the joy of fishes

Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu
Were crossing Hao river
By the dam.

Chuang said:
“See how free
The fishes leap and dart:
That is their happiness,”

Hui replied:
“Since you are not a fish
How do you know
What makes fishes happy?”

Chuang said:
“Since you are not I
How can you possibly know
That I do not know
What makes fishes happy?”

Hui argued:
“If I, not being you,
Cannot know what you know
It follows that you
Not being a fish
Cannot know what they know.”

Chuang said:
“Wait a minute!
Let us get back
To the orginal question.
What you asked me was
‘How do you know
What makes fishes happy?’
From the terms of your question
You evidently know I know
What makes fishes happy.

“I know the joy of fishes
In the river
Through my own joy, as I go walking
Along the same river.”

Chuang Tzu, translated by Thomas Merton

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