Tuesday, May 09, 2006

How Do You Know I Don't Know?

One day Soshi was walking on the bank of a river with a friend.

"How delightfully the fishes are enjoying themselves in the water!" exclaimed Soshi.

His friend spoke to him thus: "You are not a fish; how do you know that the fishes are enjoying themselves?"

"You are not myself," returned Soshi; "how do you know that I do not know that the fishes are enjoying themselves?"

 —from Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's an old Taoist saying. The Taoist says to the Buddhist, "Look at the fish swimming. Such is the pleasure of fish." And then the story continues there.

Taoists have a lot of sayings like that, where they get the better of sourpuss Buddhists. Taoists think Buddhists forget to enjoy life.

Bill at IndustrialBlog

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Ah! And here what popped into my mind when I read this passage was the tendency of some Western epistemological relativists to deal with their own relativism as if their own relativism were absolute.

Versus the "Soshi" move which sociologist Peter Berger has called "relativizing the relativizers."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 1:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

see what a good education will do?

relativizing the relativizers is a good idea. i've heard people say, "i believe this is absolutely true -- there are no absolutes." without irony.

only the sith, remember, believe in absolutes. except apparently the jedi who believe that only the sith ... never mind.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 3:01:00 PM  

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