Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ship of Fools

During these past weeks, the medieval allegory of the Ship of Fools has come to my mind more than once.  This first image, by Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1490-1500)  is so well described by the Web Museum that I'm just going to quote:


"In The Ship of Fools Bosch is imagining that the whole of mankind is voyaging through the seas of time on a ship, a small ship, that is representative of humanity. Sadly, every one of the representatives is a fool. This is how we live, says Bosch--we eat, drink, flirt, cheat, play silly games, pursue unattainable objectives. Meanwhile our ship drifts aimlessly and we never reach the harbor.
"The fools are not the irreligious, since prominent among them are a monk and a nun, but they are all those who live ``in stupidity''. Bosch laughs, and it is sad laugh. Which one of us does not sail in the wretched discomfort of the ship of human folly?

"Eccentric and secret genius that he was, Bosch not only moved the heart but scandalized it into full awareness. The sinister and monstrous things that he brought forth are the hidden creatures of our inward self-love: he externalizes the ugliness within, and so his misshapen demons have an effect beyond curiosity. We feel a hateful kinship with them. The Ship of Fools is not about other people, it is about us."
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15 comments:

Martin H. said...

I wonder if the dominant news story of the past few weeks, has caused the Ship of Fools to heave-to in your mind?

Merisi said...

Some things never change. :-(

Anonymous said...

Most apropos, Ms Vicki.
Deana the Queena

Brian Miller said...

this is a great find...love bosch's work and the description is poignant for sure...

Vicki Lane said...

Without a doubt, Martin. We're rudderless and drifting...

Thérèse said...

We can spend so much time in front of each Bosch's paintings looking at ourselves... but with smiles on our faces too...

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Ah, yes. (sigh) Jim

California Girl said...

wonderful post. I always enjoy the story or motivation for a piece of art.

Beth said...

Very apt, Vicki. I think perhaps I'd like to take my chances on the lifeboat. I'm afraid the fools are about to throw me overboard. :-)

If there is a lifeboat, that is.

Star said...

Yes, I'm on that ship of fools! I've done some foolish things in my time. He was an amazing artist for sure.
I've just noticed a post about chickens that I've somehow missed before so I'm off to check that out now.

GrandmaK said...

A lesson well taught! I have considered the lesson and find that I am probably one that ship...In my case I think I would have to start bailing to avoid sinking! Thank you!! Cathy

KarieB said...

I'm with Beth. Anybody see a lifeboat anywhere? Lacking a means of escape, we must individually commit to being our best aware selves and then agree together on a progressive plan, combining our talents to ensure that the crew and Master follow the plan. If we fail, we may founder on the reefs of greed before we make port.

Vicki Lane said...

Yep, I'm looking for a lifeboat myself. Though in a way, that's what our farm is.

Elora said...

Aaahhhhh....it's so good to be back in the company of non-fools. Been w/o Internet, Email and Phone (notice capitals) since Friday last, mid-morning. A SNAFU wrought by a flawed manipulation of technology. Felt as if I'd had some surgical amputation! Breathing again, though, this rareified (sp?) intellectual air! Thank you!

Yup. Our farms are our lifeboats. Thanks for this absolutely wonderful post, Vicki. Am heading back to your blog to look up the FUBAR post! Also love the "not enough middle fingers." That rated a huge guffaw in this household!

Elora

NCmountainwoman said...

Scary, ain't it?