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This sentence is very hard for me to translate.

许多事情,看得开是好;看不开,终归也要熬过去。别以为看不开就不会过去

My try: "Have a lot of problems, Kan De Kai is good; Kan Bu Kai, in the end will still be angry (??). Don't think if Kan Bu Kai means can't go through."

Does not make sense at all. Appreciate your help.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Just so you have another interpretation. As far as I read the sentence, 看得开 means "letting go" and 看不开 means "clinging on". Another hard point in this sentence is the structure "... 是好 ...也...". The original structure should be "...也好...也罢" which can be construed as "either... or..." or "for better for worse". Here 好 does not mean good. It just mean "if it is so". So the first sentence means that "either you let it go, or cling on it, you will get through". So what the sentence actually means is this:

许多事情,看得开是好;看不开,终归也要熬过去。别以为看不开就不会过去 A lot of things in this world will of course fade away if you let it go; yet even if you simply cling on it, you will still get through. Don't you ever think that it will never end as long as you cling on.

My translation is very crude, mainly because I can't convey the same tone as it is in Chinese. This sentence have a really Taoist tone that for better for worse, things will run on it's own course. It doesn't matter how you think of it. The only difference is that if you cling on it, you need to endure more (熬).

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Wow that actually makes more sense I think... This is more in line with my original thought. Thank you –  rabbid Nov 18 '13 at 0:46
    
Yes, this answer is certainly better. 看不开,就背着。 放不下,就记着。 舍不得,就留着! –  Question Overflow Nov 18 '13 at 3:38

Both 看得开 and 看不开 represents a state of the mind:

看得开 means 不把不如意的事情放在心上 or being optimistic;
看不开 means 把不如意的事情放在心上 or being pessimistic.

I would translate the philosophical piece like this:

There are many trials and tribulations [in this world], it is good to be optimistic; even if you are pessimistic, you would still need to go through them. Don't assume that you can wish away your problems by being pessimistic.


Just to emphasize that 看得开 and 看不开 are not simple optimism or pessimism (which can be substituted with 乐观 and 悲观) but relates more to the tribulations that one experiences.

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But the last sentence I think literally says "don't think that pessimistic can't go through." There is a double negative that makes pessimistic here a positive thing. Or perhaps the 以为 here means more like "be under," which makes the phrase to be "don't be under pessimism, you won't go through" ? Thanks –  rabbid Nov 15 '13 at 9:43
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Sorry I just thought of this translation for the second half: "Even if you are pessimistic, you would still need to face your problems. Don't think by being pessimistic you won't need to face them." I think this makes more sense to me now, thank you. Where did you find the definition for these words? –  rabbid Nov 15 '13 at 9:48
    
Yes, you get the gist of it. I manage to find this on Baidu which says 看开: 不把不如意的事情放在心上. So, in a sense, it means don't keep thinking about those bad events, and this corresponds to being optimistic. –  Question Overflow Nov 15 '13 at 10:26
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IMO 不把不如意的事情放在心上 is not best rendered as optimistic –  user238264 Nov 15 '13 at 16:15
    
to be clearer, optimism is "expect[ing] the most favorable outcome" –  user238264 Nov 15 '13 at 17:06

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