Stultum facit Fortuna quem vult perdere.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 611)

pron = STOOL-toom FAH-kit fohr-TOO-nah kwem woolt PEHR-deh-reh.

Fortune makes him foolish whom she wishes to destroy.

Comment: I have addressed the double-edged meaning of "The Fool" here before. Consider the following quotation from information (Wikipedia) on The Fool as found in traditional Tarot cards. The Tarot represents an ancient wisdom system that can be found throughout the east. We see glimpses of it in stories about a wise man and a foolish man, about the underdog who becomes the victor, etc.

"Although it cannot be seen in all modern cards, The Fool is often walking off a cliff. This raises the question "Is The Fool making a mistake, or is The Fool making a leap of faith?"

A quote: Gandhi said once, ?If you would swim on the bosom of the ocean of Truth, you must reduce yourself to a zero.? The Fool can be
seen as that Zero who can swim in the deeper waters up mentioned.

So, to Publilius Syrus' saying, is Fortune doing us a favor when she "destroys" us by making us a Fool, or harming us? My experience is that it is usually both. We frequently lose something that we think we must have only to learn that without it, we are open to a whole new set of possibilities and insight.

Yesterday I heard an interview on "Fresh Air" with a man who is challenging the medical system's ability to deal adequately with the dying. He recounted his mother's diagnosis with a terminal stage of breast cancer. The doctor was describing to her the only medical option that was going to completely disfigure and disable her entire upper body such that she would never be able to put on close again or likely get out of the bed. He said of his mother: "She patted the doctor on the back, and went home and began her Christmas shopping--in September. She died a few months later at home, in her own bed, with dignity and her family gathered around."

"Fortune" reduced her to zero. And the she was able to swim on the ocean floor of Truth.

I'm not looking for trouble today, but if it comes to any of us, we might remember The Fool and his leap of faith when the ground runs out beneath his feet.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive