In the tarot of old we find illustrations of classical, or cardinal virtues: Strength, Justice and Temperance. Some think the fourth, missing virtue of Prudence is implied in the nature of The Papess... or for some, The Hermit. By including these virtues as part of a grand design, the tarot makes a statement about our human need or desire to acknowledge ultimate good. The idea of virtues comes from those who contemplate ultimate good and evil - usually religious, spiritual, philosophical or legislative leaders of a society. Clearly, not everyone does that. Lots of people just do whatever they want, and wait for someone who thinks about these issues to raise their awareness of possible transgressions when those who think about these things feel someone has transgressed against the ultimate good of a virtue, or a law handed down from on high. When these religious, spiritual, philosophical or legislative leaders speak, some listen and pull back from their transgression, while others do not listen and do not pull back from their transgression. In the world of those who choose to transgress a rule or law, some are admired for their courage to not let other people's sensibilities hold them back from executing their right to free expression. While at the same time, other people who willfully transgress a rule or law, are held in contempt, condemned and scorned. This begs the question of... when it is good to be bad, and when is it bad to be bad?
We Want What We Want, Period.
I've had many conversations with people about moral/ethical behavior. Usually, these conversations arise when I express a concern about some kind of behavior that my own sensibilities see as a transgression of good... or... when someone else expresses a concern about some kind of behavior their sensibilities see as a transgression of good. Lots of people have these kinds of encounters - they are common. As differing sensibilities collide, some can get very preachy, claiming to have some religious or spiritual high ground of morality that others should respect and obey. Other times, people sound suspicious, as though they are inventing rationale they don't even believe, to cover up their sense of guilt in a wrongdoing. Other times the person raising concern is just expressing a personal opinion that others can take or leave as they choose. Sometimes though, people will raise concerns about a transgression because they want to control people and make them be something they want them to be. Other times people raise concern because they care about the welfare of those they view as being transgressed upon - particularly if those people cannot speak for themselves. There are lots of reasons to speak up about ultimate good. Unfortunately... because I am not one of those religious, spiritual, philosophical or legislative leaders I am no expert on what to do, or how to answer this question of when it is good to be bad or when it's bad to be bad. But I do think about it.
|People want what they want,
and they will do what they will,
to get what they want.
Ultimately, I've found that people want what they want, and will pretty much do what they will, to get what they want. Period. Because of this, I have found that it is usually a mistake for anyone to voice any kind of objection toward another person about a difference in opinion concerning what kind of limits ought to be observed or imposed upon people regarding the getting or not getting of what they want. In spite of the fact that rules and laws are typically public knowledge, our following or not following of those rules remains strictly personal. This difference in perception is not always acknowledged between people, and that can cause problems, as it often leads many to mistake public knowledge with public acceptance. The fact is, many people do not accept, and will not obey rules and laws that are placed upon them by the society in which they live. Some will consciously refuse. Some will unconsciously follow a path of blissful ignorance. Some will follow a blissfully ignorant path by choice, some by laziness. Some will consciously refuse because they see the getting of what they want as more important than what a rule or law does to maintain order and protect others. Some will pursue unconscious blissful ignorance because they see free expression as more important than what a rule or law does to maintain order and protect others. Thus, it becomes a mistake for those who care about what a rule or law can do to protect others and maintain order in society, to ever take on the role of raising someone's awareness of a transgression. No one cares what that other person thinks, they only care about what they want.
