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Friday, July 8, 2022

23. Splitting Apart

The Lines

Bottom. [6] When inferior men invade those people who are the foundation upon whom the superior man depends, they begin undermining his support and turning people against him. Those who remain true to him are attacked and their reputations besmirched. No one remains who is loyal to the man. He is nominally in charge, but there is nothing that he can do. Disaster appears imminent, and there is no rescue in sight. All that the man can do is wait and hope that things will work themselves out on their own.

2. [6] Once entrenched, inferior people begin taking control and seek to discredit the superior man himself. He sees this, and is troubled by it, but there is no one that he can turn to. His subordinates have deserted him, and no one above him even cares. He faces the crisis quite alone, and his enemies are waiting for him to make a wrong move. This is a very delicate situation. Since the superior man is entirely vulnerable and standing alone, his best course is to avoid taking action and remaining out of the line of fire. If he were to vigorously defend himself and try to forge ahead, he would only meet with disaster.

3. [6] A man may find himself compelled to associate with evil people because of commitments he has made to others. It would be a bad situation, except if he were forced to deal with them alone. Fortunately, he has ties to a superior man who acts as a guide and inspiration, so that the evil environment leaves him unscathed. This means he is not part of the corrupt people around him, but that is what keeps him from himself going down a wrong path.

4. [6] When misfortune arrives, it cannot be avoided and must be endured. But even in defeat, the superior man adheres to his principles. He is well aware that all things are subject to the law of change. He remains true to himself, endures the adversity, and looks forward to emerging in time from disaster, just as he, in time, happened upon it.

5. [6] At last, the inferior elements that had been so threatening finally relent and submit themselves to the leadership of superior men. The inferior no longer seek to undermine the efforts of superior men, but back down, realizing that their best interests are promoted by the best people, not by evil designs. Moreover, even inferior men caution other inferior men to adopt the course laid out for them by the superior man. When this happens, everyone -- high and low -- benefits, and all goes well.

Top. [9] Finally, after the inferior elements have done their mischief, the time of misfortune ends, and the future holds greater promise. That which was intended from the beginning at last has a chance to manifest itself. With the inferior elements out of the way, the superior man is again able to move ahead and accomplish great things. His influence upon his subordinates is again established, and they readily follow his leadership with loyalty and enthusiasm. The evil man, however, is confronted with his evil, and it consumes him, because evil has nothing constructive to offer and attracts no positive rewards. In the end, the advances it attains through deceit and the honors it wins through dissimulation are all shown to be an empty shell, and the evildoer is humiliated. The inferior man, incapable of creatively pursuing what is right, true and just, contributes best to his own advancement by allying himself with the superior man, not opposing him.

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