Disinterested, Why the Fool was so valuable

Two points:

All that’s been covered here so far is preamble.

Disinterested parties provide the most valuable commentary.

The first point aims at the unfinished quality of what has appeared here.

The second hints at why this is important.

We are conditioned to strive. One of the things we strive after most diligently is meaning. Even those who might seem least likely to care about meaning are and have striven to accommodate a jumble of notions and adapt them as their meaning. Denial and anger defend these positions when all else fails.

Due to this striving after meaning we also strive after leadership. One of the tags I used here early on was “the crisis of leadership.”

This tag has fallen by the wayside because I no longer believe leadership is in crisis. I believe that our insistence on leaders is a symptom of our incoherence.

This brings us to the fool. The fool may speak wisely, but no one thinks to raise him up as a leader.

This is a useful talent, especially if one is working to disentangle one’s self from the leadership mania, either looking for one or considering becoming one.

This may sound like classic anarchism. That is mostly because of the straightforward delineation of points as though in a proof.

Geometry was always my favorite math. It didn’t require much arithmetic and it celebrated logic.

The trouble comes when its simplicities are expected to translate into the wider world. It is, in its crystalline perfection, only a fragmentary approach to reality.

Taking logic too far leads to all sorts of isms. They all then assume there will be leaders. Even the ones that insist there are none!

The fool is outside of the ladder of success. No chance of his ascending the throne!

This makes him disinterested. He can – it would be good to have some examples brought to mind of she-fools! – follow the myriad twists and turns of perception, language, and insight where they may go. He has no “skin in the game,” to use that horrible sports/corporate/macho bullshit label!

This makes his pronouncements as likely as any to be of value. It also pushes him out of contention even further – see the skin-in-the-game logic for why this might be.

To lead requires confidence! What does this entail? What is this confidence made of?

Self-delusion. The belief that what one wants is good for all. This is a lie believed by the liar. The most dangerous kind! Read Mein Kamf for Hitler’s advice on becoming a more accomplished and effective liar….

It is also a belief in means justifying ends. The good is worth the violence and deceit required to carry it out.

We never leave the realm of negotiation.

The fool sidesteps this all nicely.

From the point of view of leadership he is a failure. He does not build coalitions. He doesn’t convince. He doesn’t smite his adversaries, beyond the spells of language within barbed wit, the kind of spell that – ignored by the powerful – might actually have an effect to change things beyond the level of the status quo…

But then, the fool is also vulnerable. Not only apparently. He has no power. He exists at the whim of the powerful and they are – as he is most likely to know – a pitiless and ruthless lot.

Then again, this dwelling in vulnerability – when it doesn’t turn him into the embittered revenge-seeking sort that fills literature written from within the perspective of leaders and power, those who know of no other possible way to exist and thus must turn even our hero, er fool, into a broken one of them. Dwelling within vulnerability is actually the healthiest way to be. The most honest. The way that is most likely, or least likely to prevent, one’s ability to maintain contact with being.

Now, from the other side…. What if we look at the fool from within, instead of how he appears to others?

If he is caught-up in the wisdom trade. If he begins to believe that perhaps he really is a hidden form of leader, that what he is discovering is a new path to power, and to some kind of salvation that sidesteps the curses brought on by every other sort, then he loses. He loses the only thing he ever had.


If we lived…

If this were a society that valued what was important…

But we don’t. So, playing at what-if is just another dodge, isn’t it?

In this society to be the fool is to remain within the fool’s domain.

Here is another way to look at Krishnamurti’s question to Bohm,

“What do we have to offer?”

His own response, the one Bohm was unable to get beyond was,


The fool lives that loneliness. It isn’t romantic. It isn’t heroic.

It also isn’t pathetic, or really that bad at all!

But only when there has been an acceptance of what the position entails. Only when some level of proprioception has taken root to counter the corrosive effects of unacknowledged shadows, of the damage within projections taken to be real.

The fool is also a performer…

Published by Antonio Dias

My work is centered on attending to the intersection of perception and creativity. Complexity cannot be reduced to any given certainty. Learning is Central: Sharing our gifts, Working together, Teaching and learning in reciprocity. Entering into shared Inquiry, Maintaining these practices as a way of life. Let’s work together to build practices, strengthen dialogue, and discover and develop community. Let me know how we might work together.

One thought on “Disinterested, Why the Fool was so valuable

  1. Tony,

    I disagree with your second point. How can one offer useful commentary on something that he is disinterested in. How do you engage someone that has shut off his attention and awareness. This seems moribund and futile.
    If , by chance, you mean dispassionate, then possibly that would allow for a certain levelheadedness that would be advantageous. The casual observer, seeing things from a different perspective may see the obvious. The passionate may be blinded by knowledge not balanced by wisdom.

    I don’t really know whether we are really conditioned to strive, I have always had a little problem with that. Being dyslectic, long before there was such a diagnosis, I feel that the school systems relegated me to feeling stupid, inferior, and thus to expect a life of toil and low expectations. I bought into it for a long time. I was finally diagnosed in my mid twenties, and actually tested to have an IQ in the one-thirties. Once I knew that I wasn’t so terribly limited I enjoyed achievement in life, albeit modest. The “cream” will slowly rise to the top,Eh?

    As far as fools are concerned, I find that most “fools” are people not able to be or make themselves content. When the “cream” doesn’t rise on it’s own , but is either forced up , or claws and scratches it’s way on the backs and shoulders of others, we end up with ambivalent leadership or raw ambitiousness. That is violence in both cases, to the soul, to the organism, and oft times the destruction of each other and the world we live in.

    Striving comes in a lot of different forms. Some people strive to have happy home lives, and are just happy to have work forty hours a week so they can be with their families. They want to get on with a firm as basic workers, and the notion that someone else will care for them when they retire. The ambitious will see them as fools and idlers,but the person who just strives to be a happy and content family man sees the reckless climbing to the top type to be wasting a life in the mad dash.” Who in their right mind would want to work sixty hours a week at work and have to take work home with them at night?”. Each is a fool in the others eyes.

    We end up with fools as leaders all the time. If they get their by shear force of will, WE can be faulted for succumbing to their ambitions. If we succumb to politics as usual, WE get what we deserve. If WE let special interest and wealthy minorities to buy the leadership, WE deserve that too. And if a good honest man or woman moves to the top by their own goodness, wisdom , and actions, WE will sit back and watch them cave in to the “system”.

    I don’t think the fool is lonely at all! Not the one you speak of at least. He or or she chooses which battles he wishes to engage in. They do not overly or overtly engage with the overly impassioned. They may say their mind when pressed to do so, but they will be careful about who the say it to. It is the nail that sticks out that gets hammered. If he is “conditioned” to strive, he is “pre-conditioned” to survive.



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