庄子 (Zhuāngzĭ) was a Daoist philosopher who lived in the 4th century BC. He is famous for his subtle humor and his animal-related allegories.
In Zhuāngzĭ’s best known quotation, he argues that one can never truly know what is reality and what isn’t:
“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither. I was happy, and unaware that I was myself. Then I woke up. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”
In a more humorous episode, Zhuāngzĭ and a friend walk along the river. “See how happy the fish are”, says Zhuāngzĭ. His friend objects, saying “How can you know what makes fish happy? You’re not a fish!”. Zhuāngzĭ smiles and retorts: “How can you know that I don’t know what makes fish happy? You’re not me!”
Sure looks happy enough. Pixabay