Friday Fun: The Fool

In his 2006 biography of Upton Sinclair, Anthony Arthur characterizes the author, muckraker and one-time candidate for governor of California as a “radical innocent” and the “most conservative of revolutionaries.”

Sinclair himself modeled protagonists like The Jungle‘s Jurgis after Voltaire’s title character in Candide, Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress and the Indian prince Siddhartha who, in Sinclair’s own words, forsook “his land and his treasures, and went out to wander with a beggar’s bowl, in the hope of finding some truth about life that was not known at court.”

In the appealing iconography of the Tarot, the character of the Fool distinguishes himself for his own radical innocence, his pathbreaking impulsiveness and the willingness to take “crazy” chances. George Bernard Shaw, himself a friend, correspondent and patron of Upton Sinclair’s, might have been describing the younger man when he coined the famed aphorism:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.


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