Word Meanings Change, Always #3 字謂化也長 三

Word Meanings Change Always

(PD) Wang Ximeng's A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains (Cropping, text, and modifications by Larry Neal Gowdy)

Larry Neal Gowdy

Copyright ©2023 March 27, 2023

惡 Evil, Not Mean Evil

The modern English word evil is recorded to have evolved from the Old English word yfel. Yfel is dictionary-defined to infer 'bad, inferior, unfortunate', and given a modern synonym of 'evil'. Today, the word evil is most commonly interpreted to imply an extreme of morally wrong behavior. Yfel's 'inferior' changed to become evil's 'extremely morally wrong'. Inferior and morally wrong are not synonymous.

Similarly, the Chinese word (e) is commonly translated to mean "evil".

(e) is composed of which, in dictionaries, implies 'deformed, inferior, secondary', plus which implies heart. It is obvious; suggests a thing that is 'deformed, inferior, secondary' of heart.

Easy example: is composed of 'monkey' and 'heart'. The word infers precisely what it describes; 'stupid', or as we might joke, 'monkey brains'. is composed of 'deformed, inferior, secondary' and 'heart'. The word may infer what it describes; 'deformed-inferior intelligence'. Not given publicly, the actual descriptive definition of is very important within Confucian texts, and is often clarified of definition by how the word is used within sentences.

Through the years, yfel changed meaning, and became interpreted to imply evil. Through the years, changed meaning, and became interpreted to imply evil. Yfel does not mean evil, nor does mean evil.

An individual who carelessly uses the word evil, might themselves be an example of .

Carelessly Using Wrong Words

The neighbor's barked and barked and barked all night, the chased cats all day, and the growled at the mailman. Very often, an unknown word's meaning is defined by how the word is used in a sentence.

From Discourses and Sayings of Confucius - Legge vs. Ku Hung-Ming: "Li Ren section 3: James Legge's translation: "The master said: It is only the truly virtuous man who can love, or who can hate, others." Ku #IV-3: "Confucius remarked, "It is only men of moral character who know how to love men or to hate men." First glance, tiny glance, disinterested glance, vague peripheral vision, already the translations are recognized to be outrageously absurd. Virtuous people hate people?? Hate is virtuous?? Moral character contains the ingredient of hate?? It is moral to hate people?? Whatever Legge and Ku's bizarre concepts of 'virtue', 'moral character', and 'hate' might have been, I personally do not want to know."

Legge and Ku both translated the word as hate. The sentence structure, sentence patterning, and topic strongly suggest that does not and cannot infer evil nor hate.

As was given in the ancient texts, (hao) does not mean "good", and (e) cannot mean "hate". As the sentence is given, a very rough and purposefully incomplete draft idea — while still leaving an adequate fullness of the underlying concepts — is 'Zi said: Only benevolent person able (towards) harmonious people, able (towards) disharmonious people.' and are not as obvious as , but the general ideas are usable even if the words' descriptions are unknown.

Within the book Xunzi - A Translation and Study of the Complete Works, Volume III, Books 17-32 by John Knoblock, there is a useful introduction to the idea behind the Chinese word that is almost universally mistranslated into English as evil:

(Book 23, page 139, Man's Nature Is Evil.) ""Meaning of e "Evil." The character "" is used for two related words, the word e "evil; evildoer" and the word wu "hate; hatred." These two words are related to a larger group of words, also written with the phonetic ya , that refer to persons suffering from various deformities which frighten or instill fear, to expressions of surprise, and to the sounds of laughter and disgust. The Shuowen defines ya as "ugly" (chou) and says that the form of the character imitates the shapes of a hunchback (cf. Kudo Takamura). The Chinese, like others, associated the ugly and evil with the natural revulsion and aversion they inspire, just as they associate the good and beautiful with the natural attraction they inspire.

As has been noted (Vol. I. p. 99), the term e "evil" does not carry the sinister and baleful overtones of the English word. Nor does the statement that man's nature is evil suggest that man is inherently depraved and incapable of good. That man's nature is evil causes Xunzi no difficulty in believing that he can be reformed by education and the effects of acculturation. Similarly, the belief that man's nature is good inspires in Mencius no conviction that at birth man is a "noble savage" who is ravaged by the destructive effect of society and civilization."

