Bob Schwartz

Month: January, 2023

Martin Luther King Jr.: The Poor People’s Campaign

Participants in the Poor People’s Campaign walk peacefully toward the Capitol in Washington, June 24, 1968.

“We are coming to Washington in a Poor People’s Campaign. Yes, we are going to bring the tired, the poor, the huddled masses. … We are coming to demand government address itself to the problem of poverty.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Late in his too-brief life, Martin Luther King Jr. expanded his powerful focus from the inequities of race in America to the inequities of class. In December 1967, he announced the plan to bring together poor people from across the country for a new march on Washington, to demand better jobs, homes, education. It was to be the Poor People’s Campaign.

In March 1968, King went to Memphis to support striking sanitation workers. He addressed those workers on March 18:


And I come by here to say that America too is going to hell if she doesn’t use her wealth. If America does not use her vast resources of wealth to end poverty and make it possible for all of God’s children to have the basic necessities of life, she too will go to hell. I will hear America through her historians, years and generations to come, saying, “We built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies. We built gargantuan bridges to span the seas. Through our space ships we were able to carve highways through the stratosphere. Through our submarines we were able to penetrate oceanic depths.” It seems that I can hear the God of the universe saying, “Even though you have done all of that, I was hungry and you fed me not. I was naked and you clothed me not. The children of my sons and daughters were in need of economic security and you didn’t provide it for them. And so you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness.” This may well be the indictment on America. And that same voice says in Memphis to the mayor, to the power structure, “If you do it unto the least of these of my children you do it unto me.
Martin Luther King Jr., March 18, 1968


King did not live to see the campaign begin in May 1968. He was assassinated on April 4. His inspired message and activism is as significant as it was more than fifty years ago. The inequities in America transcend identity and race. Addressing those inequities is not just an American or religious ideal—it is a commandment.

I Ching for 2023 (Part 2): The World

If one does something that has long-lasting effects, it is certain to result in achievement. However, there is one essential prerequisite: to be steadfast and upright. Then there will be no fault, and it will be favorable to go anywhere.

The I Ching (aka Yijing) has been consulted and studied for thousands of years. Some use it for divination, some for guidance and insights into current situations. It is as influential as ever.

At this new year, here is what the I Ching says when asked about the world in 2023 (see Part 1: America).


32
Heng • Long Lasting

NAME AND STRUCTURE
Heng means persistence, perseverance, long lasting.

Sequence of the Gua: The union of husband and wife should not be short-lived. Thus, after Mutual Influence, Long Lasting follows.

Heng is translated by Wilhelm as Duration; by Blofeld as The Long enduring. In this book, it is translated as Long Lasting. The structure of the gua is Thunder above, Wind below. It is the inverse of the preceding gua, Xian , or Mutual Influence. The preceding gua symbolizes a new marriage. In the I Ching, Thunder represents an eldest son, and Wind an eldest daughter. Thus, this gua symbolizes the long-term union of an old married couple.

In the preceding gua the youngest son, Mountain, constitutes the lower gua, which is a subordinate position. In courtship, usually the young man tends to subordinate himself to the young woman. Here the lower gua is replaced by Wind, which symbolizes an older woman at a subordinate place. The attribute of Wind is gentleness. The lower gua also represents an inner situation. It suggests that the woman takes more responsibility at home. The attribute of the man, Thunder, is strength and activity. The upper gua is also known as the outer gua, which represents an outer situation. Here it indicates that the man takes more responsibility in the outside world.

There are two horizontal lines in the ideograph of this gua, one at the top and the other at the bottom. These two lines represent the two shores of a river. Between the shores there are two images—a boat on the right, and a heart on the left. Three people are sailing across the river in the boat. In ancient China, crossing a river was not an easy task. An old Chinese saying describes the situation: “People in the same boat share weal and woe.” Sharing weal and woe means working together in full cooperation with a united purpose—with one heart. For this reason, the ancient sage placed a heart beside the boat. Originally, the boat between two shores indicated the distance from this shore to that shore. Later on, the meaning was extended to suggest simply from here to there and, finally, from beginning to end. When the ancient sage drew a heart beside the boat, the meaning was further extended to include everlasting.

The main theme of Zhou is twofold: Follow the Tao of Heaven to establish the Tao of Humanity. To follow the Tao of Heaven, the ancient sage employed Qian and Kun, characterizing the function of Heaven and earth, to open the Upper Canon. To establish the Tao of Humanity, the ancient sage selected Xian and Heng, the prerequisite of a husband and wife, to commence the Lower Canon. The relationship of Heaven and earth is interactive and everlasting. In the same way, the relationship of a husband and wife should have the quality of long-lasting mutual influence.