Rules are Unhealthy
What is interesting about a lot of the moral/ethical discussions I've had, particularly with people in the world of tarot, is how they seem
to always boil down to a self serving stance that focuses on the desires of the
individual, where the person expressing their desire to have what they want is in effect saying: "I'm not going to concern myself with this or that or them,
and all those rules and laws put in place to protect this, that or them, I'm going to do what I want, with my own moral, ethical code - the world be
damned." In quoting such a person, that last part might sound severe, but... if the phrasing does not include "... the world be
damned" those declaring their right to follow their own moral/ethical code might actually find themselves considering what kind of moral/ethical code the
rest of the world follows, and how their own beliefs compare. And if the moral/ethical
code of others is more stringent, acknowledging it in any way could inhibit or limit those people in some way, and that could - potentially -
prevent them from obtaining what they want... which they would undoubtedly view as more of a sin than a virtue. As a result of such a stance - particularly as it applies to the cherished right of free expression - some people come to view rules as
Ultimately, everyone lives by their own moral, ethical code inasmuch as each of
us is a self contained universe unto ourselves. And what is interesting to observe between people relating to each other, is how
those who know what a mistake it is to impose beliefs upon others, never dare to make any definitive statements about morals and ethics, because of how objectionable it would be to be seen as the maker or enforcer of unhealthy rules, even though we all know that in most societies, and
even small groups, rules exist, and sometimes need to be enforced. As a result of this kind of reticence against the making or enforcing of rules, what we end up doing is hiring, appointing, electing or thrusting upon others the responsibility of making and enforcing the rules that we intend to employ to maintain order and protect each other from each other. Some do this in ways that claim or pretend to be sacred, and from a supreme being that must be obeyed upon threat of death. Others do it by using their own sense of right and wrong. We do this so that, in the midst of our
discussions, we don't have to be that person who makes or enforces those unhealthy rules -
we can instead show ourselves to be the rebellious creative individual who pushes the limits of those rules
to get what we want - a much more exciting and interesting persona that is often preferred. As a result of following this rebellious mentality of the creative individual who breaks rules to get what they want, many actually foster a feeling between each other that indeed rules are for suckers.
|Care Less - Be Free
Care More - Suffer
With a mentality of morals, ethics and rules being for suckers who allow their free expression to be inhibited by obedience, we are lead to
an understanding of how - in the minds of some - the end can always justify the means... even in situations that others - who foolishly obey rules - might consider criminal. Obviously, in the minds of those who society labels as a criminal, rules don't matter, so the end always justifies the means. And with that train of
thought complete, we see how indeed one can do just about anything they want, and get just about anything they want, if they ignore all forms of manners, morals, rules and laws. Which, I suppose, is
a great and wonderful thing. And in being a great and wonderful thing, we are taught how caring less about rules and laws, and caring less about the protection of others by way of those unhealthy rules and laws... and instead only caring about our own personal code of ethics - or blissfully ignorant lack thereof - we find great amounts of liberation and free expression.
Two Minds Running
With the "Care Less and Be Free" philosophy, and the idea of doing whatever we want to get what we want, we can learn a valuable lesson about ignoring other people's manners, morals, rules and laws in pursuit of individual goals. Personally, I still think that manners, morals, rules and laws have an important place in society, but in contemplating this issue of when it's good to be bad... for the sake of free expression, I have noticed a delicate balance to exist between sides of a mind dealing with moral/ethical dilemmas. Of course... for the so-called criminal mind, there is no dilemma. And for the blissfully ignorant mind, there is no dilemma. But for the balanced mind, that contemplates life from every possible angle, dilemmas become apparent.
The statement just made about "sides of a mind" might be objectionable to some. Some people do not acknowledge the binary nature of our minds, or the binary nature of all the important patterns we see in the world and universe, but this study of tarot, numerology, existence and consciousness does. This study sees our minds as binary (see The Binary Buddy elsewhere on this site). Every part of our mind that serves a particular function, has a complementary part that is designed to serve a complementary function - with balance between them being a Divine state. Just like every muscle in our body has an opposite designed to undo what the other has done, our minds are actually two... one undoing the other... and back again as we flex the "muscle" that is our brain. This concept is put forth and utilized in the book All Things Are Numbers (seen elsewhere on this site) where we see how all universal laws come in twos, and how no half of any law will persist in perpetuity, but will eventually yield to its opposite in alternating and undulating fashion, because... they are all mundane manifestations of paradox... the irreducable crux of universal flux! It is because of this that people who acknowledge and use their whole mind occasionally find themselves in the midst of moral/ethical dilemmas. While conversely, people who thrust themselves over to one binary side of their mind or another, and close out the other side as some kind of enemy to be avoided, have much less sensibility to the influence of those other sides. Hence... the criminal mind doesn't see rules any more than the creative mind seeking free expression. While, at the same time, someone else's mind does see rules, and notices when they are broken. Thus, when it comes to manners, morals, rules and laws, we are of two minds. How much we allow each mind to influence the other is up to each individual weighing consequences... or, in the case of some people... obliviously not weighing consequences.
