Published in Magma 57
The Chinese for Crisis is wēijī, whereas for Opportunity it is jīhuì. These words are represented by identical symbols. For this reason, it is often said by men of great stature that Crisis equals Opportunity. I think a closer look at the above ideograms will prove this assumption lacks merit.
We should first consider the deft strokes of black ink that make an art of language. They are meticulous; the lines are sharp formations of flight. The curves are swans’ necks, frangible. This is language not as written but as erected by delicate architects. The characters stand in discrete space, there is no confusion, no overlap. They appear equally impressive and important.
The symbol on p.182 of my book might be a scorpion’s tail primed on a forecourt under a spare slant roof. I hope you can see this.
The second symbol is described in two characters. The first of these appears to be the would-be regicide, Guy Fawkes, skinny, dark breeches, a full hose, tortured arms and that topping favoured of the Jacobeans, the steeple-shaped beaver felt hat.
To the right, it is there, the final few sweeps of the brush outline the Greek letter Pi, and infinite opportunity; or it could be an ornate door frame.
You might howl at these pointless interpretations. I’ll be silent until you have finished. Then I’ll remind you, gently, of divining sticks and tea leaves, goats’ innards and tarot cards; each true to the believer; each having perverted many a course of action.
To conclude: by way of coming to understand my own destiny, I have conjured, from a total of fifteen brushstrokes, deadly intent, shelter, a murderous lunatic, and endless mathematical possibility. And failing all this, a way out.