The union of a man and woman, to the Chinese, is a sacred event. In the ancient ceremony of a wedding, the man and woman made a sacred vow before Heaven and Earth and to the person in charge of the marriage. Qian represented the bridegroom’s side, and Kun stood for the bride’s side. In this way, the union of a man and woman was akin to the union of Heaven and Earth. The message of this gua is that sincerity, purity, and unselfishness are the essential elements of a long-lasting relationship.

DECISION
Long Lasting.
Prosperous and smooth.
No fault.
Favorable to be steadfast and upright.
Favorable to have somewhere to go.

COMMENTARY ON THE DECISION
Heng is Long Lasting.
The firm is above, the gentle below.
Thunder and wind are in mutual support.
Be gentle and in motion,
The firm and the gentle respond.
This signifies Long Lasting.
Long Lasting brings success; there is no fault.
It is favorable to be steadfast and upright.
This indicates that Long Lasting accords with the Tao.
The Tao of Heaven and Earth is long lasting; it never ends.
It is favorable to go somewhere.
An end is always followed by a new beginning.
Sun and moon rely on the Tao of Heaven;
Thus can their shining be long lasting.
The four seasons change and transform;
Thus can their production of beings long endure.
The holy sage remains long lasting in his way of life;
Then all things under Heaven are transformed to completion.
Contemplate the Tao of Long Lasting,
To see the nature of Heaven and Earth and of all beings.

COMMENTARY ON THE SYMBOL
The union of Thunder and Wind. An image of Long Lasting. In correspondence with this, The superior person stands firm without changing his aim.

SIGNIFICANCE
This gua takes the image of the union of Thunder and Wind to display a long-lasting relationship. Thunder and wind correspond to each other as natural phenomena. Thus, the superior person stands firm and does not change his aim. The Chinese believe that the way of Nature is always correct. Because it is always correct, it is long lasting. The Chinese concept of correctness is that it is free from deviation. Any excess or insufficiency represents deviation and is not right. The secret of success is to walk along the central path, that is, never overreact. Whatever is exactly right can be long lasting.

According to the structure, the upper gua, Thunder, is yang, the elder son. The lower gua, Wind, is yin, the eldest daughter. In the Commentary on the Decision, Confucius says, “The firm is above, the gentle below. Thunder and Wind are in mutual support.” This is the typical ancient Chinese concept of marriage—that a husband should take the initiative, and the wife should be subordinate. This is the way of a harmonious marriage. It is also a natural phenomenon that wind and thunder work together in making a thunderstorm. The lower gua, Wind, supports the actions of the upper gua, Thunder. According to the ancient sages, one should follow the natural law. This is the Tao of Heaven and Earth, which is long lasting, never ending. The main theme of this gua is stated by Confucius:

Sun and moon rely on the Tao of Heaven;
Thus can their shining be long lasting.
The four seasons change and transform;
Thus can their production of beings long endure.
The holy sage remains long lasting in his way of life;
Then all things under Heaven are transformed to completion.
Contemplate the Tao of Long Lasting,
To see the nature of Heaven and Earth and of all beings.

In this gua, the first and the fourth lines are complementary yin and yang, as are the fifth and second lines and the sixth and third lines. All six lines are in harmony with their counterparts. This is necessary if something is to endure. If one does something that has long-lasting effects, it is certain to result in achievement. However, there is one essential prerequisite: to be steadfast and upright. Then there will be no fault, and it will be favorable to go anywhere.

The host of the gua is the solid line at the second place. According to the I Ching, only walking in the central path can have enduring effects. There are two central lines in this gua, the solid line at the second place and the yielding line at the fifth place. In most gua the fifth line is the superior position. But here, the line at the fifth place is weak. Although it is central, it is not as firm and strong as the solid line at the second place. Therefore, the solid line at the second place is more suitable to be the host of this gua. For stabilizing the social order and to affect the prevalent social customs, King Wen encouraged people to cultivate the virtue of perseverance and constancy of purpose. In this gua the Duke of Zhou narrates different ways of seeking long-lasting relationships and their results.

The Complete I Ching, Alfred Huang

I Ching for 2023 (Part 1): America

The ancient sages proclaimed that nourishing and nurturing were not a matter reserved for the family but concerned society as a whole. Nourishing and nurturing a family was selfish, nourishing and nurturing a society was selfless. Compared with nourishing one’s virtue, nourishing one’s body was secondary. Thus, the sages were cautious of words and moderate in diet and provided nourishment and nurturing to the people.