Famous last words of a rule breaker:
"Hey, look at me!"
Famous last words of a rule ignorer:
"Hey, what does this do?"
Some people weigh consequences, while others just express themselves without any concern whatsoever for what kind of manners, morals, rules or laws they may be violating. In a world of binary thinking, this "Rule-Thinking" vs. "Free-Thinking" difference is not all that different than the split of mind we see between Logical Left-Brained people vs. Emotional Right-Brained people. There are a lot of similarities. It also has similarities to the split we see between the Conscious and PreConscious vs. SubConscious and UnConscious mind (see The Tether elsewhere on this site). I don't claim to know that much about psychology, but I think that those who are of a Freudian mind might also see this as a split between Ego and Id, with the Superego as the Divine state of morality between. Fortunately though... no matter how we choose to diagram or label these states of mind, it would appear that - in most cases - no portion of a mind can ever completely obliterate the other - no matter how hard some people may try. Thus even those who thrust themselves into one side of their mind or another find themselves being continually taunted by their "other self"... even if only during rare moments of quiet reflection and contemplation. The point is, the interplay between these two minds cannot be stopped. Elsewhere on this site I have called these two minds by many names. In the essay The Pentacle Person, they are the Pentacle Person and the Binary Buddy (...or Buddha!) (see The Binary Buddy elsewhere on this site). In the essay Balance or Bias I used the terminology of a popular performance art trio known as The Blue Man Group and called them Scientific vs. Shamanistic. The Scientific, Rule-Following Pentacle Person is more Left-Brained and Conscious - which I suppose would be comparable to the Rational, Reckoning Ego. The Shamanisic, Free Thinking Binary Buddy (...or Buddha!) is more Right-Brained and UnConscious - which I suppose would be comparable to the Passionate, Imagining Id. And so, from the establishment of a Rational, Rule-Thinking Scientific vs. Passionate, Free-Thinking Shamanistic mind, we contemplate how manners, morals, rules and laws are followed... or not.
Three Minds Running
Again, I am not an expert in psychology, but I have kept an eye and ear open over the years, and as a result have taken note of the Freudian model just mentioned above. I would not claim to have a perfect understanding of it, but it does appear to have similarities to my own ways of mapping things out. One critical difference though, would be my preference to view workings of the mind as always binary, and not so much trinary. But... at the same time, every binary pair has its neutral middle ground. And every binary pair is at its best when it becomes a blended or knotted pair of ideas working together. So in those ways, any binary idea can be extended into a trinary set of ideas that work together. The Freudian model appears to be expressing this kind of thought - that a mind called the Ego recognizes the need for rules and conscious control, and a mind called the Id has not one care at all for rules or any kind of control, and that the concept of morality spans and unites them both. In comparing such an idea to my own designs, I would agree that we all have a mind that acknowledges the need for rules in order to maintain life in the face of potentially life threatening encounters - making us like protective, and sometimes overprotective parents. And I would agree that we also have a mind that does not care about rules at all, but is wild and untamed, and only concerned with getting what it wants, making us like uninhibited, or sometimes irresponsible children. As evidenced by the way I organize my theoretical model of numerical influence, as it pertains to my Name Numerology Calculator, I also agree with the idea of a third mind that administers or manages our own moral/ethical code (see the Verbose Instructions of The Name Numerology Calculator... and/or the diagram below).
