Saturday, April 25, 2015

Playing the Fool

"Have you ever acted like someone you weren't to get something you wanted?"
"Have you ever pretended to be crazy?"

These are the openers. The conversation starters. The personal invitations to study one great play in the depths of great works.

This is how Hamlet Book Club begins.

The beauty of this book club is that we are all learning. Perhaps that is why the conversation is so open and real. So engaging. As we learn to use five questions (definition, comparison, relationship, circumstance and testimony) we find ourselves near giddy with the connections we are making with the text, the characters, the world, human nature...and ourselves.

It isn't so much about the brilliance of our theories or the supurb nature of our discussions.

 It is about the process; the "coming up with it" that makes a mind feel alive.

It is contribution to a series of thoughts within a group. The thoughts join together, form junctions, stop to redirect or turn, and merge together into something beautiful.

This particular night we read virtually none of the play but rather compared two men. (Heidi gives a wonderful recap) Two men who feigned insanity while speaking truth while their lives were threatened. Because seriously...who is going to listen to a madman.

Two men who both were in line for the Kingship. Both young and eloquent, both facing destruction at the hands of another king: David and Hamlet.

"Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense." -Steve Landesberg

True. But honesty disguised as insanity may just allow you to speak the truth without the threat of harm. Or it may alltogether remove one from a terrible fate.

Of course here one could follow all sorts of rabbit trails. Using emotions to manipulate...insanity as a legal defense...what IS insanity?...Did Reagan really think the microphone was off?,  etc.

Not to condone the practice, but then again...maybe sanity is overrated. Or what is more, perhaps the line between the two is not as clear as we may think.

"Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac." -Hosea 9:7

Another man could be added to the list of insane. He was accused of demon posession by the wisest of wise and called crazy by his own family. At one time he was quite popular, but most  of those ended up calling for the death sentence. To the world, to the religious and to his own family...he was a fool. 

Maybe crazy isn't so bad. 
Maybe we should all be more willing to be called fools.

Discussions like these are what keep me homeschooling. They are what keep me sane. So thank you, friends. 

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