Thursday, May 28, 2009

"Love is the Wisdom of the Fool and the Folly of the Wise"

This quote started me wondering what Samuel Johnson had in mind when he penned his observation. Samuel Johnson was an English author, critic, and lexicographer. He also possessed a great sense of humor as seen in his feeling about cucumbers "A cucumber should be well-sliced, dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out."  

 Although this quote is listed as a humorous love quote on many websites, I am not so sure. The first part of the quote " Love is the wisdom of the fool" is really sad. A fool's wisdom is love. Wisdom is what helps us make decisions and if a fool is making his decisions based on love it is bound to get him in trouble. It gives too much importance to love.  

 The second part of the quote "and the folly of the Wise" Folly is foolishness which gives love too little importance in the wise person's life.  

 Both are extreme abuses of love, for love should be an integrated part of life. It is only then, we can have a healthy love relationships, whether it is with another person, child, food, drink or money

12 comments:

Bea Sempere said...

Samuel Johnson was a wise man. In fact, I have a few of his words written on my bedroom wall.

“Fiction loses its force when it departs from the resemblance of reality.”

“It is always a writer’s duty to make the world better.” Preface to Shakespeare

arithwyn said...

Samuel Johnson's quote is true if one is blinded to everything else but that love, the kind of love that is obsessive. The fool can become wise with love while the wise could turn into a fool over love.

jerzegirl said...

Bea,
I love Samuel Johnson's sayings. Bob Dylan uses a lot of his sayings in his songs...

jerzegirl said...

arithwyn

Love is a puzzle to me. I am an incurable romantic and don't understand it...

arithwyn said...

I don't know how much of a romantic I am---probably not much. There's still a part of me that dreams, but I don't know if I could ever have another lover. I'd like to thing... maybe... Perhaps I'm too much of a realist in that and have too little trust.

Anonymous said...

Ran across this discussion while searching for this Johnson quote. In my humble opinion, I think you are misreading it a little. The focus of the sentence is love, not the fool or the wise man. As 'arithwyn' was saying, love is one way a fool can be wise, and love is one way a wise man can be made the fool. That is what I feel Samuel Johnson was saying.

Anonymous said...

"As 'arithwyn' was saying, love is one way a fool can be wise, and love is one way a wise man can be made the fool. That is what I feel Samuel Johnson was saying."

Interesting observation and I think that is pretty much near to what Samuel Johnson tries to say; I think.

Toby said...

This is great!

Max Autonomy said...

Consider that the Roman poet Ovid said, "Love is not for the wise." I think he means that there is always at least some degree of foolishness in loving and the truly wise may simply not be able to tolerate that foolishness.

Catherine Buta said...

It only means that fool might be good in love and wise might made stupidity in terms of love.

Unknown said...

I think all the above are correct. It's all interpretation

To me it means... Love is real, Love can be painful, and for the Strong.
The Fool and the Wise, in all their fallibility, are strong and can endure.
Love is not for the weak or innocent.

Love is not weakness as professed in fables. It's not the absence of fear.

It's what he is not saying more than what he is.

Many times a person is quoting from their own knowledge, painful as it might have been. They have endured!.
Both of which, the fool and wise do, one is merely more reluctant than the other.

The Fool and the Wise are the same people. They are opposite sides of the same coin. For the fool it's all he knows, and for the Wise or smart, it will be all he will learn to appreciate.


David E said...

Unlike most debates of this philosophical style and frame of mind, I believe there is a definite answer to the meaning of this quote, and I believe that I have found it.

Although I may just be a Sophomore in high school, I also have the IQ of a genius and spend much of my time on philosophies. One of my first philosophies was about love, and its incredibly powerful effect on humans. To fully understand, you must first realize that what you are perceiving as love is the two infamous chemical compounds, norepinephrine and dopamine. These are released into your brain to encourage attraction, and this so called "love" hub-bub. With that in mind, you now can clearly see the lack of purpose it has. People I have talked to have said "love makes me happy," and "living without love is purposeless," and such shallow remarks and opinions. When I look at my self (philosophically), I see that I am "happy", I have a purpose, (in a shallow sense) and when I then test, examine, and take note of my "peers" emotions, I can clearly see that the majority of their worries and troubles are either from school, or the love that they so desperately hunger for. Such examples are: "why didn't he text me back?", "did I do something wrong? Was it something I said?" and so on. With this thought of my superior IQ in mind, these "peers" are "the fool", and their love is their strongest quality.

What I also see in fellow peers that are also of above average IQ is an utter THIRST for love. They feel so empty, so emotionless, that they must feel what love is. And this, is the "folly of the wise." It is unnecessary, and should be avoided by geniuses like us at all costs.