The Name Numerology diagram is like a ship in the ocean. The Head number is the captain with his morals, and ethics. The Face and Back numbers are like the ship itself, describing strengths and weaknesses, and the actions and reaction of behavior. The Sun and Moon positions are like the ocean the ship is moving within, the environment as defined by other people, places and things. So the three inner numbers define the personality, and the two outer numbers define the outside hopes and fears. If one were to apply popular terminology from the world of psychology, then I suppose the Face number would represent our Persona, or Ego. While the Back number would represent our Shadow, or Id. The Head number would then represent our Ego and Alter-Ego, or moralistic Superego. The three inner positions together would represent the Self, while all the positions together would represent the entirety of our Psyche. Additionally, the Moon number would represent things that come to us from our collective unconscious, while the Sun number would represent things that bump into us from our collective conscious, or... socially constructed reality that we believe to be out there.
There appears to be many similarities between what is being presented on this site and modern psychology. If there is, that is purely accidental. I promise that I have not studied psychology with the same dedication as those who make it what it is, and am only throwing out my own ideas, based on my own evolution of thought (see the book All Things Are Numbers elsewhere on this site). With that in mind, I continue to prefer a binary model, where the ideas of "Good" and "Bad" are left to each individual to sort out for themselves. In that way, the approach being developed here might depart from other models of psychology. In leaving the notions of "Good" and "Bad" as optional - the way they are in our use of Quintagrams - this approach sees the binary states of mind that acknowledge or ignore manners, morals, rules and laws as having no manners, morals, rules or laws themselves, but only the capacity to either see them or not see them... or use them or not use them. The manners, morals, rules and laws themselves come from our third mind... the mind that is between these two, and made from these two. How much each one contributes to seeing or not seeing the manners, morals, rules and laws that protect and preserve life amid manifest entities encountering each other in various life affirming or life detracting ways, is variable.
With the idea of two minds running... either acknowledging or ignoring the manners, morals, rules and laws that a society or group (our collective third mind) puts in place to protect and preserve life amid manifest entities encountering each other in various life affirming or life detracting ways... it is appropriate to ask... indeed... who cares? We (those who think that life is precious, however much of a mistake that may be - see Stop Being So Human elsewhere on this site) need rules to keep things organized in a world full of people potentially bumping into each other in objectionable ways. So, as mentioned earlier, we hire, appoint, elect or thrust upon others the task of making and enforcing those rules [Romans 13:1-5]. Some of these rules are made up and written down, others are unwritten and evolve, involuntarily, from the compulsive habits, adopted customs, sacred rituals and fear-based superstitions of primitive minds rooted in self-preserving acts of survival. In either case, as societies evolve, and we collectively and individually decided what we want and don't want, or will or won't do, or will or will not tolerate in others, lots of rules get made, to cover every kind of little thing that every kind of person wants covered. Some carry big consequences, others carry little consequences. As rules enter our lives, our Rule-Following mind acknowledges them. Then... individually, we, with our Free-Thinking minds, decide just how strictly we are going to conform to those rules... or not. By deciding how much or how little we will follow or not follow the manners, morals, rules and laws of society, we develop our own personal "third mind" - as seen in the Name Numerology diagram above.
In developing our own personal moral/ethical code, some people draw a line at rules that involve written laws that impose sever legal consequences, choosing to view everything less than that is ignorable in the pursuit of a personal goal, or whatever is wanted. Others might look further and ask "How much is the fine" for breaking that legal law, to determine if it is worth it, in order to get what they want. Others might look still further and ask "How many years in prison" for committing this crime, to decide whether it's worth it or not. While others might think that even the unwritten laws of society should be followed, even though the consequences for violating them might not be so severe. And finally, there are those who remain blissfully ignorant of all rules and laws, until someone with their moralistic mind turned on makes the mistake of trying to elevate their awareness of those rules or laws by pointing out consequences, and often exerting peer pressure to get them to conform.
