Chapter 7: The Fool Is His Own Enemy
The fool lives in a totally closed world. Neither is he available to reality, nor is he capable of expressing anything. He is uncreative because he cannot express.
Hence the third characteristic: the fool is uncreative. Imitative he is, but absolutely uncreative. He may be able to compose a few things, he may be able to put a few things together, but it is never creativity. Never is a new thing born through his being - he himself is still unborn. He can become a great technician, but he is never a great artist. He can know how to paint - and he can know perfectly well how to paint - but he will not be able to paint anything genuinely new, authentically novel, original. He is absolutely unoriginal. He lives like a robot; he has been reduced to a machine.
If man is reduced to his lowest, he becomes a machine; if he is raised to his highest, he becomes a god. Man is a ladder: at the lowest rung, he is a machine; at the highest rung, he is a god. Either you can be a machine or you can be a god. If you remain unintelligent, unaware, you will remain a machine.
Conscience cannot change you. You have been told, “This is right and that is wrong,” but that has not changed you. Nobody can change you from the outside. Any change from the outside is going to be only superficial; deep down you will remain the same - and you will persist in your foolishness.
I have seen sinners who are foolish, I have seen saints who are foolish in the same way. There is a great difference between the sinner and the saint from the outside, but both may be fools. The sinner may have fallen in a wrong company, that’s all, and the saint has fallen in a right company; that is the only difference. The sinner is following the wrong crowd; it is accidental. And the saint is following the right crowd, but that too is accidental. Deep down, both are the same.
Foolishness has a quality of persisting. It persists because for lives together you have lived through it, you have remained identified with it. It has been safe to be a fool. It has been safe to pretend that you know without knowing, because you know perfectly well that the world has not behaved well with the knowers. It has not poisoned any fool, but it has poisoned Socrates - one of the most wise men ever born. It has not crucified any fool, but it has crucified Jesus.
Two hippies, short of cash, hit on a way of making money. With their long hair and beards, a couple of nightshirts and a makeshift cross, they headed one Sunday morning for the local Baptist church, arriving in the middle of the service. The first hippie entered, proclaiming aloud, “Make way for the Lord!”
The second staggered behind, wielding the cross.
The worshippers cried out aloud. Some fell flat on their faces. Coins and bills were showered on them as they paraded up the aisle and back out again into the street. That Sunday they made over forty dollars.