kè (客)

literally means “a guest, visitor, or stranger;” it is frequently used in Língshū to refer to a prime cause of disease — some influence other than one’s own embodied spirit (jīngshén (精神)). In that context, kè (客) connotes “an intruder,” and it is sometimes rendered that way. However, in all cases it is both ‘guest’ and ‘intruder,’ which invites us to confront the moral projection most people apply to disease. This projection is also expressed in the usual translation of xié (邪) as “evil,” rather than the more value-neutral “perverse.”

« Back to Glossary Index