Below is a chart that I made up to try and visualize how people consider consequences as ever-increasing in penalty, in order to determine a limit to their behavior or choices. Following rules is not always a life or death matter. Following rules is not always a legal matter. Sometimes it's just a moral/ethical matter. Thus, following rules matters more or less to different people under different circumstances. When we choose to violate a rule, whether consciously or unconsciously, our minds are considering the consequences. What have we to loose? What's the worst that could happen? Who cares? Small penalties are a weak defense. Big penalties are a stronger defense. Some will limit themselves and stop if they think they will loose status or respect. Others will stop if they think they will loose love or friendship. Others don't care about that, as long as they don't loose power and wealth - when breaking a rule costs money, people tend to stop and consider. Some will determine that it's worth it to go ahead and break that rule, but stop if it means loosing their freedom. Some will pay with a loss of freedom, but stop if damage to their physical body is threatened. And still others will only pull back from breaking manners, morals, rules and laws if it is a life and death matter. And, finally, there are those who take on the role of martyr and break rules that they know will cause them death.
|Following rules is not always a life or death matter. Following rules is not always a legal matter. Sometimes it's just a moral/ethical matter. Thus, following rules matters more or less to different people under different circumstances. When we choose to violate a rule, we consider the consequences. What have we to loose? What's the worst that could happen? Who cares? Small penalties are a weak defense. Big penalties are a stronger defense. Some will limit themselves and stop if they think they will loose status or respect. Others will stop if they think they will loose love or friendship. Others don't care about that, as long as they don't loose power and wealth. When breaking a rule costs money, people tend to stop and consider. Some will determine that it's worth it to go ahead and break that rule, but stop if it means loosing their freedom. Some will pay with a loss of freedom, but stop if damage to their physical body is threatened. And still others will only pull back from breaking manners, morals, rules and laws if it is a life and death matter. And, finally, there are those who take on the role of martyr and break rules that they know will cause them death.
The triangle on the right of this diagram is there to suggest the idea that people of the highly social 4/6 Visceral personality type are more inclined to concern themselves with all levels of consequence, while people of the more detached 1/9 Cerebral personality type might be less concerned with the smaller consequences of social upheaval, and only concerned with greater consequences to their self (see Personality Type Analysis elsewhere on this site). This might play out among personality types, but it also plays out within each single individual... as we are all capable of experiencing and expressing all personality types at one time or another. Thus, the more we concern ourselves with consequences of social upheaval at the low end of this diagram, the more we reveal ourselves to be concerned with our social position. While the less concern we have for those lower consequences, the more into our own universe of morals and ethics we reveal ourselves to be. In other words, we accomplish the feat of following our own moral and ethical code by detaching - to one degree or another - from society and its so-called "unhealthy" rules. While conversely, the more we follow rules, the more attached to society we allow ourselves to be. Thus, the criminal who flouts all rules is typically pushed out of 4/6 society into 1/9 isolation (see The Apart/Together model in the essay Why Abstract Patterns elsewhere on this site). This idea of isolation from society can then be extended to all "Free-Thinking" people and the initial reactions they get from the "Rule-Thinking" majority (see Consider the Source elsewhere on this site). So... for those who put value on belonging to a group and fitting in, there is an ever present increase of alienation, or... acceptance of isolation, along this spectrum of penalty. And hence... as that alienation or isolation modulates, moral/ethical dilemmas occur, whether we consciously acknowledge them, or... remain oblivious to the objections, discontent or scorn of others. In other words... freedom isn't free. Free-Thinking people pay a price. How much is too much? Each of us decides for ourselves.
Some people will examine this Penalty Spectrum Chart and assume that everyone they see has the same values of wanting to belong in a group and fit in to a social structure, and will then assume that the alienation and isolation incurred by those suffering greater and greater consequences will be seen as a greater and greater deterrent against violating the manners, morals, rules and laws of society. But, in examining personality types, it will be seen that this kind of bias toward "fitting in" is in fact most prevalent among the 4/6 Visceral personality types, and much less important among the 1/9 Cerebral personality types. In the tarot, the highly independent thinking Magician and the voluntarily exiled Hermit will not be as affected by the lesser consequences of social isolation as will the 4/6 Visceral types like The Emperor and The Lovers. In fact, as implied by the phrase "acceptance of isolation" the 1/9 Cerebral personality might indeed welcome the isolation that comes from breaking those lesser rules, especially if doing so allows for free thinking possibilities. Lots of free thinking philosophers throughout history have voluntarily separated themselves from people and the rules of society for the purpose of contemplating things in ways that society might consider morally or ethically impure. But... as pointed out in the essay Consider the Source, the 4/6 types are a majority, and the majority view predominates, and so it is that social isolation becomes a frequently used tool of law enforcement by the 4/6 Visceral majority against their fellow, like-minded brethren. While, at the same time, not always having the same impact upon other personality types who care less.
