Making fools of ourselves


Making fools of ourselves - by P.K.Odendaal - January 2015

 

I think appropriately civilized and appropriately educated people's most enjoyable and even coveted activity is fooling themselves. Mea culpa.
I was inspired to pursue this line of thought when I discovered traces of denial, hypocritical, misleading and neurotic syndromes in my life on one of my regular self-shrinking expeditions. And coming to think of it, I have written a few articles about how things are not what they seem to be, without gaining the perspective then that I should have. I have also written an article on 'What kind of fool am I' which should also have warned me of imminent danger then already.

In practical parlance, these deviations are called dreams, beliefs, hopes, lies and exceptions. They are there in our inner being attacking our integrity insidiously, and they are manifested in the deeds we regularly do when we end those deeds with the words or thoughts: 'this is not me doing this' or saying it is 'out of character' for me. We deny the very existence of traces of these 'in our character'.
But, how can we detect it and realize it in a world where all people are the same and equal? However ardently I resist this latter idea of people being even remotely the same, I can at least agree on one point of equality - and that is that we all make fools of ourselves.
If I view the politics of today, about which I never wish to write, having not been brought up on lies and delusions (sorry journalists - it is not with malicious intent), I see that in the world of conflict, at least one side of the conflict is always thinking that the other side is acting with noble or honest intent - why, I do not know. That is a delusion, because our noble and honest intent we spare for our loved ones, not for our enemies. So, in such a case the one side is fooling the other side and the other side is fooling itself, but fooling it has to be, and maybe that is why we have this adage of saying that we are sometimes fooling around.
On a more inter-personal level, I often smile when I hear married people say they are separated - unless it is required by their law - and it is like telling someone that you are half pregnant. If we are single and we live like married people or married and we live like single people, we are fooling ourselves. Not that living together or separate makes such a fool of us - it is rather the vague hope that the certificate of wedlock got lost somewhere or we pretend to have one.
I have also often heard that old men make fools of themselves by taking very young women as their girlfriends or spouses. I would think that they are very clever indeed, as it is universally acceptable to trade an old car in for a much later model. I would think that it would be folly indeed if old men get married to women much older than they are, unless there is some grand prize like an inheritance involved.
However, I regard the grand folly as the one where you expound the virtues of honesty or moral value whilst you trample those selfsame values under your feet. We have an excellent example of such in our country. One of our citizens whose name I cannot recall for the moment and renowned for raping women with their consent and raping the country's justice system with their consent, as he says, whilst he makes speeches about those other corrupt people and threatening them with his justice. I think they call him Number One here, but I do not care much for numbers - he could just as well have been number Two Billion and Twenty Six. That is called having egg on your face. Most people here wished it was ONLY egg or indeed something smellier. It is like people seeing you with egg in your face without you realizing it and they being too polite to mention it.
And yet ... nobody likes being made a fool of - quite embarrassing if you ask me. Is it just the act of being exposed or do we really not know that we are making fools of ourselves? And yet ... we say there's no fool like an old fool. Do we really get good at it after decades - or even craftier in hiding it?
Hypocrisy however blows my mind. We can do want we want and when we want to and how we want to, but beware the next person who does the same - they are fools of a special kind whom we regard as arrogant opportunists or totally misguided!
The Pie in the Sky is of course a very wild horse which many people saddle without the hope of even getting onto it. They dream and believe something good will eventually happen to them without them labouring for it, or they go on a wild goose chase which will bring them nowhere like in the search for gold. I have seen people work like slaves for some unattainable goal or remuneration or wealth, knowing that that will never come. A case in point is the gold rush of 1896 known as the Klondike Gold Rush. Some 100 000 people set out to become filthy rich. Of those only about 30 000 reached Dawson City as many aborted or died in the Chilkoot and White Passes. Less than one hundred of them eventually walked away with any money in their pockets. When I visited these passes some years ago I shuddered to think that a human without food and shelter can ford those passes in winter. I would have ranked it as a grand folly if I did not feel for their suffering.
Lastly, I need to come to love - the most infectious disease of them all for which an antidote has not been found yet, because we are looking for the wrong type of treatment. In the instances which I have found people being treated for the disease were where they wanted to get sicker. There are apparently quite a few love potions and other such dangerous chemical weapons of small destruction which makes them love some otherwise unlovable creatures - but that is not my point. My point is that it is a very destructive disease and makes fools of everyone and it has so many side effects that I tremble just reading of them, like in the song with which I close (from Aspects of Love by Andrew Lloyd Webber):

Love, love changes everything
Hands and faces, earth and sky
Love, love changes everything
How you live and how you die
Love, love can make the summer fly
Or a night seem like a lifetime
Yes love, love changes everything
Now I tremble at your name
Nothing in the world will ever be the same
Love, love changes everything
Days are longer, words mean more
Love, love changes everything
Pain is deeper than before
Love will turn your world around
And that world will last forever
Yes love, love changes everything
Brings you glory, brings you shame
Nothing in the world will ever be the same
Off into the world we go
Planning futures, shaping years
Love (comes in) and suddenly all our wisdom disappears
Love makes fools of everyone
All the rules we made are broken
Yes love, love changes everyone
Live or perish in its flame

Love will never never let you be the same
Love will never never let you be the same