Monday, April 01, 2013

The Five Kinds of Fools

Fools, like everything else, can be categorized.

Professional Fools
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. ~ Shakespeare
These are the only honorable and respectable fools. They are the clowns, jesters, harlequins, and comedians. They are the only class of fools who would not be insulted upon being called a "stupid fool." They know they are fools and are wiser for that knowledge.

Pulpit Fools
Who's more foolish the fool or the fool who follows him. ~ Obi Wan Kenobi
Religious and political leaders are the same - they are either charlatans or true believers. There are priests who took their vows solely to gain access to altar boys and televangelists who convince widows to tithe their pensions so the preacher can buy himself a gold toilet. There are also a few people who enter religion or politics because they truly believe in doing good. The sad truth is most all of the true believers are soon corrupted by the money and power and become charlatans.

Garden Variety Fools
Hain't we got all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough majority in any town? ~ Mark Twain
These are the fools carefully cultivated by the pulpit fools. They are tended and grown. Religious types are even open enough to use sheep metaphors to describe their "flocks" of fools and the fools are not even self-aware enough to realize how insulting that is.

Superstitious Fools
A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education. ~ George Bernard Shaw
More people believe in angels than believe in evolution. Many people wanted to ban Harry Potter because they believed that witches were real and the books would seduce young people into witchcraft. We've had presidents who believed in astrology (Reagan), talked to ghosts (Lincoln), and saw UFOs (Carter).

Gambling Fools
A fool and his money are soon parted. ~ English proverb
Many a business model is based entirely on the correctness of this proverb. Casinos, Goldman Sachs, Bernie Madoff all take money on the promise of doubling it or just keeping it for themselves. Nike became a billion dollar company on the notion that people will spend hundreds of dollars on $20 sneakers. It is true that the entire notion of Western capitalism would collapse without this class of fool.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always thought that in Shakespeare, the best people were the fools". They always seemed to have things figured out, while everyone else was acting like an idiot. They seemed like the folks really worth knowing.