There are different types of fools, but two kinds of fools are especially troublesome. One is the fool who doesn’t know he is a fool. The other believes that she ought never act foolishly. The first type learned nothing from life and the second learned the wrong lessons.
The first type of fool lives on the edge of danger, imperiling himself and others. The second type is afraid of taking risks, too concerned about what others may think. This is the overly cautious and conservative person, intent on fitting in, the person who doesn’t experience life fully because she is afraid of being seen as stupid.
One aphorism, attributed to Abe Lincoln, illustrates one kind of fool, the second, often associated with Confucius, illustrate another kind.
Lincoln said, “It is better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
Confucius said, “It is better to ask a question and be thought a fool for a day than to keep quiet and be a fool for life.”
Living fully also means enjoying that which isn’t already known; it means viewing the new and untried as sources of knowledge and wonder.
There are also those who are fools in name only. In the king’s court, it was often only the fool who was allowed to speak the truth.