Category Archives: 17. Sui (Following)

Sui (Following)


The trigram Tui, the Joyous, whose attribute is gladness, is above; Chên, the Arousing, which has the attribute of movement, is below. Joy in movement induces following. The Joyous is the youngest daughter, while the Arousing is the eldest son. An older man defers to a young girl and shows her consideration. By this he moves her to follow him.


FOLLOWING has supreme success. Perseverance furthers. No blame. In order to obtain a following one must first know how to adapt oneself. If a man would rule he must first learn to serve, for only in this way does he secure from those below him the joyous assent that is necessary if they are to follow him [first do the menial things, then work upwards, never forgetting about simple man’s position, the memories of misery are often washed away by periods of happiness and to the opposite, madness forgets sobriety, so does sobriety forgets lessons of madness, let these two polarities be remembered at all times, great terror in memory fades away, so does great pain, great happiness an instance is to be preserved at heart, but not fixed as a nostalgic torment]. If he has to obtain a following by force or cunning, by conspiracy or by creating factions, he invariably arouses resistance, which obstructs willing adherence. But even joyous movement can lead to evil consequences, hence the added stipulation, “Perseverance furthers”—that is, consistency in doing right—together with “No blame.” Just as we should not ask others to follow us unless this condition is fulfilled [and all following should be rejected, as it would inflict harm on the followers, if one is discerning enough to judge oneself as lacking method, merit, principle, and that exposure would lead to grave consequences, either to the exposer or the exposee, according to time and age judged by one’s reason that is done in accordance with one’s intellect, and assessment of others], so it is only under this condition that we can in turn follow others without coming to harm.The thought of obtaining a following through adaptation to the demands of the time is a great and significant idea; this is why the appended judgment is so favorable.


Thunder in the middle of the lake:The image of FOLLOWING.Thus the superior man at nightfall Goes indoors for rest and recuperation.In the autumn electricity withdraws into the earth again and rests. Here it is the thunder in the middle of the lake that serves as the image—thunder in its winter rest, not thunder in motion. The idea of following in the sense of adaptation to the demands of the time grows out of this image. Thunder in the middle of the lake indicates times of darkness and rest. Similarly, a superior man, after being tirelessly active all day, allows himself rest and recuperation at night. No situation can become favorable until one is able to adapt to it and does not wear himself out with mistaken resistance [fortifying defences in the wrong place and waiting for the attack, we waste our time and energy, may be attacked from another angle, or encircled and defeated, growing stiff in mind by building an armor of habits suffocates dynamic engagement of life – in ten times when the sword is swung and may fall on us, thirty missess should not raise our shield at all times, for ten times we should be prepared to defend ourselves swiftly, for twenty others to act].


Nine at the beginning means:The standard is changing.Perseverance brings good fortune.To go out of the door in company Produces deeds.There are exceptional conditions in which the relation between leader and followers changes. It is implicit in the idea of following and adaptation that if one wants to lead others, one must remain accessible and responsive to the views of those under him. At the same time, however, he must have firm principles, so that he does not vacillate where there is only a question of current opinion. Once we are ready to listen to the opinions of others, we must not associate exclusively with people who share our views or with members of our own party; instead, we must go out and mingle freely with all sorts of people, friends or foes. That is the only way to achieve something. [vaulting similar views in one group separates us from the rest, it creates unsurpassable differences after a while, and the upper does not relate to the lower, when the mingling comes, there is strife and slaughter, when one knows the perspectives and various differences and may be impartial, he speaks according to need, but preserves homogeneity of his composition or integrity without compromising it with views of others, but wisely discerning in how to speak to exchange perspective and guide one from the other’s party subjective viewpoint towards the greater. It is to penetrate the other character and overcome it through understanding, and then guiding it towards mutual understanding]

Six in the second place means:If one clings to the little boy, One loses the strong man.In friendships and close relationships an individual must make a careful choice. He surrounds himself either with good or with bad company; he cannot have both at once. If he throws himself away on unworthy friends he loses connection with people of intellectual power who could further him in the good. [if one follows one’s puer eternus, one loses the advise of the Senex, if one gives himself away to the whims of an inner child, he no longer listens to his mature understandings, likewise in dealing with people wise people should be sought out]

Six in the third place means:If one clings to the strong man,One loses the little boy.Through following one finds what one seeks.It furthers one to remain persevering.When the right connection with distinguished people has been found, a certain loss naturally ensues. A man must part company with the inferior and superficial. But in his heart he will feel satisfied, because he will find what he seeks and needs for the development of his personality [the superficial things are easily abandoned once development ensues, the whims and petty desires are sacrificed for the greater path, and no longer trouble us]. The important thing is to remain firm. He must know what he wants and not be led astray by momentary inclinations.

Nine in the fourth place means: Following creates success.Perseverance brings misfortune.To go one’s way with sincerity brings clarity.How could there be blame in this?It often happens, when a man exerts a certain amount of influence, that he obtains a following by condescension toward inferiors. But the people who attach themselves to him are not honest in their intentions. They seek personal advantage and try to make themselves indispensable through flattery and subservience. If one becomes accustomed to such satellites and cannot do without them, it brings misfortune. Only when a man is completely free from his ego, and intent, by conviction, upon what is right and essential, does he acquire the clarity that enables him to see through such people, and become free of blame [thus reflecting often on the shortcomings of oneself, and of impermanent and imperfect state of such affiliations, one guards himself three times as much in comparison to the position of a sage, he cannot develop delusion or paranoia, but remain strong and detached, not given to the interests of satellites, not losing the whole from sight, he who guards his thoughts, words and actions and the gates of senses] Nine in the fifth place means:Sincere in the good. Good fortune.

Every man must have something he follows—something that serves him as a lodestar. He who follows with conviction the beautiful and the good may feel himself strengthened by this saying. [reference needs to be developed, if referenced towards the good and beautiful, towards order, starry heavens, we absorbe these aspirations slowly, by knowing, understanding and persevering in them, the law of enantiodromia orwork of opposites’ may be at play, whenever the signs approach and reversion to danger is due, we should arm ourselves in patience and firm resolution, otherwise we will lose ourselves, ‘light that shines too much provokes darkness’ – Ernst Junger; What is in fullness, becomes empty, what is empty may become it’s opposite, that tao is within’.


‘Harmony of tension in opposition’. This axiom is presented here as it appears in Porphyry De antro nympharum 29, at the conclusion of a list of fundamental oppositions (e.g. night and day): palintonos he ¯ harmonie ¯ kai toxeuei dia to ¯n enantio ¯n. It was originally a saying of Heraclitus

Beck, R. The Religion of the Mithras Cult in the Roman Empire (OUP: 2006) p. 6

Six at the top means: He meets with firm allegiance And is still further bound.The king introduces him To the Western Mountain.This refers to a man, an exalted sage, who has already put the turmoil of the world behind him. But a follower appears who understands him and is not to be put off. So the sage comes back into the world and aids the other in his work. Thus there develops an eternal tie between the two.The allegory is chosen from the annals of the Chou dynasty. The rulers of this dynasty honored men who had served them well by awarding them a place in the royal family’s temple of ancestors on the Western Mountain. In this way they were regarded as sharing in the destiny of the ruling family.