37. Dwelling People (jiā rén). The Family
Home improvement is the basis for the establishment of order in the world.
Inital text of I Ching
The Family. The perseverance of the woman furthers.
Wind comes forth from fire:
The image of the Family. Thus the superior man has substance in his words and duration in his way of life.
- Firm seclusion within the family. Remorse disappears.
- She should not follow her whims. She must attend within to the food. Perseverance brings good fortune.
- When tempers flare up in the family, too great severity brings remorse. Good fortune nonetheless. When woman and child dally and laugh, it leads in the end to humiliation.
- She is the treasure of the house. Great good fortune.
- As a king he approaches his family. Fear not. Good fortune.
- His work commands respect. In the end good fortune comes.
It is time to leave great things and put things in order at home. Family problems are to be overcome as soon as possible, until the wind blew the fire of hearth. Protect your property. Keep the traditions of family. It is favorable time for the larger family - marriage, birth of offspring.
The hexagram represents the laws obtaining within the family. The strong
line at the top represents the father, the lowest the son. The strong line in the
fifth place represents the husband, the yielding second line the wife. On the
other hand, the two strong lines in the fifth and the third place represent two
brothers, and the two weak lines correlated with them in the fourth and the
second place stand for their respective wives. Thus all the connections and
relationships within the family find their appropriate expression. Each
individual line has the character according with its place. The fact that a
strong line occupies the sixth place-where a weak line might be expected-
indicates very clearly the strong leadership that must come from the head of
the family. The line is to be considered here not in its quality as the sixth but
in its quality as the top line. THE FAMILY shows the laws operative within
the household that, transferred to outside life, keep the state and the world in
order. The influence that goes out from within the family is represented by
the symbol of the wind created by fire.
The foundation of the family is the relationship between husband and wife.
The tie that hold the family together lies in the loyalty and perseverance of
the wife. The tie that holds the family together lies in the loyalty and
perseverance of the wife. Her place is within (second line), while that of the
husband is without (fifth line). It is in accord with the great laws of nature
that husband and wife take their proper places. Within the family a strong
authority is needed; this is represented by the parents. If the father is really a
father and the son a son, if the elder brother fulfills his position, and the
younger fulfills his, if the husband is really a husband and the wife a wife,
then the family is in order. When the family is in order, all the social
relationships of mankind will be in order.
Three of the five social relationships are to be found within the family-that
between father and son, which is the relation of love, that between the
husband and wife, which is the relation of chaste conduct, and that between
elder and younger brother, which is the relation of correctness. The loving
reverence of the son is then carried over to the prince in the form of
faithfulness to duty; the affection and correctness of behavior existing
between the two brothers are extended to a friend in the form of loyalty, and
to a person of superior rank in the form of deference. The family is society in
the embryo; it is the native soil on which performance of moral duty is made
early through natural affection, so that within a small circle a basis of moral
practice is created, and this is later widened to include human relationships
Heat creates energy: this is signified by the wind stirred up by the fire and
issuing forth form it. This represents influence working from within
outward. The same thing is needed in the regulation of the family. Here too
the influence on others must proceed form one's own person. In order to be
capable of producing such an influence, one's words must have power, and
this they can have only if they are based on something real, just as flame
depends on its fuel Words have influence only when they are pertinent and
clearly related to definite circumstances. General discourses and admonitions
have no effect whatsoever. Furthermore, the words must be supported by
one's entire conduct, just as the wind is made effective by am impression on
others that they can adapt and conform to it. If words and conduct are not in
accord and consistent, they will have no effect.
The family must form a well-defined unit within which each member knows
his place. From the beginning each child must be accustomed to firmly
established rules of order, before ever its will is directed to other things. If we
begin too late to enforce order, when the will of the child has already been
overindulged, the whims and passions, grown stronger with the years, offer
resistance and give cause for remorse. If we insist on order from the outset,
occasions for remorse may arise-in general social life these are unavoidable-
but the remorse always disappears again, and everything rights itself. For
there is nothing easily avoided and more difficult to carry through than
"breaking a child's will."
The wife must always be guided by the will of the master of the house, be he
father, husband, or grown son. There, without having to look for them, she
has great and important duties. She must attend to the nourishment of her
family and to the food for the sacrifice. IN this way she becomes the center of
the social and religious life of the family, and her perseverance in this
position brings good fortune to the whole house.
In relation to general conditions, the counsel here is to seek nothing by
means of force, but quietly to confine oneself to the duties at hand.
In the family the proper mean between severity and indulgence ought to
prevail. Too great severity toward one's own flesh and blood leads to
remorse. The wise thing is to build strong dikes within which complete
freedom of movement is allowed each individual. But in doubtful instances
too great severity, despite occasional mistakes, is preferable, because it
preserves discipline in the family, whereas too great weakness leads to
It is upon the woman of the house that the well-being of the family depends.
Well-being prevails when expenditures and income are soundly balanced.
This leads to great good fortune. In the sphere of public life, this line refers to
the faithful steward whose measures further the general welfare.
A king is the symbol of a fatherly man who is richly endowed in mind. He
does nothing to make himself feared; on the contrary, the whole family can
trust him, because love governs their intercourse. His character of itself
exercises the right influence.
In the last analysis, order within the family depends on the character of the
master of the house. If he cultivates his personality so that it works
impressively through the force of inner truth, all goes well with the family.
In a ruling position one must of his own accord assume responsibility.
Barbara Hejslip interpretation
Success and success wait for you there where your soul aspires. Your hopes will come true, but not without assistance. Do not make a mistake, do not leave now the territory, differently it becomes very fast to you clearly, that it could not be done. Search for calm and the world in the home life, in house affairs, in dialogue with friends.
Richard Wilhelm's commentary