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Translation work question:

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bruce_g

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How individually stylized are ancient Chinese writings?

It occurred to me that, if we took four individuals from this forum - let’s take: LiSe, Hilary, Lindsay and Rosada – and we posed the same point of view of the same image to each of them, and told them to write it down, each would write the same thing but in four very different ways.

I know that in dealing with the Bible, each writer has a clear, definitive style, each reflecting their own blood line, their education and occupational approach to the topic of religion and philosophy.

In light of this, how are these personality traits of these early writers dealt with in your translation work? Or, is the work so stoic as to show no individual personalities? How does this complicate the work of translation?
 

confucius

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For comparison, some English translations of the Yi jing

I drifted slightly...because I value bruce_g


For comparison, some English translations of the Yi jing

Versions of Hexagram Meng.4 as rendered by various translators (line statements only)

James Legge (1899)

1. (Has respect to) the dispelling of ignorance. It will be advantageous to use punishment (for that purpose), and to remove the shackles (from the mind). But going on in that way (of punishment) will give occasion for regret.

2. (Shows its subject) exercising forbearance with the ignorant, in which there will be good fortune; and admitting even the goodness of women, which will also be fortunate. (He may be described also as) a son able to (sustain the burden of) his family.

3. (Seems to say) that one should not marry a woman whose emblem it might be, for that, when she sees a man of wealth, she will not keep her person from him, and in no wise will advantage come from her.

4. (Shows its subject as if) bound in chains of ignorance. There will be occasion for regret.

5. Shows its subject as a simple lad without experience. There will be good fortune.

6. We see one smiting the ignorant (youth). But no advantage.

Richard Wilhelm / Cary F. Baynes (1923/1951)

1. To make a fool develop It furthers one to apply discipline. The fetters should be removed. To go on in this way brings humiliation.

2.To bear with fools in kindliness brings good fortune. To know how to take women Brings supreme good fortune. The son is capable of taking charge of the household.

3.Take not a maiden who, when she sees a man of bronze, Loses possession of herself. Nothing furthers.

4.Entangled folly brings humiliation.

5.Childlike folly brings good fortune.

6.In punishing folly It does not further one To commit transgressions. The only thing that furthers Is to prevent transgressions.

Kerson and Rosemary Huang (1985)

1.The cataract is clearing. Good omen for one condemned. The shackles may be off, But walking is difficult.

2.The cook is blind. Auspicious for talking a daughter-in-law. The son will have a family.

3.Do not marry the girl. She sees the gold and not the man. Nothing good will come of it.

4.Trapped and blinded. Difficulty.

5.Childlike naivete. All goes well.

6.Strike the blind only in defense. Never in offense.

Richard John Lynn (1994)

1.With the opening up of Juvenile Ignorance, it is fitting both to subject him to the awareness of punishment and to remove fetters and schackles, but if he were to set out in this way, he would find it hard going.

2.To treat the Juvenile Ignorant with magnanimity means good fortune, To take a wife means good fortune. His child will be up to taking charge of the family.

3.It will not do to marry this woman. Here she sees a man strong as metal and discards her self-possession, so there is nothing at all fitting here.

4.Here confounded by Juvenile Ignorance, one becomes base,

5.The Juvenile Ignorant here will find good fortune.

6.Strike at Juvenile Ignorance, but it is not fitting to engage in harassment; it is fitting to guard against harassment

Richard Rutt (1996)
1.Pulling dodder. Favorable for giving punishment, or for removing shackles and fetters. Distress in travel.

2.Wrapping dodder. Auspicious. For bringing home a wife, auspicious. A son may be betrothed. Not for taking a wife.

3.Seeing a bronze arrow, having no bow. Favorable for nothing.

4.Dodder in bundles. Distress.

5.Dodder. Auspicious.

6.Knocking down dodder. Unfavourable for raiding. Favorable against raiders.

