Chapter 11 of the Ta Chuan zeroes in on the reason why we should be concerned about the danger of the person who abdicates responsibility; of following that ‘thy will be done, not mine’ path of least resistance; of doing nothing, even when others suffer.
To be truly responsible for our own actions, we must understand the ramifications of what we do. Otherwise, we truly are not responsible, even though great harm may have been done to others through our lack of action or our inadvertent action. This is why our court systems have a small safety valve for crimes committed by the mentally incompetent, the mentally immature, and the mentally ill.
Obviously, as we cultivate the Tao, we remove ourselves from the dubious distinction of being incompetent and strive to bring ourselves towards that of a higher existence, one where we can formulate our own will.
Truth is, if we understand the laws of the universe, we don’t have to obey the will of God, blindly and without understanding why.
Parents do this all the time. They tell their children not to play with matches, or run across a busy intersection, or pull on the cat’s tail. The young child does not know why he must obey his parents’ directives. At that age, he does not need to know. But as he matures, his parents will explain the reasons why, and hopefully, he will have figured out for himself and can then act independent of his parents’ constant guidance and supervision.
This is what the I Ching attempts to do—bring the understanding of causative agents and the alignment of actions to the natural order of the universe, into clarity so that we can take the correct path without being riddled with self-doubt.
Chapter 11. Ta Chuan
1. The Master said: The Changes (the I Ching), what do they do? The Changes disclose things, complete affairs, and encompass all ways on earth—this and nothing else. For this reason the holy sages used them to penetrate all wills on earth and to determine all fields of action on earth, and to settle all doubts on earth.
What this means is that when we consult the I Ching, we are attempting to understand the nature of the universe so that we can choose the best action, which would be most closely inline with the harmony and order of the universe. It gives us the legitimate chance to act with confidence, OUR will, with the understanding that it is in harmony with the universe. We are no longer asked to follow blindly, the will of God. We have figured out what to do on our own and can finally be trusted to do what is in harmony with the universe.