Conscious Movement

Postby JerryKarin » Mon Jun 05, 2006 7:05 pm

Louis, as I mentioned above the phrase can be written:

¹Äµ´ (simplified)

This dang, if we just look at the orthography, would give us hot water under plant, or whatever, instead of water over pan. Should we change our explantion if we use the alternate graph? That would be grotesque. The most likely explanation of the 'hot water' element is that it is a phonetic element in both graphs. Shuowen frequently tries to make jokey, punning etymologies of this sort. In my opinion rather than be drawn in by the dubious etymology offered by Shuowen Jiezi, we should make it a rule to allude to the orthographic evidence only in cases where it serves as corroboration. We must first know what a word or phrase means in the language, and only then concern ourselves with the spelling.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Mon Jun 05, 2006 7:46 pm

Greetings Jerry,

Re: “This dang [simplified], if we just look at the orthography, would give us hot water under plant, or whatever, instead of water over pan. Should we change our explantion if we use the alternate graph? That would be grotesque.”

Well, the original manuscript was written prior to the imposition of simplified characters, and frankly, simplified graphs are frequently grotesque and misleading. In this case, one character was appropriated to serve for what were once two separate cognates. There are hundreds of cases like this.

I’m completely in agreement with you about avoiding pat etymological explanations. Regarding Xu Shen’s Shuowen jiezi (121 C.E.), I mentioned it because it is the earliest dictionary *definition* of the graph. It shows the basin element as the classifier, and the tang element as the phonetic. The definition, (the sole definition) is for “a wash basin,” and this definition is among those in the Ci Hai, the Hanyu da cidian, and other more modern dictionaries. So there is some historical ground for saying that dang refers to a basin filled with water (or, evidently, a large body of water like the sea or a lake). It’s not “wrong” to assert this.

According to Benjamin Elman’s monograph, _From Philosophy to Philology: Intellectual and Social Aspects of Change in Late Imperial China_, "The Shuowen became the definitive statement of the six formation types (liu-shu) governing Chinese characters." (pp. 212-213) As you know, the types of characters are: zhi shi [simple ideograph], xiang xing [pictograph], xie sheng [phonetic compound], hui yi [compound ideograph], zhuan zhu [extant character used by extension of meaning], and jia jie [borrowed character]. This classification scheme still holds up pretty well for philological work, but the pitfalls lie in making the wrong assumptions about which category a particular graph falls into, or holding an inaccurate view of the distribution of graphs in this analytical scheme. Elman recounts the Song scholarship that paved the way toward a better understanding of the categories: "Zheng Qiao (1104-1162), for example, in a monograph on the six rules of character formation, analyzed 24,235 graphs, of which 90 percent were phonetic compounds, 7 percent ideographs, and only 3 percent pictographs." (p. 215)

I have cited this in the past to people who held flawed views of Chinese orthography as “pictographic.” I know something about this. I think you may have misread my intent, or I may have done a poor job in presenting my ideas in some of the remarks I’ve written.

Do you have any thoughts on the meaning of “qi yi gudang,” and on some of the commentaries I’ve mentioned?

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 06-05-2006).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:49 pm

I don't know. I think it is 'wrong' to use Shuowen etymology as the basis for explaining a modern word. It's backwards. First you must know the word. Then you can decide if that matches what the Shuowen says. As a 'dictionary' of modern Chinese Shuowen is, er, bad, (and not in a good way). Not that it's particularly good for classical Chinese either. The whole concept of that book does not conform well to what we think of as a dictionary today.
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Jun 05, 2006 8:53 pm

There actually aren't too many predicates that would work well with qi. The thrust of some of the commentaries cited does not work very well with gudang in the context of qi should ~. 'Be aroused' is probably the best we are going to do.
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Postby JerryKarin » Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:59 pm

By the way, both variants of the dang character existed in my copy of Xinhua Zidian. It's about 30 years old but I believe this dictionary is more or less canonical on the set of simplified graphs. So it's not the case that two hitherto separate graphs have been subsumed into one in simplified. Which brings us back to the grotesque practice of picking a variant and attempting to explain the word by the accident of which graph was used. Which is simply wrong.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:39 am

Hi Jerry,

My edition of the Xinhua zidian was published in 1982. It has one entry for dang, under the simplified version of the grass classifier-simplified tang graph. That’s followed by the fantizi versions of the grass-classifier graph and the dish/vessel-classifier graph in parentheses. So, by 1982, both graphs had been subsumed under the simplified grass-classifier graph. The character simplification initiative did not happen all at once, but in increments; it’s a work in progress (or some might say, regress). DeFrancis covers that in The Chinese Language: Fact or Fantasy.

I have many printed versions of the taijiquan classics and for the gudang phrase all of them use the dang graph with the dish classifier, excepting those few that were printed in jiantizi.

I’ll post a separate message with the Hanyu da cidian entry for dang. It includes among its definitions the one that appears in the Shuowen jiezi for a bathing vessel (def. #5, di2 qi4). It’s a historical definition.

