It is better to do the wrong thing whole-heartedly than the right thing half-heartedly. Earnestness is the key. “The fool who persists in his folly will become wise,” promised the mystic William Blake.
I am rough and refined, healthy and sick, an old man and a boy, a sage and a fool.
The Tao Te Ching is the fifth most-translated book in human history. Its enigmatic author, Lao Tzu, is often pictured riding an ox while facing backwards. Oh yes, he was a fool alright.
In a world of compete/succeed/control/win/build/plan/work/accumulate, the wise man seems not to exist (from Latin existere meaning ‘stand out’). Lao Tzu wrote:
Others are so competent and confident,
Whereas I am stupid,
Careless as the sea
Drifting without aim.
The fool breathes from his shoulders. The wise man breathes from his diaphragm. The sage breathes from his heels.