I Ching Diary: big have

Big Have

Fire over Heaven: Hexagram 14 (大有/dà yǒu) literally means “big have” or in more formal English “great measure”. It marks a time of great power and clarity – not to mention wealth and success.


I Ching Hexagram 14: great measure

Having been awoken by an angry stomach bug at four o’clock this morning, I’m not exactly feeling these vibes. But I’ll take them as a sign that great things lie ahead for me. Given that the second hexagon in the reading resulting from the transformation of Line 5 was Number 1, The Creative (乾/qián), I’m telling myself that I’m truly at the height of my powers. Sometimes, I guess, you just have to fake it to make it.

I Ching Hexagram 1: The Creative

I wish I’d studied the I Ching before tackling the Analects of Confucius and the Daodejing. Most of the ideas and ethical precepts that are explored in those two texts originate from the Book of Changes.

To me, the most important one is the focus on personal responsibility and accountability. Leadership is not an inherited right. An individual has to prove himself worthy of the role, first of all by cultivating himself and then by properly managing his family. Just as important, when he reaches a leadership position he has to continue to improve his abilities and conduct in order to carry out his greater responsibilities more effectively. If he doesn’t, he deserves to fall from power because he has lost what in later times was defined as the Mandate of Heaven.

Sexist assumptions apart, this is a leadership model that is just as applicable today as in ancient China. While it’s very easy to criticize the actions of other people, I can’t help thinking that all of us would better off taking a closer look at our own actions and motivations first before hurling flaming projectiles at others from the social media ramparts.

And yes, I’m just as guilty of this as anyone else – if not more so.

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