Bob Schwartz

Tag: news

Turning Back: Good News from Today’s I Ching (Hexagram 24)

 

Today’s I Ching hexagram (Hexagram 24, Fu/Turning Back) brings good news, for individual lives and for any bigger concerns we might have about the way some things seem to be going in the world:

“During the time of decay, the dark forces proceed one after another until they reach the uppermost position. The situation seems hopeless. However, the Chinese believe that turning back and starting again is a universal and everlasting truth. When decaying has reached its extreme, a turning point comes. Then the light shines in the darkness, and the bright situation begins again….

This gua indicates that, through the influence of King Wen and King Wu, decaying was corrected in a short period of time. The social norm was reestablished. The courtesy and etiquette created by the Duke of Zhou was put back in place immediately. King Wen was happy about the situation; he claimed that turning back brought success. There was no harm for people going out and coming back. There was no harm in people of different kingdoms arriving and departing.”

Alfred Huang, The Complete I Ching:

Hexagram 24
Fu • Turning Back
Earth
over
Thunder

Fu plays an important role in the I Ching. It is one of the twelve tidal gua used to explain the cosmology of the changing of the seasons—to go around and begin again….

Things cannot go beyond the extreme. When they reach the limit, they turn back to the origin. Thus, after Falling Away comes Turning Back.

The situation seems hopeless. However, the Chinese believe that turning back and starting again is a universal and everlasting truth. When decaying has reached its extreme, a turning point comes. Then the light shines in the darkness, and the bright situation begins again….

This gua, together with the preceding one, displays the truth of changing. When things proceed to their extreme, they alternate to the opposite. Thus, after the period of falling away comes turning back. The light that has been banished returns. The change is not brought about by force—it accords with the law of Nature. The turning back arises spontaneously, like a bright spring returns after a severe winter. It is a matter of circumstance due to the appropriate time and situation. Because it is the law of Nature, no human force can alter it….

The Commentary on the Decision says, “From this gua, Fu, one can see the heart of Heaven and earth.” It reveals the cosmology of the Confucian school. Once Confucius said, “Heaven and earth have a heart fond of creating and propagating.” Confucian scholars advocate that one should follow the Tao of Heaven and Earth, that is, to be creative and propagate without ceasing. But the Taoists embrace a different view. Lao Tze says,

Attain the highest void;
Maintain the deepest stillness.
When ten thousand beings rise and fall,
Watch their turning back.

Taoists accept the idea of the cyclic motion of Falling Away and Turning Back and Falling Away again and Turning Back again, but they hold that existence originates from nonexistence and motion from nonmotion. Only when one reaches a state of total nonattachment is one able to see the heart of Heaven and earth. In Chinese culture, the Confucian and Taoist schools constitute a yin-yang complement. The philosophy of the Confucian school is moving and doing. That of the Taoist school is retreating and doing nothing. Yet both philosophies originate from the I Ching.

This is an auspicious gua, because the yang energy returns. Yet the Decision does not mention its auspiciousness because the yang energy is still weak. Its achievement depends on effort. But the first line bodes supreme good fortune. In reality, no one is perfect. If one is able to turn back from not going too far toward the evil, it brings supreme good fortune….

This gua indicates that, through the influence of King Wen and King Wu, decaying was corrected in a short period of time. The social norm was reestablished. The courtesy and etiquette created by the Duke of Zhou was put back in place immediately. King Wen was happy about the situation; he claimed that turning back brought success. There was no harm for people going out and coming back. There was no harm in people of different kingdoms arriving and departing. Falling away and turning back moved in accordance with the Tao of waxing and waning.

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“Trump jokes about replacing Haley, takes it back”

Washington Post today:

There was a bit of awkwardness at President Donald Trump’s lunch with U.N. diplomats when he made an undiplomatic comment about Nikki Haley, his ambassador to the U.N.

Trump was kicking off Monday’s lunch with ambassadors of countries on the U.N. Security Council when he asked the room if they liked Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Trump said that if they didn’t, “she could easily be replaced.”

The comment sparked some awkwardness, but seemed to be taken in jest. Haley and others gathered around the lengthy table laughed.

Above is a photo of Nikki Haley and Donald Trump at the lunch.

There Is Still a War in Syria

Paris Hilton As Miley Cyrus
When there was less to people’s news and info lives—a newspaper or two a day, a half-hour network news show, a couple of news magazines a week—there were stories that rose to the top and stayed there, depending on importance. This didn’t mean that second-tier or frivolous stories didn’t get coverage or traction. People always loved celebrities, always loved hearing gossip, and when man bites dog, that’s always news. The down side was a certain provincialism that came with a narrow channel and less worldly attitudes: if millions were suffering in a place nobody heard of, with people unlike us, most readers and viewers might have no idea.

Now we can know anything, though we don’t know everything, or care about everything. This has left news leaders in a delicate position. There are going to be stories that appeal to a journalist sense and a humanist sense, that deserve at least regular mention, if not coverage that might only say, “And in the misery of this place or that war, it’s still happening, with no end in sight.” The dual problem is that people can find and figure that out for themselves, without a multi-billion dollar media enterprise telling them, and those media consumers might just as well pay attention to something else.

Which is why, unlike its predecessors World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War, the Iraq War was not the top story every day of its ten years. Which is why the current violence in Iraq is barely covered, a turning away that in part must come from some profound but unspoken embarrassment.

For a few moments a few months ago, Syria was a bright shiny object. Red lines, chemical warfare, threats of military action, etc. After some erratic movement, slight progress is being made. But that progress does not include ending the civil war.

The New York Times, still possibly the world’s greatest news enterprise, has an ongoing section devoted to the Crisis in Syria. The increasing numbers stupefy: 6.5 million Syrians displaced from their homes, more than 2 million of them seeking refuge in other countries. Now we hear about a cluster of polio cases among Syrian children.

We have plenty of our own problems, individually and as a country. Some of those are not small at all. But there is no polio. And the entire population of the state of Tennessee or Indiana has not had to leave their homes behind, dodging mayhem, unsure if they will ever return, or if there will be anything to return to.

We shouldn’t expect ourselves to be exhausted or crushed by the miseries of the world; that’s what keeping track of all the problems all the time would do. So yes, you can argue that it is important to learn from the news today that Paris Hilton has spent $5,000 on Halloween costumes so that she can dress up as Miley Cyrus. But for a change of pace, a regular, maybe daily, reminder that there is still a war in Syria might be of value.

Mountains or Molehills: How to Unflatten the News

Mt Everest - Justin Bieber
Digital access has made the news world flat. Flat as in if you use a news aggregator, there is some attempt on the site to stack the most important stories within a category, but since all categories have the same dignity, you really wouldn’t know, being from another planet, whether the civil war in Syria is more or less significant than Justin Bieber racing his Maserati through his exclusive California neighborhood (hint: it’s not Bieber).

Just as digital has created this unsortable mess and mass of news, such that Hamlet, who insane or not could tell a hawk from a handsaw/heron, would have trouble telling an important story from an inconsequential one (hint: your uncle killing your father to marry your mother is an important story).

Here is a solution. Since it is very easy to adjust type size digitally, stories that aggregators, editors or writers are willing to admit are not earthshaking might be presented in a smaller font, while those that are vital could use a larger one. This was always a convention of print news, and there is no reason that the capabilities of digital information shouldn’t be used to bring this approach up to date. As in:

Top Stories

Civil war in Syria threatens regional and global stability and peace.

Justin Bieber continues to race his Maserati around his neighborhood, despite complaints from neighbors.