The Fool

I watched the weird and wonderful little film, Happy as Lazzaro, the other night centered around a simple-minded farmhand named Lazzaro. Lazzaro embodies the archetype of “the fool” – that dewy-eyed innocence that lives in all of us, the part of us still awestruck by a dragonfly or a sunset. The fool serves an important societal function because they’re able to call out privilege and injustice just by seeing through unbiased eyes. The fool’s mind is empty, witless. No baggage. No projections. And because of this, she shows us what’s actually here, right in front of us; not what we’d love (or loathe) to see.

In the tarot, the fool is numbered 0… empty. The old Italian card game of tarot (tarocco), is a trick-taking game and the fool was one of the most valuable cards, functioning as a kind of “wild card” outside of the other numbers or suits. This is what evolved into the joker card that we know today.

Most of us really want others to know how smart and cultured we are, so it can be hard to let our fool enter the conversation, but when we do, we’re suddenly able to see the whole world with fresh eyes and we’re able to keep things real, to plainly call out the bullshit without getting all righteous or indignant in the process.

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