Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Fool's Day: Appreciate a reverence for wit

Dan Riley writes about Thomas More and Thomas Moore in his post yesterday, "Holy April Fool's Day":
"Thomas More took his religion so seriously that he got his head chopped off for it. But even before losing his head to the Head of the Church of England, More was engaged in some pretty grim religious practices. He not only oversaw the burning of religious heretics at the stake, but he often wore painful hair shirts and routinely excused himself from the family dinner table to go off and whip himself — all in an effort to prove his worthiness before God. More’s piety earned him Catholic sainthood and a lofty secular reputation as "a man for all seasons" on stage and in film.

More’s namesake, former Catholic monk himself and practicing therapist Thomas Moore is probably not a good candidate for sainthood in the Catholic church, but he does have the essential quality for sainthood in The Church of Dan, that being a reverence for wit."
Following his quotes from Thomas Moore's Dark Nights of the Soul, Riley writes, "The greatest irony of all is that once we accept the humor in our human condition, we actually attain salvation through the humility, charity and courage that follow. We become humble through the act of laughing at ourselves. We become charitable through the act of cutting slack for others as comical as ourselves. We become courageous by accepting life on its own terms with death as its ultimate, inescapable punchline."

Ripley enjoys the works of Norman O. Brown and quotes Love's Body: "This is my body. Mistake, or magic, or madness; or child’s play. This is a house and this is a steeple... Wisdom is wit; in play, not in work; in freedom, not in necessity... Wisdom is wit, in fooling, most excellent fooling; in play, and not in heavy puritanical seriousness. In levity, not in gravity. My yoke is easy, my burden is light."

He concludes, "So our message this high holy season is this: Lighten up, everybody. In the end, we’re all April Fools here."

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