I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone to learn that this is my second post of this title in two years.
“The ship of fools is an allegory that has long been a fixture in Western literature and art. The allegory depicts a vessel populated by human inhabitants who are deranged, frivolous, or oblivious passengers aboard a ship without a pilot, and seemingly ignorant of their own direction.“ – Wikipedia
The Wikipedia entry documents the origin of this image in a method that Renaissance people developed to rid themselves of their mentally challenged fellows. As Michel Foucault put it in Madness and Civilization, “they were put on a ship and entrusted to mariners because folly, water, and sea, as everyone then ‘knew’, had an affinity for each other.”
OK, I gotta say it – don’t you wish we could send all members of the Federal government off on a Carnival cruise and hope the engine stalls at sea?
“Ship of Fools” has been a recurrent image in literature, art, and music for 500 years. Somehow it’s comforting to to know that folly and madness are nothing new, even – or perhaps especially – at the helm of the Ship of State.