: “Sorrow, melancholy; mourn; anxious, careworn; hidden sorrow…heart-sick and anxious.” One can receive this line under conditions of deep grief, wherein (as in any line of the I Ching), extremely subtle insights often transcend an exact paraphrase.

Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Psalms 127: 1

A. Whether simplistic, overconfident, or just naive, your assumptions in the matter at hand are incorrect. Do not act on them.

B. Desire for something to be true doesn't make it true. Correct your viewpoint. If sorrow is involved, accept it as your teacher.

C. Unwarranted overconfidence. Nothing can be done now.

D. There are no free rides -- wake up and serve the Work.

Line-4

Legge: The fourth line, magnetic, shows one advancing in the highest mode.

There will be no error.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Complete approach. No blame.

Blofeld: A perfect approach -- no error!

Liu: Complete approach brings no blame.

Ritsema/Karcher: Culmination Nearing. Without fault.

Shaughnessy: Arriving at the forest; there is no trouble.

Cleary (1): Consummate overseeing is blameless. [Being weak yet preserving rectitude, refining oneself and mastering the mind, thereby awaiting the newborn positive energy, is called consummate overseeing. Watching over the quintessential, when the great medicine appears one naturally does not make the mistake of missing it.]

Cleary (2): Consummate overseeing is impeccable. [In Buddhist terms, this represents using correct concentration corresponding to correct insight.]

Wu: Condescending at the right place is without blame.

Hua-Ching Ni: Correct advancement. No fault.

 

COMMENTARY

Confucius/Legge: This is due to the various appropriateness of the position. Wilhelm/Baynes: For the place is the appropriate one. Blofeld: This is indicated by the suitable position of this line. Ritsema/Karcher: Situation appropriate indeed. Cleary (2): In the right place. Wu: His position is proper.

Legge: Line four, though magnetic, is in her proper place and has for her correlate the dynamic first line. Hence her advance is in the highest style.

 

NOTES AND PARAPHRASES

Siu: The man advances to a high place because of the appropriateness of his ideas and behavior and the open-mindedness of a person of high rank who draws men of competence into service.

Wing: Your Promotion is well executed. Regardless of any difficulties you may encounter in assuming your new position, your behavior is so appropriate that you can continue successfully on your way.

Editor: The image suggests that the conscious attitude is in accordance with the aims and goals of the Work. Depending on the context of your query, some kind of fruition is indicated: something is concluding as fated or willed.

But, O my friend, if this be true, there is great reason to hope that, going whither I go, when I have come to the end of my journey, I shall attain that which has been the pursuit of my life. And therefore I go on my way rejoicing, and not I only, but every other man who believes that his mind has been made ready and that he is in a manner purified.
Plato -- Phaedo

A. The Work is progressing as it should. It's all coming together now.

Line-5

Legge: The fifth line, magnetic, shows the advance of wisdom, such as

befits the great ruler. There will be good fortune.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Wise approach. This is right for a great prince. Good fortune.

Blofeld: A wise approach suited to a great prince -- good fortune.

Liu: To approach with wisdom is appropriate for a great duke. Good fortune.

Ritsema/Karcher: Knowledge Nearing. A Great Chief's propriety. Significant.

Shaughnessy: Knowing the forest; the great lord's propriety is auspicious.

Cleary (2): Knowing overseeing, appropriate for a great leader, bodes well.

Wu: Condescending with wisdom befits a great king. There will be good fortune.

Hua-Ching Ni: Wise advancement. This is how the great should proceed. G.F.

 

COMMENTARY

Confucius/Legge: What befits the great ruler means pursuing the course of the due mean. Wilhelm/Baynes: This means that he should walk in the middle. Blofeld: This is a way of saying that we must keep to the middle path. Ritsema/Karcher: Moving the center's designating indeed. Cleary (2): What is appropriate for a great leader is balance in action. Wu: He rules from the center.

Legge: Line five is the seat of the ruler. She is magnetic, but because she is central and has the dynamic second line as her proper correlate, she is the symbol of a wise sovereign who employs able counsel to advise her.

 

NOTES AND PARAPHRASES

Siu: The great ruler displays his wisdom in attracting men of ability to direct his affairs and in providing them freedom of action.

Wing: Your position is one of sovereignty. Here you would be wise to allow others to execute you plan for you. If you can choose competent helpers and restrain yourself from interfering in their work, you will achieve the ideal of true authority.

Editor: There is an intimation here of the Self allowing the ego to look after its own welfare, as long as action is in accordance with moderation and restraint. A test situation may be in progress.

From my brother Severus (I learned) to love my kin, and to love truth, and to love justice... And from him I received the idea of a polity in which there is the same law for all, a polity administered with regard to equal rights and equal freedom of speech, and the idea of a kingly government which respects most of all the freedom of the governed.
Marcus Aurelius

A. An image of balance.

B. Wisdom walks in the middle.

Line-6

Legge: The sixth line, magnetic, shows the advance of honesty and generosity. There will be good fortune, and no error.

Wilhelm/Baynes: Greathearted approach. Good fortune. No blame.

Blofeld: A magnanimous approach -- good fortune, no error.

Liu: Benevolent approach brings good fortune. No blame.

Ritsema/Karcher: Magnanimity Nearing. Significant. Without fault.

Shaughnessy: Thick forest; auspicious; there is no trouble.

Cleary (2): Attentive overseeing is good and blameless.

Wu: Condescending with honesty is auspicious, etc.

Hua-Ching Ni: Sincere advancing. Good Fortune. No blame.

 

COMMENTARY

Confucius/Legge: This is because her will is focused on the first two lines of the lower trigram. Wilhelm/Baynes: The will is directed inward. Blofeld: This good fortune arises from concealing our will within our hearts. [This would seem to mean that, for the present, we should gladly accord with others and carefully conceal our aims.] Ritsema/Karcher: Purpose located inside indeed. Cleary (2): The good of attentive overseeing is in the will being within. Wu: Because his aspiration is directed inward.

Legge: Line six is at the top of the upper trigram of Docility. Although the first and second lines of the hexagram are not her proper correlates, it is proper for the yin to seek for the yang, and it is emphatically so in this case.

 

NOTES AND PARAPHRASES

Siu: The sage returns from retirement to teach and help others, who greatly benefit from his experience.

Wing: The person in this position will allow others to benefit from the wealth of his experience. Such generosity will bring unaccountable progress to all concerned. This is a true moment of greatness.

Editor: An "advance of honesty" suggests truth: to be "honest" about something is to acknowledge its truth. "Generosity" implies the unselfish acceptance of this truth: perhaps a tolerant concession to a less-than-perfect status quo. Wilhelm renders the Confucian commentary in the imagery of the will being directed inward; Blofeld interprets it as magnanimity coupled with a hidden agenda which is not inconsistent with good will. Ritsema/ Karcher's "Purpose located inside indeed," reinforces this idea. Tolerance or leniency is definitely implied: Wilhelm describes a sage, retired from the world, generously lending his wisdom to the people. Psychologically, the image can suggest that advance in the situation at hand consists of turning inward for support: the developing ego concentrates on connecting with the perfect will of the Self.

Since the mind which persuades and that which is persuaded are one in their basic unity, true persuasion consists in revealing the truth of the oneness of existence.
Prince Shotoku

A. A charitable forbearance with an imperfect world makes room for the Work to grow.

B. Ego/Self alignment facilitates profitable interaction with others.

June 25, 2001,4/23/06, 4/10/08