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Continuing from part one on The Praise of Folly (1509) with guest Nathan Gilmour.
Can foolishness actually make us more prudent, which sounds like its opposite? Well, having the wisdom to avoid all trouble keeps us from getting experience that would be helpful in acting more wisely in the long run.
Erasmus (speaking with the voice of Folly) claims that foolishness in some measure is essential for getting along in the world, being creative, and performing great deeds.
At the same time, the second part of the text is a straightforward critique of Catholic theologians: their arrogance, wealth, superficiality, theatricality, and other un-Christian characteristics.
Wes and Nathan mention Michael Massing's Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind.
Jack Baret says
Great fun and interesting around the table discussion about lightening up! I invite many co-workers to not take the job so seriously especially working with difficult people and special needs students!
Jack Baret says
I love your podcast and your show is great fun and an interesting around the table discussion about lightening up with religion and philosophy. I invite many co-workers to not take the job so seriously especially working with difficult people (staff) and special needs students!
Can someone, the host or guests, please give me a short review on my anthology “Beyond Human Existence-Living and Dying in Suburbia” by my pen name-Angelo Zuccaro. I am on Amazon.
Why So Serious?
Varun Narasimhachar says
Great conversations! I just wanted to chime in on the distinction between “serious” and “silly / playful”. I think there are two points to acknowledge on this.
1. Maybe we can’t make a hard, black and white distinction. The best we can do is to identify a gradation and say things like “researching cancer is more serious than collecting star wars memorabilia”. And even that not in a way that we can generally agree on.
2. Ultimately, is there any such thing as an activity or an end being irrefutably “dead serious”? That is, can we ever make a case for anything (e.g. cancer research) being a fundamental imperative in our existence, in a way that fandom isn’t? Likewise, can we irrefutably establish something (e.g. fandom) as being pointless? I don’t think so. I don’t think the universe gives us any fundamental imperatives or fundamental sillinesses.
As a species we could totally collectively turn nihilistic one fine day, fail to carry out basic activities that sustain our lives and societies, and die out. Nothing can stop us, save our own self-preserving instincts and pragmatism. In this sense, I think we are carrying out activities all the time that we consider obligatory, but never bother to rigorously establish as such. By all means we should, and indeed by all means, for similar pragmatic reasons we should allow ourselves to engage in silly endeavors too.
Mark Linsenmayer says