Chinese characters have been in the process of development and simplification from graphics to graphical characters over history.
In pursuing the benefits for common people in China and the rest of the world to learn the language more easily, our government Community Party of China initiated further simplification of Chinese characters. It was a people-centered process over tens of years, by listening to and collecting feedback from people.
Today, some people are questioning why a more pictographic 鬥-fight was changed into 斗-fight which seems not vividly telling the essential meanings of a fight. Let’s dig deep to understand the reason!
斗 originally meant the bucket part of the Big Dipper北斗星, the brightest constellation over the North Pole, the sign and guide of the north, with its handle’s direction telling the four seasons. In modern people’s perspectives, finding our True North means discovering personal direction and purposes.
斗 also meant bucket containers and units of measurement used to measure the volume of grains, rice, water, alcohol,…, those important materialized supplies humans got from nature. One 斗 = ten liters.
鬥, the un-simplified version 斗, vividly drew out two people twisting each other’s hair and fighting hard.
Why instead of using the vividly fighting 鬥, Chinese people chose 斗 to represent fight nowadays?
In Taoism’s theories, the human abdomen is the True North of their body and life energy, as: 1) all human life materialized supplies from nature are further digested and absorbed there; 2) human reproductive systems generate new lives.
Like the vast majority of animals on Earth, if life is simply eating, drinking, pooing, peeing, and giving birth to new lives, then a person has an abdomen to complete most of these functions. In order to ensure food, drink, and place of residence of oneself and one’s offspring, competitions, struggles, and fights among creatures emerge. At this point, 鬥 seems enough to describe the fight.
But, for humans with independent consciousness, when competitions, struggles, and fights exist, it also relates to human thoughts, minds, and spirits than simply materialized body needs.
People pursue their meaningful direction and purpose of life continuity and #prosperity.
We have an old saying: 不为五斗米折腰 – don’t bend your waist for five Buckets of rice! Chinese people used it to express our not coveting to material comforts, not bowing to the power, but maintaining the dignity and quality of human beings in facing materialized attractions.
Now, we see, our people intended to always remind ourselves that 斗-fight more strongly comes out of self-awareness to understand our purpose, to “fight” against ourselves between pursuing material comforts and a spiritual #purpose, instead of fight with others violently.
There is big #wisdom in the simplification of this character from 鬥 to 斗 by people.