At the end of “Influencers Cut Through the Noise” I resolved to ask The Common Sense Book of Change how to present the I Ching to the Millennial generation. I did so recognizing that Einstein’s warning doesn’t seem to get through. It’s urgently necessary to find out what will.
Einstein warned, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” How do savvy influencers translate this imperative into Millennial terms? What relevant key can cut through the layers of noise (assumptions, prejudice, distractions) that cloud perception?
The hexagram (six-line shorthand graph) answer to my query was COLLECTIVE ACTION with a single changing line in the fourth place. It looks like this:
Here’s the reading which represents the basic situation:
The foundation of successful COLLECTIVE ACTION is three-fold.
It requires clearly-defined, worthy goals,
effective organization and
willing self-discipline on the part of all involved.
Respectful awareness of others’ needs
will bring grateful cooperation.
Keep the larger purpose for action clearly in mind.
Avoid selfish exploitation of good-will.
What strikes me immediately is that this recommended approach is antithetical to the hippie, “do your own thing” attitude of the Baby Boomer generation that turned to the Book of Change to reinforce rebellious, antisocial individuality.
Paradoxically, there is no conflict. Thankfully, the I Ching is universal. The Introduction to the CSBOC observes:
Because the I Ching’s diagram of the universe is so complete,
it is regarded as a valid tool by people with many different points of view.
For example, Lao Tse, a Taoist, used the Book of Change.
He viewed the world as an artist and free spirit.
Confucius, however, who was mainly concerned with duty towards family and state,
also had profound respect for the Book of Change.
The two-directional, infinite loop of the Unified Theory explains how this can be. Introspection on the inward path of individuation and social responsibility on the outward extension are ultimately compatible. Each extreme compliments and completes the other. Conversely, each out of balance and lacking the other, is incomplete.
Moving forward, however, the recommended approach of COLLECTIVE ACTION isn’t static. The fourth place associated with the heart center of yoga anatomy is a changing line. It contains a warning, which, if heeded, has the potential to transform the immediate situation into a new one. “When dangers are too great to handle, retreat. Try later.”
This caution is certainly reason to pause and consider. What dangers? Perhaps there’s an automatic-pilot animosity, a reflexive rejection of an unfamiliar book assumed to be foreign, unscientific, or just plain weird. Then again, perhaps Millennials harbor an intense, angry mistrust for the I Ching as a book they associate with their irresponsible elders.
If the warning advice is heeded and thoughtful pause is taken before pushing forward with promoting the Book of Change to Millennials, then what is the likely outcome? The new pattern that results from heeding the warning is Hexagram 40, FORGIVENESS:
Through FORGIVENESS, old debts are canceled and harmony is restored.
Free yourself from outgrown habits. Don’t be afraid to let go of the past.
Releasing tensions will produce health. Mental blocks will be resolved.
New clarity of vision will lead to important decisions.
Peace of mind will follow. Avoid anxiousness.
The consequences of reconciliation that could result from this improved approach to generational strife deserve a major blog in itself. For here it must suffice to say that what both Millennials and their elders have to gain from working intelligently with the I Ching is a healing of destructive misunderstandings. This brings me back to the basic point made in “Dangerous Times Call for True Radicals.” (See wp.me/p46Y5Z-aA.):
My best hope for Millennials is that they’ll benefit from the lessons of history
and NOT mindlessly perpetuate the pattern of yo-yo swings
between opposite and equally dysfunctional extremes on the surface,
disconnected from the timeless center.
There’s a shared benefit for all generations alike in using The Book of Change. Contrary to popular misconceptions, it’s not a manual to use for the purpose of stirring up change for its own sake. The primary purpose for working with the I Ching is to maintain balance. The more confusing and desperate the times, the greater the benefit.
Individuals consult the book to preserve mental-emotional equilibrium throughout life’s ongoing personal challenges. Leaders depend on the wisdom of the I Ching to steer a steady course towards their goals despite all obstacles and upheavals.
More specific benefits for the Millennial generation will have to be continued another time.