Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lessons of the Fool.

Jester by Todd Sternisha

It’s April Fools Day! Time for some light-hearted silly nonsense. A chance to relax, un-wind and let our worries sit on the sidelines for a little while. Too often we only see a jokester and a half-wit. Today let’s look at some of the lesson the fool can give us.

King’s funny man. Whenever I think of a fool, I think of the image of the court jester, there to provide entertainment for the king. The fool could say or do things that would normally get you thrown in the dungeon, yet as jester, he was safe from this doom. The fool could poke fun at serious subjects and by share a unique perspective by seeing things from an opposite viewpoint than everyone else.

Being a fool isn’t necessarily foolish – it could be good sense. Fools see the humorless as funny, and the amusing as significant. Turning a topic upside down helps you see all sides of it. Fools also knew the importance of seeing the humor in life. While the peasant might not have seen a funny side to having their pig killed by a run-away horse cart, the fool could see the feast that would result!

Foolish doesn’t mean stupid. Often people mistake the idea that if you are foolish, you are incompetent or incapable of learning. However while many fools may have been clumsy or socially inept, they were far from dumb. A fool could provide entertainment to the richest and noblest people in the kingdom. He rubbed shoulders with the brightest minds and best thinkers around.

Fools understand the value of a good laugh. Jesters and performers, many fools were called upon by their king to be of service by providing a diversion from worries and fears during times of hardship and strife. By poking fun at the royal family, the castle and other “off limit” topics, the fool could help the general population relief their stress through laughter and fun.

To be a fool, you have to be brave. Think about what it was like to be a fool. Wearing some ridiculous get-up, acting like a buffoon, taking on taboo subjects in the name of comedy. Not every fool was a beloved figure. To do your job and do it well, you must take risks. And you must be content in knowing that you have value even if everyone else thinks you’re worthless.

Being will to be foolish shows the greatest wisdom. In your own life there are many times when you feel foolish. You may make a mistake in an important presentation. Or have to apologize for a thoughtless comment made in haste. Having the courage to take a chance, to risk looking stupid is the surest path to enlightenment. When you break out of your comfort zone, you know you are heading towards learning and growth.

Learn from the fool. Open your mind to new possibilities. See the absurdity in the comedy of life. Be brave, be yourself, and don’t underestimate the value of a good laugh now and then. Have a little fun and know that foolishness is more than it’s cracked up to be.

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