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  • Franca Baroni

Governing the Fool's Way

Introducing the fool in our current systems of governance is considered by most foolish. In our seriously foolish rationalism we have forgotten the wisdom of the fool as a key governing principle that moves us into a healthy collective body.

In the name of insanity we have been dismissing the fool. In the name of sanity we have become insane.

In our very rejection of the fool lies the seed of our insanity. In the name of reason we have rejected what makes us healthy. The situation is after all so incredibly serious that we need to continue to frack the earth, develop weapons to protect us against paranoia, engage in senseless political battles and destroy the resources that keep us alive in fast motion. Yet, all along the fool is the one that is waiting for us to wake up.

If we only pause for a moment at the blatant collective paradoxes, we can only laugh: not in a dismissive way, in a genuine way because our current national and global situation makes for great theater. What if the reason we are here is to make drama while realizing it is just a play? After all we are in each moment free to go home, no matter whether we are physically or virtually imprisoned.

The fool has magic: he knows how to move in and out of theater. The fool is fully engaged in the drama and yet is free. The fool is present in each moment, fresh and creative in his discovery of what is next, intimately comfortable with the unknown from where a myriad of new possibilities arise each beat. The fool is per se living in the heart because he is an empty vessel and allows the unknown to feed and guide his very next step.

The moment we step in our heads, the fool is gone and we are back into the insane realm of the dramas of our collective mind. The fool dwells at the edge of the precipice and courageously discovers life. Yes, being at the precipice means we can fall down, and because the mind does not like risk, in our current systems we have rejected the fool altogether. The ironical result is that we have been falling down way more frequently than if we had walked the fool’s way in the first place.

Governing the fool’s way can turn our insanity around, individually and collectively. It moves us from the head into the heart. It turns control into surrender. It turns scarcity into prosperity. It turns survival into living. It turns the obsession with past and future into the present. It turns destruction into sustainability. It turns our chase for freedom into the spaciousness of joy. Ultimately, it turns war into peace and res publica into cor publicum.

How do we govern the fool’s way? The fool does not “sell” one way because what works today may not work tomorrow. This is outrageous and inconceivable to the mind and lies at the core of our rejection of the fool. Yet, unlike our collective mind, the fool taps into the much vaster source of the heart where many adaptable, flexible and sustainable ways are available. So, a good start into the fool’s way might be to make friends with the unknown and let our addiction to prediction go; empty ourselves from our daily agendas; enjoy feeling rather than thinking our way through the day; enjoy being vulnerable; turn our global whining into an adventure to create new theater; share our tears while we smile; share our smiles while we rage and complain; and warmly laugh about our humanity.

We need to practice often and foolishly demand that “our” representatives, our organizations, our groups, our families practice with us, and most importantly we need to share red noses with the world around us.

When we wear a red nose our mask disappears. When we wear a red nose the gift of truth is unraveled. When we wear a red nose, then the authentic you and I are finally here. When we wear red noses our systems of governance return to sanity.

Do we have the courage?

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