Praise of Folly
By Desiderius Erasmus
Okay, so I'm reading this book for History of Christianity, and I thought it would be really boring, but it's actually really good. You can even ask Stacy and she'll tell you that sometimes I laugh out loud. But these quotes aren't the funny ones. These are ones I just want some opinions on. I have to write a paper on the book by Friday, and so yeah... just give me your thoughts...
* "First of all, everyone knows that by far the happiest and universally enjoyable age of man is the first. What is there about babies which makes us hug and kiss and fondle them, so that even an enemy would give them help at that age? Surely it's the charm of folly, which thoughtful Nature has taken care to bestow on the newly born so that they can offer some reward of pleasure to mitigate the hard work of bringing them up and win the liking of those who look after them."
* "Friendship, they're always saying, must come before everything. It is something even more essential than air, fire, and water, so delightful that if it were removed from their midst it would be like losing the sun, and finally, so respected (if this is at all relevant) that even the philosophers do not hesitate to mention it amongst the greatest of blessings."
* "Just think: winking at your friend's faults, passing over them, turning a blind eye, building up illusions, treating obvious faults as virtues which call for love and admiration - isn't all that related to folly?"
* "Let's have it repeated, three and four times over, it is folly, and the same folly, which alone makes friendships and keeps friends together. I'm talking of ordinary mortals, none of whom is born fautless, and the best among them is the one with fewest faults. But amongst those stoic philosopher-gods either no friendship forms at all, or else it is a sour and ungracious sort of relationship which exists only with very few men - I hesitate to say with none at all, for most men have their foolish moments, or rather, everyone is irrational in various ways, and friendship joins like to like. But if ever some mutual goodwill does arise amongst these austere characters it certainly can't be stable and is unlikely to last long, seeing that they're so captious and far keener-eyed to pick out their friend's faults than the eagle or the Epidaurian snake. Of course they're blind to their own faults and simply don't see the packs hanging from their backs."
* "Consequently the delights of friendship couldn't last a single hour amongst such Argus-eyed folk without the addition of what the Greeks aplty named '[enter Greek letters here]', a word we can translate either as "folly" or as "easy-going ways.""
* "Nothing is so foolish, they say, as for a man to stand for office and woo the crowd to win its vote, buy its support with presents, court the applause of all those fools and feel self-satisfied when they cry their approval, and then in his hour of triumph to be carried round like an effigy for the public to stare at, and end up cast in bronze to stand in the market-place."
* "First of all, it's admitted that all the emotions belong to Folly, and this is what marks the wise man off from the fool; he is ruled by reason, the fool by his emotions."
Again, just looking for thoughts to all or some of the quotes. Thanks!