One of the reasons I like to study Chinese Characters is because each particular character has it’s own individual meaning. So even if you don’t know how to pronounce a group of characters, you can sort of figure out what the meaning by guessing the combinations. Although sometimes, due to historical anomalies, you get some strange combinations. For example, the combination of “parents” and “cut” yields “kind.”Â Most make a bit more sense, but they are interesting nonetheless.
English words, on the other hand, may require a bit of etymological investigation before breaking a word into parts (if that’s the kind of thing you are into.)
For example, ‘century,’ which means one hundred years, is based on the sameÂ ‘cent’ which is one hundredth of a dollar, and the ‘cent’ in the centigrade that means one hundred grades (between freezing and boiling of water.) Also in centimeter, and centipede.Â ‘Ped’Â of course meaning foot, as inÂ ‘pedal’ and ‘pedestrian.’
These are just some basic examples, but words are really fascinating when you look below theÂ surface. You can really discover interesting things if you stop and think of the story and history behind things.
Like whenÂ I was taking the bus the other day.Â I was sitting next to this really interesting older woman, who was telling me about her granddaughter who just became engaged to this guy from Bangladesh. And he comes from aÂ very large family,Â I believe she said six brothers and four sisters, if IÂ recallÂ correctly. And one ofÂ the brothers was showing her recently how to make this really spicyÂ Thai dish, but that’s another story. Anyway, thisÂ guy was sayingÂ that each moment in time space continuum (those are hisÂ words, not mine) is an opportunity to really dig underneath reality to discover what is really there.
If you take the time to stop and watch the ‘unfolding’ as he referred toÂ it, you can catch the moment when your thoughts and reality merge.Â When humans give meaning to events. He said that it isÂ a lotÂ better to stay open as long as possible when interacting with reality,Â because onceÂ you give meaning to something, while it’s not set in stone, it’s a lotÂ more efficientÂ to create the possibility for a more resourceful meaning beforehand,Â rather than waiting until after the fact.
I wasn’t sureÂ I understood her when she was describing this too me, and I don’t she was able to completelyÂ understand itÂ either, because it sounded a lot like someÂ Eastern Philosophies thatÂ I’ve read about. I think the gist of it was to stay open, and make sure you don’t give awayÂ anyÂ meanings to events unless you are reallyÂ one hundredÂ percent sure you know what happened. And since we are almost never one hundred percent sureÂ of whatÂ really everÂ happens, it’s best to keep an open mind.
Like when you pass by somebody in the hallway, and you say “hi,” and they don’t sayÂ “hi” back, it would be best to give the benefit of the doubt, andÂ not assume they are angry at your or something.Â Otherwise you mightÂ get your feelings hurt over something that was only in your head.Â
Although theÂ fellow described this in eastern philosophical terms whichÂ might have been a bit esoteric, I thinkÂ we are all talking about the same concept. And because you are reading this, youÂ areÂ likely wise enough to have known aboutÂ this anyways.Â I’m sure you already know that giving people theÂ benefit of the doubtÂ and assuming they areÂ most likelyÂ operating from some kind of positive intention is usually a good idea.
I just think that the concept of standing back and watching the unfolding ofÂ reality is a beautiful concept, one that we don’t take the time to really appreciate, since it is happening all around us, all the time.