In support of the “March for Science” demonstrations today, I’d like to repost two of my favorite science and spirituality posts. I enjoyed writing these two….they are definitely in my top 5 favorite posts, and out of the 23oo+ posts here, that is saying something. But here’s to science and reason and the enormous part they play, even here in the world of Tarot and Spirituality. Together for the first time: Zombie Cat and Ghost of Zombie Cat.
“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.” – Doctor Who in “Blink” episode, written by Steven Moffat.
There are two words that make me inwardly cringe when I read (or hear) them in a Tarot reading question: “Will” and “When”.
Predictions and time are knotty subjects in this work. Predictions are actually a scientific thing. A prediction is really nothing more then expert opinion about where trends are headed based on existing data and past results. For example, we can predict where in the sky Mars will be a year from now based on laws of gravity, planetary motion, existing observations and so on. As I understand it, that is the kind of “prediction” that a law of physics or scientific principle has to be able to make in order for the principle to be considered valid within the scientific method.
Science spends so much time and energy bashing and demeaning “psychic predictions” when many of them are, at their heart, the same as the scientific kind of predictions. The psychic reader is an objective observer, knows human nature, and can see trends that the person involved may not see. A Tarot reader can predict where things are going in a relationship just like a scientist can predict where Mars is headed over the next year. The only real difference is psychic predictions are based on right-brain, non-linear logic and de facto psychology instead of left-brain, linear logic and hard data.
And that is looking at it from a very superficial, everyday experience point of view. This is Isaac Newton kind of stuff. It’s like predicting that when an apple detaches from the tree, it will fall down. What if we go a little quantum about it?
Think Schrodinger’s Cat.
In theory, once the experiment is set up and started, the cat could come out of it alive – or not – or both if you are into zombies. Or neither one if the cat suddenly ceased to exist. Disappearing / Zombie Cat could happen…it’s just extreme magnitudes of unlikely. (See the BBC Horizon Series’ program “Parallel Universes” hosted by Dr. Michio Kaku, based on his book “Parallel Worlds”)
When the moment of discovery is still in the future, the possibility and attendent probability exists for all outcomes. In the mysterious and undetermined future, all four conditions exist, even our unlikely disappearing / undead pet. Can you predict which way THAT is headed using nothing but your brain and some pretty pictures? If you “predict” the most likely of the potential outcomes (meaning the cat is still there and not a zombie) is that psychic or science? If you predict Zombie Cat, is that quackery, or was the vision just dialed into a different wibbly-wobbly timeline out there in the multiverse?
The Zombie Cat may well exist out there. We don’t know, because multiverses, as the video says, is unproven. No-cat and Zombie Cat might be out there, but they just don’t make the jump from possible to probable to IS. At least not in this world. All potentials exists until “the wave collapses” and the moment becomes NOW instead of future, and then slips instantly into the past. Now and Past are fully collapsed probability waves. They exist – ska-doosh! – done deal, nothing to predict. The future on the other hand, that’s a different animal still.
Now, just to make things really interesting, let’s introduce Zombie Cat to Alice the Vampire.
In the movie Twilight, the psychic vampire Alice could see the future, insofar as people have decided what they want to do. If someone changes their mind, or changes their action, then her vision changes. She can predict, but with uncertainty. Her predictions are predicated on the course people are on. Alice the vampire’s visions and Zombie Cat’s existence are a matter of probability, not “prediction”. And so it is with Tarot and psychic readings.
Let’s say our cat has human-like intelligence and a choice rather than being a victim of circumstance as in the classic thought experiment. What if there was some choice the cat could make or some action it could take that would keep the gunpowder from going off. What if it could blow out the fuse? Now how do you make predictions under that set of conditions?
Imagine your psychic vision was of a dead cat (a 50% probable outcome in the original experiment)? What if the cat heard you make that “psychic prediction” and blew out the fuse when it otherwise wouldn’t have? Was the prediction wrong?
(Thank goodness it WAS wrong. All this talk about dead cats is getting kind of gross. Zombie Cats may be unlikely, but they are a heckuva lot more fun than the plain old dead ones.)
Let’s shift gears again to Zombie Cat, Alice Vampire and Tarot readings.
