反 – Chinese philosophy and culture

fǎn 反

Reversal to the Opposite

相反或复归。“反”用以描述事物在属性或状态上的相反、对立。在此基础上,“反”也指称事物在相反关系中的变化趋向。在这一意义上,“反”包含两种不同的含义:其一,指事物的属性或状态总会在一定情况下向与自身相反的对立面转化。其二,指事物返回到其原初或根本的某种状态或属性。“反”的概念体现着古人对事物内在变化规则的深刻认识。

This term means a reversal to an original and opposite state. By extension, it also refers to the way changes occur in a relationship of opposites. In this sense, the term has two different meanings: one is that a thing’s attribute or state will under certain circumstances always transform itself to its opposite; the other is that a thing reverts to its original or fundamental state or attribute. The concept of reversal to an opposite is an expression of the ancient Chinese understanding of the rules governing the way things change.

引例 Citations:

◎反者道之动,弱者道之用。(《老子·四十章》)

(“道”的运动是向对立面的转化或复归,“道”在起作用时总是柔弱处下的。)

The motion of Dao is transforming into the opposite or returning to the original state; and Dao is soft and humble while it is functioning. (Laozi)

◎知东西之相反而不可以相无,则功分(fèn)定矣。(《庄子·秋水》)

(知道东西两个方向相互对立又彼此不可缺少,那么就可以确定万物的功用和分位了。)

When we understand that east and west are opposites but cannot exist without each other, then we know the functions and positions of things. (Zhuangzi)

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