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On "Disaster", Walking staffs and the Yijing

sparhawk

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Dear all,

Just in case this could be of interest, something I wrote recently about a particular character in the received text of the Yijing: 災. A bit of a long read but, perhaps, it could help others a little when they encounter those particular four lines in the Yijing.

On "Disaster", Walking staffs and the Yijing


Cheers,

Luis
 

canislulu

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I look forward to reading this on a long train ride I will take this week. Thank you for sharing, Luis. I imagine that this link will speak to something that is troubling me.
 

canislulu

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Luis,

Thanks again for your link to "Distaster Walking Staffs and the Yijing." At the end you mention the death of your mother and I want to offer my condolences. I have not yet lost mine but I can imagine that it will be painful. I cannot imagine what I would want anyone to say to me about the event.

So I'll just say that I very much like your flying dragon.

And I'll try to let reminders that we are mortal guide my interactions.
 

sparhawk

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Hi, Jumpingmouse.

Thank you for taking the time to read it and comment on it. That little dragon is tireless. I wish I had his stamina... :D

L
 

diamanda

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Thanks so much for this Luis, stunning invaluable linguistic-detective work!

I don’t know enough German to judge this properly (meaning that I don’t know if another German word could apply better according to my interpretation of the character) but it seems obvious to me that Wilhelm defaulted to the modern and accepted meaning of 災/zai. This isn’t a condemnation but simply an observation based on what I exposed above. It occurs to me though, that it should have struck him as odd the sparseness of the character in the text when compared with the abundance of 凶/xiong. I mean, it should have compelled him to wonder and comment about that fact in his translation. That alone, at the very least, and as a pioneer translator in the West, considering his popularity, would have caused other future Western translators to wonder as well and drive them to investigate the reason for the disparity.


On this point, I'd like to say that the linguistic and cognitive abilities of any one person can work on weird levels, at different moments. As a hypothetical example, Wilhelm here might have been concentrating so hard on a) translating and b) at the same time making an obscure Chinese text 'readable' by Westerners, that: he missed this vital element. In any case, this is a really difficult point to see - it takes much more than Mercurial translating/linguistic ability to see it. It takes Plutonian powers of deeper observation.

What drove me to walk this meandering path was a simple disparity in the choice and frequency of this specific character in the text, when compared to others with similar semantics.
Again, thanks for the discovery/revelation!
And my sincere condolences for your mother.
 

iams girl

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Your piece is beautiful, Luis. I am also truly sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, such an obviously beloved woman in your life and, I imagine, in the lives of many others as well. If I understand your sense of synchronicity correctly that you suspect you may bear some responsibility, I'd say, instead, that Yi was way ahead of you and planted the seed of the character in your mind as a gift of foresight, to prepare your way.

How may one
understand such
a great, fell chasm?
And how may one truly say farewell?​

A section quoted from one of a very few poems I've written and my answer is that for some, it is impossible.

Karen
 

Tohpol

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Well said. Condolences indeed Luis.
 

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