2010-12-03

Of the advantages of being foolish

By Clarice Lispector

The fool, not pursuing ambitions, has time to see, hear and touch the world.
The fool can sit nearly motionless for two hours. If asked why he doesn't do anything, he answers: "I'm doing something; I'm thinking."
Being a fool sometimes offers a world for a start, as the clever remembers only his own smart methods, while the fool has originality. Ideas come to him spontaneously.
The fool has the chance to see things that the clever does not see.
The clever ones are always so attentive to each other's cleverness that they disarm themselves before a fool, and then the fool sees them as ordinary human beings.
The fool attains freedom and wisdom to live.
The fool appears to never having had his break. However, oftentimes the fool is a Dostoyevsky.
There are disadvantages, of course. A foolish woman, for instance, once trusted a stranger's word when buying a second hand air conditioner. He said the device was brand new, since he moved to Gávea, a cooler neighborhood. The woman bought the air conditioner without bothering to see it beforehand. Result: it didn't work. The technician said it was so badly damaged that repairing it would cost more than buying a new one.
On the other hand, a fool has the benefit of his good faith, not worrying too much, while the clever cannot sleep at night out of his fear of being deceived.
The clever wins with an ulcer in his stomach. The fool isn't even aware that he has won.
Warning: don't mistake a fool for a dumbass.
Disadvantage: the fool can be stabbed in the back by whom he least suspects. It's one of the misfortunes that the fool never sees coming. Julius Caesar ended up uttering the famous words: "Even you, Brutus?"
The fool doesn't complain. But how he exclaims!
Fools, with all their antics, must be all together in heaven. If Christ were not a fool, he would not have died on the cross.
The fool is always so nice that the clever tries to make himself pass for a fool. But being a fool is creative and, as happens with all creative affairs, it's difficult. That's why the clever cannot pass for a fool.
The clever gains out of others; the fool gains life.
Blessed be the fools, since they know without anyone noticing it. Furthermore, they don't care that others know that they know.
There are places that make it easier to be a fool (don't mistake a fool for a silly, dumb or futile person). For example, Minas Gerais. Ah, how many people lose by not being born in Minas!
Fool is Marc Chagall, who paints cows flying over houses.
It is almost impossible to avoid the excess of love that a fool elicits. It is so because only the fool is capable of an excess of love. And only love makes a fool.

English translation by me.

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