The classification of fools fills in the lacuna which the English language appears to have left as an act of sheer benevolence towards the breed
So in the times of Mahabharat we had internet (and WiFi), Diana Hayden (who was a college crush) is not an ideal representation of Indian beauty (Aishwarya Rai is, by the virtue of her Aryan skin colour) and Civil, not Mechanical Engineers are a better choice for administrative services because they are after all “civil” services!
We all know that the sun rises from the east and will continue to believe so, until this fact is twisted into something extraordinary! But what we don’t know is how the east can also mark the dawn of an ‘era of foolishness’.
How on earth could the land of the wise Bir Chandra Manikya Bahadur mutate into something so extraordinarily stupid?
I have strongly come to believe that just like the Phoenix, fools, too, can rise from dust, if not from their ashes. And if I can hypothesise (at the risk of being labelled an elitist), fools come packed in many shapes and sizes like candies in a box, each looking the same as the other till they touch the tip of your tongue! So what is important — the colour or the taste? The fool or the amount of foolishness he/she can generate?
This is where the problem of language comes into play. In English, a fool is a fool. Unfortunately, English fails to quantify a fool in words. Imagine this, the English language does not have an equally-effective substitute for the Urdu word “Jahil”! Weaker substitutes like illiterate, ignorant, stupid are commonly used but none carries the weight, the gorgeousness and the seriousness of jahil! Similarly, in these times of utter but dangerous foolishness, English should somehow qualify and quantify the fools of the world. It will make our task easier, less perilous, if not easy! It will help us in deciding upon a rebuttal because not all fools are worthy of a rebuttal.
Actually, the word fool comes from the Latin word follis meaning a windbag or an empty-headed person. Interestingly, the Bible goes beyond the English language and classifies fools into distinctive types. The classification fills in the lacuna which the English language appears to have left as an act of sheer benevolence towards the breed.
The Bible defines fools into five types:
(1) The simple or the common fool who is no more than a fool. A classic example of this type is the poor Indian voter who nurtures hope and is so easily conned by the political class year after year. It’s the innocence of this variety which generates pity more than repugnance; an instinct to protect more than condemn such variety.
(2) The silly fool or the one who gets into trouble by opening his/her mouth. When things go wrong from the words of the silly fool, he/she becomes angry! Need I give an example? Let’s not discuss this variety any further because we live in dangerous times!
(3) The sensual fool is the one who rejects authority correcting him/her. The Bible says that a sensual fool is more dangerous than a silly fool because he/she is unreasonable. Hmm, so that explains a huge lot of those who appear on TV talk shows (some anchors included!). We actually have a party of sensual fools!
(4) The scorning fool is one who has a facial expression of scorn, disdain, contempt towards the authorities of correction. This fool, we are told has rejected truth! I don’t know but I have seen him somewhere…somewhere in the Parliament, sitting on a high chair telling members to behave! Or probably I haven’t.
(5) The steadfast fool is the final variety which according to the Bible is the most dangerous and wicked fool. He/she has a closed mind and self-confident. He is his own god. Let’s not mention the name which suddenly flashes in your mind. These are dangerous times, remember!
As for my communist friends who recently lost an important bastion in the East, I am compelled to tell them what the Greek philosopher Epicurus had said thousands of years ago: the misfortune of the wise is better than the prosperity of the fool.
This article was first published in Newslaundry.