Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Chinese parable, retold by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty in her book Other People’s Myths, may help to put this into perspective.

Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu had strolled on to the bridge of the Hao, when the former observed, “See how the minnows are darting about! That is the pleasure of
fishes.” “You not being a fish yourself,” said Hui Tzu, “how can you possibly know in what consists the pleasure of fishes?” “And you not being I,” retorted Chuang Tzu, “how can you know that I do not know?” “If I, not being you, cannot know what you know,” urged Chuang Tzu, “it follows that you, not being a fish, cannot know in what consists the pleasure of fishes.” “Let us go back,” said Chuang Tzu, “to your original question. You asked me how I knew in what consists the pleasure of fishes. Your very question shows that you knew I knew. I knew it from my own feelings on the bridge.”

Quote cut from a paper by William Buckingham given here It is interesting to read what the paper has to say further.


Lavanya said...

Hello Neha,

thanks for stopping by at my blog.

I agree with your opinion. The tone of Tharoor's article surprised me a great deal. I am one of his avid readers and therefore was disappointed to see the line he took.


Minge said...

Interesting parable. Is there an answer? Or two? Or more? Or not one at all? Empathy and guesswork?

neha said...

Hi Minge,

do we know what we think we know? how can anybody answer that question from any relative point?
the answer would be in some kind of absolute. Then perhaps the question is, is there an absolute? I think yes.

On the other hand, we do know some stuff (thru empathy and guesswork) and it does let us go thru life with some kind of approximation/ hit or miss. Like I always pretend solids are stationary and that they actually may be vibrations, doesnt affect my life too directly.

PS: thanks for dropping by!

Minge said...

Quite - et mon plaisir.

neha said...