Philosopher-comedian Emily Levine talks about the qualities of a trickster. A trickster, Levine being one brilliant trickster, pokes holes in our fixed ideas and brings hidden truths to light.Trickster is a change agent. And his qualities make it possible to make change happen.

  1. Boundary crossing.

It’s good to talk about things we know nothing about because we bring a fresh viewpoint to it. And this is the problem with  ”objectivity”. When you’re only surrounded by people who speak the same vocabulary as you, or share the same set of assumptions as you, you start to think that that’s reality.

  1. Non-oppositional strategies

Instead of contradiction, non-oppositional strategies. Where you deny the other person’s reality, you have paradox where you allow more than one reality to coexist. “Ears pierced while you wait”

  1. Smart luck

The trickster has a mind that is prepared for the unprepared. That the trickster has the ability to hold his ideas lightly so that he can let room in for new ideas or to see the contradictions or the hidden problems with his ideas.

  1. Making connections.

There are two attributes of matter in the Newtonian universe — one is space occupancy. And the other one though is impenetrability. In ancient Rome, impenetrability was the criterion of masculinity. Masculinity depended on you being the active penetrator. And then, in economics, there’s an active producer and a passive consumer, which explains why business always has to penetrate new markets.

When we make these connections, we short circuit people’s thinking. Make you not follow your usual train of association, but make you rewire. It is literally re-cognition, rewiring how you think.

  1. The trickster has to walk a fine line

He has to have poise. And you know the biggest hurdle is constructing the performance so that it’s prepared and unprepared. Finding the balance between those things is always dangerous because you might tip off too much in the direction of unprepared. But being too prepared doesn’t leave room for the accidents to happen.

  1. A trickster doesn’t have a home

He’s always on the road.


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