Saturday, February 14, 2009

Perception is Everything

Zedd led them to the edge of the grass. They walked between the long shadows of the trees to the place where two little thorns grew, one as thick as Richard's fist, the other as thin as Kahlan's.
He turned to Richard. "Draw the Sword." The special, ringing, metal noise filled the late noon air when he drew it. Zedd leaned further forwards. "Now I will show you the most important aspect of the sword, but to do that you have to give up your position as Seeker for a short while and allow me to name Kahlan the Seeker."
Kahlan looked suspiciously at Zedd: "I don't want to be a Seeker."
"Only for this demonstration, my dear." He gestured Richard to give her the sword. She hesitated before she took it with both hands. The weight was unbearable and she lowered the tip on the grass. Zedd waved his hands above her head: "Kahlan Amnell, I name you the Seeker." She kept her eyes on him with the same suspicious look. Zedd put his finger under her chin and lifted her head. His eyes were wild. He brought his face closer to hers and spoke with soft voice.
"When I left the Midland with this sword, Darken Rahl put these two trees here with his magic. To mark me, to be able to come and get me when he chooses to. The same Darken Rahl that had your sister killed." Her expression became darker. "The same Darken Rahl that is following you, to kill you like he did Dennee." Hate was rising in her eyes. She clenched her teeth so the muscles in her strong jaw became visible. The Sword of Truth rose from the ground. Zedd went to stand behind her. "This tree is his. You have to stop him."
The sword flashed through the autumn air with a speed and power that Richard barely held possible. A loud cracking sound went through bigger tree, as if a thousand branches broke at once. Splinters flew everywhere. The tree seemed to be momentarily suspended in air, and then fell with a boom (boom, flemish/dutch for tree ;p) next to what was left of it in the ground.
Richard knew he would have needed at least ten good axe strikes to do the same.
Zedd let the sword glide out of Kahlans hands. She sank to her knees, and put her hands in front of her face. Immediately Richard squatted next to her to support her.
"Kahlan, what's the matter?"
"I'm ok." She put a hand on his shoulder and he helped her up. Her face was pale, but she tried to smile anyway. "But I distance myself from my position as Seeker."
Richard turned to the wizard. "Zedd, what is this for nonsense? Darken Rahl didn't put that tree there. I've seen you water those trees and care for them. If you'd put a knife to my throat, I would say that you planted them to remember your wife and daughter."
Zedd smiled only mildly. "Very good, Richard. Here is your sword. Now you are the Seeker again. Now you cut down the small tree, my boy, and I will explain."
Frustrated Richard took the sword in both hands; he felt the anger surge through him again. He directed the sword with a powerful swing up towards the remaining tree. The tip of the sword cut through the air whistling. Just before the sword hit the tree, it suddenly stopped, as if the air around it had become too thick to let it through. Richard stepped back amazed. He looked at the sword and tried again. Once more the sword stopped. The tree wasn't hit. He looked at Zedd in a fury who was grinning with folded arms.
Richard put the sword away. "Ok, what's going on."
Zedd innocently raised his eyebrows. "Have you se how easily Kahlan cut through the big gtree?" Richard frowned. Zedd smiled. "He could have been made of iron. The sword would have gone through it just as easily. You are stronger than Kahlan and you couldn't even scratch the little tree."
"Yes, Zedd, I noticed that."
Zedd's forehead wrinkled as if he was amazed. "And how is that, do you think?"
Richard's frustration melted away. This was the way in which Zedd always taught him, by letting him give the answer himself. "I would say that it had something to do with the intention. She thought the tree was evil, I didn't."
Zedd stuck a bony finger in the air. "Very good, my boy!"
Kahlan reacted nervously. "Zedd, I don't get it. I destroyed the tree, but it wasn't evil. It was innocent."
"That, my dear, is what this demonstration is about. Reality is not relevant. Perception is everything. If you think it is the enemy you can destroy it, wether true or not. The magic interprets only your perception. It will not harm someone you deem innocent, but it will destroy everyone you see as an enemy, within limits. Only what you believe is the determining factor, and not if those beliefs are true.
Richard was somewhat overwhelmed. "That doesn't leave any room for mistakes. What happens if you're not sure?" Zedd lifted an eyebrow. "I'd better be sure, my boy, otherwise you could get a heap of troubles. The magic could read things from your mind where you are not even conscious of. It could be dual. You could kill a friend, or not kill an enemy.

Excerpt from Terry Goodkind's The Sword of Truth 1: Wizard's First Rule.

The Chariot

I have to tell you a little more about me for this post to make sense. Around 4 years ago, I started reading a bunch of weird books, meditate and experiment with consciousness daily. I destroyed my old reality tunnel with a continuous controlled demolition. 3 years ago, I became a "hanged man" hermit, focusing on the internal. 2 years ago, I slowly came back into the world and realized that indeed changing yourself is changing the world. 1 year ago I reconnected with everyone I knew and welcomed every obstacle that my new reality tunnel(s) could and could not handle, it was a very fun and also shaky year but failure is a wonderful way to learn lessons that will improve the rest of one's life.
Cognitive dissonance is not a fun place to be, but like all new frightening things you get used to it. I struggled the entire year to find the right strategies, attitudes and views to balance my life with family and friends, and the many different online attitudes I encounter, it's still not perfect, but then again perfect is boring. It's like a fun juggling act now. These different opposite worlds continue to clash violently and instead of being pushed left and right I am enjoying the wavy journey tremendously.
Also instead of shooting for 'enlightenment' in meditation, last year I just jumped into life and decided if there is such a thing as enlightenment, it's not to be found in escapism, at all, but in immersion. Non-attachment to enlightenment, captain obvious! I meditate when I feel like it now (though recommend the first year to meditate everyday).

