by Susan Leem, associate producer
“That’s in the Chinese characters.” This passing reference by the 96-year-old Chinese-American philosopher Grace Lee Boggs got us wondering. What exactly does she mean? And what do those characters look like?
As it happens, explains our Public Insight Network colleague Melody Ng, the Chinese word for “crisis” consists of two characters: 危 or wei (pronounced “way”) and 机 ji (pronounced “gee”). Wei means dangerous or precarious. Ji means opportunity or chance.
Bound up in the meaning of “crisis” are both danger and opportunity. In each trying moment, there’s a chance for something positive to occur. Today being Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon, what a most auspicious thought to carry forward as we encounter our own crises in 2012.
A portrait of Grace Lee Boggs’ father hangs in her Detroit home. Chin Lee was a successful businessman who owned Chin Lee’s American and Chinese Restaurant on 49th and Broadway in New York. (photo: Trent Gilliss)
//Western ideas are so polemic, that it has to be EITHER a crisis OR an opportunity. In Chaos is Creation. Remember that.