The renaissance dealt with difference by shipping the mad out

March 1, 2010

Michel Foucault, who wrote Madness and Civilization, saw in the ship of fools a symbol of the consciousness of sin and evil alive in the medieval mindset and imaginative landscapes of the Renaissance…
Renaissance men developed a delightful, yet horrible way of dealing with their mad denizens: they were put on a ship and entrusted to mariners because folly, water, and sea, as everyone then “knew,” had an affinity for each other. Thus, “Ship of Fools” crisscrossed the sea and canals of Europe with their comic and pathetic cargo of souls. Some of them found pleasure and even a cure in the changing surroundings, in the isolation of being cast off, while others withdrew further, became worse, or died alone and away from their families. The cities and villages which had thus rid themselves of their crazed and crazy, could now take pleasure in watching the exciting sideshow when a ship full of foreign lunatics would dock at their harbors.

— Quote: Jose Barchilon’s writing the introduction to Michel Foucault’s Madness and Civilization, Ship of Fools

Franchising does the same to everyone (attorney, banker, franchisor and franchisee) over time.
Everybody plays the fool.

Found wealth is not the same as if you had earned it yourself

September 8, 2009


It has traditionally been the behavior of a fool (jackass ears) to treat earned and  unearned wealth as if they were the same.

This classic wisdom teaching indicates otherwise.

Some money in  franchising has been misappropriated. A wiser resolution of this issue is presented.

Who makes a find and takes it home

And thinks that God His favor’s shown,

The devil loves hims as his own.


A fool is he who make a find

And in his mind is purblind

That he believes: “God gave me this,

It makes no difference whose it is.”

The seeds that you have never sown,

When harvest comes, are not your own,

It’s clear to all as ’tis to me

That that’s another’s property

If from another man you have it.

It matters not how much you crave it

And found it but by accident,

To its true owner be it sent,

If it is known what man is he

Or who the owner’s heirs may be.

If them one cannot ascertain

Then let thereby some poor man gain,

Or give it else to charity,

But keep it not, whate’er it be…

To find, to steal – of selfsame hue

To God when He examines you.

‘Tis better not to find, you’ll learn,

Than finding things you don’t return;

If you put findings in your sack

You’ll never want to give them back.

— The Ship of Fools (Narrenschiff), Sebastian Brant, 1494, Image

All aboard the McShip of Fools: Das Narrenschiff

August 31, 2009

narrenschiffBuying a franchise is a real trip.

  1. Really good writing survives a very long time.
  2. Lies move quickly but truth lasts.
  3. Lies do not become true over time, no matter how many times they are repeated by shills.

In 1494, a German theologian and lawyer wrote a best seller called Das Narrenschiff (Latin = Stultifera Navis, English = Ship of Fools).

Why Brant wrote this is fairly apparent in the prologue:

For profit and salutary instruction, admonition and pursuit of wisdom, reason and good manners: Also for contempt and punishment of folly, blindness, error, and stupidity of all stations and kinds of men.

It is a classic piece of literature that was instantly popular and still speaks of mans universal tendency to act foolishly (ie. to set sail on a journey of self-delusion).

Note the hat symbolism: the donkey ears.

Brant used satire to point out the abuses of power he saw in the state and the Roman Catholic Church. He did that to keep his head attached to his neck.

I chose the fool theme here at FranchiseFool and on (thousands of case studies) to draw attention to the hypocrisy and dangers within modern franchising without being sued for the 3rd time. My message is ultra-serious but I need to teach in an indirect manner.

Any legitimate industry or authority should be able to handle satire from one person.

Historically, another role of a is to speak truth to authority.

Franchise “leaders” cannot tolerate my persistence that mom-and-pop franchising is the height of folly: It’s Unsafe at any Speed because the franchisor can strip value (exercise unilateral opportunism) while you have little or no defence to protect your sunk costs.

When you hear anyone say either:

  1. But no one can predict the future or,
  2. that person lost money and is therefore untrustworthy or,
  3. He’s just antifranchising

…that is a best indication you’re dealing with a 100% genuine jackass travel agent.

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