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Beyond The Pleasure Principle

Why do we resist doing things that we know are good for our well-being while craving things that are detrimental to our well-being? Deck: The Charles Dickens Tarot Card: The Lovers VI Catherine Hogarth (as Juliet) & Charles Dickens (as Nicholas Nickleby as Romeo), with Mr. Crummles (as Friar Laurence) and Georgina Hogarth the Elder (asContinue reading “Beyond The Pleasure Principle”

All Work And No Play

Is Arbeit Scheisse? Deck: The Charles Dickens Tarot 1st card: In what way is arbeit scheisse? 7 of Earth Little Paul Dombey Answer: Paul Dombey is a frail boy. His domineering father is fixated on the idea that his son will take over the family business. Disregarding what is best for Little Paul, Dombey senior places the boyContinue reading “All Work And No Play”

The Pickwick Playpers

How important is play in living a healthy and fulfilling life? Deck: The Charles Dickens Tarot Card: 3 of Water The Crummles Strolling Players (featuring The Infant Phenomenon) Answer: Pretty darn important, if occasionally self-important. The acting troupe known as the Crummles are admittedly crumby, but they provide Nicholas Nickleby a much-needed refuge from his nefarious uncleContinue reading “The Pickwick Playpers”

Our Mutual Expectations

Is suffering a necessary part of the human condition? Deck: The Charles Dickens Tarot Card: 7 of Fire Bradley Headstone Answer: Yes. Few people suffer as Bradley Headstone does in Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend. Born into poverty, Headstone has worked his way up to the position of headmaster through his own perseverance and determination. His great sinContinue reading “Our Mutual Expectations”

The Devil In The Details

Why do humans have such a strong urge to distract ourselves from the real world? Deck:The Charles Dickens Tarot 1st Card: 6 of Fire Merdles, Lammles, & Veneerings 1st Answer: The characters depicted here are nouveau riche who are always having parties. Prestige and appearance are their stock and trade. The suggestion then is that people present themselvesContinue reading “The Devil In The Details”

Untying The Knot

Does marriage as an institution need to be updated or is it fine how it is? Deck: The Charles Dickens Tarot Card: Death XIII Little Nell – Mary Hogarth Answer: The Tarot seems unequivocal – marriage is anything but fine as it is. Not to put too fine a point on it, but marriage is deadContinue reading “Untying The Knot”

Pipped To The Post

Are intentions or outcomes more important when judging whether actions are moral? Deck: The Charles Dickens Tarot Card: The Hermit IX Philip Pirrip Answer: Intentions. Not that intentions are more important than outcomes per se – in fact, Great Expectations is in a sense an autopsy of intentions – but intentions are more important when it comes toContinue reading “Pipped To The Post”

I Can’t Tell You Why

Is math something that humans created or something we discovered? Is looking at reality mathematically an accurate representation of how things work? Deck:The Charles Dickens Tarot Card: 10 of Fire The Circumlocution Office Answer: Yes, No, and neither. It’s impossible to say, or hear, or calculate. Perhaps more finely: the very question itself might be faultyContinue reading “I Can’t Tell You Why”

A Joke In Search Of A Punchline

Question: What is the difference between a narcissist and an artist? Deck:The Charles Dickens Tarot Card for the narcissist: 3 of Earth – Seth Pecksniff Card for the artist: 6 of Earth – John Jarndyce Answer: The narcissist is a lying, conniving, envious fake who cares only about his own well-being. S/he has no scruples when it comes toContinue reading “A Joke In Search Of A Punchline”

Is Idealism A Crime?

Question: Is idealism* a crime**? Deck:The Charles Dickens Tarot Card:The Tower XVI – The Staplehurst Train Disaster Answer: Yes. In 1865, a train running from Folkstone to Charring Cross plummeted off a bridge into a gorge. Dickens was on this train, returning to London from France with his secret mistress of 13 years, Ellen Ternan. Dickens sustainedContinue reading “Is Idealism A Crime?”