yì bù chèn wù, wén bù dài yì 意不称物，文不逮意
Ideas Cannot Match Actual Things and Words Cannot Fully Express Ideas.
This happens when inner thoughts or a written text’s general idea cannot fully reflect the actual state of things, and when diction cannot fully express inner thoughts. It is a description and analysis of the psychology of writing by Lu Ji (261-303) of the Western Jin Dynasty in his literary theoretic work, “The Art of Writing.” Specifically, inner thoughts or creative ideas triggered by external things can be diverse yet ambiguous and the author grasps only some of these. Language, too, has difficulty in expressing them fully, not to mention all the implications triggered by or related to external things. In the domain of everyday human cognition and practice, language can, by and large, clearly record the subject’s thoughts and express his wishes with regard to external things. But in literary creation, words often fail to do so. This also explains why literary interpretation enjoys greater latitude than purely academic interpretation. Lu Ji revealed this essential characteristic of literary creation and reception, thus promoting the development of literature under its own standards.
Inner thoughts or an article’s general idea cannot fully reflect the actual state of things, and diction cannot fully express inner thoughts – a predicament I often find myself in. It is far easier to recognize this problem than solve it. (Lu Ji: The Art of Writing)