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Daoism -> Zhuangzi -> Inner Chapters -> The Adjustment of Controversies -> 11

啮缺王倪Nie Que asked Wang Ni, saying,
?”'Do you know, Sir, what all creatures agree in approving and affirming?'
:“恶乎!”How should I know it?' was the reply.
?”'Do you know what it is that you do not know?' asked the other again,
:“恶乎!” and he got the same reply.
?”He asked a third time, 'Then are all creatures thus without knowledge?'
:“恶乎 and Wang Ni answered as before,
(adding however), 'Notwithstanding,
I will try and explain my meaning.
How do you know that when I say "I know it," I really (am showing that) I do not know it,
and that when I say "I do not know it," I really am showing that I do know it.'
And let me ask you some questions:
湿'If a man sleep in a damp place, he will have a pain in his loins, and half his body will be as if it were dead;
but will it be so with an eel?
If he be living in a tree, he will be frightened and all in a tremble; but will it be so with a monkey?
And does any one of the three know his right place ?
Men eat animals that have been fed on grain and grass;
鹿 deer feed on the thick-set grass;
centipedes enjoy small snakes;
owls and crows delight in mice;
but does any one of the four know the right taste?
The dog-headed monkey
finds its mate in the female gibbon;
鹿 the elk and the axis deer cohabit;
and the eel enjoys itself with other fishes.
Mao Qiang and Li Ji
were accounted by men to be most beautiful,
but when fishes saw them, they dived deep in the water from them;
when birds, they flew from them aloft;
鹿and when deer saw them, they separated and fled away.
天下But did any of these four know which in the world is the right female attraction?
As I look at the matter,
the first principles of benevolence and righteousness
and the paths of approval and disapproval
are inextricably mixed and confused together
!” - how is it possible that I should know how to discriminate among them?'
啮缺 Nie Que said (further),
'Since you, Sir, do not know what is advantageous and what is hurtful,
?” is the Perfect man also in the same way without the knowledge of them?'
王倪 Wang Ni replied,
'The Perfect man is spirit-like.
Great lakes might be boiling about him, and he would not feel their heat;
the He and the Han might be frozen up, and he would not feel the cold;
the hurrying thunderbolts might split the mountains, and the wind shake the ocean, without being able to make him afraid.
Being such,
he mounts on the clouds of the air,
rides on the sun and moon,
and rambles at ease beyond the four seas.
Neither death nor life makes any change in him,
!” and how much less should the considerations of advantage and injury do so!'

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