Sunday, 12 March 2017

The I Ching On Brexit - a Follow Up Divination

As we head for the Spring Equinox and the final parliamentary vote on the Brexit bill before Theresa May's planned deadline for triggering Article 50, I thought it worth doing a follow-up divination to the one I did just after the Brexit referendum results were revealed.

Once again, it seems incredibly pertinent. As well as offering a commentary on how things are currently unfolding, it also offers a prediction of the likely end result, given our current trajectory and the actions/reactions of the various parties involved.

Question: What is likely to be the outcome of Brexit for the UK, given current circumstances?

Hexagram 34. Invigorating Strength/Power of the Great


In the Wilhelm translation, this hexagram is associated with Spring and the months of March & April when there is a fresh burst of life force rising up from beneath the ground in the form of new shoots. It is also associated in Chinese mythology with the Ram and with warrior energy, which is interesting because many astrologers associate the United Kingdom with Aries the Ram. The coronation of William the Conqueror, for example, has Aries rising (and Mars in eccentric, freedom-loving Aquarius) and is a great favourite amongst mundane astrologers.

The Image:

Thunder in heaven above
The image of the POWER OF THE GREAT.
Thus, the superior man does not tread upon paths
that do not accord with established order.

Overall, then, this Hexagram is about growing power and strength (UPPER TRIGRAM = CHEN the Arousing), which is paired with movement (LOWER TRIGRAM = CHIEN the Creative), giving it momentum.

I like the idea of a growing strength rising from below and ascending up the Hexagram - it resembles the Brexit vote - which began with a mandate from the people in June 2016, which has been slowly ascending upwards through the ranks of power as it is debated in the various chambers of Parliament, finally to end up as a law.

However, according to both the Wilhelm interpretation and that of Stephen Karcher, this Hexagram also comes with a warning:
"The hexagram points to a time when inner worth mounts with great force and comes to power. But it's strength has already passed beyond the median line, hence there is danger that one may rely entirely on one's own power and forget to ask what it right." (Wilhelm, 2003 p.133)
In Confucian terms, then, this hexagram is offering a warning to those in government to heed the advice and criticisms of both the opposition benches and the Lords, rather than rush headlong into battle with the EU in the form of exit negotiations:

"There is danger too that, being intent on movement, we may not wait for the right time." (Wilhelm, 2003 p.133)

It is reminding them that they are not a dictatorship, but an elected body, who are answerable to the people (only half of whom voted for Brexit), so they need to consider the bigger picture and be considered in their actions. Not hell bent on triggering Article 50 by a certain date before the matter has been properly debated and consulted upon.

 The Sun will enter Aries at the Spring Equinox on March 20 at 10:30am GMT, making it a month very much associated with the Ram and its Martian energy. Excessive use of force, and impetuousness are two qualities associated with Aries, which is often in too much of a hurry and does not stop to properly consider the implications of things - it is all 'Go, go, go!'. That is why it is counter-balanced by the more moderate and balanced energy of Libra, the scales, associated with justice, the law and considered judgements.

Interestingly, Mercury, which rules politics and debate, will enter Aries tomorrow (13 March), which might increase the sense of urgency we are already seeing develop amongst MPs in the lead-up to next week's Brexit vote.  However, the I Ching seems to be a warning the government not to rush headlong into any decision, much as Tony Blair was urging in his recent speech as, in which he described the government's current course of action as a 'rush over the cliff’s edge.'

 

Changing Lines:

We have a few changing lines that provide further detail about the situation and how it will develop:

Nine at 4th place:
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Remorse disappears.
The hedge opens; there is no entanglement.
Power depends upon the axle of a big cart.

This line is all about getting people on side and behind an initiative - and of course, having a strong axle in place to start with.It is the axle that keeps the wheels turning - and prevents them from falling off, basically!

This suggests a need to use the mechanisms of democracy  - parliamentary debate and open discussion and consultation - to gain consensus and more widespread support  - for the Brexit bill. Otherwise,  the government will soon find itself alienated and without the solid mandate needed to act on behalf of the whole country.

