13. T’ung Jên / Fellowship with Men

The image of the upper trigram Ch’ien is heaven, and that of the lower, Li, is
flame. It is the nature of fire to flame up to the heaven. This gives the idea of
fellowship. IT is the second line that, by virtue of its central character, unites
the five strong lines around it. This hexagram forms a complement to Shih,
THE ARMY (7). In the latter, danger is within and obedience without—the
character of a warlike army, which, in order to hold together, needs one
strong man among the many who are weak. Here, clarity is within and
strength without—the character of a peaceful union of men, which, in order to
hold together, needs one yielding nature among many firm persons.


It furthers one to cross the great water.
The perseverance of the superior man furthers.

True fellowship among men must be based upon a concern that is universal.
It is not the private interests of the individual that create lasting fellowship
among men, but rather the goals of humanity. That is why it is said that
fellowship with men in the open succeeds. If unity of this kind prevails,
even difficult and dangerous tasks, such as crossing the great water, can be
accomplished. But in order to bring about this sort of fellowship, a
persevering and enlightened leader is needed—a man with clear, convincing,
and inspiring aims and the strength to carry them out. (The inner trigram
means clarity; the outer, strength.)


Heaven together with fire:
Thus the superior man organizes the clans
And makes distinctions between things.

Heaven has the same direction of movement as fire, yet it is different from
fire. Just as the luminaries in the sky serve for the systematic division and
arrangement of time, so human society and all things that really belong
together must be organically arranged. Fellowship should not be a mere
mingling of individuals or of things—that would be chaos, not fellowship. If
fellowship is to lead to order, there must be organization within diversity.


Nine at the beginning means:
Fellowship with men at the gate.
No blame.

The beginning of union among people should take place before the door. All
are equally close to one another. No divergent aims have yet arisen, and one
makes not mistakes. The basic principles of any kind of union must be
equally accessible to all concerned. Secret agreements bring misfortune.

Six in the second place means:
Fellowship with men in the clan.

There is danger here of formation of a separate faction on the basis of
personal and egotistic interests. Such factions, which are exclusive and,
instead of welcoming all men, must condemn one group in order to unite the
others, originate from low motives and therefore lead in the course of time to

Nine in the third place means:
He hides weapons in the thicket;
He climbs the high hill in front of it.
For three years he does not rise up.

Here fellowship has changed about to mistrust. Each man distrusts the other,
plans a secret ambush, and seeks to spy on his fellow form afar. We are
dealing with an obstinate opponent whom we cannot come at by this method.
Obstacles standing in the way of fellowship with others are shown here. One
has mental reservations for one’s own part and seeks to take his opponent by
surprise. This very fact makes one mistrustful, suspecting the same wiles in
his opponent and trying to ferret them out. The result is that one departs
further and further from true fellowship. The longer this goes on, the more
alienated one becomes.

Nine in the fourth place means:
He climbs up on his wall; he cannot attack.
Good fortune.

Here the reconciliation that follows quarrel mover nearer. It is true that there
are still dividing walls on which we stand confronting one another. But the
difficulties are too great. We get into straits, and this brings us to our senses.
We cannot fight, and therein lies our good fortune.

Nine in the fifth place means:
Men bound in fellowship first weep and lament,
But afterward they laugh.
After great struggles they succeed in meeting.

Two people are outwardly separated, but in their hearts they are united. They
are kept apart by their positions in life. Many difficulties and obstructions
arise between them and cause them grief. But, remaining true to each other,
the allow nothing to separate them, and although it costs them a severe
struggle to overcome the obstacles, they will succeed. When they come
together their sadness will change to joy. Confucius says of this:

Life leads the thoughtful man on a path of many windings.
Now the course is checked, now it runs straight again.
Here winged thoughts may pour freely forth in words,
There the heavy burden of knowledge must be shut away in silence.
But when two people are at one in the inmost hearts,
They shatter even the strength of iron or of bronze.
And when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts,
Their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.

Nine at the top means:
Fellowship with men in the meadow.
No remorse.

The warm attachment that springs from the heart is lacking here. We are by
this time actually outside of fellowship with others. However, we ally
ourselves with them. The fellowship does not include all, but only those
who happen to dwell near one another. The meadow is the pasture at the
entrance to the town. At this stage, the ultimate goal of the union of
mankind has not yet been attained, but we need not reproach ourselves. We
join the community without separate aims of our own.