Deep, dude

Hey, I found that famous part in Chuang Tsu/Zhuang Zi/荘子 where the guy can't tell if he's a butterfly or not. Here's what it looks like in my edition, modernising characters here and there, plus my translation (courtesy of the notes in the book):

Long ago, Zhang Zhou dreamed he was a butterfly. A flippity flappity butterfly, having a grand old time and knowing nothing about Zhou. But when he woke up he was immediately back to being Zhou again, plonkety thud. Now, we can't say whether Zhou dreamed that he'd become a butterfly or the butterfly dreamed that it had become Zhou -- but they are, nevertheless, different entities. This is called "things changing" (物化).

(Zhang Zhou was Zhuang Zi's "real" name.)

I suspect that there's a technical meaning of 物化 that would illuminate this passage more, but I'm not that familiar with Zhuang Zi. Anyone?

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I don't really know, but I would intepreting 物化 as "to materialize".

There is 化, from 変化,which is the meaning you're using now (to change); however there is also 化 as a suffix, ie. 自動化, meaning "to make automatic".

Since 物 is "thing", or "material", I'd think 物化 would mean "to make into material", or "to materialize".


Oho, that didn't occur to me at all. If that's the interpretation, then I guess what he's saying is that although we can speculate about how things "really" are, we can only know their (current) manifestation in our (current) world?

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