THE HAPPINESS OF FISH I

Scott:  Hello! Who’s your friend?

Zhuangzi:  I’d like to introduce my good friend . . .

Scott:  Huizi!

Huizi:  You are not I, so how do you know that I am Huizi?

Scott:  It’s true that I’m not you and thus can’t know that you are Huizi, but by the same token, you are not I and thus cannot know whether or not I know that you are Huizi.

Huizi:  It’s true that I am not you and thus cannot know for sure who you are, but this establishes my premise that you cannot know who I am.

Scott:  Let’s return to your original question; you asked how I know you are Huizi, which demonstrates that you already knew that I knew you are Huizi. I know it by standing here about to offer you a seat and a glass of wine.

Zhuangzi: Bravo! A great performance! And might I have a glass as well?

Scott:  When have you ever been without a glass in my humble abode? And thank you for bringing your friend—whoever he may be.

Huizi:  Just for you, and because we are chez vous, I will be Huizi, the despicable rationalist and egoist who knew nothing of Dao.

Scott:  So some have said; but I have tried to rehabilitate your reputation, have I not?

Zz:  He has, I assure you, my friend. But I must tell you Scott that Huizi has not been following your blabber as consistently as I. Alas, I must also tell you that yours is a voice crying in a wilderness of your own making and the importance of your ideas is likewise mostly the same—imaginary.

Scott:  You are saying that my blabber is of little consequence in the view of you Immortals?

Huizi:  No, he’s saying that it is of no consequence.

Zz:  But if it makes you feel any better, nothing and no one is of any consequence among those who are privileged to be dead.

Huizi:  And nor should you think it is of any consequence among the living. “But if it makes you feel better” there are likely some few among the living who find it . . . entertaining.

Scott:  Well, I can see that this conversation is going to be lots of fun!

Zz:  Yes! Let’s make it so! And in any case you should be rejoicing to have been admitted into the ranks of the inconsequential dead! Now we can all three romp and wander together in “our homeland of not even anything”!

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