I am a professional fool. A clown from a long line of clowns, going so far back into the mists of prehistory that some say the Fool was created first when Man Maker the Magician decided one fine day to create human beings…
So, just as a reminder to all that the Fool hasn’t yet given up his day-job of speaking truth to power, here’s a breakdown on the ‘official’ definition in the immortal rendering of Ambrose Bierce:
A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity.
Endeavors of human intellect and endless debate about the difference between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, dominated by amateurs who take their foolishness entirely too seriously. The true Fool in our midst is the one who realized at some point along the way that all this pretended and ever-malleable knowledge floating lonely a vast sea of ignorance is foolishness indeed. And thereafter conducts himself accordingly…
He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, omnipotent.
The Fool is always among us. He is a consummate actor, a skillful mimic, a talented artist of disguise – a trickster whose just-so tales can entrance generations, command allegiance from the low as well as the high, turn the fortunes of the powerful, expose the puppeteers behind veils of deception, and can be found winking in the background of historic events just to remind us he’s still conducting the farce…
He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences.
The Fool, being everywhere and everywhen and in all guises, guides the developments of industry and promotes the ascendency of mediocrity that makes slaves of free men and women who don’t know any better.
He created patriotism and taught the nations war – founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago.
Okay. Sure, Chicago wasn’t our best work, but was necessary to provide the opiate of irresistible-but-unhealthy diet to add to the above impressive list of accomplishments, spanning the whole range of insidious ways to demonstrate to humanity that the joke’s on them. Overall, it’s been highly successful and produced centuries’ worth of satirical hilarity (so far).
But we absolutely deny any responsibility whatsoever for Cleveland.
He established monarchical and republican government.
Somebody had to do it. Clowns were budding society’s first policemen, unafraid to mock and parody the full range of “Powers That Be.” Shame is the Fool’s sword, the bauble his shield. The Fool emerged full-blown from deep in a corner of the minds of men to remind them in all eras that the quest hasn’t ended. Adam and Eve voted to know both ‘good’ and ‘evil’. It’s been a little more difficult than they bargained for, as knowing has always been a subjective phenomenon of consciousness. Quite close to ‘believing’. The world can play havoc with what we were born to know, then lose along the way.
He is from everlasting to everlasting – such as creation’s dawn beheld he fooleth now.
Confinement to three spatial dimensions, a singular time dimension, and a physical evolutionary history limits our points of view as well as our time for finding what we’re looking for. A built-in handicap. Only a realization and acceptance that Life Is Absurd can open the doors of perception. The Fool is a mirror to our pretensions to knowledge and our certainty of grace.
In the morning of time he sang upon the primitive hills, and in the noonday of existence headed the procession of being.
The Fool is evolutionary witness, harbinger of unexpected change. He’s a traveling vagabond with meager possessions tied to a stick, ignoring a small dog’s warning while stepping blindly into an abyss.
His grandmotherly hand has warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man’s evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization.
Last one standing. The history is still being lived, the show must go on.