命 (mìng) — Fate, Life, Order
"The world is like a large furnace; fate is like the blazing fire. All living things are like the bronze being refined within.” —Famous line of Chinese poetry.
In oracle bone inscriptions, the word 命 (mìng) comprises two parts: the top half represents a mouth facing downwards, and the bottom half symbolizes a kneeling person. In other words, when someone of higher status speaks to someone of lower status, the latter person must respectfully listen.
In life we may encounter unfortunate events that go against our wishes. Ancient Chinese culture held that one's fate is preordained.
This is why the bottom half of 命 is a person in a kneeling position—it represents the insignificance of man and the dignity of the Creator. However, this refers to more than man's pitiful state.
The Analects of Confucius contain this saying:
"When hardships occur, do not blame the fate bestowed upon you by God, and do not resent the people around you. Although you are in an unfavorable situation, you can still strive to elevate your life's realm. What divine beings look at is your heart."
In Chinese culture, the kneeling posture symbolizes more than just inferiority; it also stands for humility and introspection.
Facing fate, one can choose to be helpless, or valiant.''