Holy fools

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Holy fools. Figures who subvert prevailing orthodoxy and orthopraxis in order to point to the truth which lies beyond immediate conformity. The holy fool endeavours to express the insistence of all religions that detachment from the standards of the world is the sine qua non of advance into truth. Holy fools are also an important part of the reversals which are characteristic of the liminal stage of rites of passage. Thus the Lord of Misrule (also known as the Abbot of Misrule) was elected in medieval Christianity to preside over Christmas festivities, often at the Feast of Fools. This was held at the New Year, and was so insistent in its reversals that it was repeatedly attacked by the official Church, but the traditional insights linger on in the figure of the clown.