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Taking the Heart out of Love

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The original Chinese character for love placed ‘heart’ – , inside ‘receive’ – , to form ‘love’ – 愛. Thus the meaning of love was to receive a heart. Today, though, the character has a horizontal line where the heart had been



Though the linguists in Chairman Mao’s China might not have had any intent of taking the heart out of love when they simplified the writing system, the tragic recent politcal history of China indicates differently. This removal is more than a sentimental metaphor for the losses sustained by China in the latter half of the twentieth century, where complete obedience was dictated by the state, and any chance of caring or loving was poisoned by insanity, evil, and cowardice. The Chinese under Mao suffered greatly during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, and this amounted to a debasement of humanity. In the worship of Mao, in kowtowing to his goons, love meant to receive a line, the communist party’s line.


See Love: An Etymology at decomP.

Written by Caleb Powell

December 5, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Posted in Art

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