All that remains to me is a great pity for humanity, forced to live out its allotted span upon this cruel earth.
-- Luigi Pirandello
Clowns are grotesque blasphemers against all our pieties. That's why we need them. They're our alter egos.
-- Dario Fo
“There have been many works of imagination with the theme of “Ubi sunt . . . “? In which we follow the great ones of the earth as they yield to the common fate of death; we look at the point where they left us and try to find in the dust and ashes a trace of their light.
We do not ponder about fools in this way.”
William Willeford, The Fool and His Sceptre. A Study in Clowns, and Jesters and Their Audience, Northwestern University Press, 1986, p.4.
Some quotes from Cecil Collins on The Fool. (extracts from The Vision of the Fool and other writings. enlarged edition Ed. Brian Keeble, Golgonooza Press, Ipswich 2002) [ONLINE HERE]
I believe that there is in life, and in the human psyche, a certain quality, an inviolate eternal innocence, and this quality I call the Fool. It is a continuous wisdom and compassion that heals with fun and magic. It is the joy of the original Adam in men.
The Fool is purity of consciousness. This purity is a cosmic folly that is utterly detached from what most of the world thinks worth doing; it is detached from the deadening edifice of clever ambitions, of power, and of the incredible vanity of knowledge, that has already dulled the capacity for poetry of life in contemporary society.
The secret of life is to share the creative madness of God – if we have never experienced this madness we can be said never to have lived.
Art is a form of transcendental magic which is created out of that awakened sense, and returns to it.
The Fool is not interested in success or failure, or the vanity and burden of external knowledge. He is interested in life, in the mystery of consciousness and the transformation of consciousness which comes about through direct perception.
In other words the Fool is interested in love and its manifestation in that harmony and wholeness which we call beauty. He is therefore in a state of creative vulnerability and is easily destroyed by the world.
Society must be based on our sense of wonder, the one experience which justifies our being alive.
The artist Cecil Collins wrote in 1989 of his belief of the artist's role in relationship to the spiritual:
"Beneath our technological civilization, there still flows the living river of human consciousness within which is concentrated in continuity the life of the kingdoms of animals, plants, stars, the earth and the sea, and the life of our ancestors, the flowing generations of men and women: the sensitive and the solitary ones, the secret inarticulate longing before the mystery of life. The artist is a vehicle of the continuity of that life and his instrument is the myth and the archetypal image."
We have to contact the center of our being because there we have contact with the center of the universe. Because we are cut off from our center and from the center of the universe we feel, and are, exiles imprisoned in the world of multiplicity and mere existence, longing to awake and journey back to the center which is our heart and our Home. ...the truth is that the secret desire of our heart is for (this) lost paradise. (The Vision of the Fool and Other Writings, page 90)
The future of civilization depends upon the freedom of the individual to develop his personal consciousness: to find and to fulfill that essential self, which is unique to each of us. It can be done by gradually stripping away the impurities, the false ideas and conceptions we have of ourselves. These are a kind of dirt on the inner glass of our outlook. (The Vision of the Fool and Other Writings, page 55)
Cecil Collins, The Resurrection of the Dead
This is the age of Holy Spirit, this is the age of the universal principle -- the open, flexible field of consciousness, the understanding of the unity of life in the multiplicity of human experience, so that we find in our culture again that hidden unity which transcends the fate of multiplicity and nemesis. As I see it this creative spirit which has entered our world is causing such disturbance that it will have to be answered by the spirit of the earth which we have denied as much as we have denied the spirits of the higher worlds. We have denied the spirit of the earth, and that spirit of the earth has to appear in woman. The meeting of the spirit of the earth and the spirit of the other world is one of the great moments that, I believe, will come in the future history of culture.
Cecil Collins, from The Vision of the Fool and other writings.
Cecil Collins 1908 –1989 The Great Happiness - A Centenary Exhibition: Paintings, drawings and prints drawn from major private collections
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