Monday, March 28, 2011

How to be a fool (and what’s in it for you)

The Doodle Fool poem and print by IntentionalArts

Scrollwork’s School for Fools, Part Three
See Part Two, Why you should listen to a fool
Not many folks take a fool seriously these days. But kings, pharaohs, tyrants, and despots knew to keep their fools close.
Today’s wise leader sets aside the chorus of yessayers to seek the fool’s counsel. You might suddenly find yourself in the role of the fool. If you have lousy luck, you’ll have a boss who hires you for your expertise but treats you like a fool—in the contemporary sense. Such people have either not heard or chosen to ignore the adage, “Don’t hire a dog and then do the barking yourself.”
What’s a modern fool to do? Here’s an idea: Embrace the role!
Do you want to overcome a fear of failure? Become a Court Jester. Are you afraid of looking like a fool? Then look like a fool with purpose and panache. Be contrary! Make fun of all sides of an idea! Buck the status quo! And whether you stand on the podium with a trophy or on the sidelines with egg on your face, you will have fed your soul and had fun in the process.
~ Timothy Johnson, Carpe Factum

There is something incredibly freeing about being the fool.

The artist is still a little like the old court jester. He's supposed to speak his vicious paradoxes with some sense in them, but he isn't part of whatever the fabric is that makes a nation.

~ William Faulkner
How do you prefer to offer help—as an expert or a fool?


  1. Hi, Roger! I'm honored by your visit. Thanks so much for the inspiration you provided for this blog series.

  2. I often find trying to act like an expert makes me come across as a fool!

  3. Myblik, you noticed that too, huh? ; ) As a dance teacher, I find it's true that teachers learn as much as students do. When a student asks a question to clarify something, it's often as enlightening to me! So I may be the "expert" just to get the ball rolling, but then I keep my ears open. The students themselves show me how they best learn and remember things, and I file those tips away for the benefit of future classes.

    Now, I'm not afraid of admitting to not knowing something or to not remembering it (an unfortunate fact of life in mid-life). I figure faking it takes so much energy and never convinces anybody anyway. Occasionally someone pounces on my vulnerability and makes a cutting remark, but that speaks more about their insecurity than my perceived inadequacy.