chapter  9
24 Pages

Playing the Fool

The term 'fool' in current usage, as in ancient, means someone stupid, flighty or ignorant. It is a role that has existed in all societies throughout history. The Fool at court saves the powerful from the fallacies and pitfalls of their own omnipotence. According to one survey, appearing foolish is one of the top five fears of CEOs and senior managers – not of being foolish, but of seeming so. The Fool's position however is paradoxical and precarious: while his living depends on his paymasters, his role must involve discomforting them since the truth is inevitably uncomfortable. The Fool character occupies a special place in the moral dilemmas of leadership and power, and of trying to lead a good life in general. The Fool archetype is one member of a whole family of outsiders and mavericks that includes tricksters, clowns, jesters, holy men and their cousins, the 'Innocents' and 'Idiots'.