隐显 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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yǐnxiǎn 隐显

Concealment and Revelation

“隐”指隐讳含藏,“显”指鲜明显扬。作为文艺术语,它们指诗文创作过程中,有些事理须要隐讳含藏,有些事理须要鲜明显扬,体现在语义和文辞上,则或含蓄或显豁,理想的艺术境界是隐显有度。文辞含蓄,语义隐讳,并不是晦涩难懂,而是耐人寻味;文辞明白,语义显豁,也不是直白外露,而是明确清楚。从普遍意义来讲,“隐”与“显”并不是非此即彼的对立关系,而是可以互相转变流动的辩证关系,其间体现“道”的变化。

“Concealment” refers to keeping things hidden, whereas “revelation” means making things abundantly clear. As an artistic and literary term, this pair of opposites refers to a creative process in which some things need to be hidden and others abundantly clear. When applied to semantics or rhetoric, it refers to subtle or explicit modes of expression. An ideal work of art is marked by a proper balance between concealment and revelation. Understatement or hidden meaning does not mean being cryptic, but rather being profound in significance. On the other hand, plainness of wording or conspicuousness of meaning does not mean sheer transparency, but rather clarity. Generally speaking, concealment and revelation are not mutually exclusive. They are instead interchangeable and feature two-way dialectic mobility, revealing Dao in constant change.

引例 Citations:

◎四象精义以曲隐,五例微辞以婉晦,此隐义以藏用也。故知繁略殊形,隐显异术,抑引随时,变通适会,征之周孔,则文有师矣。(刘勰《文心雕龙·征圣》)

(《周易》中的四种卦象,其道理精深而曲折隐晦,《春秋》中的五种记事条例,其文辞细微而婉转含蓄,这是用含蓄隐微的意义来暗含文章作用的例子。因此可知繁和简有不同的面貌,隐与显有不同的表达方法,或压缩或加以发挥要根据当时的要求,写作上的变化要适应不同的情况,用周公、孔子的言论来检验,那么写文章就有了师法了。)

In The Book of Changes, there is mention of four divinatory symbols which are of profound and intricate meanings. Recorded in The Spring and Autumn Annals are five essential requirements of writing, which are themselves artful and subtle. Both of these examples illustrate the function of a piece of writing by resorting to the subtle nuances of meaning. Thus, it can be seen that simplicity and complexity have different outward features, and concealment and revelation have different modes of expression. Authors should curtail or expand the contents of their writing depending on circumstances, adapting to a variety of situations. Good writing is achievable by testing it against the teachings of the Duke of Zhou and Confucius. (Liu Xie: The Literary Mind and the Carving of Dragons)

◎窃惟《中庸》一篇,圣贤之渊源也,体用隐显,成己成物备矣。(张栻(shì)《跋〈中庸集解〉》)

(我个人认为《中庸》这一篇文章,是圣贤思想的本源,它的本体、作用或含蓄或显扬,成就自己、成就外物的方法都齐备了。)

I personally believe that the essay titled “The Doctrine of the Mean” is the source of sagely thought. It conceals or reveals its essence and functions in accord with circumstances, resulting in accomplishment for self and other. (Zhang Shi: Postscript to Collected Explanations of and Commentaries on The Doctrine of the Mean)

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