A character can be read at various levels. For example, 中 zhōng means center, middle, or pronounced in the 4th tone zhòng to hit. Its origin goes back to the first spellings showing an arrow in the middle of its target or a flag on a mast in a circle.
On another level, the 中 character for China does not only refer to the Middle Kingdom but also reminds us of a whole section of culture, which sought the Middle Way. Finally, a Taoist sage will recall that 中 evokes the spiritual center to be found in each of us.
Let’s look at 有, yǒu, have, own. It is composed of a hand on the left on the meat 月 (meat, within a character, and the moon have the same spelling), which has/possesses meat, hence the meaning of having, possessing for 有. Cyrille J.-D. Javary, who likes to go back to the origins, finds this explanation astounding. Take his book “Yin Yang La dynamique du monde” on page 55.
“A hand on meat, a hand on the moon, it is hard to see how this image, unrealistic in the first case (Chinese people eat with chopsticks) and unreal in the second, could evoke having it. To find a semblance of reasonable explanation for this ideogram’s composition, we must go back to its oldest spelling:
We see then that the hand is not on the moon or on the meat, but rather above an oracular object (shoulder blade, carapace) applying the point of heat that revealed cracks that the ancient soothsayers interpreted to predict not the future, but the energetic quality of the moment about the project for which they were consulted. We will have to speak again about these oracular practices, but it is essential to note from now on that this is the founding core of both Chinese rationality and the Chinese way of thinking. This is precisely what the ideograms we are talking about here already describe: the means to make the invisible energy configuration of the moment perceptible, as when the acupuncturist takes his patient’s pulse. We are no longer in the fixity of having, still less in the fixity of being, but in the appearance, the coming into existence of something. »
Articles on characters classified by theme:
9 September 2020