人在心不在

Pronounced: rén zài xīn bù zài
Literally: person in, heart/mind not in
Means: “The lights are on but nobody’s home!” The idea that someone is “there in body, but there mind is somewhere else.” Notice that Chinese, lacking a Greek philosophical heritage, doesn’t divide people up and pit head against heart, or mind and reason against emotions and irrationality in the same way that Westerners do. 心 (xīn) can be translated as heart, mind, or soul.

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