Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The art of being a jester

Over the years I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about the kind of roles that would interest me(possibly as part of the effort to 'finding my place under the sun'). One role (image) that often comes to my mind is that of a court jester.

Though the word 'jester' is often (incorrectly) interpreted to mean 'fool', a jester is a much more profound creature than a fool. Of course, at a superficial level both a fool and a jester might appear quite similar. When we look at them more deeply, the similarities vanish. While a fool entertains others by 'making a fool of himself', a jester enables others to laugh at themselves. While the techniques of a fool focuses mainly on the physical plane (doing funny things, acting in a funny manner etc.), jester operates mainly in the mental and/or spiritual plane (generating insights). We can also say that fools represent simplicity on 'this side of complexity' (or simplicity before reaching complexity) while jesters represent simplicity on the other side of complexity (simplicity after going beyond the complexity).

In terms of impact a fool leaves his audience 'entertained' while the jester leaves his audience 'enlightened'. In terms of their influence, fools are quite 'peripheral' while jesters are quite 'central'. Jesters often had the right (or even the 'duty') to criticise the King and get away with that(or even get rewarded for that). Often Jesters possess 'shibumi' (great refinement underlying common place appearances). Actually 'shibumi' is another concept that interests me greatly and it deserves a separate post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is great information, thank you it will come of good use to me :) Jester's don't need to be seen as blundering fools for they are not, they are truly that of a performer. They aren't meant for making fools of themselves that's just what people interpret it as, they as you said "enlighten" the audience rather then entertain them. Thank you again ---> :D