Erasmus wanted to make better persons of people. In his Praise of Folly, Erasmus therefore ridiculed the whole of mankind. Eight photographers from Rotterdam show that mankind hasn’t changed a bit in all the hundreds of years that have passed since then. This is part four of eight: Florian Braakman.

The famous thinker Desiderius Erasmus (whose 550th birth date we celebrate this year in Rotterdam) was quite critical about the behaviour of his fellow man. In his writings, he wanted to put people back on the right track again. He drew on the mental legacy of the Greek and Roman classics. His most stinging critique on society is in his satiric book Praise of Folly. A very smart book: by commenting through Folly, instead of writing on his own account, he could express himself much more fully.

About five hundred years later, eight photographers from Rotterdam pick up where Erasmus’ Praise of Folly left off. For you better believe it: folly is still amongst us.

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Image credit: Florian Braakman

That great and powerful beast, the people, is led by ridiculous and childish fables.

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Image credit: Florian Braakman

Folly frees you from fear and shame.

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Image credit: Florian Braakman

Fiction and pretence fix the people’s attention.

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Image credit: Florian Braakman

The more idiotic it is, the more admirers it gains.

A co-operation between Erasmus Magazine and Vers Beton.

In 2016 Rotterdam celebrates the 550th birth date of the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus. In this series, Vers Beton explores the meaning of Erasmus’ thinking for the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Vers Beton is a journal for people in Rotterdam who like to reflect on their city.

This series has been made possible by a financial contribution by the city of Rotterdam.

This piece was published earlier in Dutch in the online magazine Vers Beton.

Translation: Melissa van Amerongen.