or… The more you know. 😀
“What you have to realize
is that most people
don’t really want your help.
They say they do but they don’t.”
— Suzy Kline
Suffer Fools Gladly
What Suzy is also saying is that people tend to complain about things rather than do anything about them. They resist change. They may be avoiding the work and a step-by-step process and just want to take their idea into a mass market—make it global—get an investor — and have the finish line show up before they get to the starting line. This approach nearly ever nets any success.
What does “Suffer Fools Gladly” actually mean?
As an ad and brand copywriter, understanding the language and finding what is at the core of these definitions are absolutely critical. It helps in leading and directing readers into advanced concepts. I do this for our clients.
Here we go:
“… suffer fools gladly,” is a very interesting biblical quote that is often misinterpreted.
Superficially, on the one hand, “… suffer fools gladly,” means something very condescending:
“Here is this fool that I have to deal
with now! I’d be best to be rid
In this interpretation, one would be cautioned to avoid a fool and dismiss them at all cost. This first interpretation is the one commonly and culturally accepted. It is also a phrase that places all its emphasis on the word “Suffer.”
This is only the the first interpretation. There is another.
When the emphasis is placed on “Gladly,” we can derive a much wider perspective and an even deeper wisdom.
This second interpretation is the original intention of the phrase: “Suffer fools GLADLY,” which means that you could approach life and people (above or below you) empathetically and with curiosity. This takes the phrase immediately out of the ‘complaint realm‘ and makes for a much more useful meaning. This second interpretation means to first understand their perspective, listen to their story and process the data.
In this way we arrive at a very new meaning. It is finding the usefulness that everyone has to offer no matter whom they are. This opens up the potential for richness, wisdom and pulls from a larger data bank of the wealth that life has to offer. The last challenge in this three word phrase is: to do this “Gladly.”
Framed between “Suffer” and “Gladly” is the word “Fool”.
What a fool is:
Fool is taken from a Latin word follis. A follis is a bag, a bellow or a purse. It’s also an empty vessel, a windbag, or a folly.
Historically, The Fool has played a very critical role in any great kingdom. Back in the days of the castles and trumpets of the yesteryear, any noteworthy and intelligent King or Queen would have a fool in their court. He was both an illuminator and entertainer. The Fool could see through the veneer of posturing and dig to the core of the matter. No one fooled the fool.
The fool was a jester, a wild man and is liable to say whatever came to mind. They were more than entertainers, more like a type of courtier.
What the real value of the fool was that he was child-like and playful and would openly say the things that magistrates would only think. This was uncovering the subplot and subversive dialogue.
For the Fool, this usually meant revealing some hidden motive or truth, unveiling the hidden intentions and illuminating things that were not so obvious on the surface. Seeing this truth as a fool can is both a skill and talent.
Fools as we see them everywhere today:
In a game of cards, when someone calls out: “Jokers Wild”, they are adding a 53rd or 54th card to a 52 card deck. You can be certain that they have a plan or strategy and maybe trying to make a play to fool you. Sometimes it’s only just to make the game more interesting. A “wild card” in a game of cards has the unique power to be anything you want it to be.
There’s a difference between the Gambler who plays poker and how a Poker Player plays poker. The difference is that a Gambler plays on hunches and guesswork and the Poker Player play to win. One uses mathematical odds and the other uses their intuition. Can you guess which one wins most of the time?
In the tarot cards, The Fool is given the numerical value of “0”. The “0” is considered a void, nothing or emptiness. Mathematically, the two properties of zero (0) are the addition and the multiplication property.
The addition property states that a number will not change when added (or subtracted) from zero.
7 + 0 = 7
The multiplication property says that zero times (x) any number is still equal to zero.
7 x 0 = 0
You might be saying to yourself at this point: “How this is useful to my business or life?”
Please read on. Be patient. 😀
Here is card of The Fool as seen in the Tarot:
At first glance, we see a young man seemingly walking to his peril, distracted, staring up at the sky and not paying attention. He additionally has a stick in hand and a tied bag over his shoulder. At his feet is “Fido”. Fido is short for ‘Fidelity’ and this is represented by a dog. This dog has been used repeated throughout antiquity and historical Fine Art. The canine is “mans best friend”. This long-held perspective is that dogs make faithful companions. Here on the card the dog is apparently barking and warning the youth that his next step will lead to his peril.
“Ahhhh,” You might say: “What a fool! He’s not paying attention to where he’s walking!”
While this perspective is valid, there is a much deeper meaning here to anyone that has studied the Tarot or Playing Cards.
You would know the real hidden meaning of this card.
There is great insight in The Fool card and why many consider it one of THE most important cards in the deck.
Path of the Fool
The Fool is taking his path and has met with The Magician (I), High Priestess (II), The Empress (III), The Emperor (IV), all in numerical order—as noted on the cards. Toward the end of his journey The Fool had conversed with all 21 (XXI) archetypes and this is how one approaches the cards and learns about them.
The Fool has taken the liberty and freedom in asking questions to all the other cards of the major arcana. One-by-one they each in turn send the fool off to the next card for an answer to his current question.
The fool is a querent. He asks questions. He wants to know what he is supposed to do and where he can find his Will(power). His question is: “Where can I find my Will?”
To make a very long story short, the fool goes through all the other cards only to arrive at The World card (XXI). The World tells The Fool:
“Go back to the cliff and walk off it
and trust that wings will appear,
on your back,
before you hit the bottom.”
— The World
The Fool’s question is a valid one. He is at this cliff for a reason. He is here to test his ability and his faith and ultimately test his “Will”.
