If you can stop the chatter and activity in your head, then there is some chance of something higher coming through. While associative thinking is going on or your mind is wandering in any way you are outside yourself, spreading yourself out, fragmenting yourself. So you have to try to be contained, learn how to make a real separation in yourself and not interfere. The aim is to overcome complexity and get some simplicity in yourself, which means trying to overcome your ego. This requires an attitude of inner sincerity, and sustained struggle without ambition.
On the surface there is more complexity and sophistication in our lives today, but in a real sense human nature has not changed much in three or even ten thousand years. Just as today, most people in Lao Tse’s day were selfish, fearful, greedy and so on, with a few other people crying in the wilderness trying to give them the right ideas. For a while many people followed the Taoist ideas, then they followed Confucius and became materialists. Movements towards the truth tend to go in such surges, but for the masses of people Mammon has been the only consistent god in the world. Mammon was the name for the golden calf in the Hebrew teaching, but in the wider sense it means wealth, power and possessions. Today the worship of Mammon is evident in the glorification of the profit motive which leaves room for very little real religion in the world.
‘Primal values’ for a human being operating on this planet outwardly involve selfless service and consideration of others, and inwardly involve obtaining a silence in yourself. The inward part is the most important because without the silence you cannot really hear anything. When you are completely silent in yourself you are completely virtuous. Returning to primal values is something each individual has to do for himself; talking about values and even legislating for them does not work.