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Humor in Zhuang Zis Philosophy

Zhuang Zis Insights into the Dao

The Dao is the absolute reality that simply transcends and governs beings. The Dao is incommunicable and without form but responsible for the myriad existence of things.

Since Dao is the principle of all things it is found in them.

For the truth-seekers, trapped within the categories and distinctions of reason, there is always an attempt to determine and limit the Dao into pure concepts.

The search for Dao must go far beyond the categories of things, that is, as the Ultimate Way, it transcends all things.

Reality is relative.
Everything is that in relation to other things and this in relation to itself.

Zhuang Zi urges one to go beyond the relativity of all things because at bottom these distinctions are no distinctions.

Beneath this relativity is the view that there is an underlying unity of things that transcend all these distinctions, the Dao.

Distinctions are removed and a unifying spirit ensues.

Limited knowledge is confined to distinctions and disputation and argumentation.

Great knowledge dissolves these distinctions.

Great knowledge is knowledge of the Dao, which is nameless and ineffable.

HUMOR as an Encouraged Disposition

By disposition we mean a condition that is easily changed and quickly gives place to its opposite. Thus heat, cold, disease, health and so on are dispositions. For a man is disposed in one way or another with reference to these, but quickly changes becoming cold instead of warm, ill instead of well. So it is with all other dispositions.

Zhuang Zis Humor as a disposition is a way of being-in-the-world.

Mankind, overburdened with this load of ideas and ambitions and social systems, seems unable to rise above them. Luckily, however, there is a power of the human mind which can transcend all these ideas, thoughts and ambitions and treat them with a smile, and this power is the subtlety of the humorist.

To view reality with a great sense of profundity.

II. Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm


ability of the individual to transcend his emotion or passion and face reality with an awesome spirit-a spirit which is free and goes beyond conformity



independence of thinking



A. Techniques in Wit
Word-wit wit focuses on the use of word, from the similarity in words to the similarity in the sounds or from the mixture of the word formation to the word modification Thought-content - ranges from the ambiguity in words to the point of nonsense

B. Types of Wit Harmless Wit wit for its own sake Tendentious Wit avenue for expressing a lot of tendencies which are oftentimes inhibited in ordinary social interactions

C. Psychic Manifestations in the Wit Play of Words and Thoughts The source of amusement Economy of psychic expenditure Very source of pleasure The pleasure experienced in the removal of the inhibitions


Humor Means to gain pleasure despite the painful affects which disturb it and acts as a substitute for this affective development and takes its place Attempt at coping with a situation full of affects such as compassion, anger, pain, etc. (end of thinking capacity) E. Laughter Discharge of energy