Thomas Christensen (2006)
1.Unleash the whelp, let him go

2.The fool will do you no harm

3.Some are not for marrying

4.Matted tangles mask the view

5.Mind the wisdom of the fool

6.One who gets slapped will laugh last


Confucius
 
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bruce_g

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Thanks, Confucius. Perhaps I worded my question poorly. I’m not asking about the personalities of translators but that of the original writers, and how a translator reckons with those unique individual traits and styles.
 

rosada

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rightreading.com

The translation by Thomas Chrisensen intrigued me so I tracked down his website. Fun read! His Book of Days is fascinating and he has a great collection of quotes and famous last words along with his rendition of our favorite book:

Rightreading.com
 

denis_m

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Hello Bruce,

Yes, some lines have distinctive style. I don't have my Wilhelm or Lynn with me, so I can't check how they were handled. (I'm house-sitting now.) Lynn and Cleary tend to flatten the style. Wilhelm is good at catching different tones of expression.
There are lines that utter a direct appeal. For example: 61.2, "...I have a fine goblet, together with you I will drain it" and 12.5, "...what if it be lost, what if it be lost, tie it to a cluster of mulberry saplings!" Both of these lines start with an objective presentation, then switch to the appeal. To me they sound like they're by the same person.
Some lines have odd vocabulary that seems to have been coined out of the blue. For instance, 8 has "...the Johny-come-lately has misfortune." [The word fu1 is someone who deserves esteem for some reason, and here it's the "latecoming fu1."]
47.1 has "buttock-predicament on a tree stump..." 27.1 has "watching my flower-bud mouth..." ["Duo3" connotes something with soft folds, like an ear, a cloud, or a bud.] There is a cluster of such strange expressions at 27, 28, 29, and 30.
Hexagram 30 uses the suffixes -ru2 and ruo4 after adjectives and verbs. These give a momentary, passing quality to the images. I think some translators have conveyed that with the word "now": 30.4, "Sudden in its advent. Now burning, now dying, now cast aside." Scott Davis has noted that the -ru2 suffix is also found in 35.1, a hexagram which also has a fire radical. The -ru2 suffix is lambent.
It would be interesting to look at the hexagrams with unusually odd wording, and see if they have any common significance.

By the way, I liked your comment on 1.5 (I forget which thread), in which you said that this is about someone "flying inside her body."

Regards,

Denis M.
 

confucius

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A rose by any other name...

Personalities, as upbringing, environmental stimuli, historical and regional contexts and personal aptitudes, undoubtedly influenced various formats and ideo-grams; but, this idea, not as rigidly structured as a word, mutated dozens of times along its historical refinement and took a thousand years before being (set) in the pages of the Yi. Do not forget that in about 100 000 tortoise shells found to date, some spread through roughly 800 years: styles, tools, simplification, refinement and adaptation have mutated the ideograms, though the essential idea remains the same...as Shakespeare said: a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet...

Fu Zi
 
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bruce_g

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Hi, thank you and welcome to the forum, Denis.

That 1.5 quote sounds more like Rosada, or one of the others may have said it. I don’t think it was from me.

I gather from what you’ve said that these expressions originate from the authors and not from the translators? If so, great! That’s what I’m looking for. I was also curious if any of our in-house etymology experts would care to address the subjective or poetic license of individual writing styles of the authors. Thanks for stepping up and addressing my question.

I have difficulty believing that the Yi and similar writings are as clinical and pragmatic in style as most translators present the works to be. Your comments bring the subjective elements of the original writers to the front; for example, when a word or phrase has been coined by the author, or when a writer’s personality is taken into account regarding a particular intended meaning. Individual elements such as sarcasm, tongue-in-cheek humor, directness, crafty choice of words and the personal idiosyncrasies of the authors appear to go unmentioned, at least from the contributors to this board.

Thanks again.
 
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bruce_g

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Howdy, Confucius,

Ideograms apparently aren’t given much credence by most of our translation experts here.

Shakespeare, what an interesting example of an author. If his words were to be translated some 3,000 years from now, I wonder if the translation would reflect his own ingenious personality and style, or if it would be rendered strictly in literal terms? Even funnier, how might they interpret Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky? Surely modern western culture has no corner on inventive writing.
 

getojack

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Bruce,

Reminds me of a passage from Philip Dick's "The Divine Invasion" that I happen to be reading...

