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Winning does not tempt that man

For decades Jude Folly has borne the worry and anguish of friends, strangers and family members. Why anyone would seek out his listening presence is still a mystery to him. What a shame to let all this ‘talent’ go to waste. So, he’s launching Eh Jude – Advice for Lost Causes.

Jude Folly welcomes letters seeking advice or correspondence that recalls the mind-bending complexity of contemporary life—including, but not limited to, heart break, betrayal, dashed dreams, unfulfilled promise, exile or whatever wound that afflicts the soul.

The great majority of advice columns go only so far as to convey instruction for coping with difficult situations. This is not one of those columns. Manners and etiquette are nice, but Jude Folly won’t be dispensing much of either. They too often mask the torment that “polite society” demands from recipients of hostility. As for columns that offer cold-hearted, nihilistic snark—really cute, but Jude Folly isn’t undead enough to muster such sentiment.  There has to be wisdom in recognizing your own strength even while slogging through your most vulnerable moments.

Better than learning to live with one’s ruin, regret or shame is the act of (as Friedrich Nietzsche put it) “Saying Yes to life even in its strangest and hardest problems.... in order to be oneself the eternal joy of becoming, beyond all terror and pity” (tr. Walter Kaufman).

There is hard-earned wisdom to be distilled from loss or suffering; knowledge that we as individuals are rarely willing to see—revealing this to readers will be the aim of Eh Jude. Contrary to popular notions, this journey’s purpose isn’t about winning. It's what we gain when we lose. Poet Rainer Maria Rilke best captures our purpose when he wrote the following passage featuring the Hebrew patriarch, Jacob, after wrestling with an angel.

Whoever was beaten by this Angel
(who often simply declined the fight)
went away proud and strengthened
and great from that harsh hand,
that kneaded him as if to change his shape.
Winning does not tempt that man.
This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings. 
(tr. Robert Bly)

Please send all correspondence to This column will respect the wish of all letter writers who prefer to remain anonymous.

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