My Quiet Life My Quiet Life

Zhuang Zi

Rev has an interesting and serious post about the philosophy of Zhuang Zi, whom he thinks is the “first (possibly the only) philosopher who is not stupid and doesn’t suck”. I am inclined to agree, but I have nothing to offer but frivolity. This passage is taken from “Discussion on Making All Things Equal” (qí wù lùn):

Mao Qiang and Li Ji [two beautiful courtesans] are what people consider beautiful, but if fish see them they will swim into the depths; if birds see them, they will fly away into the air; if deer see them, they will gallop away. Among these four, who knows what is rightly beautiful in the world?

Clearly the moral is: always put out for a philosopher or you’ll wind up as the historical example of subjective beauty. I’m looking at you, Mao Qiang and Li Ji. What, Zhuang Zi wasn’t good enough for you? You happy now?