If you searched ‘cryptic tweet’ in a dictionary, a post from none other than Elon Musk would be sure to appear.
The tech billionaire is known for sharing mysterious posts on the platform without offering context, meaning internet sleuths are left to do the work on their own. The latest Musk tweet that set Twitter in scrambles is a poem in Mandarin he titled ‘Humankind.’
No, Musk didn’t suddenly become a poet. The poem is attributed to Cao Zhi, a member of Chinese royalty who lived between 192 and 232. It's known as “Quatrain of Seven Steps,” and there’s a legend about the piece of poetry.
First off, the poem is actually about beans, or at least, beans are used as an allegory to describe a conflict that erupts between two brothers: Cao Zhi and his older brother Cao Pi.
The two brothers are said to have fought out of jealousy, with Cao Zhi’s newly crowned king elder brother suspicious that he was trying to usurp his rule. Legend has it that Cao Pi forced him to produce a poem within seven steps that would proclaim his innocence.
When translated the poem reads:
“Beanstalks are ignited to boil beans
The beans in the pot cry out
We are born of the same root
Why should we incinerate each other with such impatience?”
According to the myth, Cao Pi was so touched by his brother’s words, he spared him.
So how is this relevant to Elon Musk and why did he decide to label the poem ‘Humankind’ you may ask? Well, many Twitter users believe that this tweet was a sly reference to the Dogecoin vs Shiba Inu cryptocurrency debacle.
Musk is a known advocate for Dogecoin and the rival Shiba Inu token has now overtaken Dogecoin in market value.
Additionally, the Chinese word for bean is pronounced "dou," which has a striking phonetic similarity to Doge.