Indifference; bliss it is

Knowledge — the material kind — makes me restless. Knowledge about some technical, business or arts topic, particularly when it is fresh in my mind is a great deal difficult to handle. It makes me charged with enthusiasm about doing something creative with such knowledge.
There also is the knowledge about certain things about some individual(s), especially when that individual may not know that someone else is aware of few things about him and are not hidden to his private thoughts alone. Acquiring this kind of knowledge is really an invitation to pain when you are somehow connected to such an individual. Primary reason for such pain is subjectivity, that is, our most carefully considered conclusions might seem misguided had we experienced a different past and conditioning. This follows from relativism in systems of value. This relativism even leads to doubt the basis of pragmatic arguments such as about what is good or what is bad since this presupposes a notion of good and bad. A beautiful example is in the fourth section of "The Great Happiness" (至樂 zhìlè, chapter 18), Master Chuang Tzu expresses pity to a skull he sees lying at the side of the road. Chuang Tzu laments that the skull is now dead, but the skull retorts, "How do you know it’s bad to be dead?"

However, this subjectivism is balanced by a kind of sensitive holism in the famous section called "The Happiness of Fish" (魚之樂, yúzhīlè):

Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu were strolling along the dam of the Hao River when Chuang Tzu said, "See how the minnows come out and dart around where they please! That’s what fish really enjoy!"

Hui Tzu said, "You’re not a fish – how do you know what fish enjoy?"

Chuang Tzu said, "You’re not I, so how do you know I don’t know what fish enjoy?"

Hui Tzu said, "I’m not you, so I certainly don’t know what you know. On the other hand, you’re certainly not a fish ‑ so that still proves you don’t know what fish enjoy!"

Chuang Tzu said, "Let’s go back to your original question, please. You asked me how I know what fish enjoy ‑ so you already knew I knew it when you asked the question. I know it by standing here beside the Hao."
– Zhuangzi, 17, tr. Watson 1968:188-9

The bottom line is that we do not know for real about a whole lot of things around us and inside us, though we (our mind) may claim or even perceive otherwise. Basically we I don’t know, I just think that I know!


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