While some don’t celebrate Christmas or Easter, Passover or an Eid, April Fools’ Day is one for us all. If we’re honest, we have to admit we are all, at some point, very foolish people. We make decisions based on fleeting desires. We give in to ease and make choices which do not relfect our best selves. We have a very limited view of the world, of those we love, of those we do not love, and especially– of ourselves. What we do not know, far exceeds what we know. Simply put: we’re all fools. An admission of our individual and collective foolishness could have powerfully positive consequences.
Here are some imaginative “what ifs.” What if we regularly admitted the limits of our knowledge? What if we looked at the world without our certitudes? Imagine the gentleness an honest dose of humility could bring. It seems to me the world would be a far more kind and peaceful place if we all, including me, could be more aware of our communal foolishness. Perhaps we would do less harm to one another. Perhaps we would damage ourselves less. Perhaps we would offer one another the benefit of the doubt a bit more frequently.
There are times in our lives when we just “know” too much. Or we “think we know” too much. If we took a deep breath and released the need to be right, to be all-knowing, we would be far more generous to one another. It’s hard to see an idea or issue from all its sides. So it’s best to admit it when we can’t. So for all of us, April Fools’ Day is our day.
Above is a photograph of one of my favorite fountains in Washington, D.C. It’s affectionately called The Puck Fountain, on the West side of the Folger Shakespeare Library, facing 2nd Street, SE. The statue is of Puck, from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the quote in the stone below the statue is a perfect one for today. Puck muses, “Lord, what fooles these mortals be.” So true.