It always touches me when listening to Mrs. Peng LiYuan’s ‘In the Field of Hope在希望的田野上’. As, from eastern culture’s view, the world civilization is all built on top of 田 – fields & soils. The interesting fact is that when we take a close look at the origin of Chinese culture, we can’t help but be surprised and touched how it tells soulful stories through very simple Chinese characters we use daily.
So, here let’s take a glance at a simple character 田(fields & soils) which is the word root for:
甲jiǎ(shell; first; armor; nail): Basically, it means the husky shell of a seed germinated in a field, emphasizing that something underground sprouts, a new life begins to grow, a new hope armored to get stronger.
由yoú (cause, reason, from): Pictographically, this character emphasized the above-ground part that grows out of the fields. And ironically, 由 has the meaning of new branches of trees, giving the reasons, causes and supports for leaves and lives.
申shēn (apply; to explain; to state): It is a sign that the above-ground & underground fields are connected. Originally, it was related to ancient God-heaven worship in old Chinese time, praying for mysterious nature power that connects the ground and the sky together. This is well reflected as 申 is also the root word of 神 which means God, spirit, heaven.
电diàn(electric): In ancient time, our ancestors had discovered this powerful nature phenomenon of electric, and they well defined it through this simple character电 that electric is the further energy developed between the above-ground & underground. When we say thunders雷电 in Chinese, it is saying about the 雨(rain), 田(fields) and 电(electric). Ancestors were trying to tell how #MotherEarth‘s #energy releases through thunders & earthquakes, between clouds and fields, above and in the grounds.
鬼gǔi(ghost, devil and demon): when there is something that covers 田(fields and soils), and things have to over-develop underground but can’t grow above, it means ghost, devil and demon. Since ancient time, people had started to describe dark, negative energy vividly using this character 鬼.
Now, how about自由-freedom? 自由-freedom is something defined pictographically related to slef, fields, God and spirit. The 自-self is telling us to put our hands above our eyes-目 to self-observe, to have a clearer viewsight, to self-reflect, for good things to sprout out of human heart, for lives to grow on the fields, for spirits to fly freely in the homelands. Ancestors knew human hands, fingers, and eyes are connected to human minds and hearts.
In the modern nowadays, there are freedom for individuals, for businesses, for corporations, for regions, even for health to play their own roles with certain boundaries that regulate them for developments, on the common ground that they root deeply underground but grow up-straight strongly and mutually.
Our reality and modern society are cohesively reflecting what has been embedded in these simple characters over long history, incredibly, invincibly and unstoppably.
We all love the land-ground where we are born, grow up and develop.