Friday, April 5, 2013

I Ching: Hexagram 21 - The Image

Thunder and lighting:
The image of BITING THROUGH.
Thus the kings of former times made firm the laws
Through clearly defined penalties.

Penalties are the individual applications of the law. The laws specify the penalties. Clarity prevails when mild and severe penalties are differentiated, according to the nature of the crimes. This is symbolized by the clarity of lightning. The law is strengthened by a just application of penalties. This is symbolized by the terror of thunder. This clarity and severity have the effect of instilling respect; it is not that the penalties are ends in themselves. The obstructions in the social life of man increase when there is a lack of clarity in the penal codes and slackness in executing them. The only way to strengthen the law is to make it clear and to make penalties certain and swift.
Translator of this version of the I Ching is Richard Wilhelm. If you missed any posts in this series, please utilize the I Ching label below.

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