Titanic phone pix

Probably later than many of you, I just discovered the source of the concept "ship of fools" on Wikipedia, where else? - and it seemed so fitting I decided to share it. I've edited it into paragraphs for readability.

Plato First Describes a Ship of Fools

Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better.

The sailors are quarreling with one another about the steering––every one is of the opinion that he has a right to steer, though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain's senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them.

Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain's hands into their own whether by force or persuasion, they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not––the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer's art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing? 

Book VI of Plato's Republic, translated by Benjamin Jowett


In the Empire, the phrase "ship of fools" has been MainStreamed, i.e. rendered meaningless.  No fewer than 16 songs have been written with the title over the years, but only the one by the Doors retains the flavor of Plato's concept which led to the phrase:

The human race was dying out
No one left to scream and shout
People walking on the moon
Smog will get you pretty soon

Everyone was hanging out
Hanging up and hanging down
Hanging in and holding fast
Hope our little world will last

Along came Mr. Goodtrips
Looking for a new ship
Come on people better climb on board
Come on babe we're not going home

Ship of fools
Ship of fools

The human race was dying out
No one left to scream and shout
People walking on the moon
Smog gone get you pretty soon

Ship of fools, ship of fools
Ship of fools, ship of fools
Ship of fools, ship of fools, ship of fools

Climb on board
Ship's gonna leave you all, far behind
I gotta farm house for you
Ship of fools, ship of fools
Ship of fools

Songwriters: Robbie Krieger, John Densmore, Jim Morrison, Ray Manzare


Shaking your head at Empire?  Wondering about the sanity - or psychopathy of the western ruling class? I'm afraid the ruling class and their paid representatives have been that way for a long time.

ShipofFools Twain 500Comp

Remember Joshua's final words:

"The only winning move is not to play."

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