Odd title, isn’t it? “The Primal Virtue.” Folks hear “primal” and they might think of cave men, or somebody yelling “Yaaaark” when he gets frustrated. “Primal scream therapy” they call it. Of course, the idea behind, “primal,” is just whatever is really basic, like from back in years gone by. Years can pass, but real virtues like honesty, loyalty, and hard work are still basic, aren’t they? So what’s the most basic? What is the, “primal virtue?”
Three other virtues often get mixed up nowadays. Wisdom, knowledge, and cleverness. A clever person might know how to get something done. One with knowledge might tell us how something works. Wisdom gets at why it’s a good idea or not. Some clever person noted that knowledge tells us a tomato is a fruit, and wisdom tell us not to put it in a fruit salad.
The “Old Sage,” Lao Tse, asked, “Can you be without cleverness, understanding and being open to all things?” We can be all about our cleverness, and let it get in the way of our understanding. We might say a smart ass is still an ass. Same thick hide, same thick skull. We treat what we know as ll there is to know. We might might have opinions just from not asking the questions. Some are clever at what makes them money. Good for them. Now they have all the money, they want to “save the world” with yours. Don’t take child-raising advice from a bachelor.Never trust a skinny cook. The most knowledge is what we don’t even know we don’t know. We are “clever” when we find ways to make our own small knowledge seem to answer all things. We’re wise when we recognise how much we need to learn. The “Primal Virtue” teaches us to follow the Way, “open to all things.”