Will you get that job? I dunno. Did you apply for it? Update your resume? Scheduled an interview? Check the classifieds for other options? (What has the cat done to keep the powder from exploding) Has the person doing the hiring made any decisions or taken any actions? (collapsed the probability wave)
On the other hand, a reading can give you advice that maybe can help you get that job: be flexible (4 of swords), emphasize your skills and experience (The Emperor) or show you’d be a caring team player (5 of coins). A good advice reading is like the psychic yelling at the cat in the bunker to blow out the fuse to improve the chances that it won’t blow up.
When will you get married? I dunno. The future is just as Wibbly-Wobbly as the Doctor told us. But Tarot can give you ideas about how to bring love and happiness of all sorts into your life, no matter what choices and psychic vision changes happen along the way.
If you do nothing, take no advice, make no choices, then your chances of getting the future you want is about the same as the chances of a Zombie Cat coming out of that experiment – no matter what a psychic may predict.
Ghost of Zombie Cat
“There is more in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies” – William Shakespeare
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” Arthur C. Clarke
“I ain’t afraid of no ghost” – Ghostbusters
In the first Zombie Cat post we talked a little bit about the intersection of Tarot and science. Now lets shift gears yet again and add in the “woo-woo”, fringe, and well, spiritual. Tarot intersects all of those things too.
When I’m not looking at the world as a giant Taoist Taijitu (yin/yang symbol) I tend to see a lot of things in terms of a Venn diagram. That’s why I chose a triquetra as the main symbol in my [old] logo. This “trinity knot” is essentially an excerpt of a three circle Venn diagram which in turn symbolizes much in my work…mind/body/spirit (for holistic health) or mother/maiden/crone (for the stages of life) or sea/sky/land (our connection with Nature) and many more such groups of three. I see Tarot as overlapping with both science and spirituality, giving us that lovely triquetra shape that makes so much sense in a big picture perspective (and I am a big picture kind of gal)
So, back to Tarot and spirituality. Any good thesis defines its terms. In this case we have to define spirituality. I’ve noticed a tendency for people to use spirituality and religion interchangeably. They aren’t. As I see it, they are totally different, damn near opposite things. I define spirituality as an internal, individual, personal self understanding of the wordless, esoteric parts of life beyond logic and science. Religion, on the other hand, is external, codified, ritualized, other. We express our spirituality in out external lives. Spirituality goes from the inside out. Religion structures our external lives as a way to instruct the internal. Religion is outside in. Tarot is intuition – it is inside to inside. Tarot connects us individually, internally to the external, the eternal, the cosmos. It has everything to do with spirituality, nothing to do with religion.
Spirituality is unlimited. It is in this vast inner world where Tarot applies and finds its usefulness. Yes, the cards are external. But they don’t instruct our inner world from the outside in as a religious practice might. They are a mirror and lens to help us see out inner world. They reflect and shine light in the dark corners, allowing that inner world of spirituality to illuminate and expand, grown and thrive. Yes, the cards can be dark and mysterious – that is necessary too. If all is light, our eyes are dazzled and we can’t see. If all is dark, we still can’t see. Vision lies in both – back to yin and yang.
The cards are nothing more than just pieces of paper. It is the centuries projected wisdom and symbolism written on the cards combined with the intuition and insight of the Tarot reader’s living modern mind that leads the way to enlightenment…not the pieces of paper alone. The cards are the Venn intersection of mind and matter that lets us catch glimpses of the possibilities and probabilities afforded to us by the physical/quantum universe of which we are an intimate and inseparable part.
Tarot cards are our surrogate in the trinity of human, science and spirituality. They are a surrogate that draws wisdom, guidance, insight and empowerment out of that melange of known, unknown, explicable, inexplicable, and the heart that seeks to know more.
There is more in heaven and earth than we have yet to dream and discover. There is more inside ourselves as well. There is more than just dead cat / living cat in Schrodinger’s box. Woo-woo as they may seem, disappearing cats and zombie cats are part of the biggest of big pictures: The human heart, mind, imagination and spirit.
Videos by Minute Physics, via youtube.com. Please watch! I highly recommend them! Used under standard youtube creative commons permissions.
Other images images to the best of my knowledge are from the public domain.
For a Tarot reading with a geeky, science loving, down to earth, no-nonsense, “why not both?” Zombie Cat kind of reader, click HERE