The Holy Fool
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell introduced me to the concept of the holy fool. It’s a Russian concept whereby someone without a care of their social status, such as an outcast, calls out a societal wrong. One example given was the famous Hans Christian Andersen story where the little boy calls out the emperor’s new suit, he has nothing to lose by doing so, but the emperor does.
Sometimes I find myself in the position of the Holy Fool, unafraid to call out something for what it is. This comes about a lot here in Japan I feel, obviously with my default position as an outsider, but also as someone able to call people out (I.e I can, and do, speak Japanese).
One example was a course on harassment we had at work a few months ago. The speaker talked about not being too specific when talking about actual stories, then goes ahead and gives examples where the age and gender of university staff was released. I called him out on it, and he’s probably going to change his presentation, otherwise it’s a bit hypocritical.
Anyway, this explanation of the Holy Fool gave me more incentive to call things out when I see them. I actually feel it’s my obligation as the only person able to too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.
I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.
On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.
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