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  • Gordon Dumoulin

"I know"... "我知道" (wǒ zhīdào)...

Philosophy rooted in daily language. Zhīdào as ‘know’ could be perceived as 知 (zhī) = ‘be notified, be aware of’ followed by 道 (dào) = ‘path, way’.

道 (dào) originates from 道教 (Dàojiào), or Taoism. So dào might not necessarily ‘just’ mean path or way. It is also a fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy.

道可道非常道 名可名非常名 ‘The Dao that can be told is not the eternal Dao; The name that can be named is not the eternal name’ (Tao Te Ching, Laozi).

Reflecting my poor language skills, above is certainly not a teaching and is drawn from other sources (I will certainly be corrected 😊), the intention here is merely a humble thought to trigger cross-cultural awareness when interacting or doing business with Chinese people.

‘I know’ or ‘yes’ might for example mean ‘I understand or agree the way at this point’ while it may be perceived as an ‘absolute’ in the West. Or ‘silence’ (absence of I know or yes) might possibly mean not wanting to speak as words might limit opportunities whereas it might be perceived as ‘rejection’ by others.

𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘯𝘰𝘵....

Cross cultural awareness is key for a better collaboration.

Most important to remember though: we all have much more in common than we have differences ! 😊


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