The Fool


Songs: Cosmic Dancer by T. Rex
I’m a fool for you girl – T. Rex

Book: The Idiot by Dostoyevsky

Meanings: The querent, potential, starbursts of new energy, leap of faith

“Grown-up people do not know that a child can give exceedingly good advice even in the most difficult case.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

“I am a fool with a heart but no brains, and you are a fool with brains but no heart; and we’re both unhappy, and we both suffer.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

I came across something really helpful in the book The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards by Michael Drumette, apparently he was originally called “the madman” and also sometimes “The Fugitive” (and was depicted in the Visconti-Sforza deck with a goiter) which helped me tie him into Foucault’s ideas in “Madness and Civilization” and “Discipline and Punish”.

He is in some ways the socially necessary outcast, the delinquent, the madman, the threat to social order, identified and pathologized. 

I think that the fool/the leper/the madman are usually figures who are chosen partially as a scapegoat for the ills caused by the contradictions of society but also are chosen in many cases because they are the results of social contradictions, the fugitive is the result of criminality/delinquency being solidified into the identity of the criminal/delinquent.

Of course the fool is also contradictorily someone who can (within a limited scope) speak truth to power (as the figure of the jester) and can critique a society because in a way they exist outside of the social boundaries within it (which brings to mind the Nietzschean ideas about the social necessity of malcontents who don’t fit in as a sort of social vaccine) though also I think the fool can represent what is positioned as other/abnormal so as to define the boundaries of normalcy, in order for a category to exist some category must be set up to oppose it.


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