jī (機)

in general, jī (機) means motion or change; the pictograph refers to the catch on the trigger mechanism of a cross-bow; so, jī (機) refers to the fundamental dynamics of any complex process, and often specifically to the source or origin of motion or change that can be ‘triggered’ by some small or subtle action or experience; jī (機) is often rendered as ‘critical mechanism,’ though the complex processes of qì within individuals are generally not mechanistic; there is no time delay in the ‘outcomes’ of the triggered movement, as they all occur together; thus, I have rendered jī (機) most frequently in Língshū as “crucial dynamic.”

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