What in Heaven’s Name is in Store for Us All in 2024?

Midnight on February 10 began the new lunar year of the wood dragon.  It is believed, by some, that the intersecting flows of yin and yang, staring at that midnight and ending midnight before the first day of lunar 2025, will influence the doings and goings on of humanity every day of 2024.

Fortunately, we have a diagnostic tool which can help us uncover just how yin and yang will affect our lives during the coming year.  It is the ancient Chinese text of the Yijing.  The Yi, as it is called, consists of 64 sets of lines, six each, called hexagrams.  Lines are either solid as a proxy for yang forces or broken as a proxy for yin forces.

Now, one can correlate each lunar year with a hexagram so that analysis of that hexagram brings insight into the action probabilities and possibilities inherent in that year.  The analysis can help us better place our energies and avoid contrary or unhelpful circumstantial modalities.

Last February, I analyzed the hexagram associated with 2023 in the cycle of years in the lunar calendar.  I then advised:

Precipitous action will lead to difficulties.  We are warned not to cross the stream, to stay where we are and make the most of our situation by restraining the serving of our needs and feelings out of tolerance of others.  We should not impose ourselves on them.

Hamas did not follow that course of action and the Palestinian people in Gaza have suffered grievously, thereby.  Israel’s counterattack against Hamas terrorism also was unrestrained in its bombing of targets in Gaza and by so doing, Israel lost significant sympathy for its cause.

With respect to the U.S., I counseled that:

this is not going to be a year of rest and success for narcissists and nihilists.  In the U.S., it may bring the peaking and then the initial decline of “wokeness” in business, education and government.  “Critical race theory” will continue to lose its hold over the public’s mind.  Diversity, equity and inclusion programs for differential treatment of individuals will encounter growing resistance.

Harvard University President Claudine Gay, who had advanced to that position by advocating critical race theory and diversity, equity and inclusion, was forced to resign her position.  And to the consternation of Democrats, Donald Trump, without an ounce of wokeness in him, grew more popular in opinion polls than President Joe Biden.

You might be interested in knowing that I learned the technique of consulting the Yijing many years ago in Vietnam from Mr. Duong Thai Ban, a friend of my father-in-law.

So, what does the Yijing foretell for 2024?

The hexagram associated with our current wood dragon year is #43 – Chia Jen.  The form of the hexagram is:

First, before starting on an interpretation of hexagram 43, we must note that every dragon year brings forth powerful yang energies.  A Chinese saying has it that, “If you ignore the dragon, it will eat you; if you confront the dragon, it will overpower you; but if you ride the dragon, you will deploy its might and power.”

A yang environment, not restrained by yin energies, is a call to action, a time to start big projects, to aim high.  It is a year that will reward vitality with success.  Those with courage, tenacity, confidence and enthusiasm will do well.

To me, this bodes well for Donald Trump in the forthcoming November election, but not for Joe Biden.  Trump is all energy and action.  Biden is, more and more, slowing down.

A recent report by Special Counsel Robert Hur adds credibility to the inference that Biden’s fortunes in this year of the dragon will be most problematic.  Hur concluded that, in effect, Biden is running a deficit of yang energies, saying the president is “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.”

I do not see either major American political party “riding the dragon” to capture majorities in the Senate or the House of Representatives, each party having a yang deficit in the caliber of its candidates – too much posturing and not enough courage.

The two major political parties would do well to heed the insights of hexagram 43 and concentrate on changing their ways of petty factionalism and grifting to speak to the great purposes of the American experiment in ordered liberty and to what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”

Secondly, hexagram 43 has five solid – yang lines – and one broken – yin line – at the top.  The name given to this hexagram is “breaking with or separating with the past.”  It speaks to stalwartly taking a new direction, after recognizing the need to shift course in order to succeed, a breakthrough ending a long period of tensions.  It infers being decisive and resolute will lead to success.

One noted commentator proposed that the hexagram is a comment on the end of winter and the coming of spring, with the expectation of summer’s warmth coming after that.  Thus, the hexagram notes a parting with the past and the opening of a fruitful future for all.

Or the weak yin sixth line is a stand-in for an old, tired leader using his power to sustain a corrupt government, while pushing up from the bottom of the hexagram, five yang lines foretell new leadership breaking with the past and forming a new government.

The ancient written comment on hexagram 43 advises us to divulge and spread a sincere and truthful message moving in the direction of great leadership.  Any proclamation must come from the center of the domain, its capitol.  There will be no advantage in resorting to arms or repression, but in putting the past behind and espousing a new purpose and direction.

The hexagram supposes the flow of water parting or breaking through an obstacle, scattering whatever is in the way.  This will happen in a fortuitous coming together of supporters, say voters or investors.

In the American presidential election, again, this environment would seem to favor Trump, the challenger, over Biden, the incumbent.  Yet, will Trump provide a “sincere and truthful” message which will align with yang priorities?  Or will he pout and focus on himself, which are behaviors and casts of mind more aligned with yin attributes and so be out of sync with the times?

In international affairs, the hexagram portends more weakening and fragmentation of the post- World War II order centered on the United Nations and respect for international law.  The new direction might well be provided by the BRICS alliance led by Russia and China, centering legitimate action on the prerogatives of “civilization” states.

The European Union will be challenged to “break” with its current ennui and find a new elan based on its “civilization” heritage.

The hexagram advises the Israelis to shift course and reach out to Palestinians seeking some kind of covenantal relationship in the Abrahamic tradition.  Correspondingly, the hexagram advises that the Palestinians should break with their past demand for unilateral authority to rule the territory “from the river to the sea” and reach out to Jews with the mercy and compassion called for in Quran.

The hexagram advises Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to similarly shift course and make a decisive decision as to the border between Ukraine and Russia.  Such a decision, implies the hexagram, will break through Putin’s rigid insistence on conquest.

Putin is already in a yang mode of resolute determination, so his position will not weaken.

2024 will not be fortuitous for Xi Jinping in China.  He has committed himself to old ways – demanding that all kowtow before “Xi Jinping thought” and putting party regulators in the position of saying yea or nay to economic and financial decisions.  Xi seems unable to break with his past and his perception of what he needs to retain power.  For China, he could be the weak sixth line at the top of the hexagram, one that will be removed by the forward movement of the bottom five lines reflecting the yang energies and aspirations of the Chinese people.

In economics and finance, breaking with the past, as President Javier Milei is attempting in Argentina, would argue for reducing national budget deficits and sovereign debt.  Lower inflation and stronger currencies are also called for.

To take advantage of this wood dragon year, it will be important to align with constructive, higher aspirations.  The wise person, to be successful, will spread enduring emoluments to those below.  One who has an office and is virtuous to use those two assets well, will stay reserved and self-contained.

A question for all of us to ponder is whether the innovative and creative yang qualities of AI will bring widespread adoption of that technology.

CNBC just made this report: “Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is in talks with American venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and potentially others to create a $40 billion fund to invest in artificial intelligence, according to reporting by the New York Times, which was later confirmed by CNBC sources.”

I conclude that those who will stand up to problems, think of ideals and of what the common good requires, who will not flinch from difficulty or risk, will find the times favorable to their efforts, with significant people coming to their assistance.