More Fools, Fewer Stable Geniuses

In olden days the fool’s job was to speak truth to the royals.

Never put yourself within reach of fools. I cannot give you wiser counsel than this. There is no teaching comparable to that of running away from any head full of nothing but wind. We see it often in the royal courts. The prince takes his pleasure, because the fools point out the traits of the hucksters, the idiots and the ridiculous.

A fool passes through the streets, crying out at every corner that he is selling wisdom. And the credulous mortals, in all diligence, run to the purchase. They subject themselves to any number of strange faces and contortions in their transaction. Then for their money they get, along with a good slap, a string two arms’ length long.

Most get angry. But what’s the point? They are the most mocked. It’s better to laugh, or just go about your business, with your slap and your string, without a word. To look for sense in the thing, then you’ve really been taken for an ignoramus.

Is reason responsible for what a fool does? Random chance is the source of everything that happens in an injured mind.

Still embarrassed about the string and the slap, one day a dupe goes to find a sage; who, without the least hesitation, says this:

These here are the purest form of hieroglyphics. Well-informed people, who want to get ahead, will, as a matter of course, put between themselves and foolish people the length of this string. If not, they are sure to get a similarly harsh caress.

You were not cheated. This fool was selling wisdom.

Reading the news is like being slapped. Every day. So how do we put two-arms’ length of string between our Fool-in-Chief and us? Or perhaps, as in the fable, we can learn something from these slaps.

First, we need to stop tying ourselves in knots over current events. Knots shorten the string considerably, because we are constantly placing ourselves within reach of the blows coming our way. Turn off the fire hose of media now and then. Create some quiet. And inside that quiet, we need to be wiser. I don’t mean smarter about what Trump or the Republicans or whoever is slapping us today should be doing. I mean getting wiser about how each of us can be better than what we’re witnessing.

Case in point: The other day a woman came into my local coffee shop. I can guarantee you that she voted for Hillary. She had multiple bags, all of which wacked me in the head and shoulders as she passed by me on the way to a table, without so much as an oops, never mind sorry. With her back turned, as if all of the rest of us in the shop did not exist, she then proceeded to get on her phone and have a conversation at top volume. Then she decided she didn’t like the table she’d chosen. Ordered me in a preemptory tone to move my chair, so she and all her bags could get by; re-settled herself in the center of the space and once again got on her phone at top volume. Every other eyebrow went up and there were some mouths open in amazement.

Don’t do this and then complain about Trump. I’m sure that woman was at the end of her nerves from being slapped upside the head by the daily news, too. But that’s not a reason to slap all of us in her proximity at the coffee shop.

Maybe you are perfect. I know that there is some way in which my behavior in the world can improve. I need to take stock and stop. I have to clean up my own privileged backyard first. Where can I be more respectful of the environment? How can I engage more intellectually? Where can I be more generous? Where can I be more respectful? Kinder?

I can stretch the string back out by tending to my own wisdom, instead of complaining about others’ foolishness.

What are these fableogs?

Fable en Français


Originally published at on January 10, 2018.

Tagged in Stable Genius, Donald Trump, Fable, Fable

By Mina Samuels on January 10, 2018.

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Exported from Medium on March 17, 2018.



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