The Intoxication of Free Thinking
The heart wants what it wants. By heart, we mean our deep emotions. By deep emotions, we mean our UnConscious mind. By UnConscious mind we mean our Passionate, Free-Thinking, Shamanistic, Right-Brained, Less Conscious, Untamed mind of Imagination. When studying the mind as binary, it is not hard to agree with the view that rules are unhealthy, and for suckers... inasmuch as they inhibit the free expression of free thinking minds. Truly, the Passionate, Free-Thinking mind cannot be concerned with rules and laws or consequences of any kind, or it would not function - it is designed to be our Untamed side, the logical complement to our Tamed side. And whereas the ideas of rules being unhealthy and for suckers might indicate the presence of a mind that is locked into its Passionate, Free-Thinking side to the point of shutting down their Rational, Rule-Following mind and not seeing where and how following rules can also be a good thing... the basic idea is true - manners, morals, etiquette, ethics, rules, laws and concern for consequences of any kind, inhibit free expression and creative thinking. Thus... in the world of tarot, free thinking for ourselves is valued above all (see The Reasoned Response and Content + Context = Meaning elsewhere on this site). A Passionate, Free-Thinking mind has no regard for time, rules, or... other people. A Passionate, Free-Thinking mind is only in the moment with the Self. That, in the opinion of many, is how creative, innovative, genius thinking comes about. Break a rule, invent a tool! That, in the minds of many, is also how minds attempting to "read" what our Right-Brained, UnConscious minds are saying with their visually interpretive speech, are able to read what is being said.
|Break a rule, invent a tool.
Some of the people of tarot are Passionate, Free-Thinking types from birth. Other people come into tarot, from a Rational, Rule-Thinking life that they happily leave behind for the liberation of free thinking that tarot encourages. Like the parent/child analogy presented earlier, tarot encourages people to find their "Inner Child" and play. In my opinion, the Freudian model of the mind, discussed above, takes a dim view of this playful mind as being wastrel, lustful and full of sin - a source of guilt. It is an untamed mind that must be tamed, like a child being taught by a parent to obey their rules. Collectively, it has been said many times, that we are a nation of laws. We are all born without rules, into a world full of rules, and are taught along the way what those rules are. Some get lots of rules, some very few - like "don't hit your sister!" Some get locked into their world of rules, and have to be taught how to re-discover their "Inner Child" while others never seem to grow up at all. In the case of those who never grow up, some are lauded for their innocence while others are cursed for their immaturity. In other cases, some are able to acknowledge and live within the constraints of rules, while still maintaining their Inner Child, while others completely abandon rules and become completely intoxicated by the freedom of a lawless landscape where anything goes, and devote all their time and energy to wanton, wastrel, lustful play.
Breaking rules in order to think freely is a great and wonderful thing. But... when people advocate free thinking to be of supreme value, and following rules as downright unhealthy, we are seeing the beginning of intoxication. Freedom is intoxicating, and... once found and experienced, many will look back on any former life of obedience to rules as a stupid existence that is best left to the suckers of the world who follow like sheep. In my opinion, this kind of unbalanced thinking is itself unhealthy (see Stuck in the Mudaphor and The Vortex of Knowing elsewhere on this site). Because I am a person who tries to look at things from as many angles as possible, I occasionally allow myself to be conflicted over moral/ethical dilemmas. On the one hand, my Passionate, Free-Thinking mind sees what can be accomplished by ignoring rules. While, on the other hand, it can also see the damage that can be done by ignoring rules. So, even though my Passionate, Free-Thinking mind might be enthralled by the result of ignoring rules, my Rational, Rule-Thinking mind is capable of being dissatisfied with some of the methods used.
