Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Hexagram 47.3 Oppressed by stone

In Hexagram 47 Kun / Oppression, the lake is above, water below; the lake is empty, dried up. The upper trigram belongs to the principle of darkness, the lower to the principle of light. Thus everywhere superior men are oppressed and held in restraint by inferior men.

Six in the third place means:

A man permits himself to be oppressed by stone, and leans on thorns and thistles. He enters his house and does not see his wife. Misfortune.

This shows a man who is restless and indecisive in times of adversity. He butts his head against a wall and in consequence feels himself oppressed by the wall. Then he leans on things that have in themselves no stability and that are merely a hazard for him who leans on them. Thereupon he turns back irresolutely and retires into his house, only to find, as a fresh disappointment, that his wife is not there. [W/B]

This collective wisdom passed down the ages in the Book of Changes also teaches professional managers or coaches what not to do. That is “Do not rely on the unreliable, otherwise they could butt their heads against the wall and feel oppressed by it.”

Those professional football coaches who rely on their tried and tested players during qualifications seemed to have a better success rate than others at the FIFA World Cup 2014. While professional football players can enjoy a huge success in scoring goals at club levels, they can fail to score any at the world cup stage – remember the failure of Lionel Messi, the then World Footballer of the Year, to score any goals at the FIFA World Cup 2010?

Most of the top strikers during recent qualifications or at previous world cups performed their part at the group stage where goals do count. Lionel Messi counts among the top strikers with a tally of four goals - from three group matches - at this World Cup.

On the contrary, Spain’s national team coach may have provided a very good example to depict this six in the third place of Hexagram 47.

Under his superb leadership and guidance, Spain won their first ever FIFA World Cup held in South Africa in 2010 and subsequently successfully defended their European Championship title in 2012.

The coach was spoiled for choice with so many good Spanish players in the team to choose from. Yet his selection of the eleven players who played in the first two group matches in the World Cup 2014 comprised of an untested forward and of nil scoring strikers and midfielders who have had appeared in as many as eight qualifiers. When these players cannot even score a goal against weaker teams in seven or eight qualifiers, what are the chances of them scoring goals at the highest stage of football?

Does this not mean relying on the unreliable?

This would probably help explain why Spain could only score one goal - through a penalty - out of two group matches.

Spain, the FIFA world champion, was humiliated 5 -1 by the Netherlands in the first match and was outclassed 2 - 0 by Chile in the second. In the third and final group match, the untested forward and some of the unreliable were omitted from the starting lineup.

David Villa, Spain's scorer of most goals ever in the World Cup, was finally allowed to play for his country in this third match. He duly obliged by scoring the first goal against Australia with the final score 3 - 0, a face saving match. Yet he was substituted twenty minutes later after his goal for no apparent reason.

Confucius has this to say about the line:

"If a man allows himself to be oppressed by something that ought not to oppress him, his name will certainly be disgraced. If he leans on things upon which he cannot lean, his life will certainly be endangered.

For him who is in disgrace and danger, the hour of death draws near, how can he then still see his wife?
" [W/B]

History has shown that favoritism of appointing inferior men instead of superior men to important posts of heavy responsibility often leads to failures in wars and battles. It is said in the Book of Changes that oppression lessens rancor. But how many can learn from this wisdom?

For clarity, professional managers or coaches of today would just be replaced or resign in disgrace - their lives would not be endangered. (There are plenty of examples in the recent global financial crisis.)

However if the line happens to be a prognostication or an omen, it is a different matter altogether. Yijing aficionados will then have to take into account the entire line judgment and commentary by Confucius for its interpretation.

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