What's the word "fool" mean?
The word "fool" is used here in a special technical sense. It means:
- Someone who's not afraid to look foolish in front of others, or to do and think about things others might feel are dumb or useless. This is why such fools are depicted with torn clothing that shows their skin below. They are willing to let their inner truths show in the outside world.
- The word is similar to "idiot," an epithet used by Gurdjieff and the Sufis to indicate anyone who admits they don't know what the world is about or what their role in it should be. It is, however, a term of respect, for this person is willing to unlearn all that he or she knows in order to learn something real. "Fool" though, seems a bit less outre.
- In different words: Our "fool" is someone who has tired of the shallowness, superficiality or limitations - whatever you will - of the mundane world, and seeks to access an ontological plane deeper than that of mere individual consciousness. Or again: Someone who seeks realities of a superior, archetypal order which are shadowed in various ways by myths and symbols, specifically the 22 archetypal symbols of the Tarot trumps.
- A related term is "warrior fool," meaning someone who has embarked on a path of inner knowledge, meaning specifically experiential knowledge. This person is engaged in a war against himself or herself, and is willing to lose the ordinary state of being in order to gain a new one, symbolized in our scheme by The Magician.
- Our fool, therefore, is also someone willing to do the work necessary to win this war. Only the basics may be taught. All the rest must be gained from experience. The teaching can only guide these experiences in the right direction. "No pain, no gain," as my high school PE teacher was wont to say. I hated that, but when you say it to and for yourself, it has a different flavor. One advantage of the classes is that we get to go through it together.
- Ultimately, a Fool is someone willing to look for the inner wisdom required for spiritual transformation. The Fool's Journey isn't in business to provide any "wisdom" (a ha ha ha!), but only to put you in touch with this inside yourself.