Into the stereo microphones Asher said distinctly, " 'O tell me all about Anna Livia! I want to hear all about Anna Livia. Well, you know Anna Livia? Yes, of course, we all know Anna Livia. Tell me all. Tell me now. You'll die when you hear. Well, you know when the old cheb went futt and did what you know. Yes, I know, go on. Wash quit and don't be dabbling. Tuck up your sleeves and loosen your talktapes. And don't butt me -- hike! -- when you bend. Or whatever --' "

"What is this?" the autochthon said, listening to the translation into his own tongue.

Grinning, Herb Asher said, "A famous Terran book. 'Look, look, the dusk is growing. My branches lofty are taking root. And my cold cher's gone ashley. Fieluhr? Filou! What age is at? It saon is late. 'Tis endless now senne --' "

"The man is mad," the autochthon said, and turned toward the hatch, to leave.

"It's Finnegan's Wake," Herb Asher said. "I hope the translating computer got it for you. 'Can't hear with the waters of. The chittering waters of. Flittering bats, fieldmice bawk talk. Ho! Are you not gone ahome? What Thom Malone? Can't hear --' "

The autochthon had left, convinced of Herb Asher's insanity. Asher watched him through the port; the autochthon strode away from the dome of indignation.

And you know Philip Dick was a Yi-ologist? :)
 
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bruce_g

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Jack,

That’d be quite a challenge to translate. And that’s what I wonder about. What is lost by the loss of the personalities who actually wrote this I Ching stuff? It could well be like Jay Leno telling a Bob Hope joke, or Mariah Carey singing a Jimi Hendrix song; “Scuse me while I kiss the sky” just doesn’t mean the same thing.
 

lindsay

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Hi Bruce -

The question you are asking is difficult to answer without getting into a lot of details. Denis has made some excellent points, but I'd like to add a few of my own. Some of this stuff has been said over and over, but it's worth repeating to give a sense of how the Chinese text "feels".

(1) All the texts in the Yi are very terse. Sentences consisting of 2, 3, 4 characters are most common. When you are dealing with texts this short and compressed, it is very difficult to detect a lot of richness of tone. Great stylists tend to be more prolix.

(2) The language must be regarded as serious and formal if the Yi originated, as we think it did, as a kind of consultation tool for royal policy and guidance. Divination as the ancient Chinese practiced it was a serious matter. Animals and even people were killed in sacrifice, religious rituals created a sacred space and time for readings. Readings were important enough to record permanently (we think this is how writing began in China). This means you aren't going to find a lot of jokes or clever witticisms in the Yi, and I cringe every time I hear somebody talk about the Yi's sense of humor. Explain the joke to the thousands of captives and animals who died in these rituals. Ha, ha.

(3) The Yi has a fairly small vocabulary, and tends to use the same characters and groups of characters repeatedly. Some of them seem to be formulas or specialized vocabulary for divination. When you read the character for "good fortune" over and over in dozens of texts, it becomes hard to know what it really means in any particular context. Does it always mean the same thing wherever it's used? Nobody knows.

(4) It's clear that the Yi is a composite document. Even the core part of it, the Zhouyi, clearly consists of several different kinds and layers of texts (sort of like Genesis). Some of it seems to be parts of old stories or songs, some of it refers to historical matters, some of it looks like old sayings or popular lore. Some of it is rhymed, most is not. It's pretty clear the Yi was not written all at once, but assembled from bits and pieces.

(5) Some of the line texts follow ideas in the judgment, some do not. Some of the hexagram texts are unified in presentation and imagery, others seem to be almost random collections of material. It's easy to suppose parts of the original text may have been lost, and their place filled by material that was not entirely appropriate.

(6) There are very few proper names in the Yi - names of specific people or places. There are very few specific pronouns. Only a few numbers are mentioned, and the timing is usually vague. It's almost as though the authors wanted to produce as generic a text as possible. Here again, it's hard to pin down or "hear" an individual voice.

