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粹 (1)—A Chinese Character

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(Adapted from: http://www.quanjing.com/share/gwf107018.html)

There are some differences between a Chinese character and an English word, in terms of how it is used to describe a meaning if, put other things equal (e.g., the words chosen here can both mean real meanings, rather than abstract concepts like elitism or communism, whose interpretations are built upon the combination of other real meanings, rather than mean them themselves)

Take the Chinese character <粹> and an English word <reading> here for instance. <Reading> is a word whose pronunciation is fixed upon how it is written: R-ea-ding (Each part has its own fixed pronunciation, though put into different combinations it may change: For example <ea> pronounces differently in <reading> from it does in <swear>). It is similar here that in <粹> its pronunciation is partly decided by the part <卒> . Like how <ea> acts in English words, when combining with different parts, the pronunciation of <卒> suits the integral Chinese character and thus changes (for example in <猝> and <粹>, <卒> does not pronounce the same).

However unlike the word <reading>, whose <r> and <d> parts do not themselves mean anything that contribute to what <reading> means (skills of understanding a literature or skills of interpretations; here the form <ing> is a suffix to change a verb to a noun—it’s irrelevant from the discussion here), the <米> in <粹> plays a very significant role in understanding the meaning of <粹>: <米> originally means rice. When combining <卒>, it makes the meaning more specific, while keeping part of the pronunciation of <卒>. Thus <粹> is used to call a type of rice that is of essential quality through a purified process. —It’s an essence.

This may be the reason when again <粹> is combined with other Chinese characters and form a short phrase/word, it keeps that original meaning—-the meaning related to where these Chinese characters were originally created—Chinese Agricultural Civilization:

<国粹>: The essence of a country/nation, the representation of the best in that country/nation. In China, what have been called <国粹> include <Chinese Medicine> (中华医药), Peking Opera/Jing Ju (京剧).

<民粹>: The political stance to serve the benefits of the mass, at the destruction/unbelief against the elitists and their according power structure (because they are regarded as corruptive and not worth trustworthy). Here the word adopts the <粹> for its meaning of purification, and follows the only___ can___ logic.

<纳粹>: The direct translation of NAZI into Chinese, based upon the similarity of their pronunciations. Nonetheless, <粹> is selected rather than other Chinese characters that have the same pronunciations. This translation is in accurate accordance with the NAZI’s deeds during the Second World War—purifying/exterminating process at the sacrifice of other non-German ethnic groups, to reach the so-called glorious essence–the superior uniqueness.

 

Improvement: Automobile

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There seems to be a disagreement about the aesthetics of the automobile, while the automobile is used here as a general name to name a type of machine.

Such type of a machine, as is called the automobile, is firstly automatically driven—what we mean automation here is that once ignited, it can run without stop, following existing mechanic laws.  The second character of it is that it is mobile—movable. This shows human beings desire of fully controlling a tool and thus bestows themselves some extra freedom.

Limousine is a hierarchical name of the automobile. Such a hierarchy is decided by the capital possessed, and the luxurious lifestyle it advocates. It seems to be a typical glorified western lifestyle, which has nothing to do with the ethic, nor does it contradict against the mission of saving the world, or enhancing the welfare of others—-culture is involved, western style.

Here the so called improved part, compared to the first version is that, it takes the safety into account. As a prototype the wooden people are to make it funny, and also to add more weight onto it. The safe belt is circled.

What seems to be lacked is the most important part, the soul of the automobile, and a once human being’s great invention—-The wheels.

The perfect combination lies in the wheels and the motor—the transformation from the natural resources to the invention, and thus saves the labour.

Remembering that wheels were invented at first to save the energy of the common people—usually when they were forced for gigantic engineering projects, here they help downplay the limousine character, and make the automobile civic. Together with the safety belt, the automobile is becoming humanized–a tool that starts to respect people.

To be continued.

 

Pavilion as an Intervention : Two

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Starting 一种 Discussion: Music, Agriculture and Civilization

一种 Discussion: Music, Agriculture & Civilization

Reflections on Acoustic Botany (Benque, http://www.davidbenque.com/projects/acoustic-botany)

In his introductions, Benque described his interest in the relationship between human beings and nature, especially in cultural and aesthetic aspects. Whereby using genetic engineering as a discussing point, the experiment mainly shows human beings’ endeavour to alternate nature through changing how some species naturally grow, in order to suit human needs. However, this approach seems to be in sharp contrast with what Taoism pursues as learning from nature and seeking harmony with nature:

As a religion deep rooted in ancient China and still finds its current popularity, the main assumption of Taoism is that the grand beauty lies between the heaven and the earth, and it’s beyond description (“天地有大美而不言”, 《庄子 知北游》 ). Then one of its consequence might be to follow the rules from the nature (道法自然), in order to enjoy this beauty. This, however, might inherently imply that for example, how a plant’s internal structure is formed shouldn’t be alternated, as opposed to the method of synthetic biology, because this would otherwise destroy that indescribable beauty. Thus in the view of Taoism, the acoustic botany might be opposed to the idea that human being’s aesthetical needs are satisfied.

一种 Discussion:
Music, Agriculture & Civilization

In comparison, in China one way of producing music from the plant is by cutting bamboos and making them into musical instruments. This, does not change anything in the inherent structure of the plant, but utilizes the plants’ characteristic such as the hollowness, the ability to producing more harmonious tunes when the humid air is blown through. By encouraging the play, or interaction with them, the enjoyment of aesthetics is expected, for the bamboos stand between the heaven and the earth, and they may bear the essential element of that grand beauty.