Don’t Associate With Fools

On April Fools Day I did an Insight Timer live talk with the above title and the description, “A brief chat about associating with the wise while setting aside fools (and that which comes with it)”

a person who acts unwisely or imprudently; a silly person

dictionary definition for “fool”
Some notes for this talk:
  • Expanded my definition of “fool” to include those engaging in deceit — defined as ‘the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth’ — in order to fool another
  • (comicbook) writer Warren Ellis once said something like the internet on 4/1 April Fools Day was amateur hour
  • just fun and games right?
  • 2007 Google April Fools gag of paper print out (actual of Gmail not the entire internet as I said)

“Please don’t associate with fools. Please only associate with the wise.”

from the Maṅgala Sutta

“Sakka, the lord of all the world, has offered me a boon.
May I not see or hear a fool, nor no such dwell with me,
Nor hold no converse with a fool, nor like his company.”

“What has a fool e’er done to you, O Kassapa, declare!
Come tell me why fools’ company is more than you can bear?”

“The fool does wickedly, binds loads on him that none should bear,
Ill-doing is his good, and he is wroth when spoken fair,
Knows not right conduct; this is why I would have no fool there.”

“Fair spoken, Kassapa,” etc.

“Sakka, the lord of beings all, has offered me a boon.
Be it mine the wise to see and hear, and may he dwell with me,
May I hold converse with the wise, and love his company.”

“What has the wise man done to you, O Kassapa, declare!
Why do you wish that where you are, the wise man should be there?

The wise does well, no burden binds on him that none should bear,
Well-doing is his good, nor is he wroth when spoken fair,
Knows well right conduct; this is why ’tis well he should be there.”

selection from: Jataka 480: Akitta-jātaka — The birth story of Akitti

“Who knows, knows who knows. Who knows knows who doesn’t know. Who doesn’t know doesn’t know who doesn’t know. Who doesn’t know doesn’t know who knows.”

Theragatha Stanza 61 – Saying of the Elder Vappa

  • Why wisdom and the wise? (I read from p. 144 of Expectation Derived From One’s Own Point Of View)
  • Challenging for me
  • Voted most gullible in high school
  • Maybe unconsciously seeing school pursuits as foolish and so wanted to outdo them in a more foolish way. This is obviously not wise; better to bring whatever wisdom to one’s current state
  • Would have liked for someone directly to call me a fool back then
  • Story about my Grandpa’s dog(s) named Buster
  • In my defense we live in a culture of deceit
  • A lie to save a life — slippery slope for all manner of unwise justification for deceit

“Let no one deceive another or despise anyone in any state”

A line from the Metta Sutta

Some of my experiences on what happens when making firm resolve to associate with the wise:

  • doesn’t mean zero humor
  • transition period of discarding fools and picking up the wise
  • we let go; also sometime what one is trying to let go of can eventually let go of you

He that walketh with the wise shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be afflicted.

Proverbs 13:20 Geneva translation

7 Escape quickly from the company of fools; they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words. 8 The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track; the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch. 9 The stupid ridicule right and wrong, but a moral life is a favored life. 10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends will be an outsider at their celebrations. 11 Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks; holy living builds soaring cathedrals. 12 There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again – it leads straight to hell. 13 Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak. Sift and Weigh Every Word 14 A mean person gets paid back in meanness, a gracious person in grace. 15 The gullible believe anything they’re told; the prudent sift and weigh every word. 16 The wise watch their steps and avoid evil; fools are headstrong and reckless. 17 The hotheaded do things they’ll later regret; the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.

Proverbs 14:7-17 -MSG Translation

I mentioned, but didn’t read the pre-King James Bible Wycliffe translation of the same passage, Proverbs 14:7-17:

7 Go thou against a man a fool; and he shall not know the lips of prudence. (Go thou away from a foolish person; for he shall not speak words of understanding, that is, sensible words.)

8 The wisdom of a fell man is to understand his way; and the unwariness of fools erreth. (The wisdom of a clever person is to understand his own way; but the carelessness of fools maketh them to err.)

9 A fool scorneth sin; grace shall dwell among just men. (A fool mocketh sin; favour shall dwell among the righteous.)

10 The heart that knoweth the bitterness of his soul; a stranger shall not be meddled in the joy thereof. (The heart knoweth the bitterness of its own soul; a stranger cannot be mixed in, or mingled, with its joy.)

11 The house of wicked men shall be done away; the tabernacles of just men shall burgeon. (The houses of the wicked shall be done away; but the homes of the righteous shall flourish.)

12 Soothly a way is, that seemeth just to a man (Truly there is a way, that seemeth right to a person); but the last things thereof lead forth to death.

13 Laughing shall be meddled with sorrow (Laughter shall be mixed, or mingled, with sorrow); and mourning occupieth the last things of joy.

14 A fool shall be filled with his ways; and a good man shall be above him. (A fool shall reap the fruit of his foolish ways; and a good person that of his deeds, or of his labour.)

15 An innocent man believeth to each word; a fell man beholdeth his goings. (An innocent person believeth each and every word; a clever person regardeth, or watcheth, his own steps.)

16 A wise man dreadeth, and boweth away from evil; a fool skippeth over, and trusteth.

17 A man unpatient shall work folly; and a guileful man is odious. (An impatient person will act foolishly; and a deceitful person is odious.)

T’he very relevant 1 Corinthians 15:33 was brought to my attention after publishing:

Do not be misled: Bad companionships corrupt beneficial ethics. Malicious associations deteriorate beneficial ethical customs.

Literal Emphasis Translation of 1 Corinthians 15:33

Audio: Don’t Associate With Fools

Published by josh dippold

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