The Ship of Fools

“Renaissance men developed a delightful, yet horrible way of dealing with their mad denizens: they were put on a ship and entrusted to mariners because folly, water, and sea, as everyone then ‘knew’, had an affinity for each other. Thus, ‘Ship of Fools’ crisscrossed the sea and canals of Europe with their comic and pathetic cargo of souls. Some of them found pleasure and even a cure in the changing surroundings, in the isolation of being cast off, while others withdrew further, became worse, or died alone and away from their families. The cities and villages which had thus rid themselves of their crazed and crazy, could now take pleasure in watching the exciting sideshow when a ship full of foreign lunatics would dock at their harbors.”- Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization

There is so much madness in the world that all we are left with is a crazy joy where the assumptions of everything are based from a phantasmagoria we create for ourselves: they make us high, foolishly ecstatic, and excited of whatever appears to us. We struggle to dig a deeper meaning when all else just sway in a limitless flux. Our instinct of solipsism teaches us this stupid practice: try to look at the sky and the passing of the clouds; they are there uncontrollably, witnessing the folly we have made to stick to things we hold dear. In that solitary practice, one can imagine such fixed visual position as similar to one in a ship – imagine further the ground you are lying as that ship – and looking at the same sky, is not the same realization pertinent: that the world is voyaging on its own and we are fool sojourners in a ship who can only see the reflection of our folly in that same sky where the world goes round. Science have managed to explain that the sea, the surging simulacrum of our restlessness, reflects its color from the sky, the mirror we bespeak as foretelling the truth of our journey. It teaches us that we are the same colorless restless matter trying to imitate a higher realm when actually we are only travelling from nowhere and to another paradox of a space in motion but of no endpoint. Singing our lonely lullabies and daytime drivels, we are this brand of rational sensibilities acting a comedy in our crazy tragic lives.


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