Praise of Folly

I’ve been reading this book called Praise of Folly written by the goddess Folly herself. In this book Folly claims allegiance from just about everybody, by which she means, I guess, everyone is either foolish, ignorant or just unwilling to get serious about life, which, from her point of view is a good thing.

From Folly’s perspective foolish, carefree behavior generally leads to happiness. Of all her followers she ranks at the top those delusional folks so lost in their imaginative worlds as to be oblivious of any sense of reality. Those she finds least enlightened, although clearly foolish are the Stoics and theologians whose strict adherence to reason can only mean a painful and dreary life not to mention lost rewards in the hereafter.

So, anyway, I was beginning to take all this to heart, spending lots of time playing Flappy Bird and watching reruns of Jersey Shore when I discovered the book was meant to be satirical; that the celebration of foolish worldly behavior was really meant to be quite the opposite.

The author of Praise of Folly was the 16th century Catholic priest Erasmus of Rotterdam who was pretty disgusted with the frivolous preoccupation with material wealth and bodily desires of mankind in general (and, I guess, the twisted motives of the Catholic Church in particular). I’m not sure about the current motives of the Catholic Church but I think his opinion of 16th century European culture still may hold pretty true for contemporary western culture altogether.

Anyway, at the end of the book Folly goes to considerable pains to assure the reader that the reader’s spiritual health depends on not thinking about things too much; that remaining a fool is really the only way anyone will gain spiritual redemption.

So I guess I’ll just keep spending loads of time with Flappy Bird and inane television and just wait until the weak-minded inherit the earth.

Elvis in Memphis

Elvis in Memphis

4 thoughts on “Praise of Folly

  1. ha! i was all with folly until you mentioned jersey shore…
    (the weak-minded aren’t already running this thing?)
    i think you should make those fabulous tricycle-ducks, i really, really want one. please?

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