This jump seems to defy the laws of gravity and doesn’t seem like something any rational or intelligent person might do. Can one take a leap of faith, defy the laws of gravity, jump off a cliff and still survive?
Well, for one, if you did do such a thing, you’d better make sure that you believe in the laws of physics and that they somehow won’t apply to you. Even more difficult to comprehend is that while the laws of gravity would apply, that somehow, magically, wings would appear on your back and you could just fly to safety.
So what then is the path of the fool? I’ve arrived at two meanings, one logical and one fantastic—a double edged sword.
1) The Path of the Fool is the path of any querent asking questions. While one derives one answer to something, this answer naturally leads to another question. The questions never end for the querent. Earlier I mentioned the addition property of zero: 7 + 0 = 7.
Here one arrives at the same number as they came in with just as the fool goes through the path, meeting with all the other cards and being sent back to the first place he started: the cliff. This is simple addition.
2) The second interpretation is more heady. It is our beliefs which limit us and just because we haven’t seen it done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done. The fool knowing this will either jump off the cliff or die a smashing death. In fact, all the fools who have failed are what we see in the rest of the cards of the major arcana. The Magician (I) was once The Fool. The High Priestess (II) was once The Fool and so on.
Mathematically, this second interpretation is:
7 x 0 = 0
This means that you have come with the Will to do something (7) and because you wanted it multiplied (x) instead of added (+), you will wind up with nothing (0). In this interpretation, multiplication is not so much about greed as it is about impatience and a tool of the undisciplined.
One would have to do the work, step-by-step, in an addition (+) format to be successful rather than figuring out the mass production (x) as we see so many people do in their fantasy business models.
The real reason why the fool is considered a fool is because he has questions. If one has questions, this means that one doesn’t KNOW, and then one is considered a Fool (0).
In the addition property 7 + 0 = 7 and you are left with what you came with. If you take risks and are Willing or daring enough to excel past your own beliefs and limitations, do the step-by-step work, success is assured.
In the multiplication property of zero (7 x 0 = 0). The Fool has a tendency toward wanting to develop something before it is ready. Their impatience presses them on to find a way to multiply their scheme, make it global, and reach the end game before it has even started.
Personally, I’ve been called a Fool more times than I can remember. I took great risks and it has happened to work our for me. It’s usually just simple addition. Addition is a sure-fire form whereas, multiplication is exponential.
Also, I’ve already failed more times than I have succeeded so the end result has been one of simple addition—trial and error—and walking the path of The Fool.
Armed with this subversive knowledge, I’m suggesting that the true path to wisdom is to “Suffer Fools Gladly.“
For me, the Fool card is now seen as the end of the game and not at the beginning.
. . . ______________________ f i n i _____________________ . . .
Only if you want more:
The original quote at the beginning:
“What you have to realize is
that most people don’t really
want your help. They say they
do but they don’t.”
— Suzy Kline
Suzy is exactly right about this. In her experience as well as in my own observation, and we’ve both witnessed this time and again, people want someone who will pay attention to them as they try out different things and test their skill against in The World.
The reason people don’t want help is because they are more motivated by doing it themselves and going through the challenges and rewards by themselves. They like to learn their own lessons in their own way. They like taking advice so they can walk the path and try it out for themselves. It’s an adventure.
“Suffer Fools Gladly” means that you would treat everyone with the same respect you expect them to give you (The Golden Rule). It is also a reminder to bypass your judgments about others because the truth that can be revealed can be truly illuminating.
It’s amazing what a homeless person, hot dog vendor, train conductor or some random people have experienced on their Path of the Fool. We are all on the similar path, rich/poor; male/female, good/bad… The path is riddled with challenges and rewards.
If one has any questions, they are said to still be on the path of the fool. “Suffer Fools Gladly”, is a phrase and idea that is meant to illuminate you and give you the Will to learn something new everyday.
If you use the addition property and “Suffer A Fool A Day”, in only one year, you would have learned 365 new things in a year. In ten years, 3,650 new things would be in your mental treasure chest.
The Question is:
Do we as entrepreneurs take this path of the fool type of plunge in our business lives?
It’s risky and entrepreneurs take this risk knowingly. The flip side of this is to just take a job, and you know where your slice of pie is coming from. You’ll be making money for the entrepreneur who had the vision and will and the one who took the risk and reaps the rewards using the addition property.
How many people along our path have told us that being an Independent business owner is hard and that we are foolish for doing this?
We obviously didn’t listen and were able to trust our own instincts.
So what does this all mean, where is the point, and what is this excerpt about? Well, on the one hand, nothing. There is no point and nothing is nothing. On the other hand, “0” is the place of nothing but potential. At the bottom, you can’t go anywhere but up. At the top, you can’t go anywhere but down.
If you work for someone else, you are more than likely operating out of fear. You will worry about “losing your job”. Do know that your boss owns you. You don’t have the power to decide, one day, out of the blue, that you want to have your brother, sister or children stroll on into your office and start working there. This is not your choice to make.
Here ends my “Suffer Fools Gladly” machination. They are the true risk-takers and are on the path, asking questions.
Once the path has completed and you finally get to The World and The World tells you to jump off the cliff and trust that wings will appear on your back and that you will comfortably fly to safety… can you?
Well, I’m NOT going to suggest you try this. There are two realms in our world: The Conscious and The Physical. Once the conscious beliefs can be overwritten as in the “mind over matter,” then this may be an option. Until that time it’s best to keep walking and avoiding any steep cliffs. 😀
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improving peoples’ lives.
Volume 1, Issue 1 (click the image above)