Take care,
Louis



[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 06-06-2006).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jun 06, 2006 3:45 am

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[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 06-05-2006).]
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Postby bamboo leaf » Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:17 am

(listening is simply a subjective, experiential way of naming "follow the other's movement". From this perspective, Taichi ting/listening has nothing to do with sensing/perceiving yet, nevertheless, this distinction of ting/listen is, by coincidence, intricately correlated with the listening of our acoustic sense since both share the same physical mechanism that had been unknown until modern science came around.)

wow all of you really write a lot.

Follow the others movement is good but actually its is more then that. It means to follow the other intent of movement, not just the physical action of movement.
To follow the physical action is to slow.
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:13 pm

Louis, I find corrroboration in the definitions you posted above. Half these characters are interchangeable. It defines one by the other, and then is tong2yong4 for several others. What we need to concentrate on is: what does gu3dang4 mean, not which piece or radical is found in the graph. The phrase is a token or word in a language which can be understood by the illiterate.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:38 pm

Hi Jerry,

I just wanted to establish that I was not “completely wrong” to reference a basin filled with liquid. The Shuowen *definition* is a record of usage, not an etymological extrapolation. It corroborates your assertion that the tang element is the phonetic; it says so. I also was not “wrong” in asserting that both versions of dang are currently appropriated under one simplified version. Historically, the two cognates for dang have often been used interchangeably, to be sure, but they also have independent histories with specific distinct meanings. The jiantizi initiative just tends to grey the historical picture. Even my Xinhua zidian notes distinct glosses for the two versions, even while subsuming them under one simplified graph. That’s grotesque, ain’t it?

Let me be very clear about my objective and methodology. This discussion is all taking place in the context of a thread I began on “conscious movement.” I know what “qi yi gudang” means, because I know it refers to something that I experience in my practice. We know that the experience of sensations is undeniably subjective by definition, so descriptions or references to subtle experiences will vary, and will not always click. My analysis of gudang is based upon my own practice and experience, and is motivated by a desire to amplify what it means for people who may get something out of it -- for whom something may click. It’s not surprising that some people would wonder what the heck it means that “the qi should be aroused,” or “the qi should be roused and made vibrant.” I only recall one taijiquan authority ever mentioning gudang in person, and that was Sam Tam, whom I admire very much indeed. His reference, and the context in which he made it, corroborated my personal understanding of the concept. You admirably state a goal, “to allude to the orthographic evidence only in cases where it serves as corroboration. We must first know what a word or phrase means in the language, and only then concern ourselves with the spelling.” That’s in fact what I’m attempting to do.

When my daughter was in grade school, one of the valuable things she learned about literature is the skill or art of making connections. When you read a story, poem, or a John Steinbeck novel, it only becomes valuable when you are able to make connections between the words and events in that story with events in your own life, or with other literature or works of art that have moved you. I like to strive to make connections. It sometimes appears as though I’m getting carried away, and sometimes I am.

When I recognize drum imagery in the term gudang, or see some hint of a resonant response, such as would occur on the surface of a body of water, I’m making a connection with something that evokes an experience that is familiar to me. Having read some of the gudang commentaries of taiji authorities that make reference to drums, water, waves, and resonant responses, I find some corroboration for the connections that I made. Inevitably, others will make no such connections, or their experience will reflect something altogether different.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jun 06, 2006 7:35 pm

Hmnn, well if we stipulate that hot water tang1 is phonetic, I don't think it can also be part of an ideographic connection of water and basin. And if we zoom out to look at the big picture, I find it tenuous at best to connect the meaning of gudang with basins of water, using Shuowen and/or graphology as our basis. Image
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Postby Louis Swaim » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:14 pm

You bet, Jerry. It's just as tenuous as having a field of cinnabar or an ocean of qi in your lower abdomen. What can you do!

--Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Jun 06, 2006 8:16 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>You bet, Jerry. It's just as tenuous as having a field of cinnabar or an ocean of qi in your lower abdomen. What can you do!

--Louis</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I think that is quite unfair, because cinnabar field is really an image explicitly used, whereas hot water and basins are your own private associations which are, um, tenuous for the rest of us!
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Postby JerryKarin » Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:19 pm

Here's how I would define gudang in a taiji context, ie shen or qi ~ stimulated, stirred up, roused, energized (as in physics), set in motion, started (as one starts a pendulum, or the reverberations of a bell or tuning fork).

Louis: I checked my 1972 Xinhua Zidian. I thought I remembered them having separate entries but they were indeed subsumed under the radical 144 variant. It's true that there is a possible water component to dang4, it participates in compounds like dang4zhou1 'bobbing/rocking boat', and dang4yang4 'waving' 'bobbing'. I would discount it in this instance.

Louis, you mentioned one instance where the person was said to practice gudang on an opponent. I think that usage has to be taken separately from shen/qi gudang. I would guess that to be a secondary taiji technical term which has developed, the causing of an opponent to be 'flustered', ie stimulated in a way which is to his disadvantage.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 06-07-2006).]

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 06-07-2006).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:27 pm

Greetings Jerry,

Re: "Here's how I would define gudang in a taiji context, ie shen or qi ~ stimulated, stirred up, roused, energized (as in physics), set in motion, started (as one starts a pendulum, or the reverberations of a bell or tuning fork)."

Excellent! I like them all.

Take care,
Louis
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