(7) Some of the key characters are really ambiguous. Does it mean "sincerity" or "captive"? Does it mean "steadfast" or "divination"? Etc. Etc. There's no context to help you decide. The text is so scanty it never explains itself in different words.

(8) Usually divination is based on some kind of system, some sort of theoretical construct or understanding. It is very difficult to say what, if any system, lies behind the original Yi. No one here (or anywhere else) has ever explained the order, placement and meaning of the texts as a whole. Why are the hexagrams in the order they are? Why do they contain the line texts they do? How do they relate to each other? In short, how - on what principles - was the Yi constructed?

(9) In the end, almost everything about the Yi is guesswork. Some recent scholars have seen this as its greatest strength, the source of its ongoing popularity. Of all the great writings in the world, the Yi alone has achieved an almost perfect emptiness of context and meaning. It is the closest thing to a blank book in written form. Every one of us must create it anew because there is no "there" there. Since the Yi is essentially without content, anything at all can be read into it or said about it. It is the text most suited to commentary yet devised. The perfect text, in the sense of comunicating everything to everyone. It is without essence, a masterpiece of non-existence, a perfectly polished mirror. It is a living echo.

Lindsay
 

denis_m

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Hello Lindsay,

Aha! Freeing something from context is the big trick. Most things freed from context cease existing. We see an arch (or a series of images arching across the void). We don't see the scaffolding that was used to build the arch. In the case of the YI, the components are tightly enough bound, in relation to each other, that they seem to provide context for each other. Or as you say, their emptiness entices us to provide a context for them.
Thanks for your your excellent treatment of the suggestiveness and overall negative capability of the text. Yes, there were gruesome things at stake in the history of divination. But perhaps the compilers of the ZHOUYI were rebelling from the stiff, formulaic uses of earlier divination (well described in Shaughnessy's book on the composition of the ZHOUYI). Perhaps that is why the compilers of the YI left room for wit.
Also, I see a search for nuance in the use of some words. Take the uses of "fu2" in the Lower Canon. Translators render fu2 as 'sincerity,' 'faith,' and yes, 'battle prisoners.' If you look at all the contexts that fu2 appears in, it seems that the compilers were trying to approach this hard-to-define quality from all possible angles. [The word fu2 was used to mean a bond of understanding in both the Zuozhuan and the Gongyang Zhuan, two old chronicles appended to the Spring and Autumn Annals.]
By the way, the word fu2 is used 26 times in the Lower Canon, by my count. That's exactly twice as many times as in the Upper Canon.

Regards,

Denis Mair
 
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bruce_g

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Thanks, Lindsay, for your very clear explanations. I especially appreciate your lack of pretense regarding attainable knowledge of the YiJing.

And to Denis for opening the possibility of a lighter side of the Yi’s development.

I suppose that clever personal interjections may have cost a scribe his head, and I could also see how extreme seriousness and formality may have been protested against at some later time, not too unlike Luther’s reformation of early church dogma?

Lindsay, if I may ask a personal question? Knowing what you know (which staggers my mind), and what you say is impossible to know, what is it that has driven you to study this subject, especially Yi’s history and language, so exhaustively?
 

confucius

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Not minding the origin is not caring about the destination

...so the master said:bows:
 

rosada

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"living echo" - These two words set off more reflections than a hall of mirrors!
 

lindsay

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Yes, Denis, welcome to Clarity! Many of us are fans of your Oyster Bay Journals. I have learned a lot about the Yi from reading your thoughtful essays. From time to time I go back and read them over again, and always come away with something new.

Confucius and Rosada, thanks for recommending Thomas Christensen. I am enjoying his work.

Bruce, why do you flatter me? You know I put my trousers on one leg at a time like everybody else. There are some people in this forum who seem able to jump into them all at once - it’s fun to watch but I still can’t do it.

(1) Why do I use the Yi?

