I have always been drawn to the word ‘motley’ due to its unique sound and interesting connotations.
Different faces of ‘motley’
‘Motley’ evokes a mix of emotions – a blend of sweet and sour. Think of the ‘motley fool’, a court jester who embodies both comedy and tragedy. He possesses the gift of wit and humour, making the king and courtiers laugh, even as they condescend to him. Yet, there’s always the looming risk of falling from grace when he pushes the boundaries. The line between life and death remains perilously thin and undefined in the motley fool’s world.
Then there’s the phrase ‘motley crew,’ describing a diverse and loosely organized assembly of people brought together by chance.
Lastly, we encounter ‘motley collection,’ referring to a group of seemingly incongruous items, much like a troupe of clowns, standing out due to their differences.
‘Motley collection’ as a metaphor for life
However, there is a deeper meaning behind the phrase ‘motley collection’, a personal perspective of mine. Life, at its core, is chaotic and unstructured, and it needs to be that way to evolve. As humans, we yearn for control to feel safe, and we strive to impose order in our lives. Paradoxically, the more we attempt to regiment and control, the more discontent we often become. This phenomenon extends to authoritarian regimes, where excessive regulation leads to suffering.
In truth, life is a chaotic motley collection for all of us – an assortment of people, experiences, places, and memories that appear structured only on the surface. Yet, a closer look reveals that the apparent order is an illusion.