Yeh Ch’ ueh asked Wang I, saying, Do you know for certain that all things are subjectively the same?- Chuang Tzu
How can I know ? answered Wang I. Do you know what you do not know ?
How can I know? replied Yeh Ch’ueh. But can then nothing be known?
How can I know? said Wang I. Nevertheless, I will try to tell you.
How can it be known that what I call knowing is not really not knowing and that what I call not knowing is not really knowing? Now I would ask you this. If a man sleeps in a damp place, he gets lumbago and dies. But how about an eel? And living up in a tree is precarious and trying to the nerves—but how about monkeys? Of the man, the eel, and the monkey, whose habitat is the right one absolutely? Human beings feed on flesh, deer on grass, centipedes on snakes’ brains, owls and crows on mice. Of these four, whose is the right taste absolutely? Monkey mates with monkey, the buck with the doe; eels consort with fishes. But men admire the beauty of Mao Ch’iang and Li Chi, at the sight of whom fishes plunge deep down into the water, birds soar high in the air, and deer hurry away.
Yet who shall say which is the correct standard of beauty? In my opinion, the standard of human virtue—and of positive and negative—is so obscured that it is impossible to actually know it as such.