Top Ten Chinese Thinkers #2: Zhuangzi

As we continue the countdown, this next one might surprise many of you. Hell, I find it shocking, and I am the one producing this authoritative list of great Chinese philosphers! Without further ado, here he is, #2:


Zhuangzi, aka Chuang Tzu

I know what you are thinking: “Yan Xishan, what are you thinking? Has everyone’s favorite warlord lost his marbles?” I know, Zhuangzi was something of the anarchist. He once compared working for the government to being cooked alive in a tasty soup (if he was alive today I am sure it would be a hotpot analogy). He thought we should do away with government–and here I am, attempting to bring the world as we know it (also known as China) under my personal rule. Zhuangzi also saw no use for basic categories–he once famously postulated that it was pointless to say death was bad, since we had no idea what it was like in comparison to life. Seeing as how I have acted in self-interest all my life, to not only stay alive but to get ahead no matter what, I admit it must be confusing for many of you when I say Zhuangzi is the #2 guy when it comes to Chinese philiosphy.

But my true fans know me, and they will understand. You see, I am something of a drunk. One of my favorite ways to pass a warm Shanxi summer night is to chug beer and do shots of fenjiu out of the belly button of one of my many wives. Many times the fenjiu belly vessel will not be a wife, but a poor peasant girl I forced into my household, or perhaps a professional sex worker. In any case, up late at night, drunk and pleased with myself, staring up at that one star still visible through the haze created by my coal mines, my mind often wanders away from pressing military concerns. I often find myself thinking about the philosophical conundrums raised by Zhuangzi.

Am I really Yan Xishan? Or is this some sort of dream, and when I wake up I will discover that I am in fact some sort of stinking insect? Damn. That’s some deep shit right there.




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