Stultus nil celat; quod habet sub corde revelat.

The fool hides nothing; he reveals what he holds under his heart.

(pron = STOOL-toos neel KAY-laht kwohd HAH-bet soob KOR-day reh-WAY-laht)

Comment: This proverb raises questions for me. Is it intelligent to hide
things? Is it intelligent to hide what is in your heart? Is it stupid to be
transparent? Is it stupid to let others see what you hold in or under your

I can anticipate the practical answers. It is foolish to reveal everything you
know, because then your enemies will take advantage of you. If you keep
nothing back, you have no cards to play, no strategy. If you do not keep
secrets, then you will always be the loser to the more calculating player who
will see you coming for miles, be ready for you, and take you before you know
what hit you.

The practical response is very cynical, and I suspect, is how the many folks
would respond to these questions. It is a self-defensive response.

In western wisdom traditions, “the fool” is often the symbol of the Innocent one
who is willing to put all his cards on the table, take risks, leap over the edge
of the cliff for the sheer adventure. The fool does wear his heart on the
outside. Everyone knows who he is, how he feels, what he is doing. He has no
secrets. I find it no surprise that this proverb comes out of the middle ages
when the religion of Europe made the heart and the things in the human heart a
dangerous thing to have. One could only survive if one hid what was in the
heart and lived a life that conformed to what the church demanded. Remember
Abelard and Heloise? The Fool as symbol of covert wisdom arose during that
time in Tarot cards to remind those who had not succumbed that honoring
themselves and who they really were was worth the risk.

The wisdom of the fool is that he is still alive, still in touch with the very
energy of the life force that fuels the universe, and while he is often derided
by those who are more “intelligent” he, simply put, enjoys his life, and could
care less what others think—if caring means that he must betray himself.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
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