Ji Shi Book #10
(PD) Ji Shi on Landscapes
Photo enhancements and wording by Larry Neal Gowdy
Copyright ©2020 - August 25, 2020
The quote attributed to Confucius in the article Consequentialist Ethics — "When anger rises, think of the consequences" — has been found to have come from Lionel Giles' translation of 季氏 Ji Shi, one of the books within the Analects.
Importance of Ji Shi #10
The word 思 si is one of the single most important words within all ancient Chinese books. To know what the correct word is for 思, requires the firsthand experience of 思. Without knowing what si means, it is not possible to present a rational translation of Zhong Yong, Xunzi, nor several of the books within Analects. It simply cannot be done.
Dictionaries state that si implies things like 'consider, deliberate, ponder, think' and a long list of other English words that do not relate to si. Tao Think #5 has additional comments about si.
For use here, since 思 is composed of two components — 田 'field', and 心 'heart' — then for the moment 思 will be given the English phrase of heart field. The term heart field will suffice while doing a rough draft translation of Ji Shi #10.
The bone structure of paragraph #10 is very obvious.
思 is in every sentence segment except the first. Healthy minds easily sum the conclusion that the sentence segments are speaking of the heart field. Therefore, the paragraph's core topic is about the heart field. Therefore a translation ought to focus on the topic of the heart field. The following is a quick first-draft translation of the paragraph:
'Kong Zi(Confucius) say:
Junzi possess-have nine heart-field
inspect-examine, heart-field understanding
listen(in the sense of listening to oneself), heart-field intelligent-hear
color, heart-field warm-gentle
appearance, heart-field respectful-reverent
speech, heart-field devoted(middle heart)
matter-affairs, heart-field respectful-honor
doubt-uncertain, heart-field investigate
angry, heart-field difficult
meet-see obtain, heart-field right-conduct'
As the paragraph stated, there would be nine 'features' of the heart field to be spoken of. Nine 'features' were stated.
Each of the nine speak of the heart field firsthand. Each of the nine speak of what is personally perceived of the heart field by the individual himself.
Having gleaned an obvious underlying concept of the paragraph, the translation is then able to easily be meaningfully placed into English.
Regardless of how simple and obvious the paragraph's words are, if an individual does not themselves possess and firsthand use 思 si, then the individual must imagine what the correct word is for 思. The following are two of the many examples of how academicians have imagined their interpretations of 思.
"The nobler sort of man pays special attention to nine points. He is anxious to see clearly, to hear distinctly, to be kindly in his looks, respectful in his demeanour, conscientious in his speech, earnest in his affairs ; when in doubt, he is careful to inquire ; when in anger, he thinks of the consequences ; when offered an opportunity for gain, he thinks only of his duty." (Lionel Giles' (1875-1958) The Sayings of Confucius, ©1907) (translation of Ji Shi #10)
"Confucius said, "The superior man has nine things which are subjects with him of thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use of his eyes, he is anxious to see clearly. In regard to the use of his ears, he is anxious to hear distinctly. In regard to his countenance, he is anxious that it should be benign. In regard to his demeanor, he is anxious that it should be respectful. In regard to his speech, he is anxious that it should be sincere. In regard to his doing of business, he is anxious that it should be reverently careful. In regard to what he doubts about, he is anxious to question others. When he is angry, he thinks of the difficulties (his anger may involve him in). When he sees gain to be got, he thinks of righteousness." (The Chinese Classics - Volume 1: Confucian Analects, James Legge (1815-1897), circa 1890) (translation of Ji Shi #10)
If an individual does not understand three unknown words, then adding another hundred unknown words will not make the three words known.
All translators are only able to interpret words relative to what each translator has firsthand experienced in their own lives. By how a text is translated, so does the final product describe the translator's life.
The original Chinese text has 35 words.
My draft version has 34 words (contracting Jun and Zi, and counting hyphenated concepts as one word). From a personal firsthand point of view, there is no reason nor value in adding more words to what was already very clearly stated in the paragraph.
Giles' version has 69 words. Giles interpreted the words as might an individual who is mindful with the goal of properness of outward behavior and thought. Despite his apparently not possessing a conscious heart field, and in spite of Giles' version being almost fully wrong, still his version's message is not so bad for his age and culture.
Legge's version has 138 words. With a life history that included Oxford employment and religious missionary employment, Legge's behavior emphasized religious-like doctrine, unreasoned emotions, self-centeredness, deceit, hypocrisy, and no heart field. Legge's word "anxious" is not cognate with, synonymous with, nor equatable to heart field.
Rather than presenting a lengthy discussion based upon dozens of the hundreds of Confucius, Xunzi, and Laozi quotes that invalidate Legge's and Giles' translations, and while also bypassing comments of western philosophy's inept manner of approaching the topic of ETHICS, it is sufficient enough to simply skip to the summation.
The quote of Giles' that is in Consequentialist Ethics — "When anger rises, think of the consequences" — would read much better as 'angry, heart-field difficult'. People are unable to think well when their emotions are in turmoil.
Nevertheless, the dictionary word angry is incorrect. A more accurate English word agrees with what was originally written in Chinese, agrees with the sentence structures, agrees with the original mental patterns, agrees with the topic, agrees with how the paragraph itself was structured, makes all nine sentences coherent, and agrees with what is real in the real world use of heart field.
Of the very few individuals known to me to have ever written about the heart field, one is Confucius, and one is Xunzi. The same individuals are also the only ones known to have ever written about self-participation in one's own life.
To myself, of the many injustices in the world, the one that gnaws deepest is that Confucius' and Xunzi's words have been hidden from western cultures. I wish I could have read their words when I was young.
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Copyright©2020 by Larry Neal Gowdy. All rights reserved.
Updated August 25, 2020