In Fringe, of which the last episode 'Ability' was stellar, according to the manuscript that docter W-alter (Double You- alter ;p) wrote, there is a conflict going on between our world and a parallel universe. There can be only one. Yeah right, only one at a time perhaps ;p. (Double, Triple, etc.) You can cycle through any possibility. So exploring the consciousness mirror reality tunnel, let's see what's going on now.

I post "Dedroidify is dead", and my puter named "droid" dies (noid & zoid are cool, but old ;p), I really need to remember Grant Morrison's talk more, especially the part where he speaks of his character King Mob, who resembles himself in the Comic the Invisibles, goes through whatever he goes through himself a few minutes later "I have to give this guy an easier time" I think he said hehe. Now the first company that offers me a job interview, is a helicopter company. Also the only job opening I was kind of interested in. (update: I saw a helicopter in the movie UHF, and went to a buddy where a helicopter hovered over the house and the same buddy knows the guy that does the job I'm applying for, heh.)

A Helicopter is a modern symbol for the Chariot. Which in tarot symbolizes: the mood of the card may be characterized as that of conquest. It represents a battle that can be won if the Querent has the willpower for it. The battle is usually an external one, with a clear goal and plan of action. Qualities needed to win the battle include self-reliance, righteousness, conviction and plain hard work. The steeds represent powerful forces, internal or external, that can be controlled to achieve the goal.
He is fueled by contradictory impulses, represented by the black and white sphinxes that pull his chariot. When this card appears, it evokes the Querent’s own path; calling; exile; or random journey. The danger is getting on the wrong path; being overwhelmed; dying before our due time. He may warn that we are in danger of being pulled to pieces by forces we do not control and/or do not understand.

Mythopoetic approach

Structurally, the Chariot follows The Lovers (Pleasure - Humanism - Desire - Personal "beliefs"...). After the impulse that pulls us out of the Garden, we get on our chariot and depart. At that point, we are the Hero of our own story; maybe the Hero of everyone’s story. Or check this version which is even more resonant:

The Chariot: Basic Tarot Story

The Fool is close to completing what he set out to create long ago, back when the Magician revealed those tools to him. But enemies are now standing in his way, devious human enemies, bad circumstances, even confusion in his own mind. There's no more forward momentum; he feels he is fighting just to stay where he is. Walking along the shore, watching the waves come in, he puzzles over how to defeat these enemies and get things moving forward once again.

It is here that he comes across a charioteer, standing in his gold and silver chariot, his black and white steeds at rest. "You seem a victorious warrior," the Fool remarks. "Tell me, what is the best way to defeat an enemy?" The Charioteer nods out at the ocean. "Have you ever been swimming in the water and been trapped in that tide which pulls you out to sea? If you try to swim forward, head-on, you go nowhere. You swim forward, the tide pulls you back and, if you tire yourself out, you drown. The only way to win without sapping all your energy is to swim parallel to shore, and come in slowly, diagonally. So, too, when fighting in a chariot. You win by coming up alongside that which you wish to defeat." The warrior nods to his beasts. "Your steeds keep the wheels turning, but it is your control and direction that brings victory. Dark and light, they must be made to draw in harmony, under your guidance."

The Fool is impressed and inspired. He thinks he now knows how to win his own war. He thanks the warrior, but before he leaves, the warrior stays the Fool, "One thing more," he says, "no victory can be won unless you have unwavering confidence in your cause. And remember this above all, victory is not the end, it is the beginning."

Basic Tarot Meaning

The chariot is one of the most complex cards to define. On its most basic level, it implies war, a struggle, and an eventual, hard-won victory; either over enemies, obstacles, nature, the beasts inside you, or to just get what you want. But there is a great deal more to it. The charioteer wears emblems of the sun, yet the sign behind this card is Cancer, the moon. The chariot is all about motion, and yet it is often shown as stationary.

What does this all mean? It means a union of opposites, like the black and white steeds. They pull in different directions, but must be (and can be!) made to go together in one direction. Control is required over opposing emotions, wants, needs, people, or circumstances; to bring them together and give them a single direction, your direction. Confidence is also needed and, most especially, motivation. The card can, in fact, indicate new motivation or inspiration, which gets a stagnant situation moving again. It can also imply, on a more pragmatic level, a trip (usually by car), a vehicle - in the shop for repairs if the card comes up reversed - or a message.

Thirteen's Observations

The Chariot is a fascinating card, but also frustrating. Like the crab, it is armored, but also cut off - a charioteer fights alone. It moves from one plane to the next (water to land and back again) - conscious and unconscious, Earthly and spiritual. It succeeds by attacking from the side, rather than straight on.

On the one hand, the Chariot indicates loyalty and faith and motivation; a conviction that will lead to victory no matter the odds. But the chariot can also signal a ruthless, diehard desire to win at any cost. The Querent should be reminded to save his energy for what comes after. Victory is just the start of things.


So if you'll excuse me, I'll be owning this reality humming the airwolf theme at this stage!