Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Chinese word for crisis does NOT mean "danger and opportunity"

“Weiji” is the Chinese (Mandarin) word for “crisis”. It combines the two syllables “wei” meaning danger or threat, and “ji” meaning, …well, that’s the pit.
“Ji” can have several meanings, depending on the context: machine or engine, aircraft, crucial point, chance, occasion, opportunity or organic. In theory Weiji could mean “dangerpossibility”, but words are not constructed that way.

The meaning of “ji” in this context means something like “incipient moment” or “crucial point” (when something begins or changes). The correct meaning of weiji is ”an important point in time where danger prevails” – a dangerous moment, a time when things start to go awry.

Weiji signifies a perilous situation when one should be especially cautious and NOT a moment when one goes looking for advantages and benefits.

In a crisis everybody wants to save their neck, not go looking for opportunities. It’s deeply human.


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