Be A Fool

Dear Matt,

U should play the fool. Not that U haven’t acted like a fool in the past. Or I should say, U really acted like a dunce in the past. We’ll use dunce as the pejorative form, because here we will consider playing the fool a positive thing. An enormously positive thing. In fact, U’ve acted like a dunce for not acting like a fool.

U’ve read Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind so U understand the concept of ‘beginner’s mind’ which we consider totally essential to zen practice.

Assuming the role of the fool feels great for so many reasons. U will never feel patronized when someone explains something to U, because U need all the help U can get. U will work harder than other people, because U feel foolish. U will make up that disadvantage with pure grit.

U will get along with people, because U feel continually humbled that they would even associate with a person as foolish as Urself.

U will regain Ur sense of childish wonder at all the fascinating complexity in the world. U will never turn away from an opportunity to learn. U will know that every moment has an opportunity to grow.

U used to think U had smarts. What a mistake. Whenever a subject felt difficult and it challenged the illusion of Ur intellect, U would shun it and declare it boring dross, not worthy of a mind so capable as Ur own. What a dunce U played! How many learnings U missed because U did not play a fool! Can U see that Ur ego made chemistry difficult? That U refused to learn, because U thought U had smarts? Whereas had U stayed dumb, U would have embraced the difficulty of the learning. Everything feels difficult when U play a fool, because a fool undertakes everything without conception of whether ze can do it or not. A dunce lives a life of ease, only doing what ze can without effort. And it turns out, U can’t do much without effort. Can U harken back to when U browsed the internet, passively watched movies, lazed around all day aimlessly? And yet U felt so ‘smart’. How easy to analyze a film and a book, but how hard to create. How easy to criticize, and how hard to write. Do the things that feel hard. If it felt easy, it wouldn’t feel fun. Embrace Ur inner foolishness.

If U don’t play a fool, if U think U have an important ego full of interesting insights, then U might feel hurt when someone attacks Ur ideas as illogical, finds Ur ideas trite and commonplace, ridicules Ur ideas, steals Ur ideas, ignores Ur ideas. But if U act the fool U rejoice when someone points out a flaw in Ur logic. U laugh at their ridicule, for they seem very funny, and U luv to play the butt of a joke. U don’t value Ur ideas, so what matter if someone steals them? U feel used to people ignoring U.

A fool’s life feels easy. U might find this paradoxical, but the harder way to live always feels easier. Practice playing a fool, I promise U won’t feel fooled. Or U will, and that contains the goal. Can I fool U into playing a fool? Can U fool Urself into playing a fool? Who says who looks like a fool anyway? Fool me and I’ll fool U, because it feels quite fun to fool around. Don’t fools seem to have fun? They act too foolish to realize the “seriousness” of the “real” world.