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Science and Tarot

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.divination,alt.tarot,alt.occult,sci.skeptic
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Science and Tarot (was An essay on Tarot)
Date: 13 Jan 1999 02:33:25 -0800

 [somewhat old, apologies for any duplication, technical difficulties] 

49980831 IIIom

[portions not authored by tn removed in conformance to elist rules]

one may be an employed scientist and be incapable of constructing
experiments from which may be derived meaningful data.  one may
also be one or both of these and incapable of explaining the data
or inferences associated with that data in a way which either
colleagues or the general public is capable of comprehending.

the state of modern Science is such that it is antagonistic toward
the most intense and personal technologies (those of the mind).  in
a manner not unlike its attitude toward religion, it wades into the
Pool of their knowledge with a bias toward materialism and against
mystical and/or occult items.  sometimes 'scientists' go too far
and insult the person of those of us who would like to bring these
arcane tools into more ready usage by all human beings.

RE: tarot not being a 'fortune-telling device':
by what criteria?  how have you established this?  I am very
tired of diviners rendering the verdict on fortune-telling.  I
have spoken against the latter several times, but I would also
support a more rational observation of what is going on in these
fortune-telling sessions, psychologically, socially, rather than
merely dismiss that anything is happening or that it might have
any value (horrors!).

it reminds me of having to make someone else look bad in order
to look good.  no no, *I*'m not doing black magick.  no no, I'm
not doing *fortune-telling*.  no no, *I'm* not the Satanist,
that *other guy* is!  but do we really know very much about what
it is we are saying we are not?  is it so easy to draw or accept
such categorical distinctions and feel competent in our assertions?
I suspect that we could all profit from further study on at least
the class of things classed by 'fortune-telling'.

RE: some 'scientist's' experiment 'demonstrating' that tarotic
    predictions aren't reliable:

so since you conducted one or two isolated experiments of no great
measure (a single individual, you, attempting to perform -- how? --
some supposed feat -- are you sure what you are trying to do?), we
are supposed to take your word for it?  that doesn't sound like the
best course for someone steeped in a rational, critical way of
thinking by *my* standards.

the way I'd go about learning about fortune-telling is to begin
interviewing fortune-tellers, learn everything I could about what
it is that fortune-tellers believe, do, and intend.  then I'd go
and learn about the people that come to them, what they are trying
to achieve, what they think happens, how they profit or suffer
from their interaction with fortune-tellers.  I'd compare what
fortune-tellers say to what is likely to occur by chance.  I'd
learn about cold reading and the variety of structures of patter
in performances of many types.

then I'd begin an apprenticeship with someone who has been doing
it for years and with whom I can feel comfortable.  I'd treat it
like any study of mine, read up on the history of it, its major
figures, if there is any dirt on it, what the common techniques
are called from a variety of perspectives, learn to spot different
kinds of fortune-tellers (the Counselor, the Shark, the Crook,
the Wise Old Lady, the Social Hub, the Spiritualist, etc., etc.).

then I would conservatively begin to make claims about it, measure
the response and from what quarters it issues.  I'd talk about
the self-delusion and self-fulfilling aspects, the incidents which
appear to be too unlikely to have occurred by chance, what 'chance'
is and how estimations like this are accomplished, and the value
of fortune-telling from many perspectives.

from here I would begin to take up more detailed studies in the
areas of my interest, conducting the REAL science of the field.
too many of us presuppose we know what the science of a field is,
as if it is plain as day, ready to be plucked or acquired.  I don't
believe that this is true, and that we are best schooled in the
sciences by those who assist us in making up our own, using whatever
we like of that which has come before.

RE: suggesting relationships, explanations and solutions to our
    problems which we might not have considered:
this is part of the value of good fortune-telling. :>  another part
of it is the reassurance that one may obtain from someone whom one
may accept as an authority.  compare this to the affect a major
media star and politician like a president or emperor can have upon
the economy of a nation with the slightest of comments.

don't forget the valuable service that one might provide to a
community through interacting with it via this medium whether
or not one accepts monetary compensation.

blessed beast!
-- (emailed replies may be posted); cc me replies;;

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