Eleven pages later, on page 150 Knoblock translated the first four words of 23.1 to be "Human nature is evil". Knoblock had previously written of the knowledge that does not mean 'evil', but still Knoblock continued to translate as "evil". Most all English readers will assume that the English word "evil" means "evil". All known scholarly translations of the text have also translated as "evil", even when the scholar-philosophers have been told that does not mean 'evil'.

is a good example of how difficult it is to explain a word's meaning to people of whom themselves have no capacity to perceive parallel thoughts as what the original Chinese author possessed. Repeatedly, words like have been explained through [1] mathematical equations and sums, [2] scientific wave-based physics, and [3] physically drawing pictures of the mathematically measured wave forms, but still the words' meanings are incapable of being comprehended by anyone who is not already possessing and applying what the word implies.

No known science, psychology, academia, nor ideology knows what beauty is. If an individual is unable to intricately describe what beauty is, then the individual also cannot know what ugly is. Over three-thousand years of scholar-philosophers debating what beauty is, proves that they also cannot know what ugly is, nor what evil is.

The first four words of 23-1 are '人之性惡', and were translated by Knoblock and others as "Human nature is evil" (Homer Dubs wrote "The nature of man is evil"). A quick word-per-word draft translation variation (sans a descriptive phrase for ) is 'People it nature aberrant'. The "human nature" and "people it nature" most emphatically do not infer the same thing, nor are the ideas synonymous. The value in observing how a person translates words, is in how the individuals are able to retain the original words' relationships. When relationships between words are disconnected, then it is evidence that the translator would also not be able to accurately connect words in other sentences, resulting in the entirety of the translation losing its bone structure, scrambling its mental patterns, and leaving the entirety of the translation to be one big mess of contradictions and absurdities (which is the norm for all known publicly available translations).

Current dictionaries give definitions of as 'bad, difficult, evil, foul, hate, hostile, loathe, malicious, nauseated, slow, wicked'. One question is to ask why Christian missionaries chose to use the very worst possible English synonym (evil) instead of using a less severe English word? Was the use of evil intentional, or merely a habit from the missionaries' 'loud voice with face' fire and brimstone preaching?

Dictionaries claim that (shan) means good, which is an extremely obvious wrong English word, and the dictionaries claim that (si) means think, which is also an extremely obvious wrong English word. If dictionaries are obviously wrong on easy words, then why would anyone trust a dictionary for difficult words? Scholars admit that they cannot read Chinese, but still the same scholars claim that they know what the Chinese words mean.

Chinese words that contain (e.g. e and si) mean precisely what they imply.

Again, the meaning of includes 'inferior' and 'secondary'. Simply combine (deformed, inferior, secondary) with (heart). There is no need to get extreme and begin preaching Biblical evil. People who carelessly use the word evil are mentally weak, deformed of heart, inferior, and secondary to healthy people: .

And why did the Christian missionaries not read the actual Chinese text? If the Christian missionaries read the sixth word in the sentence ( (shan)), then the Christian missionaries should have seen that shan is used as a contrast to . It is very obvious; contrast (shan uniform-consistent) to (e). The definition was already given within the sentence.

An antonym of 'consistent' is 'hypocrisy', which is what the Christian missionaries did do in their translations as well as within their religion. James Legge, Homer Dubs, et al, gave mouth to Christianity, gave bow to academia, but bosomed neither. The English term for their behavior is hypocrite, and a plausible Chinese synonym for their inner natures is .

42:16-13: "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

James Legge, Homer Dubs, et al were not so much as consistent of which gods they worshipped.

42:14-26: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

The Biblical word "hate" is defined in Strong's as: "3404 miseo {mis-eh'-o} from a primary misos (hatred); to detest (especially to persecute); by extension, to love less:--hate(-ful)." Albert Barnes and others have commented (apologetics) that the word "hate" does not mean 'hate', but still the word remains within religious texts, and remains to be used by most religious people. Either the original Greek word meant something different than 'hate', else the whole of Christianity is false.

People throughout the world do indeed carelessly use wrong words with wrong meanings, and people have been carelessly doing so for over 2,500 years of recorded history. The cause, of course, is that the people do not know what words mean.


(e) does not mean 'hate'. Individuals who self-learned as a child, are able to self-observe and to recognize what emotions are, as well as to self-observe the analog variables within each emotion. is able to be intricately described with mathematics, wave-based physics, biological formations, psychological behaviors, and pictures, but even when people are told that does not mean 'evil', still the people will carelessly continue to translate as "evil".

Only self-learning enables understanding. Only through the self-participation of self-analyzing one's own self-learning, is useful knowledge acquired. When an individual understands through self-learning, word meanings never change. Individuals without self-learning, their word meanings change always.