Discipline. Loyalty. Integrity.
Short interpretation of hexagram 7 – The Army
Resist temptation and in love everything will work out for the best. Conflicts in work will be resolved and health is clearly recovering.

General description of the hexagram

The sign is composed of the primordial signs Kkann, the water, and Kkunn, the earth. This is the symbol of underground water, which accumulates underground.
In the same way the military force transforms the multitude into a people: invisible in times of peace, but always available as a source of power.
The qualities of the primordial signs are: inside danger and out of obedience.
He mentions the essence of the army, which in itself is a dangerous thing, while on the outside discipline and obedience must reign.
Considering the single lines. the lord of the sign is the strong nine in the second place, to which the other weak lines submit.
This line indicates the commander, since it is at the center of one of the two primordial signs.
But since he is in the inferior, not in the superior, it is not the image of the sovereign, but that of a capable general, who with his authority maintains the army in obedience.

Comment on the sentence

Perseverance is a must for the army and a strong man.
Unblemished health.

An army is a mass which, to become an army, needs organization.
Without solid discipline, nothing can be achieved. But this discipline cannot be obtained by violent means, it is instead appropriate for there to be a strong man, who is attracted to hearts, who arouses enthusiasm.
In order to be able to exert himself, he must possess the unconditional trust of his sovereign, who in turn must, as long as the war lasts, leave him full responsibility. A war, however, is always a dangerous thing and brings with it damage and devastation. Therefore we should not undertake it lightly, but only as an extreme fallback, as a poisonous drug. From an experienced leader it must be clearly explained to the people that the reasons are right and that there is a clear and comprehensible goal.
Only if the war has a well-defined purpose to which the people can consciously lend, does that unity arise? and that force of persuasion that lead to victory. But the leader must also take care that the passions of the unleashed war and the intoxication of victory do not produce an injustice that cannot meet the general approval. Justice and perseverance are the fundamental conditions for everything to go well.


Entro alla terra è l’acqua:
L’immagine dell’esercito.
Così il nobile accresce, magnanimo verso il popolo, le sue masse.

By land it is water:
The image of the army.
Thus the noble increases his masses magnanimously towards the people.

The underground water is invisible in the womb of the earth.
Thus also the warrior power of a people is invisible within its masses.
Every peasant becomes a soldier when there is danger, and the war returns to his finished plow. Whoever is magnanimous towards the people earns the love of the people; and the people who live under a clement regime will become strong and vigorous.
Only an economically strong people can have warlike importance. It is therefore necessary to take care of its power, favoring its economic relations and governing humanly.
Where this invisible bond exists between the government and the people, so that the people feel protected by it, like underground water in the underground, there alone it is possible to carry out a war victoriously.


When there is a dispute, the masses certainly rise. This is followed by the sign: the Army. Army means mass.

Single lines

Sei all’inizio significa:
Un esercito deve mettersi in moto in buon ordine.
Se questo non è buono minaccia sciagura.

Six at the beginning means:
An army must set in motion in good order.
If this is not good it threatens disaster.

The order must reign at the beginning of a war enterprise. There must be a right and decisive reason, and the obedience and cooperation of the troops must be well organized, otherwise failure is the inevitable consequence.

Nove al secondo posto significa:
Nel mezzo dell’esercito! Salute! Nessuna macchia!
Il re conferisce triplice onorificenza.

Nine in the second place means:
In the middle of the army! Health! No stain!
The king confers triple honor.

The leader must stand in the middle of his army. He must have contact with it and divide the good and the bad with the masses he leads. Only in this way is it equal to the serious task that is hanging over it. He also needs recognition from the sovereign. The honors he receives are justified, given that it is not a matter of personal preferences, but of honoring in the condottiere the entire army in which he lived.

Six in third place means:
The army leads by adventure with them in the corpse carriage.

One of the explanations of this verse hints at a defeat due to the fact that people other than the chosen leader become involved in the command. Another explanation agrees with this in the sense, with the difference that the expression “lead corpses in the carriage with itself” is interpreted otherwise. During funerals and funeral sacrifices in China, it was customary for the deceased to whom the sacrifice was offered to be represented by a boy from his family, who sat in place of the corpse and was honored instead of the deceased. From this rite this interpretation draws the sense that a “corpse-boy” is sitting in the carriage, that is, that authority does not emanate from the official invested in it, but from others who have usurped it. Perhaps the whole difficulty can be eliminated by admitting a spelling mistake (fann = all, for she = cadaver). Then the sense would certainly be: when in the army the crowd becomes mistress (traveling in a carriage) it is a disaster.

Six in fourth place means:
The army withdraws.
No stain.

Being faced with an enemy of superior forces, with whom it is hopeless to fight, an orderly retreat is the thing to do, so that the army is preserved from defeat and defeat. It is not at all a sign of courage or strength to want to accept in any case a desperate fight.

Six in fifth place means:
In the field there is game.
It is propitious to capture it.
The eldest lead the army.
The less elderly leads corpses,
Then perseverance brings disaster.

The game is found in the field, which means that it has abandoned its usual home, the forest, and that it broke into the fields devastating them. He mentions an invasion of the enemy. In this case, energetic struggle and punishment are well justified. Only that the struggle must be conducted according to the rules. It must not degenerate into a wild scrum in which everyone defends himself. This would lead, despite maximum tenacity and value, to disaster. Indeed, the army needs to be led by an experienced leader. The war must be conducted. The multitude must not simply couple whoever happens, otherwise it suffers a defeat, and, despite all perseverance, threatens disaster.

Six above means:
The great prince issues orders,
Establish states, impoverished families.
Ordinary men should not be used.

The war ended victoriously. Victory is achieved, the king distributes fiefdoms and family possessions among his faithful.
But it is very important not to allow ordinary people to come to power. If they have cooperated, they can be satisfied with money. But to avoid any abuse, grant them territories and rights of sovereignty.

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