07 May 2012

Wisdom in Chinese includes Both Left & Right Brain

Wisdom in Chinese includes cold logic and creativity with feelings. Know enough to talk about it. Able to create the diversities and understand the feelings of the heart. It is logic and intuition.
In Learning Chinese Words Makes You Smarter we cover a number of Chinese words that give many meaningful details about the concept expressed in the words. Here is another one.

Wisdom is Chinese is "智慧" Zhi Hui.

智 Zhi is also translated as wisdom or full of knowledge. It is usually more meaningful to see the components of the word. In this case, it is 知 know and 曰    say. Knowing and saying form the word wisdom or knowledge. Say can be taken as teach. Rephrasing what we know is a good way to show that we really understand a subject. Being able to teach others also shows one's grasp of the knowledge. Knowledge is about facts.

慧 Hui is also translated as wisdom, smartness, and even to the extend of cunningness. Again, it is better to look at the components. It is made up of 心 heart, 彗 hui (the shooting star, comet, is known as 彗星). 彗 in turns is made up of :

So we can infer that the 2nd word of wisdom is about heart being able to contain many plants or flowers which may signify diversities, varieties, beauty, creativity. Heart also speaks of feeling and emotion and intuition. It is able to hold even seemingly conflicting diversities together.

It no wonder that Taiwanese Professor of Design 姚仁禄 (著名设计师) said that Left Brain is 智 and Right Brain is 慧. (左脑代表智,右脑代表慧).

So, for Chinese, wisdom means the ability to analyse a situation with cold facts and to share it. It also includes the ability to grasp the diversities of issues that touch the heart and feelings of the people. Chinese wisdom is cold logic and yet heart warming. It is a solution that creates harmony in midst of diversities. It is rational and motivating. It touches the brain and the heart and creating innovations that bring joy and harmony.

Lim Liat (C) 7 May 2012
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