In this way, some people of this world are able to come to the conclusion that indeed life is about compromise and finding a middle ground, and should not be about choosing a side and declaring war on the other.
|I reject your manners & morals, rules & laws,
and concern for consequences of any kind,
and substitute my own!
And so we go. Back and forth between these minds for some. For others, stuck to one side or the other, and looking for ways to vilify their opposite and convince others of the benefits of 100% belief in a single minded approach. Most people have limits though. And then they speak up. Rules are there, like it or not. Individuals decide how much regard to give them. Are rules really for suckers? Have you no rules of your own that you would want others to acknowledge and obey when your worlds collide? Will you view others as courageous and creative for ignoring your rules, or will you view them as careless and criminal for ignoring your rules? Will you view them as intoxicated by free thinking if they trample right over your rules? Or will you view them as a free spirit who will not be bound or limited in their thoughts or behavior by your delicate sensibilities and the manners, morals, rules and laws that you put in place to protect those delicate sensibilities? In a world without rules, the answers are obvious - do whatever you will to get whatever you want - because the end always justifies the means. In a world where rules are acknowledged, the answers are not always so easy. Where is there a world without rules and a population more than one?
Rules Are Healthy
For those who are thinking about those questions just posed concerning the existence of rules that would prevent someone from trampling through another person's garden of fragile beliefs... we might surmise that indeed rules CAN BE healthy! In fact, to a creative mind attempting feats of innovation, self-imposed rules are often employed as a means of corralling the wild and untamed thoughts of our Passionate Free-Thinking mind as it floods our Rational Rule-Thinking mind with possibilities. Creative people of all types often do their best work while under pressure. Self-imposed rules, or externally imposed rules, that limit the mind in some way, can often help to provide such pressure, and lead to creative expressions that are more focused and powerful than that which comes from a mind left free to wonder aimlessly about. Drawing a tarot deck is a good example of this phenomenon. Because a tarot deck has a prescribed structure - whether it be the structure being presented on this site or that of tradition - that structure acts as imposed rules upon the Free-Thinking mind attempting to illustrate prescribed notions derived from an underlying structure. In fact, any kind of illustrative art has this same design of imposed rules: that we must illustrate what is asking to be illustrated, and not whatever we want.
People who create whatever their Free-Thinking mind wants, without any limitations or rules imposed upon them, create art that is often so personal and self-indulgent as to not be all that well understood, on any level, by those exposed to it - including the artist! As a process of psychotherapeutic release, such art has its place in the world. And one can spend a lifetime trying to figure out what about someone's deep UnConscious is being said by such undisciplined expressions, while in the process either finding something in it that resonates or not. But art that merges the Rule-Thinking mind with the Free-Thinking mind creates art of a different kind. With a healthy dose of discipline from our Rule-Thinking mind, we crystallize the amorphous and solidify the liquid that otherwise slips right through our minds "fingers" before we can even express it. With a little discipline and self imposed rules we intensify the strength of our purpose to speak in ways that can be understood by others. In this way, our discipline becomes an armature or structure upon which our vision can rest, or stick... like the clay sculpture analogy used in the essay What is an Archetype found elsewhere on this site.
Art that is 100% free is like psychotherapeutic utterances of Free Association (or what this study of mind calls Flexible Association) made by a patient in the presence of a therapist. Such creations can indeed be worthwhile in revealing deep rooted complexes and psychological disturbances. Whereas... adding in a little structure to such explorations resembles more the art of Active Imagination (or what this study of mind calls Focused Imagination). By comparison, Focused Imagination pulls from BOTH of the brains that make up our binary mind. Thus... the idea of being focused, and not wandering off freely, becomes a voluntary, self-imposed RULE that limits us. While, on the other hand, use of imagination begs us to remain free. The two together produce a creative tension that can lead us to some interesting results during the delicate art of interpretation - tarot or otherwise.
|It is usually our Literal Conscious Left Brain that is seeking out answers from our psyche, via the depths of our SubConscious and UnConscious mind. It is usually our UnConscious mind that affects us in unknown ways, until we take the time to go look. Flexible Association can find problem areas. Focused Imagination can help introduce our UnConscious to our Conscious, by asking them to work together toward an interpretation of meaning that satisfies each equally. Examining tarot symbols with Flexible Association can tell us a lot. Examining tarot symbols with Focused Imagination can also tell us a lot.
