NOBLE ARCHERS – CHINESE VIEWS
Whenever ‘special wisdom’ is produced, the Asian tinkerers of mottoes are forcing their way into the first row.
But at first, one must consider the complexity of the Chinese language, which has a much more multifaceted structure compared to what we are familiar with in our part of the world.
Nevertheless, Chinese sayings are usually quoted one-to-one and brought among the audience in the West as a special source of deeper insights into our Universe.
The famous dictionary of the Emperor Kanghi, written (or rather hand-painted) in the year 1716, contains 47000 characters. The directory issued in the year 1994 had already 87000 characters, and meanwhile 92000 signs are registered. This is the reason why the Chinese continue to learn their written language over a lifetime.
Under these circumstances, it is complicated to construct a sentence with world-shattering thoughts. What concerns modern text, 3000 characters are enough to have a rudimentary understanding of what is written. In the ‘belles lettres‘, one needs 1000 signs more.
Have you ever watched a Chinese reading the newspaper? They often turn it around when they have realized they are holding it upside down, mostly recognizing that the headline is on the bottom. On top of this, you have all the confusion with the direction of the writing. Nowadays, and under the Western influence, they also write from left to right, but also the other way around. Some text it is still written (painted) in a vertical mode, the lines go from left to right, from right to left or all mixed together.
When it comes to the first names of children, the Chinese must reach deeply into the box of Chinese symbols to make them distinguishable from the rest of the Chinese mega crowd. There are only a few family names available, which are usually put up front.
About 85% of the population is sharing 100 names. ‘Wang’, ‘Li’ or ‘Zhang’ are family names of 275 million Chinese. No wonder that the name for the Chinese population is derived from the term ‘laobaixing’, which means something like ‘the one hundred names’. In the ethnic diversity of the USA, for example, 85% of the population is sharing 70000 family names.
Identity cards are mandatory and are issued partly hand written. A changeover to chip cards failed repeatedly, because the government’s computer software was only able to recognize 32000 Chinese characters.
Officials, annoyed with the system, often advise people to change their name, because they are unable to record it onto the document. Irritated by the inability to conclude the transactions, they threaten to recall the applicants every three months and subject them to complete a new application, if the family name is not altered.
Back to the Chinese wisdom: There are numerous old sayings and despite being intellectually rather weak, they are much adored in the Western world. Earth-shattering cognitions are drawn from the phrase “when the rain comes, your way will get...