Professor Victor H. Mair has sent me another piece along the lines of his popular essay danger + opportunity ? crisis.
The new piece discusses a misinterpretation of the nature of the Chinese character for máng (“busy”).
Since the entire essay is just a few paragraphs long, I won’t excerpt from it here but simply encourage everyone to read the whole thing: busyness ? heart + killing.
For related examples of this fanciful approach to etymology that Mair exposes, see misunderstandings of biblical proportions. And for a detailed explanation of how Chinese characters really do function, see Chinese.