Six at 5th place:
Loses the goat with ease.
No remorse.

According to Wilhelm:
"The goat is known for hardness outwardly and weakness within. Now the situation is such that everything is easy; there is no more resistance. One can give up a belligerent, stubborn way of acting  and will not have to regret it. (Wilhelm, 2003, p.135)"

However, Karcher has a slightly different interpretation:
"Not an appropriate situation. This Wang Hai [the archetypal herdsman and warrior king of the Shang people] who, through his lust and carelessness, lost his flocks. (Karcher, 2003, p.273)."

An important warning to any leader or government not to become so arrogant, stubborn or headstrong that it forgets to listen to its advisers - and its people. His advice in this situation: Be creative with how you use your strength and be open to other ways of achieving your aims. There are many ways to skin a cat, as they say.
"Don't always charge into obstacles. There are more interesting ways to deal with things. If you realise this, your sorrows will simply disappear. You will soon regain what you have lost."
So a bit less haughty smugness or bullying and a bit more subtlety and guile in how you go about achieving things - something David Davis and Ian Duncan Smith might want to take note of.

I can't help thinking that some members of the Tory party such as William Hague may be trying to offer the May government (which some believe need a clearer mandate from the British electorate to cement their legitimacy) a way out of this mess via a General Election. This would not only be face-saving for the Tories but also potentially give the government a way of returning to the electorate to consult them on how they felt about a hard Brexit. After all, no one actually voted on leaving the single market and it is the economic factor that may well be playing on people's minds now that the prospect of a hard Brexit looks increasingly likely, and all the signals from No. 11 are that a rocky economic road lies ahead, certainly for the foreseeable future.

Tony Blair has also hinted at a second referendum or election as being a way out of a stalemate:
Yes, the British people voted to leave Europe. And I agree the will of the people should prevail. I accept right now there is no widespread appetite to re-think. But the people voted without knowledge of the terms of Brexit. As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind.

So, will the politicians pause and consider their options next week, or will it be what Blair calls 'Brexit at Any Cost'?

Let us look at what the hexagram morphs into.

Hexagram 20. Contemplation/View


This hexagram is based around the idea of a Tower or view from a high place. It is about having an eagle's eye view of a situation - being able to see the big picture, but also about the visibility of leaders and other public figures and the corresponding need for them, as role models, to be above reproach.

In this situation, one can easily interpret this as taking the long view about the possible consequences of Brexit , rather than simply getting caught up in being on the winning side, hastily getting on with it before others can object , or the satisfaction of having one's way.

The Image:

The wind blows over the earth: 
The image of Contemplation. 
Thus the kings of old visited the regions of the world, 
contemplated the people and gave them instruction.

Wilhelm interpreted this within the context of a ritual which the ancient Chinese kings used to perform, which was to frequently go on a tour to survey their kingdom - a case of 'see and be seen'. This had the effect of keeping the king in touch with his people, as well as reinforcing his authority.

"When the wind blows over the earth it goes far and wide, and the grass must bend to its power. These two occurrences find confirmation in the hexagram. ... All of this points to the power possessed by a superior personality. On the one hand, such a man will have a view of the real sentiments of the great mass of humanity and therefore cannot be deceived; on the other, he will impress the people so profoundly, by his mere existence and by the impact of his personality, that they will be swayed by him as the grass by the wind."
The hexagram therefore suggests less of a removed, smug or dictatorial attitude and more of a hands-on, consultative approach.

Consulting with the masses, finding out what they think. One way of doing so is to hold a referendum or an election - asking the people what they think. Election campaigning also involves going on the road, talking to people and finding out their views on a lot of subjects.

It would seem to me that the I Ching is suggesting that many members of the Tory party may be out of touch with their constituents and the best thing that this government could do would be to consult the public further on this matter before making hugely important unilateral decisions that could affect them for years to come. The question is: will they listen to the many reasoned voices telling them to slow down and reconsider? Or will they simply push on regardless and keep dismissing every critic as a sore loser/'remoaner'?