32. Hêng / Duration

The strong trigram Chên is above, the weak trigram Sun below. This
hexagram is the inverse of the preceding one. In the latter we have influence,
here we have union as an enduring condition. The two images are thunder
and wind, which are likewise constantly paired phenomena. The lower
trigram indicates gentleness within; the upper, movement without.

In the sphere of social relationships, the hexagram represents the institution
of marriage as the enduring union of the sexes. During courtship the young
man subordinates himself to the girl, but in marriage, which is represented by
the coming together of the eldest son and the eldest daughter, the husband is
the directing and moving force outside, while the wife, inside, is gentle and


DURATION. Success. No blame.
Perseverance furthers.
It furthers one to have somewhere to go.

Duration is a state whose movement is not worn down by hindrances. It is
not a state of rest, for mere standstill is regression. Duration is rather the self-
contained and therefore self-renewing movement of an organized, firmly
integrated whole, taking place in accordance with immutable laws and
beginning anew at every ending. The end is reached by an inward
movement, by inhalation, systole, contraction, and this movement turns into
a new beginning, in which the movement is directed outward, in exhalation,
diastole, expansion.

Heavenly bodies exemplify duration. They move in their fixed orbits, and
because of this their light-giving power endures. The seasons of the year
follow a fixed law of change and transformation, hence can produce effects
that endure.

So likewise the dedicated man embodies an enduring meaning in his way
of life, and thereby the world is formed. In that which gives things their
duration, we can come to understand the nature of all beings in heaven and
on earth.


Thunder and wind: the image of DURATION.
Thus the superior man stands firm
And does not change has direction.

Thunder rolls, and the wind blows; both are examples of extreme mobility
and so are seemingly the very opposite of duration, but the laws governing
their appearance and subsidence, their coming and going, endure. In the same
way the independence of the superior man is not based on rigidity and
immobility of character. He always keeps abreast of the time and changes
with it. What endures is the unswerving directive, the inner law of his
being, which determines all his actions.


Six at the beginning means:
Seeking duration too hastily brings misfortune persistently.
Nothing that would further.

Whatever endures can be created only gradually by long-continued work and
careful reflection. In the same sense Lao-tse says: “If we wish to compress
something, we must first let it fully expand.” He who demands too much at
once is acting precipitately, and because he attempts too much, he ends by
succeeding in nothing.

Nine in the second place means:
Remorse disappears.

The situation is abnormal. A man’s force of character is greater than the
available material power. Thus he might be afraid of allowing himself to
attempt something beyond his strength. However, since it is the time of
DURATION, it is possible for him to control his inner strength and so to
avoid excess. Cause for remorse then disappears.

Nine in the third place means:
He who does not give duration to his character
Meets with disgrace.
Persistent humiliation.

If a man remains at the mercy of moods of hope or fear aroused by the outer
world, he loses his inner consistency of character. Such inconsistency
invariably leads to distressing experiences. These humiliations often come
from an unforeseen quarter. Such experiences are not merely effects
produced by the external world, but logical consequences evoked by his own

Nine in the fourth place means:
No game in the field.

If we are in pursuit of game and want to get a shot at a quarry, we must set
about it in the right way. A man who persists in stalking game in a place
where there is none may wait forever without finding any. Persistence in
search is not enough. What is not sought in the right way is not found.

Six in the fifth place means:
Giving duration to one’s character through perseverance.
This is good fortune for a woman, misfortune for a man.

A woman should follow a man her whole life long, but a man should at all
times hold to what is his duty at the given moment. Should he persistently
seek to conform to the woman, it would be a mistake for him. Accordingly it
is altogether right for a woman to hold conservatively to tradition, but a man
must always be flexible and adaptable and allow himself to be guided solely by
what his duty requires of him at the moment.

Six at the top means:
Restlessness as an enduring condition brings misfortune.

There are people who live in a state of perpetual hurry without ever attaining
inner composure. Restlessness not only prevents all thoroughness but actually
becomes a danger if it is dominant in places of authority.