Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An interpretation of Kan / The Abysmal

The following interpretation is based on a scenario where the Zhouyi gave Hexagram 29 Kan / The Abysmal with a changing fourth line as the prognostication to a fellow Yi diviner who had asked about an investment in the stock market. Since investments involve money, one seldom relies on the consultations of others unless one is certain that the Yi spoke or regularly speaks to the particular diviner. On the assumption that the Yi did speak on this occasion, one would interpret the prognostication in this traditional way.

The Judgment says:
The Abysmal repeated. If you are sincere, you have success in your heart, and whatever you do succeeds.

Commentary - highlights:

The name of the hexagram, because the trigram is doubled, has the additional meaning of ‘repetition of danger’. Thus the hexagram is intended to designate an objective situation to which one must become accustomed, not a subjective attitude. For danger due to a subjective attitude means either foolhardiness or guile. Hence too a ravine is used to symbolize danger; it is a situation in which a man is in the same pass as the water in a ravine, and, like the water, he can escape if he behaves correctly.

In danger all that counts is really carrying out all that has to be done – thoroughness – and going forward, in order not to perish through tarrying in the danger.

Six in the fourth place means:
A jug of wine, a bowl of rice with it; earthen vessels simply handed in through the window. There is certainly no blame in this.

In times of danger ceremonious forms are dropped. What matters most is sincerity. [W/B]

Since the fourth line of Kan moves the hexagram changes to Hexagram 47 K’un / Oppression.

Its Judgment says :
Oppression. Success. Perseverance. The great man brings about good fortune. No blame. When one has something to say, it is not believed.

Diviners need to pause and ponder on what the Yi is really trying to tell us with this prognostication.

The judgment says that if we are sincere, we have success in our hearts, and whatever we do succeed. But the commentary tells us that the doubling of the trigram warns of danger ahead, especially when we hold a subjective attitude. And we can only escape the danger if our behavior is correct.

Then the prognostication – the fourth line – depicts a simple ceremony of offering. And no blame is accorded because of the dangerous times. The end result lands us in oppression or exhaustion.

Additional thoughts :

If one were to receive this hexagram and/or the line as the prognostication, one would not invest in the stock concerned. Prior purchases of the particular stock will also be disposed of in haste. Others could handle the situation differently. In my books, Kan is an ominous or bad hexagram for investments. Yi aficionados may differ.

From experience, Kan forewarns of great danger that lies ahead. (Repetition of danger) It also signifies bottomless pits (abyss upon abyss). Aware of the particular stock in question, it could face a suspension after limits down, followed by a delisting.

Yi aficionados can argue that in accordance with the Judgment and the fourth line prognostication, as long as the diviner is sincere, he or she will succeed. However can anyone tell me, how deep our sincerity needs to be, before we can ‘move’ Heaven?

Furthermore, if we invest in stocks and shares, we cannot afford a subjective attitude (see above commentary) – that is why investors should not fall in love with a particular stock. No matter how deep the sincerity in our prayers or offerings, many an investor lost his shirt because of this subjective attitude. (Some call it stubbornness instead of foolhardiness.)

A good recent example is that of the Centro Properties Group stock, it has fallen 94% since its highs reached in May, with a market capitalization of Australian $ 8 billion wiped off. Woes betide those investors who had held onto the stock since last May. Perhaps it was a great company to own, then. Now its very survival hinges on the goodwill and indulgence of its loan creditors. Its business model worked during good times. However just like what global banks are currently facing, short term loans to finance long term assets invariably fails when a cycle changes – from boom to bust - think of the falling US property market, the imminent economic slowdown and the resultant credit crunch.

When a company faces deep trouble because its business model is failing or will fail because of external factors beyond its control, who can blame the small investor for disposing of his or her investments in the particular stock? Like the Centro Properties example, no amount of sincere prayers or offerings can help its investors get back the vanished Aussie $8 billion in times of danger.

If the Yi speaks, do not treat the forewarning(s) lightly. Sometimes by cutting losses early, we can preserve capital for another great battle, going forward.

Still it will be entirely up to the investor(s) what actions he or she wants to take with the investment concerned.


1 comment:

ballantrae-reprint said...

Thanks for the little lesson on treating a hexagram. The point about the dangers of a subjective attitude is most interesting.
Best wishes,
John Ballantrae