I love this Gabrielle!
Yes I’ve danced “the fool,” a few times literally including “fool on the hill,” and have worn jester inspired costumes for some of these as well…
And have a literal “fool/jester mask.”
But this is off on a dance tangent…
Back to your essay.
The journey of the fool is poignant…
Fragile as a bird but daring heights and different views.
But then when one sets themselves to the wind…they might as well be walking that tightrope between everything.
Want to come back to the tightrope later.
When you quote Campbell:
Mythology, in other words, is not an outmoded quaintness of the past, but a living complex of archetypal, dynamic images, native to, and eloquent of, some constant, fundamental stratum of the human psyche… While our educated, modern waking-consciousness has been going forward on the wings and wheels of progress, this recalcitrant, dream-creating, wish-creating under-consciousness has been holding to its primeval companions all the time, the demons and the gods. (18)
And it seems sadly peculiar to me that which is defined as “recalcitrant,” (and maybe even “backward,” or “out-moded”) is the very thing, which opens to beyond. That dreaming process is also a creative process not just by making but by thinking as well.
We know in the past evolution had its Aha! Dawning and Discovering moments.
Sometimes it seems that logic should dream and imagine as well as figure out. (This isn’t about Blind Belief what logic always fears) but more about wholeness. Think Einstein expressed this by saying “Imagination encompasses the whole world.”
And well the Fool thrives by imagination.
And he/she certainly tests the boundaries!
So that hovering question is can we really afford to sacrifice the imagination in the name of evolving by logic alone? Or can we at least keep the wonder alongside the memorization?
My Mother was an astronomer and earth scientist. Masters in physics and astronomy from Emory and taught astronomy at Fernbank in Ga.
But since it’s earth day: some of my first memories of her.,.she gives my young hand a leaf for inspection…
She describes pinnate and palmate leaves and pointed and rounded lobes of different oaks. Lobes, I understand because that’s like ears!
But something ElSE is happening here…for she has also pointed out the hair of the woman and the ears of the rabbit in the moon.
Wonder is at play.
And is not funny that the words Fool and Play often go together!
And yet one can still learn from this…
but it is a different kind of learning.
Now I just may have to check out Station 11! (Thank you also for the recommend of Ted Lasso last year! That was a pleasure to watch!)
I’m not certain but think there is ? a James Patterson book called Jester?
Or it may be another author in the same genre.
It is really interesting…focuses on the life of a medieval red-haired jester traveler player (it’s not fantasy) but the protagonist becomes a mythic archetype within the story. He’s pushed into dangerous situations but somehow manages to find a way.
These days have a sense there is another function of Myth strongly at play within our society: that of The Village Compound.
Well yes this has always been a strong part of myth and history through time.
But to me within the last few decades
this side of the myth seems to be given more emphasis than the various journey myths, both physical and inward.
(and my God! Looking at the world through those years up to today, very understandable! It certainly can be a scary place to be!)
And that will probably come back to the quote of is it good enough “just to survive?” I re-worded it…so there’s the complexity because of also knowing sometimes the “tourniquet” must be applied first to “staunch and stabilize.”
So it can become infinitely complicated.
As for the Myth of the Village Compound, I think it offers a kind of “secureness.” So understandably THAT has More emphasis. Yet interestingly the Compound also represents what it always has: gates and parameters.
So Now it is about how each individual and the human collective relate to those parameters. Will they say Yes? Or No?
Because it feels like in modern times the Compound is not just what surrounds the villagers. It is The villagers and the community.
I love the village compound here at JCF by the way (smile.)
But this is different compound.
Any and all adventures must relate first to the boundaries and parameters in order to prove their worth and place in their community.
So journey myths have a different place and the seeking of them is done “within” the gates…until the gates eventually open.
So that has a slightly different but similar dynamic as the old stories.
But one would have to feel for the archetype of the Fool, who seems to always rush in or sometimes rush out, when they are not supposed to…
What does one do? Or choose?
The de-crying of the Fool has often portrayed the character as the One who will harm the world with their foolishness. So they must be de-cryed for the harm they are expected to cause.
Now one can make an argument for narcissism harming the world…
Yet you have pointed out the fool can have the appearance of naïveté which in fact hides a deep type of wisdom. This is not narcissism. For the fool takes the chance even “appearing foolish,” when the narcissist might avoid that.
And what an excellent point you also make that the “fool is not paralyzed by fear.”
Yet we know the fool can be aware of the danger? Or so can the journeyers.
Just like the young woman in Station 11 “we are artists. Of course we are terrified.” How moving is that?
Yet unlike the Shakespeare characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern…
It may be that Non-paralyzation, which saves someone. Maybe not always but possibly.
Now I don’t know how station 11 ends. Since I have not seen it…so heh heh…or read it.
Maybe the trick is to be careful when putting a tourniquet on any wound “to NOT put a tourniquet as well on All the Music.
It’s interesting you mention tightrope and fool. David Doersch, the head of an East Coast Celtic Rock band (long since de-banded) wrote a song inspired by an artist’s painting of a fool. It seems the painting was called “The Traveler?” And maybe the bands’ song was as well, though I always called it The Fool.
But the lines mention everything about the fool…from juggling balls of fate…to walking on a tightrope to even flying with the “lady in a shroud.” So it kind of sums up everything. The fool leaning right into the wind to the end. (His end.)
Of course Paul McCartney’s Fool on the Hill can be a beautiful place to observe the world as well…or maybe it’s just Earth Day…(every day!)