'I was a Moron till I became an Idiot; now I am studying hard to become a Fool.'
Moron, mor'on, mor'on, n. a somewhat feeble-minded person, one who remains at the mental age of eight to twelve throughout life. (Greek mo"ros, foolish)
Idiot, id'i-ot, id'yot, n. one inflicted with the severest grade of feeblemindedness, a foolish or unwise person. (Greek idi5t£s, a private person, ordinary person, one who holds no public office or has no professional knowledge)
Fool, fool, n. one wanting in wisdom, judgement or sense, a Jester.
We are all Morons to begin with; we follow the dictates of the world and grub around trying to fit in with the order of things. Sometimes we rebel and become alternative and groovy; but it is still conformity to a standard set up by the people around. The business man with hand-cut suit, smart tie and linen shirt cannot wear sandals; the busker in the Underground tunnel who wears jeans, old shirt with Levi jacket and wears a 'short-back-and-sides* haircut, and gets jeered at by his peer-group. The business man cannot take the afternoon off to sunbathe on a Tuesday, just because the weather is beautiful. Nor could an 'alternative* guy be too proud of his regular job; there would be mutterings of 'protestant work ethic'. The main thing all Morons have in common is the desperate insistence on the 'rightness' of certain principles, whether they be 'motherhood1, 'honesty*, 'keeping cool', 'property is theft', etc. They may disagree on any number of points with the rest of society, they may feel unsure of much, including themselves, but they identify with a programme of ideas and feelings that are common to all their set. Sooner or later in any discussion you will hear the expression: 'Surely you agree that. ..' It is the stage that young people go through, when they know it all so much better than their elders, when they discover their parent's clay feet, and also know that they are never going to get caught. The Moron stays stuck in this stage.
When the Moron feels so unsure of himself that he cannot or will not say or think any more that some things are 'right', then he becomes an Idiot. Looked at another way, he is sure enough of himself to admit to himself that he doesn't know; he likes himself enough not to worry that other people won't approve any more just because he cannot assert himself. The Greek word 'idiotes' referred to someone who didn't know, and knew that he didn't know, because it was not his business to know. He was not an official, or a professional, and therefore held no public liability for his opinions. His ideas, facts and judgements were only opinions, and everybody valued them as such.
Only when you admit your ignorance does it become possible to learn from someone who does know. In purely practical terms I have found it easier to teach shop assistants and factory hands outside London, than to teach the Time Out kids who had already dabbled for years in astrology, gestalt therapy and bio-energy.
Finally the Moron, through constant realization of his lack of knowledge, till this awareness runs through all thoughts and actions, begins to realize that other people, including his teacher and all the wise men that ever lived, don't know it either. If the Moron can accept that, and laugh at the preposterous pretentiousness of the Universe, why, he has become a Fool. Because he is not caught up with the need to justify his actions and ideas in terms of the opinion of other people (in modern terms, he is self-directed), he can do or say totally foolish things, which may well be the most relevant and apposite. Just like the Jester in a Mediaeval Court, whose antics were but a vehicle for transcendant insight. In the Tarot, the Fool is the first and last card, it is the card without number. The Fool can do anything, be anything, say anything. In a sense, the Fool is the person who allows the Will of God to flow through without impedance.
The change from being a Moron to becoming an Idiot is a matter of insight into one's situation, and the use of some will-power to get out of it. Often the change is initiated by a shock, a disruption to one's comfortable environment. But the change from Idiot to Fool requires tremendous work on oneself; the use of the Tarot is one way to aid the work.