Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Heaven help the Fool

“Thus we play the fool with the time and the spirits of the wise sit in the clouds and mock us”

- William Shakespeare

The Fool, like the Zero with which he is associated in the deck of Tarot cards, is a paradoxical figure, asserting in the very act of negating: knowing nothing, yet wise – defenseless, yet a survivor – stripped of possessions, yet lacking for nothing – a rascal, and yet a spiritual being in his own right. In the role of the proverbial trickster, the fool is often depicted as world creator, while at the same time bringing about calamity and catastrophe.

Shakespeare was fascinated with Fools as characters with a free pass to tell the truth. While the king may cry “off with his head!” at misspoken words from his court physicians and counselors, the fool is praised in his lampooning of his royal highness. In modern times, fools of all kinds have made their way into cinema, ( think Forest Gump, as depicted in the movie of the same name starring Tom Hanks) not only making us laugh, but restoring a saving sense of simplicity in the midst of too much cleverness, complexity, and corruption.

One of the greatest living fools, Wavy Gravy, when asked why he dressed like a clown when he attended protests, replied… “If I dress like a clown, the cops won’t hit me”. Indeed, in these times of global crisis, who is the wise and who is the fool? The following quote from William Shakespeare says it all… “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool”.

Enjoy the day and live it to its fullest…
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