Faces of Qi

It’s easy to become confused about qi if you don’t have any experience with the Chinese language. The first mistake many people make is in thinking that Qi is the energy of living human beings and nothing else. From the ancient Chinese viewpoint qi is more of a universal energy, more like something from quantum physics than physiology. Qi can just as easily be the quantum soup of the near vacuum as the breath in the human body. With this in mind here are some typical Chinese phrases using the word qi. It’s only by learning a few of these that you can “taste” the real meaning of the word.

生气 Sheng Qi: growing qi, anger.
天气 Tian Qi: Heaven’s qi, the weather.
客气 Ke Qi: Guest qi, politeness
气象 Qi Xiang: Qi Shape, meteorology
气体 Qi Ti: Qi Body, gas
电气 Dian Qi: Lightning qi, electricity
气球 Qi Qiu: Qi ball, balloon

As you can see qi has many meanings. The argument over whether of not qi “exists” when it comes to specific claims is like arguing wether certain colors exist and, it they do not, assuming that no color exists. Qi is a much bigger idea than most people suspect and as we will be discussing in upcoming posts…