“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” ― W.B. Yeats
"In the bleak midwinterFrosty wind made moan,Earth stood had as iron,Water like a stone,Snow had fallen, snow on snow,Snow on snow,In the bleak midwinter,Long ago."- Christina Rossetti
Thus, to be Rabelaisian, means to be totally outrageous, raunchy, crude in every way, absolutely stubborn in matters of truth, relentless against hypocrisy, and against all forms of popular opinion; but, also, in a more profound way, it means axiom busting. For example, see how this is done in the juicy story of how Paris got its name. The aim is not to be outrageous for the sake of being outrageous. Rabelais provides the reader with a method to free man from mediocrity, a method that every Platonist has used throughout history, and which consists in going to war against the mediocrity of deductive logic, and releasing those powers of reason which are developed though the individual’s re-cognition of discoveries of principle. Leibniz called this the Art of Invention; that is, you don’t know what curve you are going to discover, but you know what property is required to construct it. The same principle of discovery applies to the Rabelaisian giant: you don’t know where you are going to end up, but you know how to get there. You don’t know what will make you a genius, but you know what will destroy the disease of mediocrity.From the vantage point of this method, the humanism of Rabelais concerns every one of us today, in every country of this globe, in any period of history. A new Renaissance will be assured of its victory, on the day when all the citizens of the world take to heart the warning of Rabelais about the terrible ending of the “sheep of Panurge,” and heed the call to participate in his hearty laugh, and choose to become, indeed, Rabelaisians.Francois Rabelais was a French writer. He was also a monk who later decided to become a doctor. A true renaissance man he believed in the power of laughter and wine. We are alive on the planet so enjoy yourself and be kind. Sometimes in literature one will see mention of being Rabelaisian so what does it mean? It means to be a bit crude, a tad shocking and being dedicated to the truth as well as calling out hypocrisy when you see it and be hesitant to follow popular opinion. He also had disdain for anything mediocre. Panurge was a character in his book Gargantua & Pantagruel. Panurge was a knave albeit a crafty one. Panurge buys a sheep and is furious with the merchant because he felt he paid too much for the sheep. So in a fit of rage he throws the sheep into the sea-and the other sheep, being sheep) follow him into the sea. In French there is a phrase mouton de panurge whish refers to an individual that will blindly follow others no matter the consequences.
“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.” - Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient
Follow the leader was a game we played as children - it’s time to grow up.
“Seeing how sorrow eats you, defeats you.I'd rather write about laughing than crying,For laughter makes men human, and courageous.” ― François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel Suddenly, I do not know how, it happened, I did not have time to think, Panurge, without another word, threw his sheep, crying and bleating, into the sea. All the other sheep, crying and bleating in the same intonation, started to throw themselves in the sea after it, all in a line. The herd was such that once one jumped, so jumped its companions. It was not possible to stop them, as you know, with sheep, it's natural to always follow the first one, wherever it may go.— Francois Rabelais, Quart Livre, chapter VIII
“Let's face it. We live in a command-based system, where we have been programmed since our earliest school years to become followers, not individuals. We have been conditioned to embrace teams, the herd, the masses, popular opinion -- and to reject what is different, eccentric or stands alone. We are so programmed that all it takes for any business or authority to condition our minds to follow or buy something is to simply repeat a statement more than three or four times until we repeat it ourselves and follow it as truth or the best trendiest thing. This is called "programming" -- the frequent repetition of words to condition us how to think, what to like or dislike, and who to follow.” ― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem