How many crutches do we need?

Aeon Trump Card. Thoth Deck

Some say that Tarot cards, I Ching hexagrams, thrown bones, and other methods of uncovering the future only tell us what we already know, showing us that we do not trust what we know or that it’s buried deep in our minds and needs to be remembered. So we have these crutches, then.

In general, I think many of us know what we should be doing, but put it off by leaning on various other crutches while we decide whether or not to do it. It’s as though the thing we know we should do seems risky and we need to make sure one way or another that it’s not as dangerous as it appears.

I Ching Hexagram 1

So we do research–books, websites, experts, college courses, etc.–all of which are good to a point but then, as we delay moving ahead, become more crutches. Spouses can become crutches, so too, siblings and parents and our next-door neighbors and colleagues and best friends. They don’t want us to change, leave town, become involved in a cause they’re less sure of, or even miss bowling night.

Most people who employ the usual crutches to “see” the future agree that the future is not fixed, but that it represents what will probably happen if nothing is done to alter it. I think that’s probably true, but add that I also think we’re creating that future knowingly or unknowingly. It’s better I think to realize we’re doing that rather than blundering ahead and then being “surprised” at what happens. Pretending that we don’t know we did it–created that future–is another crutch or, perhaps, a civilized form of plausible deniability.

Sometimes people who have been drunk wake up and can’t believe they did the things sober people claim they did while they were drunk. Since they don’t remember it, they can claim in the middle of their hangovers that they’re not responsible for whatever happened. Do you suppose we might do this even when we’re not drunk?

I suspect so. Being drunk is a crutch, I think, as is going through life acting like we’re drunk even when we’re sober. I wonder: are we afraid to make commitments, to take this job rather than that job, adopt viewpoint ABC rather than viewpoint XZY? As long as we don’t commit, we probably feel free to make another choice later. Some people like keeping their options open, often until “outside forces” start eliminating those options.

A belief in fate is, perhaps, a large crutch. We say the cruel hand of fate caused whatever it caused or that life got in the way, believing that’s absolution. A comforting thought, but I don’t buy it. Who caused this “fate,” I want to ask?

We don’t need Tarot cards or coins/yarrow stalks and an I Ching book to tell us the answer because we already know.

–Malcolm

“Fate’s Arrows,” the latest novel in the Folk Magic Series, is on sale on Kindle today for only 99₵.

2 thoughts on “How many crutches do we need?

  1. I think it’s true that we already know the answer, though we might not know we know. Sometimes the answer is so simple, it seems to be no answer at all. Sometimes it seems too complicated, but trying to see the whole complication is overwhelming, though that is often overcome by taking one little step at a time.

    I’m still doing my one card a day tarot study. It still confuses me — if the card is only telling me what I already know about myself, then it seems unnecessary. It it’s supposed to help me see where I am going, then that too seems unnecessary since I will know what i know when I get there. And if it’s about delving deeper into my psyche — well, so far that hasn’t happened. But maybe I haven’t found the proper deck yet. Each month I use a different deck, and so far, the ones I’ve used are more off-putting than empathetic.

    But I’m still new to the tarot, so we’ll see.

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