The Relatively Happy Fish…

Found this hilarious quote from the Chuang Tzu (莊子) while scanning through the Journal of Asian Philosophy. Almost burst out laughing in the library.

I think it’s just really bad translation, but it’s hilarious nonetheless…

Zhuangzi and Hui Shi were strolling on the bridge above the Hao river. ‘Out swim the minnows, so free and easy,’ said Zhuangzi. ‘This is fish happiness.’

‘You are not a fish; whence do you know fish happiness?’

‘You are not me; whence do you know that I don’t know fish happiness?’

‘I am not you so I don’t know you. You are not fish so you don’t know fish happiness. That is the whole of it.’

Sounds a lot like two primary school kids having an argument of very trivial matters. Found another translation online that expresses the idea in a more dignified (and less trivial manner).