puzzle. Discrimination is a finely developed faculty with Virgo. You can see it in his choice of friends, lovers, food, ideas, lifestyle, clothes, reading, artistic taste, or any other area where choices are to be made. But to be a perfectionist means you have to be idealistic, since you have to have an ideal of what constitutes the perfect. And Virgo is no idealist. It's one of the most realistic, possibly the most realistic sign of the zodiac. Virgo harbours no possible rosy versions of a perfect utopian world, or even a perfect utopian kitchen. Virgo uses what comes to hand, what appears on the plate. The element of earth, remember, is the element that pertains to acceptance of earth plane reality. And no perfectionist ever accepted reality.
It has been suggested, too, that there are two types of Virgos, the neat ones and the sloppy ones. This is probably true as far as it goes. There are two types of any sign - the introverted and extroverted. The extroverted version of any zodiacal sign tends to express himself out in the world. So the extroverted Aries finds challenges in the world, the extroverted Sagittarian explores the world, the extroverted Pisces projects his visions into the world, and so on. The extroverted Virgo no doubt tries to apply his need to classify and order and synthesize at a worldly level. The introverted versions of the signs express their natures through an inner reality. So the introverted Capricorn is spiritually or psychologically ambitious, the introverted Sagittarian travels the boundless leagues of the mind and spirit, the introverted Pisces communes with the depths of his own inner ocean with its mysterious denizens, and the introverted Virgo attempts to synthesize and order himself. Which means that the sink may well accumulate a truly ripe treasure-trove of week-old dishes, the house may accumulate a formidable array of objects in general disarray, and the world may go well to pieces so far as Virgo is concerned - so long as he's performing that long, alchemical labour within his own depths, on himself.
Notice that word synthesis. It offers much more of a key to Virgo's basic motivation than perfectionism. Synthesis means bringing together different things, like a good cook performing miracles of culinary genius with a random array of leftover bits from yesterday's meals. Synthesis also means finding compatible things or ideas or aspects of life which most people find mutually exclusive. Virgo's compulsion and gift both lie in this area of synthesis. Everything must be fitted together and made to blend. That means finding out where everything fits by naming it, learning about it, categorizing it, classifying it. A friend of mine once referred to Virgo as the Great Classifier. With mercury, god of intelligence and communication, as the present ruler of the sign, you'd expect a love of acquiring knowledge. The difference between Virgo and Gemini, however, both of which are ruled by Mercury, is that Gemini loves bits and snippets of knowledge for their own sake. For Virgo, knowledge is relevant only if it's useful.
So in a way, you can say that this internal voice is always echoing in poor Virgo's mind with every new experience he meets. 'How can I synthesize it?', he says, and then, 'How can I use it?' If I can't synthesize it, he'll pretend it doesn't exist, or begin a dogged pursuit of names and definitions which will allow him to pigeonhole that experience to make it manageable. If it can't be used, he'll discard it with a certain flippant arrogance. Yes, that's fine for more impractical souls.
The drive to discriminate sometimes makes Virgo harsh. He will throw aside people or ideas or careers or things of beauty because they may not be effectual or applicable to what he considers practical reality. Sometimes he throws romance out as well, which is a tragic thing since you then find that type of Virgo for whom life is work and drudgery. Often he's a cynic, looking at reality with jaundiced eyes; he knows perfectly well that you have to be clever to survive, and he's prepared to hustle a little and make the effort of polishing the goods because that makes them more saleable. If he's going to do something, he'll do it well, both from pride in craftsmanship and from a good marketing sense. Idealistic perfection? Hardly.