If it is true that folly for a season fills life up with irrefutable pleasures, it soon manifests its nature as a lethal disease.
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices. For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster. (Proverbs 1:29–33 NRSV)
Folly lacks one of the constituent elements of wisdom: it does not self-correct.
Wisdom has a governor, to speak in mechanical terms. Wisdom is self-critical. It thrives on a feedback loop that provides the tools for subtle course corrections and, for that matter, radical ones.
Folly lacks this sophistication. It is bound to proceed in the direction of its own logical extremity. One begins to enjoy its delicacies but finishes the night gorged and puking.
The biblical proverbs understand this dynamic and instruct those who would learn with the most realistic of voices.
The variants of folly kill and destroy.
Wisdom, as we it and its voice personified in the first chapter of Proverbs, turns normal descriptors on their head. ‘Ease’ is often in the prophetic and sapiential currents of biblical literature, associated with facile wealth, corruption, and foolishness. Here, in what becomes almost a hymn to wisdom’s virtues, it is those who listen to Wisdom who will be secure and … live at ease.
Wisdom’s pleasures require a long growing season. They are not quick, indeed they are nearly always the product of long waiting and a chosen patience.
When they ripen, they are very sweet. By then, the fool has met his destruction, his name barely remembered.