01 April 2009


Insight struck moments ago, when I realized something. Only Fools learn!

As I thought about April Fools Day, its origin in mocking those who were still celebrating the new year at the end of March when it had been moved to January, I thought back to times when I felt foolish.

You know the feeling, right? Quite suddenly you realize something you thought was true is not. Often it is when someone deliberately tricks you, which is always cruel if not always mean. I mean, the intent to make someone feel foolish has at its heart the intent to make someone feel bad. Even the gentlest deception parlays this cruelty at some level.

Leaving deliberate perpetrators aside now, there are moments when we realize some notion we have held for a long time isn't true. For a while we might be ashamed for being so 'foolish' but ultimately we are glad to know better.

Real learning, as I told my congregation Sunday, is always humbling, causing us to question and even discard things we held to be true. Feeling foolish and stupid are sure signs you are learning something because, as Epictetus observed long ago, "It is impossible to teach a man something he already knows."

So all hail April Fool's Day, and St. Paul, who is its patron saint. He was willing to be the fool for God, and whether you agree with him or not, look what that fool was able to do compared to the high and mighty who seem to know everything about the world - like bankers.

1 comment:

Don Pearson said...

Fred, I think that you would greatly enjoy the July 11, 2008 This American Life program "A Little Bit of Knowledge" at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1251