The Inferior Man
(aka the Fool)
I write a lot about the characteristics of the warrior and how the true warrior should think and act. There are specific traits that are common to the warrior. These traits are found in most warrior societies throughout the ages and are based on character, honor, integrity, filial duty, courage, self-discipline, and service to others. Although I realize that not everyone agrees with me concerning what makes one a warrior, I think that we can all pretty much agree that these traits are beneficial for people as a whole.
Just as there are specific traits that are found in the true warrior or the “true” human being, there are specific traits which are found in the antithesis of the warrior. In this case, I will simply call the antithesis of the warrior “the fool.” I think that even if we disagree as to what makes someone a true warrior, we can agree that the fool is pretty much the opposite of what we would look for in the warrior.
Sages in every era have discussed the characteristics of the fool. Different teachers have had different terms to refer to this less than noble creature, but throughout the ages, their descriptions of the fool have had a lot of commonalities. So instead of discussing more of the principles and characteristics of the true warrior, I thought it might be interesting to look at the subject from the other side of the coin, that of the fool. So, what are the characteristics of the fool? I’m so glad you asked…
The wise pursue understanding;
fools follow the reports of others.
Fools rejoice at promises.
A fool believes everything.
One wise man can feed a thousand fools;
one fool can scarcely feed himself.
A fool will soon use up his money.
Prejudice is the reason of fools.
Fools die fore the lack of judgment.
A fool spurns his father’s discipline.
A fool is busy in everyone’s business but his own.
A wise man changes his mind; a fool, never.
It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others
and to forget his own.
A fool is pleased by beauty alone.
A fool becomes full of evil even if one gathers it little by little.
Pride, the never-failing vice of fools.
Haste is the passion of fools.
The burnt fool’s bandaged finger goes wobbling back to the fire.
A fool, indeed, has great need of a title; it teaches men to call him count or duke,
and thus forget his proper name of fool.
A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.
The inferior man is proud but not dignified.
The first chapter of fools is to esteem themselves wise.
Learned fools are the greatest fools.
Every fool stands convinced; and everyone convinced is a fool;
and the faultier a man’s judgment, the firmer his convictions.
Wise men don’t need advice. Fools don’t take advice.
Counsel given to fools excites but does not pacify.
He who pours milk for a snake is only increasing its venom.
What is respected by the great is condemned by the lowly.
The man who quarrels with facts is a fool.
Most fools think they are only ignorant.
The foolish person seeks happiness in the distance.
To be like the parakeet, that says what he knows
but doesn’t know what he says.
At a feast the fool chatters or he stares and stammers.
Just as soon as his jug is full, ale unveils his mind.
A fool is hotheaded and reckless.
To generalize is to be an idiot.
Shallow men believe in luck.
A fool has not enough in him to make a good man.
Hypocrisy, arrogance, vanity, anger, harshness, ignorance;
these characterize a man with foolish traits.
The Bhagavad Gita
Outside noisy, inside empty.
Wise men talk because they have something to say;
Fools because they have to say something.
The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.
Every fool wants to give advice.
A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
but delights in airing his own opinions.
A fool exposes his folly.
Change of weather is the discourse of fools.
A wise man doesn’t know everything – only a fool does.
Fools regard themselves as already awake.
The superior man stands in awe of the words of the sages.
The inferior man does not stand in awe of them;
He is disrespectful to important people;
He mocks the words of the sages.
A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back.
Sweet words please fools.
What is the purpose of all these quotes? Since the fool is the antithesis of the warrior, do the opposite of what the fool does. You don’t want to be like the fool, so when you see that something is a characteristic of the fool, work to remove that trait from your life. There are always consequences for every action. Dr. Frank Crane said it perfectly in the paragraph below:
“Every generation a new crop of fools comes on. They think they can beat the orderly universe. They conceive themselves to be more clever than the eternal laws. They snatch goods from Nature’s store, and run…And one by one they all come back to Nature’s counter, and pay – pay in tears, in agony, in despair; pay as fools before them have paid…Nature keeps books pitilessly. Your credit with her is good, but she collects; there is no land you can flee to and escape her bailiffs…She never forgets; she sees to it that you pay her every cent you owe, with interest.”
Fools have been and always will be the majority of mankind.
There is always a majority of fools.
This is why the true warrior is such a rare man –
always has been…always will be