“You know the value of every article of merchandise, but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it’s all foolishness.”–Rumi
I know you’re aware by now that today is All Fools Day, so yes, the pithy quote above actually did come from the Sufi mystic Rumi.
It’s easy to be led down the garden path, even in this age of information technology. Actually, it’s probably easier to be fooled by the various hawkers of whatever can be sold–stuff to ideology. All Fools Day or April Fools Day is the day to have good natured fun by being deceptive.
I like think of All Fools Day as the holiday to celebrate skepticism. Today, people will be exercising discernment and healthy doubt about what they see and hear because they don’t want to be duped and fooled by April Fools pranks.
I learned early on as a school-aged journalist the importance of skepticism and why it’s always important to have multiple sources for stories. When something happens or when a public statement is being made about whatever, people bend the truth. That means literally everybody from politicians to clergy and everyone in between. They will attempt to validate what they say by quoting statistics, scripture, or experts. Nothing is sacred when swaying the opinions of people is the goal.
My junior high journalism teacher said to treat every assignment as if it is an April Fools joke. Public figures of every persuasion in every station in life use interviews as tools to promote their agendas. So while taking notes or recording them on tape be sure to remember the spokesperson is performing the interview to convince you of something of benefit to them and not necessarily for the good of the public. The truth is elusive; always take and keep notes.
“Idealism, alas, does not protect one from ignorance, dogmatism, and foolishness.”–pragmatist philosopher Sidney Hook
The teacher’s words have turned out to be excellent advice, not only for ethical journalists, but for everybody who is unafraid of the truth. In this day and age of “news” that seems valid but is actually false, consuming information with eyes wide open and a hefty amount of skepticism is the best prescription for healthy citizenship. This is also a wholesome way to approach life in general.
It’s a truism that humans don’t like to appear foolish. In order to avoid looking foolish, we are prone to actually remain fools. Others can see our foolishness, but we rarely detect it in ourselves. So, today is the day to recognize our inner fools and heartily celebrate All Fools Day.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Napoleon Bonaparte. “Le scepticisme est une vertu dans l’histoire aussi bien que dans la philosophie.” (“Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy.”)