Information Systems
College of Business Administration
University of Missouri - St. Louis
Happy Fish
Retold from ZhuangZi Story, a Chinese ancient story, 369-286 BC

One day, Zhuang and Hui are strolling on Bridge Hao and they are analyzing the fish behavior:

Zhuang : "Look how happy the fish are just swimming around in the river."

Hui :"How do you know they are happy? You are not a fish."

Zhuang : "And you are not me. How do you know I don't know the fish are happy?"

Hui : "Of course, I'm not you, and I don't know what you think. But I do know that you're not a fish, and so you couldn't possibly know the fish are happy."

Zhuang : "Look, when you asked me how I knew the fish were happy, you already knew that I knew the fish were happy. I knew it from my feelings standing on this bridge. ď

Moral: Letís assume that Hui and Zhuang are both system analysts. Often system analysts put too much focus on their logic or analytical thoughts and put their intuition aside. In this story, Hui was trying to use his rational knowledge to get to a logical conclusion, but without realizing it, he passes over even more. Sometimes when we are analyzing a problem, we should involve our human instinct to evaluate the nature of the problem properly, not always relying on our logical perspective.

These stories are adapted examples written in my class, IS 6840 (formerly MSIS 488).
© Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.

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