Nasruddin Hodja—a master of the negative way

by Oscar Brenifier


Discuss / diskuter

Printing and downloading the article

C—The Punch line

There is general paradox in the character of Nasruddin. He is terrible with us, he is devastating and pitiless with our egos, but we love him for it. In a period where reigns philosophical correctness, where we are supposed to be so nice and make everyone happy, when there is so much discourse on ethics probably because there is so little ethics, Nasruddin does not try to "value" the individual and make him feel good. To philosophize is for him to show the nothingness of the particular being, so egocentric and blind. But then, why do we accept from him the kind of terrible criticisms we would not accept even from our best friend? One reason might be that he is actually pitiless for himself as well, which makes him our own brother, our better self. A brother that sacrifices himself to show us how foolish we are, who laughs at himself in order to laugh at us, a thwarted and funny kind of compassion. As a sort of inverted Christ like figure, who goes one step further than Socrates on the irony, as a good humored cynic, he takes on his own back all the stupidity, lies and mediocrity of the human species. But we should beware of making a martyr out of Nasruddin, for he would laugh at us for such a silly and sentimental idea. Just one more trick we invent to feel good! At the same time, let us entertain silly ideas about him. For it seems to us that the Nasruddinian perspective is not so much that men won't be fools anymore, but that they will know a little bit they are great fools. The question here is not to cure, if only because there is no way to cure, or because there is nothing to cure...

There is nothing left to do but to watch the wonderful spectacle of the pathology, and to enjoy it as a Punch and Judy show, as grand theatre. Let us be entertained by this comedy of errors, let us laugh at the human drama. Much to do about nothing. That would be an excellent title. So let's keep on being foolish and enjoy it. Maybe something will come out of all this joke and laughter.


Page created: 12.10.05. Page last modified: 18.11.09 14:36.