Going, Going, Gone

Would things get better or worse if humans focused on what was going well rather than what’s going wrong?

Deck: The Shakespeare Tarot

Card: 8 of Cups Alcibiades

8 cups alcibiades.jpg

Answer: Things would get worse.

This card sees the military general Alcibiades being exiled from Athens because he asked the city’s elders for clemency for one of his cadets. He was attempting to overlook the soldier’s bad behaviour and look on him instead in a positive, forgiving light. As a result, Alcibiades was ejected from Athens. Vowing revenge, he raised an army, re-entered Athens, and deposed the corrupt city elders. Rather than look on the bright side of his exile, Alcibiades faced reality – the draconian injustice of the city elders – and became a heroic liberator of the city.

This card is connected with the Hermit IX Timon of Athens card. Timon was a pollyanna-ish patron of the arts whose idealistic optimism was painfully disabused, at which he became an embittered misanthrope. When he discovers a fortune in gold, he uses it to fund Alcibiades’ armed revenge and right the wrongs done him, Alcibiades, and the innocent of Athens. I pulled the Hermit-Timon card a few days ago, in response to the question Does art hurt society in any way? There, the suggestion was that art can be a tool for evasion and self-delusion. Again, here, this corroborates the idea that humanity would benefit from focusing on matters that are uncomfortable and ugly but real and redeemable rather than on entertaining diversions. That said, Timon is so filled with rancor that life becomes for him a torture and eventually he dies of a broken heart. The deeper implication, then, is that while facing facts may benefit society in a general sense, focusing on what is “going wrong” may well make things worse for certain individuals.

Published by Chas Tringham

Chas Tringham wasn't so much born on February 26 1969, as he was raised in absentia. He is the son of J.J. Bieber and a discounted sack of millet. Chas' mother was 17 years old when she became 18. His parents would never marry, or merry, Queen of Scots, but maintained a close call and the common cold regarding their son's personal acne and professional malfeasance. Growing up, Chas taught those closest to him to resent the trumpet. On or about September 9/11, Chas' step-uncle's memoir, the eminently readable "Chaps", was publicly ignored. The book tells of his/her early dinners and reads it a story before bedtime. Looking back, Chas maintained contacts with his optometrist, who later married two women and an unemployed bird enthusiast. Interested in honkies, soccer, and ice-chests, Chas keeps his aspirations in a sweat sock.

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