Ray Bradbury, in the Illustrated Man, wrote: “We’re all fools…all the time. It’s just we’re a different kind each day. We think, I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.”
Since I was young(er) I have never felt like the most intelligent, most beautiful or friendliest person. I never had a preconception that I was better than anyone – I always thought we could learn something from every person we met or every situation we found ourselves in – whether it’s learning something about them or about ourselves. What I always did have though was a strong belief in certain ideas, such as happiness is self-created; love is important and people are genuinely good (this doesn’t mean that I have to like everyone).
As I’ve grown (older) these beliefs have been tested and for the most part have stayed true. This is from the objective me speaking. The objective me believes that these ideas are what is needed to create a good life and what is needed to ensure that we are not sucked into a world of depression and hate and anger. The emotional me falters nonetheless every now and then.
Emotions tend to test our ideas and beliefs and the worst or best part is that we become fools or feel like fools for believing in people and their spoken words when we would not normally do so. The idea of hope and belief becomes so strong that it blocks all objectivity. Then one day everything changes, just like that, and the only notion we are left with is the question of whether or not what was said or done was true or was it all said to test our resolve and to test our boundaries. We are not only fools in our beliefs or believing but also in our actions and when in that state the lesson is hard to learn or even acknowledge.
Accepting that one is a fool is easy enough. The difficulty comes in getting over the humiliation or embarrassment that comes with it. And once that step is over (which takes a while) the next step is to question whether or not you were a fool for your beliefs or a fool in believing. Two very different ideas – the former can be disproven or argued or debated and will always be different for everyone. It is not a certain point in time but is continuous.
The latter is an action, a thought, a moment and in this step lays the foolishness