A long time ago in a place far away there lived a group of mighty monsters called gorgons. The thing about gorgons is that if you looked at them directly in the face, they turned you into stone. Everybody knew this and avoided them, but the gorgons were vicious carnivores, and sometimes they would devour cattle and even pets. Then an especially wild and hungry gorgon named Medusa began to eat children. Something had to be done, but nobody knew what to do. Fortunately a hero named Perseus happened to be passing through. One day, when Medusa was crouched over another bloody victim, gorging herself, Perseus held up his polished shield and watched her. Using the shield like a mirror, he approached Medusa without looking directly at her, and cut off her head.

Hint: Perseus is me (and you), the Yi is my (your) shield/mirror.

(2) Why do I study the Yi?

Sometimes when my wife and I get tired of our own cooking, we go to a small local restaurant. The restaurant is long and narrow, but one wall is made of plate-glass mirror, so the place feels much bigger than it really is. I sit and watch people in the mirror. When I look at myself, I’m always startled because I don’t appear the way I expect in my mind’s eye. Lately I’ve noticed something else: when I look at other people in the mirror, they do not look exactly the same way as they do when I look at them directly. The differences are subtle. Something about the mirror image is not quite the same as the image from direct observation. Perhaps this is a trick of perception. Or maybe the images in the mirror really aren’t reflections at all - maybe they exist independently. Now I spend more time studying the mirror than enjoying my food. My wife thinks I am a fool.

Hint:


Lindsay
 
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bruce_g

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Lindsay,

Foolery I could rightly be charged with. Flattery? Never. Why did I ask? Curiosity, and I enjoy reading the way you write. Thanks for not disappointing.

Btw, when I look at you in the mirror I see Felix the Cat. Not sure why. Did you once say your cat’s name is Felix?
 
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bruce_g

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Lindsay,

This has nothing to do with anything, but..

I see most everyone as an animal. My totem is the deer. The young man/recovering addict who just visited with me for four weeks was mountain goat. Sometimes they're animated, or have an adjective in their name, like, Felix the Cat. For me, seeing a totem in the reflection makes it easier to be accepting of people's true natures. There are also transient totems. For example, someone may be bear, but also experience a time of becoming mouse. It happens. Eagle becomes fish, predator becomes prey. The circle can’t be duped.
 

lindsay

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bruce_g said:
This has nothing to do with anything, but...I see most everyone as an animal.

Yes, I like the way you think about animals, Bruce. To say "everyone is an animal" in this way is to ennoble people.

In a moral sense - although most people deny animals have any moral standing because they cannot "choose" how to behave - I wish I were as fundamentally decent as the animals I have known. They always do the "right" thing; I struggle with it every day with mixed success.

But that is not your point, I think. Individual people are like certain kinds of animals. Something in your fundamental nature as a person makes you resemble a deer.

The thing is, most civilized people have no idea what real deer are like. They know what Bambi is like, they watch gloomy TV nature shows where deer are nothing more than "fast food" for exotic predators. Cheeseburgers of the veldt. But you must see real deer in the wild and engage with them to understand their nature. One way is hunting, another is to live in the country. Which comes to my main point: it is very difficult to live in heavily populated areas and have any sense at all of what free animals are like, what their natures and characteristics are. Pretty soon every place on earth will be heavily populated. There may still be some free animals left, but no one will understand them.

So if people can't understand animals, if there is no way to "know" them, how can we say what animal we resemble? This is a huge dilemma for civilized, urban people. To say we are out of touch with Nature is the understatement of the century, possibly the fatal understatement.

I know your ideas come from deep Native American roots, and I know from personal experience that it is easier to understand these things in Arizona than it is in New York. I miss being in the country so much!

The people who originally wrote and used the Yi understood animals the way you do. All their art is alive with animal images. Not cutesy cartoon characters, but mysterious representations that try to show inner spirit. When they had to express a difficult abstract concept, they invented an animal to represent it. Consider the dragon and the phoenix. It is impossible to talk about shamanism without understanding the true nature of animals. All this is mostly lost today.

Which brings up another question: If we cannot understand the world - the matrix - of the Yijing, how can we understand the Yijing itself? I'm not talking about historical facts or etymological roots here. There is a kind of thinking behind the Yi that most of us will never understand because it comes from living in a world radically different from the artificial, man-made world we all live in.

