on kochi shin
You'll notice that the hiragana and romaji formatting of today's yoji is broken in different places than usual. This is because, while many times yoji can be made by combining two niji compounds, today's has a niji compound stuck right in the middle: "故知： the wisdom of the ancients." How cool is that?
You'll recognize 温 from 温泉 (onsen) and 新 (new), and if you apply the meanings, in order, you get: from the warm wisdom of the ancients, comes the new. But the wisdom wouldn't be warm still, if we didn't keep it warm. Read on to get a better definition.
1. Learning from the past
2. Build new things on proven foundations
3. Develop new things by studying the past
4. Learn new things by applying old things
You've heard the famous quotation from George Santayana, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it?" This same idea applies pretty well to 温故知新. Remembering the past keeps it alive, keeps it warm, but the purpose of keeping it alive is not to keep living in it... but to prevent yourself from repeating it.
The connotation of 温故知新 is more on advancement, creation, and moving forward, not just prevention.
What I find intensely interesting is the possibility that Santayana's saying might BE an example of 温故知新, as 温故知新 is itself part of a famous Confucian saying. Is there a chance that a philosopher like Santayana writing in the early 1900s might have been familiar with Confucianism and based his new ideas on a similar, old principle?*
For those of you who are interested, check out this article about a case of real life 温故知新 and a case of real life Jurassic Parking in Dubai!
The fact that earth blew up was a terrible shame, BUT, if everyone can keep the lessons of the past fresh in their hearts, those of us who are still alive can give it another shot, here.
* The internet says "NO."