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Chapter 10: Licensed Fool VS Natural Fool

When I talk about the fool I do not mean any sort of fool, I’m talking about the fool who is the umbrella term for the trickster, the shaman, the holy fool and the jester, I describe them all as the Licensed Fool. In essence, the Licensed Fool is someone who sees differently and inspires change.

It is said that in ancient times the natural fool was someone outside of society who had access to the divine but lacked the language to communicate their knowledge to those of society. To gain access to this knowledge some decided to take on the attributes of the fool, these people are described as licensed fools.  

What does it mean to be a Licensed Fool? It means to go against the norms of society, to be the child who points out that the king is naked, it is to break conventions, to walk towards madness and oblivion and return with an alternative perspective. It is presumed that we as humans need a society, or a social contract to live in harmony with one and other, and throughout history for such a society to progress it has needed Licensed Fools to question and challenge the status quo for it to progress.

I believe being a Licensed Fool is very much in line with how I perceive the role of an artist. Hence my artistic practice is very much about achieving the state of a Licensed Fool, inspiring others to walk that path and create safe spaces for people to explore the idea of the Licensed Fool through workshops and art.

Rules for the Licensed Fool:

  1. You are right.
  2. Al rules can be broken including rule #2.
  3. Oppose order.
  4. Act on your impulses, do not stop yourself.
  5. Always be in opposition.

If a licensed fool succeeds in getting their message across they can easily fail, that is if they do not immediately return to oblivion searching for what is beyond the next horizon. In success, the licensed fool can become the status quo, or transform into the hero and with that comes stagnation. A licensed fool must always have their feet in two planes of existence; they can never enter one fully without losing what they are. In essence, the licensed fool must always be in a state of struggle.


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