Time to go to Starbuck's for a double latte.

Lindsay
 
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bruce_g

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Lindsay,

I woke less than an hour ago to the barks and howls of our local coyotes. They will come right up to our gates and fences and harass their domestic brethren, our pet dogs, who all join in on the chorus with their own clumsy not-quite-wild howling. Mojo’s howl is most pathetic!

Of course what you say is true, about modern man becoming far removed from nature and her furry, feathered and scaled children, but perhaps not so far removed as we might think. Cartoons aren’t so far removed from Indian legend, and I think much of man’s un/subconscious animal influences are expressed through modern day cartoon animal characters. My favorite, perhaps not surprisingly, is the Roadrunner and Coyote. Another reveling evidence of this is how we often give our pets people names. Deep down, even contemporary man knows his relationship to the animal kingdom, and if he forgets, his dreams will remind him.

My oldest friend lives in the Pocono Mountains of PA. Each morning his yard is full of feeding wild turkeys, deer and raccoons. I call him Saint Louigi of Assisi, as he has this gift of receiving trust from his still wild brethren.

I smiled when I saw that you mentioned hunters as category that understands wildlife. The modern hunter evokes images of dumb rednecks rather than someone in touch with the realities of life, but that image is, with exception, misguided. Modern man, who buys neatly packaged meat from the local market, is the one farthest removed from reality: something must die for something to live.

Each spring here, there are bird wars. One group will invade the others’ nests, and throw the tiny chicks to the ground, where they inevitably die. We humans seldom acknowledge these things in the animal world as also being nature in its purest form at work. Our foolish and lofty human ideals prefer to imagine ‘all the birds in the trees singing and getting along’. That’s not the reality of life. Life here is conditional, and territorial boundaries must be fought over in order for a tribe to survive. Something to remember the next time we fancy nature as a kind old woman in a flowery white dress. Nature, in reality, is bloody and cruel. And it is this blood and cruelty which enables a wild animal to live. The strong will survive.

However, there are also peaceful, coexisting images of nature. For example, the brightly colored flowers on the prickly pear cactus attracts the bees and birds, and flourishes thereby. But even then, cacti and roses have thorns to protect them.

Nice chatting with you over a Starbucks, though I, in my heathenish lifestyle, prefer to ground my own beans. We indeed have become soft.
 
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getojack

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Since the beginning of time, one thing man has been excellent at is naming the creatures he sees around him. Adam gave names to all the animals and thus established his dominion over them. To name a thing is to have control over it.

Naming is the origin of all particular things.
The unnameable is the eternally real.

Adam was first given dominion over all the creatures of the earth, and then he was told to be in harmony with all of nature. Modern man has mastered the first part but is still working on the second part.

Jack Valtrades
 
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bruce_g

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Jack,

This is interesting what you bring up.

God called up the animals to see what Adam would name them. (Gen 2:19)

Then God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam.

And from Adam God created Eve.

Duality was born, and in duality we live.

Returning to the unnamable returns us to Eden.
 

heylise

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Sitting in that restaurant, seeing through the mirror..

A mirror image switches right and left. Our brain assumes that things are 'rational', two identical sides are supposed to look identical. But nature never is identical. Every right side is a bit different from its left counterpart. So switching them makes things different and new.

When we think life is answering to our idea, then it dies in our mind, and we lose all contact with nature. We need the unexpected, the warped, the paradox. Perfection is death.

The Yi is great at making paradoxes. You think something and Yi says almost the same, but just a bit different. Switches right and left sides. Giving you a new idea. But not just another one, no, in an elusive way a different one. Even when it looks almost the same, it gives a very different feeling.

You can hardly put your finger on what is really the difference from a regular thought. But the normal one did not open any new windows, and this not-quite-right one does. Why? Maybe simply because our rational brain cannot follow it and yet can almost follow it. So it follows anyway, and leaves the city of rationality and gets lost in the forest – finding the forest back.

