然則人之生也,果若是芒乎?而亦有不芒者乎?

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Kwunlam

Senior Member
Cantonese
"果他人之死,動我之大哀大惑如是;則我之死也,其動後我而死者之大哀與大惑,亦如是。而人生代代,所動於後代之人之大哀大惑,亦皆如是。則無數代之人生,亦無數代之大哀大惑之留傳不斷而已。而吾今日之思及此無數代之大哀大惑之留傳,則又將更動吾今日之無限之大哀大惑,而不能自已也。然則人之生也,果若是芒乎?而亦有不芒者乎? "

May I ask what do "芒" and "不芒者" mean here ?

Many thanks in advance !
 
  • Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Hi,

    I think I have read 晦芒 used as darkness. So 芒 itself can mean darkness. Figuratively, darkness is ignorance. So 芒 here is a synonym to 蒙.
     

    kkmp

    Member
    Middle Earth, Mandarin
    The denotation of 芒 is the prickle part of a ripped wheat seed. Its connotation is large number or amount. For example, 光芒 means millions of rays irradiated from a bright object.

    The author (no more than 150 years ago I assume) of the passage was puzzled by the endless sorrow accumulated from his circular reasoning and wondered if there is an end to it or not (A modern homo sapien will see this as much ado about nothing).

    In the example provided by Flaminius, 晦 = darkness, 芒 = infinite. Thus 晦芒 = (spatially) infinite darkness. 晦芒 could be interchangeably written as 晦茫 and both carry the same meaning.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    Thank you kkmp for your to-the-point comment on 晦芒. Still, I'd like to reiterate that 芒 as an independent word can also mean dark/dim. CHENDICT v1.0 (c) Chineselanguage.org 1995-2007 defines it as below.

    máng [1] awn [2] Chinese silvergrass [3] ray [4] blade [5] vast; numerous [6] dim
    [Query the character 芒 at the first link and see the first result. The second link provides a detailed definition of the entry but the dim sense is somehow not listed there.]

    I am sticking to dimness (uggh, I should say to myself 学而不思則罔 a thousand times) because the queried sentence is very similar to a passage from 荘子's 齊物論.

    It reads; "人之生也,固若是芒乎?其我獨芒,而人亦有不芒者乎?" In the traditional Japanese understanding, 芒 is regarded here as dim or, in a more straightforward language, as stupid.
     
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