Foolish: The Illusion of Intellect
Today I read a post about The Fool card in Tarot. One of my favorite gals- Lily Wight of The Arcade of Arts & Arcana posted Tarot art – The Fool on May 9, 2012. I absolutely loved the art work created for that card. Ms. Lily reblogged the tarot post from Tiana Setka’s Divination Blog. After reading the post, I started to contemplate what it means to be foolish? The word foolish can be interpreted in so many ways. The synonyms for the word foolish include: stupid, silly, idiotic, unwise, imprudent, thoughtless, and of course irrational. The antonym for the word foolish is simply wise. At any given time I could be described as all of thee above. Since I take pride in wisdom, how is it that all of thee above can possibly describe me? I am at a loss for words it seems. I guess that my apparent inability to explain my simultaneous identification with synonyms and an antonym for the word foolish, will insure that I remain a humble human.
In 2004, the European Psychologist Journal published a white paper titled Why Smart People Can Be So Foolish. The paper was published in Volume 9, Number 3 (2004) by RJ Sternberg. Sternberg stated bluntly in his article that “not only stupid people act foolishly.” Is that indeed a fact? I do agree. He said that smart people who “tend to act foolishly” can be connected to “five cognitive fallacies.” Those fallacies or misleading notions include unrealistic optimism. Unrealistic hopefulness and optimism come with inevitable disappointment. The author goes on to say that “the antidote to foolishness is wisdom.” Hum? Is there really an “antidote” to foolishness? Maybe I could use a dose of that antidote? What about you? Or is believing that there is indeed an antidote yet another form of unrealistic optimism? You decide…
Deane P. Lewis compiled a web site in 1999 titled Owls in Mythology & Culture. Lewis says that “throughout history and across many cultures, people have regarded Owls with fascination and awe. Few other creatures have so many different and contradictory beliefs about them. Owls have been both feared and venerated, despised and admired, considered wise and foolish, and associated with witchcraft and medicine, the weather, birth and death.” Here we see a similar pattern demonstrating a range of human characteristics which travel from one extreme to another— fear and respect, hate and love, wise and foolish, as well as birth and death.
We can also look at the myth of Pandora in regard to a wise fool. Pandora is sometimes referred to as the first of the women on Earth. It is said that Zeus himself commanded Hephaestus to create the most beautiful woman from Earth and water. To me— creating her from “Earth” would be symbolic of the human form. Think of the phrase “from dust to dust.” Hephaestus then gifted her with the breath of life. As the myth goes, Zeus wanted her to be almost perfect, and foolishly human. This woman was Pandora, and she can be seen as the fool of fools for unleashing the secrets of Pandora’s box or in some versions of the myth, a jar. The jar was as beautiful as she, but she was never to open it. She is said to have been so tortured by what may be in the jar that she felt compelled to lock the jar away in chains so that she would not be tempted to open it. Eventually, Pandora thinking she was so intelligent opened the jar. When she opened the intricate, and inviting container, Pardora simply unleashed a world of pain. What a fool!
The patterns of our human character often demonstrate such a colorful spectrum of extremes. Just as we must be born, we must die. Just as we must be loved, we must be hated. Just as we must smile, we must cry. It is unfortunate that no matter how hard we try to remain wise, the foolish illusion of intellect can blind and burn the eyes of our souls.Explore posts in the same categories: Bird and Feather Symbols, Body and Mind, Connection, Disconnection, Energy, Feather Symbols, Greek Mythology, Mythology, Pleasure and Pain, Research Papers, Water Symbol, Worthy Reads, Writers, Writing