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RAN Qibin. “Connatching”: An Important Thinking Mode in Traditional Chinese Culture[J]. International Comparative Literature, 2020, 3(3): 452-468. doi: 10.19857/j.cnki.ICL.20203303
Citation: RAN Qibin. “Connatching”: An Important Thinking Mode in Traditional Chinese Culture[J]. International Comparative Literature, 2020, 3(3): 452-468. doi: 10.19857/j.cnki.ICL.20203303

“Connatching”: An Important Thinking Mode in Traditional Chinese Culture

doi: 10.19857/j.cnki.ICL.20203303
  • Received Date: 2020-05-09
  • Rev Recd Date: 2020-07-10
  • Publish Date: 2021-03-09
  • Connatching" (connecting and matching) is an important feature in traditional Chinese culture:a thinking mode to establish connections/linkages between things and phenomena through subjective bridging. Specifically, based on their shapes, appearances, properties, and characteristics, matchings and mappings between concepts are constructed through subjective feeling, intuitive thinking, and correspoding association. The associations between Yin, Yang, and the Eight Trigrams, among other elements, indicated the early forms of connatching. And connatching can be found typically in the theory of interaction between heaven and mankind. In the field of specific knowledge, connatching in traditional Chinese medicine lies in the doctrine of signatures, food-medicine, and also massage. Connatching of human organs and herbal medicines typically reflects the direct and intuitive associations between the two. In traditional Chinese culture, the largest, most systemetic, and most influential form of connatching is centered on "five Xing." In fact, the series of connections and associations centered on "five Xing" forms a three-dimensional "connatching cloud" phenomenon. "Five Xing" involved at least thirty semantic fields before the Tang dynasty, including colors, seasons, classical literature, numbers, sounds, tastes, etc. For example, thirty-six initials in Middle Chinese were connatched to five Xing, five music chords, five objects in society, five organs, and five directions and weights. The influence of connatch-thinking is pervasive in traditional Chinese culture, being widely reflected in calligraphy, painting, martial arts, language, and other fields, including numerous instances of "speech-sound connatching" by ordinary people. For example, homophone preferences and homophone taboo generally result from speech-sound connatching. While connatch-thinking has certain characteristics of "systematic thinking," there are essential differences between the two. More often than not, connatch-thinking falls into vague and general concept-matching games.
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