A reading of Hexagram 4 at mid life ( AARP cards already arrived in the mail) should be a thorough resounding embarrassment.  This reading frequently comes when one has been provided sagely advice but refused to apply the lesson to the situation.  Youthful folly implies no learning from past mistakes and attempting to  solve big problems with UN-realistically bold moves that have little hope for positive success.  In the aforementioned sentence there lies the rub.   Attempting to solve big problems with effort rather than opening up a space in one’s head and heart to allow the Sage to do the Work.

Hexagram 4 also comes up when one asks the same question without first learning the important lesson and applying this new wisdom to current situation. Advancing through change like water flowing over rock rather than stagnating in  stupor.

The I Ching is more than a book as experience tells us.    The guidance offered by the oracle is to take one from point A to point B, not A to Z.     Ego wants, and is very skilled at demanding, quick and immediate resolution to all problems, even the truly big ones (Ego often creates).     Problems that have persisted for a very long time, due to laziness and habitual patterns of unhealthy behavior, is challenging to root out.  The universe works on these BIG problems with advice that may not make immediate sense yet has the small steps necessary first to get us to a position of clarity so we may begin to go from B to C.

Hexagram 4 speaks of a very shallow source of wisdom or one who doesn’t listen to or trust his or her own intuition.


Confucius/Legge:Inexperience shows the trigram of the Mountain above that of the Abyss. The perilous impasse suggested by these figures evokes the idea of inexperience. Progress and success are suggested because the action and development of the hexagram conform to the requirements of the time. When inexperience seeks wisdom, will responds to will. The oracle responds to sincerity because it has the qualities of the dynamic line in the central second place, but the oracle does not respond to ignorant importuning. The proper duty of a sage is to nourish the correct nature of the ignorant.

Legge: Difficulty shows us plants struggling within the earth, and Inexperiencesuggests the small and undeveloped sprouts which then appear upon its surface. This is an image of youthful ignorance, and the object of the hexagram is to show how those in authority should deal with it. The Judgment takes the form of the oracle’s response to the questioner.

The upper trigram represents a frowning mountain which blocks the progress of the traveler. The lower trigram symbolizes a stream of water in a dangerous canyon, such as might be found at the foot of a mountain. The combination of these symbols suggests the perilous nature of ignorant inexperience.

The subject of line two represents the oracle, who demands sincerity from the unenlightened. It is his duty to evoke the innate “correct nature” hidden within the questioner, to bring this quality out and develop it. In regard to the Image, Chu Hsi says that “the water of a spring is sure to move on and gradually advance.” This may serve as a symbol of the general process and progress of education.