The I Ching (aka Yijing) has been consulted and studied for thousands of years. Some use it for divination, some for guidance and insights into current situations. It is as influential as ever.

At this new year, here is what the I Ching says when asked about America in 2023.


27
YI • NOURISHING

NAME AND STRUCTURE
Originally, Yi denoted the chin, the lower jaw. Later its meaning was extended to include nourishing for keeping fit. Wilhelm translates Yi as The Corner of the Mouth (Providing Nourishment). Blofeld translates it as Nourishment (literally Jaws).

Sequence of the Gua: When things are accumulated in great amount, nourishing becomes available. Thus, after Great Accumulation, Nourishing follows.

The ideograph is made up of two parts. The left looks like the side view of an oral cavity with teeth set in the upper and lower jaws. An object is placed between the teeth, symbolizing the food to be eaten for nourishing the body and spirit. The function of the right part of the ideograph is to provide the sound, yi. It is an ancient ideograph representing a head. The image at the top right looks like a head with two horizontal strokes in the middle representing a mouth. Above the head is a kerchief, and underneath two strokes represent two legs. This is, in fact, another ideograph of ren, person.

Undoubtedly King Wen derived Nourishing, the name of the gua, from insight about its shape. Only the top and bottom of the six lines are solid; they represent the jaws. All other lines are broken; they represent the teeth. The shape of the six lines gives us a picture of a mouth, symbolizing the act of eating for nourishment. The structure of the gua is Mountain above, Thunder below. The attribute of Mountain is to stand still and that of Thunder is to move. When we eat, the upper jaw holds still; only the lower jaw moves up and down. The subject of the first three lines is to nourish oneself; that of the next three lines is to nourish others.

Needing, the fifth gua, also covers the subject of nourishing. Needing follows Childhood. The orderly sequence of the gua says, “When things are in their childhood, they should not be neglected without nourishing.” In Needing one nourishes the body for growth. However, the nourishing in this gua is different—it has to do less with the act of eating and drinking, and more with the wisdom of nourishing oneself as well as other people. King Wen’s Decision on the Gua advises to be aware of how you nourish others and pay attention to what you eat and drink.

DECISION
Nourishing.
Being steadfast and upright: good fortune.
Watch your nourishment;
Pay attention to what is in your mouth.

COMMENTARY ON THE DECISION
Nourishing.
Steadfast and upright: good fortune.
When nourishing is right,
Good fortune comes.
Watching how you nourish others;
It is to watch what you provide nourishment for.
Paying attention to what is in your mouth.
It is to pay attention to how you nourish yourself.
Heaven and Earth nourish all beings.
The holy sages nourish the virtuous,
And thus reach all.
Great indeed is nourishing in its time!
Commentary on the Symbol
Thunder beneath Mountain.
An image of Nourishing.
In correspondence with this,
The superior person is careful of his words
And moderate in eating and drinking.

SIGNIFICANCE
This gua outlines the principle of nourishing. In ancient times, the Chinese concept of nourishing included nurturing, especially nurturing one’s virtue. To the ancient Chinese, nourishing without nurturing was the way of animals. The revered sage Mencius says,

Filling with food,
Warming with clothes,
Living leisurely without learning,
It is little short of animals.

The ancient sages proclaimed that nourishing and nurturing were not a matter reserved for the family but concerned society as a whole. Nourishing and nurturing a family was selfish, nourishing and nurturing a society was selfless. Compared with nourishing one’s virtue, nourishing one’s body was secondary. Thus, the sages were cautious of words and moderate in diet and provided nourishment and nurturing to the people.

Either the yielding line at the fifth place or the solid line at the top could be the host of the gua. However, the solid line at the top is the source of nourishment. Confucius’s Commentary on the Decision says, “Heaven and Earth nourish all beings. The holy sages nourish the virtuous, and thus reach all.” The host of the gua refers to the person who is trying to follow in the steps of the sages. The first three lines of the gua refer to nourishing oneself. Either misfortune results or nothing will be favorable. The next three lines have to do with nourishing one’s self as well as others. The results are beneficial.

The gua indicates that after King Wu overthrew the Tyrant of Shang there was a famine in the realm of the Shang dynasty. King Wen instructed the people to nourish the adherents of the Shang dynasty physically as well as spiritually. The Duke of Zhou tells how the adherents of the Shang dynasty put aside their spiritual tortoises and sought physical nourishment from the Zhou dynasty. Normally, the conquered provide sustenance to the conqueror, but here the conqueror nourishes the conquered. If the conqueror were to supply only physical nourishment to the conquered, it would lead to misfortune. Nourishing physical needs and spiritual needs brought good fortune.

The Complete I Ching, Alfred Huang