Grendel’s Laundry List: A Reading from the I Ching
above TUI The Joyous, Lake
below LI The Clinging, Fire
The Chinese character for this hexagram means in its original sense an animal’s pelt, which is changed in the course of the year by molting. From this the word is carried over to apply to the “moltings” in political life, the great revolutions connected with the changes of government.
The influences are in actual conflict, and the forces combat each other like fire and water (lake), each trying to destroy the other.
REVOLUTION. On your own day you are believed. Supreme success. Furthering through perseverance. Remorse disapears.
Political revolutions are extremely grave matters. They should by undertaken only under stress of direct necessity, when there is no other way out. Not everyone is called to this task, but only the man who has the confidence of the people, and even he only when the time is ripe. He must proceed in the right way, so that he gladdens the people and, by enlightening them, prevents excesses. Furthermore, he must be quite free of selfish aims and must really relieve the need of the people. Only then does he have nothing to regret.
Times change, and with them their demands. Thus the seasons change in the course of the year. In the world cycle also there are spring and autumn in the life of peoples and of nations, and these call for social transformations.
FIRE IN THE LAKE: The image of Revolution. Thus the superior man sets the calendar in order and makes the seasons clear.
Fire below and the lake above combat and destroy each other. So too in the course of the year a combat takes place between the forces of light and the forces of darkness, eventuating in the revolution of the seasons. Man masters these changes in nature by noting their regularity and marking off the passage of time accordingly. In this way order and clarity appear in the apparently chaotic changes of the season, and man is able to adjust himself in advance to the demands of different times.
Changes ought to be undertaken only when there is nothing else to be done. Therefore at first the utmost restraint is necessary. One must firm in one’s mind, control oneself…because any premature offensive will bring evil results.
When we have tried every way to bring about reforms, but without success, revolution becomes necessary. But such a thoroughgoing upheaval must be carefully prepared…The first thing to be considered is our inner attitude toward the new condition which will inevitably come. We have to go out to meet it, as it were. Only in this way can it be prepared for.
When talk of revolution has gone the rounds three times, one may commit oneself, and people will believe you.
When change is necessary, there are two mistakes to be avoided. One lies in excessive haste and ruthlessness, which bring disaster. The other lies in excessive hesitation and conservatism, which are also dangerous. Not every demand for change in the existing order should be heeded. On the other hand, repeated and well-founded complaints should not fail of a hearing. When talk of change has come to one’s ears three times, and has pondered well, one may believe and acquiesce in it. Then one will meet with belief and accomplish something.
What one does must correspond with a higher truth and must not spring from arbitrary or petty motives; then it brings great good fortune. If a revolution is not founded on such inner truth, the results are bad, and it has no success. For in the end the people will support only those undertakings which they feel instinctively to be true.
We must be satisfied with the attainable. If we should go too far and try to achieve too much, it would lead to unrest and misfortune. For the object of a great revolution is the attainment of clarified, secure conditions ensuring a general stabilization on the basis of what is possible at the moment.
I wish I thought President Obama was a revolutionary in the sense expressed by this excerpt from the I-Ching. But I do not. I think Barack Obama is the true conservative in this lethal pie fight in which our ruling class is currently engaged. I think his conservatism, and his hesitation in taking up the good fight against the Lords of Misrule that have taken over the political discourse and monkeywrenched the levers of legitimate government, is actually more dangerous than the antics of the duly-elected teahadists in Congress. Obama’s thirst for compromise has brought us to the brink of effectively repealing the New Deal and sending many of the citizens who voted for him straight to Hooverville, those of them that aren’t there already. The radical “conservatives” in the parliament of whores have shouted out repeatedly for all to hear that “compromise” is a dirty word, the ultimate blasphemy in their holy war against everything/anything that Obama and the Democratic Party care to stand for. But the members of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus are simply the equivalent of the Black Hand catspaws willing to shoot the Archduke.
This completely arbitrary, unnecessary, and fallacious not to say fraudulent debt ceiling crisis is not simply an episode of legislative hostage-taking on the part of the whingiest whingers of the whinge wing of the GOP. The idea that debt is our primary problem and reducing the deficit is the solution to it is a folie en famille or even folie à plusieurs, a species of induced delusion that has infected the governmental and financial elites not only of this country, but of the world. The current crisis is primarly a product and expression of this delusional psychosis of global elites, not the rabid, mouth-frothing insanity of the political puppets of a subset of our “Galtian Overlords.” The cannibal clown pie fight in D.C. is not “a feature, not a bug,” it is both bug and feature.
As Mrs. Dr. Omed says, “It is very hard for someone to recognize a problem when their livelihood depends on not recognizing it.” The livelihoods, not mention the status, power, wealth, and position of our ruling classes depends on them not recognizing and addressing our true problems, not just publicly, but I suspect for most, even in thought. Those who do address our true problems (take your pick, I got my list, make your own) suffer the punishment–loss of prestige or influence or income or even the fate of heretics at a modern multimedia Auto-da-fe.
President Obama’s reelection depends–or at least he and his administration behave as if they believe his reelection depends–on not recognizing our true problems, and instead focusing on “problems” for which the dominant but dysfunctional paradigm already has “solutions.” Let me go straight for the Godwin’s Law violation and suggest that more than one Wannsee Conference has met to promulgate the protocols of a “Final Solution” of our Finance Problem, and no tea party fanatics were invited. Wake up and smell the catfood. “Extremism in the cause of liberty” may or may not be “a vice,” but the extremities of triangulating centrists, not the extremism of extremists, brought us to this pass.