So looking through the mirror might be to make your eyes look like nature does or see nature at work.

LiSe
 
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bruce_g

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1Cr 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
 

denis_m

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Hello All,

I just read what Bruce says about the "transitory totems," and what Lindsay and LiSe say about the uncanny reflection: Something related to this popped into my head two days ago while swimming---a strange correspondence, or perhaps an animal transformation in the Yi. The deer running ahead into the forest at 3.3 echoes oddly with the burrowing animal at 62.5. One animal leads us into the forest, where there are many things to find. The other animal in #62, perhaps a badger, is backed into a corner. Confucius once said it is not sporting to shoot a bird perched for the night with a tethered arrow. The duke is using a tethered arrow: he is going after trapped prey in a low, gutter-like place. If he takes this approach one step further, he'll start setting nets to catch birds on the wing (62.6).

The hunter in 3.3 dares to go without a guide, and so finds his way to the forest. But he must be careful not to get wound up in the thread [ji1] he follows. The superior man takes responsibility for what he's getting into---knowing this may be the opposite of Ariadne's thread that led Theseus out of the maze.

Interesting that both lines mention a string or thread. And they are in close to corresponding positions near the end and beginning.

Denis M.
 
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bruce_g

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Hi Denis,

Epiphanies while swimming. :)

Is a tethered arrow one which is attached to the hunter or bow with a cord? You also mention the hunter getting caught in the string. I’m not sure I understand all of your thoughts here, or your connection between 3.3 and 62.5.

A thought I’ve had concerning 3.3 is that, the deer is both the game and the guide. If the deer’s time has not yet come to offer itself, nothing the hunter can do will succeed.

62.5 does feel unsporting, to shoot him who is in a cave.

Trying to connect your dots, but rather lost in the forest.
 

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In 62.5, there is a line attached to the arrow. So the duke shoots his arrow into a hole (or cave), and then takes the arrow back by pulling the line. If there was an animal in the hole, he'll now be pulling it out at the end of the arrow. If there wasn't, he didn't waste his arrow, and can go on to the next hole to try.

I have no idea how Wilhelm got to helpers being part of this line, or how the duke is shooting a person. It makes absolutely no sense to me.
 

getojack

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To follow up on Lindsay and Lise's comments on using the Yi as a mirror, the following quote was seen on a restroom mirror...

"There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
-Edith Wharton
 

lindsay

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The part about the tethered arrow in 62.5 is not quite as straightforward as Ewald suggests. Here is how it goes:

gong1 公 - duke, lord, prince
yi4 弋 - hunts (shoots) with a tethered arrow
qu3 取 - taking, seizing
bi3 彼 - those, the ones
zai 4 在 - in, inside, within
xue2 穴 - pit, hole, cave

Note that "shoots a tethered arrow" is a single character (y14 弋), which is a kind of technical hunting term. It tells us nothing about how the bow-arrow-tether weapon was actually constructed or used. We do know tethered arrows are often used for hunting birds - tethered arrows prevent wounded birds from flying away and escaping. Many translators explicitly say "the duke shoots at birds with a tethered arrow." The problem with this explanation is this: why would a bird be in a pit, hole, or cave? Not a likely habitat or hiding place.

The pronoun bi3 彼, standing for the prey, doesn't help much. It can be singular or plural, human or otherwise. However, the character qu3 取 (to seize, take, capture) suggests the object of the hunt was to capture, not to kill. It is perfectly possible the duke was shooting at - hunting - human enemies who were trying to hide. Again, the tethered arrow would have prevented escape once a person was hit.

A few translations are wildly improbable. Richard Rutt has:

The duke harpoons a bird,
retrieving it from a cave.

I just find the idea of "harpooning" a bird absolutely incredible.

Lindsay
 

lindsay

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Thanks, Getojack. That's a lovely quote from Edith Wharton, and an interesting image. Reflectors like the YI do not generate or transmit the heat that candles do. Light without heat. Perhaps that is a very good thing. I am more used to feeling heat without light in my everyday life.

Lindsay
 

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