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Tirukkural, a classic in Tamil, one of the six oldest living languages of the world has 133 cantos. Canto number 84 with 10 couplets explains what he calls folly.

The first diagnosis of folly is that the fool will not be able to assess the true value of men and material. May be he is attracted to extraneous and uncertain aspects and let himself to be relieved of gainful possessions in exchange to things devoid of much substance. I know someone who built a villa type house and did a good job of it. The house was neither far nor near the madly crowded town. All of a sudden he disposed it off and bought an apartment in the town. He reasoned out that with the surplus money resulting out of the deal he would buy a plot. And with the appreciation of the land cost going unabated he would make good sum in the shortest span of time which he would reinvest in a villa again. Everything happened as fondly hoped by him up to buying the flat and occupying it; nothing beyond, because the 'surplus' was not sufficient enough to buy the plot! After some time the surplus money disappeared whose cause is always a mystery for him! The best of American economic brains conceived the idea of sub prime lending to individuals with no credibility to kick start the economy. Our Indian friend aping a variation of the American model sold a prime property and ended up with a sub prime property! The following Kural makes the point.

What is folly? Charging ruin And discharging gain.

My wife banishes foolishness at home! She requests for the service of an electrician, a plumber or some other skilled person depending upon what needs to be fixed at home. I will know it only when the person arrives. This is the strategy she uses to effectively keep me away from trying my unskilled hand in fixing things! Read the second Kural below:
The greatest of all idiocies is finding delight, In doing things that is not part of one's skill set.

A refined person exhibits three qualities: a sense of restrain, a sense of enquiry and a sense of not coveting. All these are absent with a fool. The verse is as follows.
Restraint, query, no mad covet a fool doesn't practice these, But manages to carry out his 'feats' at ease!

One hall mark of scholarship is attaining a sublime reflectivity. Fools are incapable of this maturity. The sophistication is portrayed by Tiruvalluvar as follows.

Professing what is well read he does but achieving sublime, He doesn't, Can there be a better fool which he isn't?

Committing a series of mistakes in an effort to undo the effect of the first one most of us either have carried out or heard of. For example, the salvos fired by defense lawyers in the courts are framed in such a way that the unsuspecting HR personnel add few more mistakes through their depositions before the juries other than what they have already committed in the official files of the employees. It appears many of us have a tendency to file up mistakes in one generation enough to bring suffering for seven generations. Read the Kural below:
In one generation a fool can commit mistakes, Seven generations that follow will have enough stakes!

Gaining mastery involves building it through one's nerves. Vygotsky a Russian learning theorist says cognitive development results from a process where the learner learns something from another person through practical experience and internalizing it. Thereafter the learning becomes his providing the fountain head for new innovations from him. If the initial drill under the guidance of a learned person is absent normally the learning never gets internalized. Such non internalized learning if practiced leads to dangerous situations. My God! Such a person too earns the title 'Fool' from Tiruvalluvar. Read the verse concerned.

Left alone he would fail, he would also be in chains, When uninstalled learning takes over the reins.

Inability to prioritize is a symptom of folly. If a fool gets a fortune the merry go surrounding him will enjoy his bounties while his kith and kin will continue to be devoid of what they are legitimately entitled to! In our State we had a time when lottery was in vogue. One person won a fortune. He gathered his friends and spent the money in every possible avenue. After thirty days he was back in his home to continue his hand to mouth existence! Read the Kural.

Outsiders get lavish fills, kith and kin languish in hunger, Fool's new fortune is the harbinger.

If a person who is not in his sense consumes alcohol he will be a first grade nuisance, so also a fool who gets new wealth. Read the Kural.

A Fool and a fortune haul, Matches a mad man cheering alcohol.
If we have a fool for a friend we have no worry. You know why? We have no regrets when we part company with him! Enjoy the sarcasm of Tiruvalluvar in the following verse. Friendship with fools has a good aspect for it's keeping! Since separation doesn't yield weeping!

Entering bedroom without washing legs is prohibited in India. Individually, wherever people have the luxury of enough water meeting the standards set by UN Indians make it a point to maintain personal cleanliness. But when it comes to public places it is horrible. Probably condition must have been the same during Tiruvalluvar time also. He says a fool entering a chamber where great men are in session is like a person entering a bedroom without washing his feet. Both of them will contaminate the place! The Kural is here:

A fool intruding a session of great men, Equals one going to bed with feet uncleaned.

 


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