Getting our Rule-Thinking mind and our Free-Thinking mind to work together can be a great thing. Toss a Frisbee or a ball around with some friends. After a few minutes of unstructured play, people with creative minds will often impose some arbitrary rules upon the activity, so as to make it more interesting and more challenging to the mind. Free-Thinking activity, with Rule-Thinking discipline mixed in, changes something free, that is lacking direction to our Conscious mind, into a game that is interesting. Before going out to play, people sit around with their friends asking "whaddayou wanna do?" and hearing "I dunno, whaddayou wanna do?" until someone gives them something for their Free-Thinking minds to stick to, or focus upon - a game... with rules that challenge their creative Free-Thinking minds to come up with innovative solutions to rule-bound problems. Without the arbitrarily imposed rules of this game there are no problems for their creative Free-Thinking minds to solve. Without any such structure for our Free-Thinking minds to stick to, our UnConscious minds just affect us in ways we never understand. We can splash that on a canvas in all the random, chaotic, disjointed, ambiguous and amorphous ways that our UnConscious mind thinks, and see who salutes it, or we can give our UnConscious mind something to stick to, something upon which it can focus and crystallize in ways we can all archetypally understand. Jung thought of archetypes as an axial system of crystallography - an invisible structure that could be known. Everything on this site is devoted to knowing and showing that invisible structure, or, axial system of archetypal crystallography (see Numbers In Space elsewhere on this site). But it is the theory of this study of consciousness, that this structure can only be seen or known, or appreciated in its entirety, when our Free-Thinking mind and our Rule-Following mind work together (see The Vortex of Knowing elsewhere on this site).
For more on this idea of 100% acceptance of one form of perception over another, continue on to the essay called Fact, Faith and Doubt. For more on the idea of belief consult the essay A Reason to Believe. For more on a blended mind, consult the essay The Vortex of Knowing. For more on the 4/6 majority view, consult the essay Consider the Source. Then... consider how many of the stories we tell each other contain lessons about following rules, and the benefits or damage that come from ignoring rules. We love stories with criminal-like characters who ignore rules to get what they want, because it gives us a vicarious release from the bondage of rules. Some take those stories as endorsements and encouragement for their pursuit of play or even crime, whether intoxicated or not. At the same time, many stories include thoughts of morality and doing of the right thing by an honorable hero who follows the rules and plays - or fights - fair. Some take those stories as endorsements and encouragement for their pursuit of a high ground of morality whether used to judge others or not. The balance between the Rule-Thinking mind and the Free-Thinking mind is delicate when we are flooded with opinions that pull us this way and that. Those who go "strictly by the book" are not always right. Those who burn the rule books are not always right. Those who find that middle ground are often right.
|We cannot live without making rules.
We cannot live without breaking rules.
Two minds running.
What will you do?
What WILL you do?
If the tarot of old is arranged in a way that is in accordance with the numerical design being offered on this site, The Hierophant, or Pope is found to occupy a middle position of neutrality along the number line of numerology - the number 5. In most people's opinion, this character represents someone we come to for the purposes of determining moral dilemmas concerning the Laws of God. The Hierophant is supposed to represent "The Voice of God" and all the moral and dogma that that entails. In the decks being presented on this site, this position of positive orientation represents our adherence to law - and is illustrated with the Rule-Thinking mind of an alchemistic Wizard reading from a book of Laws. As a complement to that idea, the idea of disrupting the laws and breaking rules is illustrated on the negative side with a wild untamed Witch stirring a pot full of potions designed to make people think in rule breaking ways. In the essay The Egyptian Hallway, we walk right down the middle between these two possibilities. Which one will pull you harder?