Beware of the fool!
Do you know a fool?
In the times that we live in, to distinguish good from bad is becoming more and more difficult. Stark differences tend to be equalised through equal rights, human rights, democracy and many other modern social trends. In the past extremes were identified as such and brutally dealt with. What would be unthinkable in modern times was the norm. Witches (or perceived witches) were burnt at the stake, countries were pillaged and exterminated when their population was perceived to be heathen.
The question is not whether we need to determine which century is correct and which is not, but to claw back some sanity in the midst of the modern tsunami of clearing the slates of all things old, to determine which actions were based on eternal wisdom and which were passing phases, passionate releases of emotion without any logical thought.
An arena where significant changes are being brought to bear by the modern overload of communication and media is the classification of people. People were traditionally classified in all sorts of ways. Peasants and royalty, Christians and heathens, the wise and the foolish.
The least significant of these characters proves to be one of the most important in our lives. Or is it? The fool. What is a fool? Who is called a fool? Is one born a fool? Are you only a fool if society brands you as one?
In modern times, the term is used mostly to insult. When called a fool it is treated with indignation and shrugged off as a term used when all else would fail to give an insult without being terminal to the relationship.
But is it as unimportant as we think? Is a fool not more significant in life than is normally expected? Do we not all have that friend, business associate or family member that is so poisonous to everybody around him or her, without any remedy for their destructive path?
They make the wrong choices, they chase after others like them, they are not bright at all, to say the least, and they gloat about it. It is not a reference to people that are less intelligent than others, or stupid, if we have to get to the point. It is a reference to a special person who goes through modern life undetected, because they are “special, or “different”, or “laid back”. We attempt to label them with compromising labels in order to blend them into our lives so that they do not stick out like the sore thumbs they are.
But why do I take such a condescending tone towards these feeble beings in our lives? It is because I believe that they pose the biggest test to clear thinking people on this planet.
Today the dictionary defines a fool as being deficient in judgment, sense or understanding.
Let us see what one of the oldest references to wisdom has to say about the fool.
George Bernard Shaw said:
A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction."
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
The Bible says the following:
Pro 10:23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
Pro 11:29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
Pro 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
Pro 12:16 A foolish man lets his trouble be openly seen, but a sharp man keeps shame secret.
Pro 13:16 A sharp man does everything with knowledge, but a foolish man makes clear his foolish thoughts.
Pro 14:16 A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
Pro 15:5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
Pro 17:10 A word of protest goes deeper into one who has sense than a hundred blows into a foolish man.
Pro 17:12 It is better to come face to face with a bear whose young ones have been taken away than with a foolish man acting foolishly.
Pro 17:16 How will money in the hand of the foolish get him wisdom, seeing that he has no sense?
Pro 17:21 He who has an unwise son gets sorrow for himself, and the father of a foolish son has no joy.
Pro 18:2 A foolish man has no pleasure in good sense, but only to let what is in his heart come to light.
Pro 18:6 A foolish man's lips are a cause of fighting, and his mouth makes him open to blows.
Pro 20:3 It is an honour for a man to keep from fighting, but the foolish are ever at war.
Pro 23:9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
Pro 24:7 Wisdom is outside the power of the foolish: he keeps his mouth shut in the public place.
Pro 26:1 Like snow in summer and rain when the grain is being cut, so honour is not natural for the foolish.
Pro 26:3 A whip for the horse, a mouth-bit for the ass, and a rod for the back of the foolish.
Pro 26:4 Do not give to the foolish man a foolish answer, or you will be like him.
Pro 26:5 Give a foolish man a foolish answer, or he will seem wise to himself.
Pro 26:6 He who sends news by the hand of a foolish man is cutting off his feet and drinking in damage.
Pro 26:7 The legs of one who has no power of walking are hanging loose; so is a wise saying in the mouth of the foolish.
Pro 26:8 Giving honour to a foolish man is like attempting to keep a stone fixed in a cord.
Pro 26:9 Like a thorn which goes up into the hand of a man overcome by drink, so is a wise saying in the mouth of a foolish man.
Pro 26:10 Like an archer wounding all who go by, is a foolish man overcome by drink.
Pro 26:11 Like a dog going back to the food which he has not been able to keep down, is the foolish man doing his foolish acts over again.
Pro 26:12 Have you seen a man who seems to himself to be wise? There is more hope for the foolish than for him.
Pro 27:3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.
Pro 27:22 Even if a foolish man is crushed with a hammer in a vessel among crushed grain, still his foolish ways will not go from him.
Pro 29:11 A foolish man lets out all his wrath, but a wise man keeps it back quietly.
Who would have thought that Solomon spent so much effort on describing the fool. One is tempted to think that they are purely personality traits of which we are warned but what becomes clear is that nobody ever said that a fool changes.
So what is the conclusion if we identify a fool in our midst? It is to avoid doing business with him or her at all costs and worst of all go into partnership or relationship.
This sounds very unfair and unconstitutional and politically incorrect. But think about it. The modern world looks after the fool just as much as the wise. Are there any consequences to be suffered by the fool once those around have been destroyed? Not any that will have any effect. The only one suffering will be the wise.
Looking at the peer pressures of society on young and old, one will be hard pressed to consider the behavior we are pressured into, to be foolish. Thinking about it more and more, our daily behavior is utterly foolish.
Maybe there is a fool in every one of us which we should suppress whenever we can to limit the nasty effect on those around us.
Consider others and try to limit the fool within you.