The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Friday, June 04, 2010

Be A Fool!

Be a fool!

"A good knave, i'faith, and well fed"--All's Well That Ends Well

What is the best friend? One who supports you in all you do? Or one who will call you on your b.s. when you need it? One who is scrupulously committed to telling the truth, as she sees it? That friend may be wrong, but I can promise you one thing: if it stings, it might well be truth. After all, if someone says: "Steve, you're a Martian!" I would look at them as if they were nuts. But if they said, "Steven, I think you treated X unfairly" that might sting if I had the slightest worry that I may have behaved unethically.

Traditionally, in the King's court, the Knave (or fool, Jester) not only entertained, but fulfilled the function of deliberately casting doubt on the wisdom of proposed actions. It is just too easy to drift along in a fog of agreement. Who is the best "knave" in your life? Who tells you the truth, no matter how painful it might be?

If you don't have that, might I suggest that you become your own best "fool"? Think of taking responsibility for three things: your health/fitness, your relationship history, and your career. Stop blaming your genetic, statistics, race, gender, or anything else. I promise you that no matter what your history, there are others with worse who have done better. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. If you don't you're being a child. Now, once you have owned the situation, assume that some part of you craves the results you have achieved, be they positive or negative. What part? To what end? Why would you hurt yourself in such a way? What was the pay-off?

Asking questions like this can save your life.

2 comments:

Lynn Gazis-Sax said...

That friend may be wrong, but I can promise you one thing: if it stings, it might well be truth. After all, if someone says: "Steve, you're a Martian!" I would look at them as if they were nuts. But if they said, "Steven, I think you treated X unfairly" that might sting if I had the slightest worry that I may have behaved unethically.

True, but there is at least one other case where something will sting: You know it's false, but suspect that a large chunk of the world will believe it, to your disadvantage. (Since you said "might well be," I don't think I'm really disagreeing with you here, just wanting to include this case for completeness.)

Steven Barnes said...

I'd agree with that.