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The Arcane and Causal Fallacy

Updated: Feb 22


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(More articles I wrote on spirituality:



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How Randomness Meets Reality in Tarot Readings


As I explored in a previous article, the arcane holds a curious allure. It is one I even used for the production of a miniseries on true love.


It could indicate hidden connections (hence, arcane), embedding everyday anecdotes with a sense of cosmic significance, possibly suggesting a deterministic hand weaving the tapestry of our lives. This fascination led me to delve deeper, enrolling in various courses online, most notably one on Tarot reading. I managed to get a Tarot Master certificate earned through studying a recorded course of a spiritual polymath.


Eventually I tried practicing tarot reading myself based on what I studied. I shuffled and reshuffled the cards, drawing them at random, both individually and in specific spreads. With each card revealed, regardless of its suit or orientation, an uncanny resonance echoed within me. Each image seemed to hold a mirror to my current circumstances, or perhaps even hinted at veiled possibilities in the future.


This recurring pattern sparked a realization: humans, in our inherent complexity, are intricate complexes, built from diverse materials of genetics, personality, inclinations, and experiences. This very complexity allows us to find connections, however weak, between ourselves and anything seemingly random, as long as we're willing to weave the narrative for our own favor.


And whether or not that narrative even exists is not quite logical as tarot is based on intuition, not on logic. The problem with intuition comes when we rely on it exclusively, without a shred of doubt, leading us to commit confirmation bias.


"It is the facts and data that prove if the gut feeling is right or wrong. ...High consequence environments, when you have that euphoric feeling that everything is going well in a time compressed, high consequence environment, you need to make sure your intuition is right."

The power of the tarot, then, lies not in predicting the future or revealing some absolute truth, but in its ability to act as a catalyst for introspection. It nudges us to contemplate the tapestry and identify recurring patterns and themes, and to perhaps even envision potential paths forward. The cards themselves are mere symbols, devoid of objective meaning (whose existence is proven by the strawman's fallacy).


It is our own minds, with their inherent capacity for association and narrative construction, that breathe life into them, transforming them into mirrors reflecting our inner landscapes, reflecting more on ourselves rather than external reality, which depends on our individual emotions, far, far less.


In this way, the tarot becomes a tool for self-discovery, and a potent reminder that the most profound truths often lie not in external validation, but within the depths of our own being. So, while the conformity to arcane pronouncements may remain prone to attack by evidence, the value of their invitation to self-exploration is undeniable.


Which of course could indicate what I wrote several times, which is the fact that human beings are not logical by default and may need to learn how to become more logical beings. That is while the external world, even though we're a part of it, is composed of logic, or more specifically, the representation of mathematics and their interactions with one another.


Unveiling the Illusion of Arcane Causality


In the realm of the arcane a bizarre (or even "arcane") phenomenon unfolds. We draw connections between the seemingly random and the deeply personal, as if they are necessarily related. We embed symbols with meaning, forging a sense of "destiny" from the shuffled deck or toasts with a certain shapes. But beneath this alluring mystique lies a subtle illusion: the causal fallacy, also known as the questionable cause.


The core of this fallacy lies in our tendency to perceive correlation as causation. If, upon uncovering a tarot card that resonates with our current state, we declare it a "sign,", without any questioning whatsoever, we've succumbed to this illusion. The card, no matter how evocative, is not the cause of our circumstances, but merely a reflection of what we feel and/or think.


This isn't limited to the arcane. Practices like gematria, assigning numerical values to words and letters, can lead us down the same path. We begin to see significance in seemingly mundane details, our names and occupations transformed into symbols of universal mechanisms. This "divine," as some call it, can be God, Jesus, or Allah, depending on our cultural lens (even logos, which is the origin of logic, can also mean, "universal divine reason").


But here's the critical point: Attributing meaning doesn't erase nor "changes" the truth by itself. Cause and effect, though often intertwined, are not always linear. Not every action has a singular, predetermined outcome. Truth and significance, while intertwined in philosophical discourse, are not synonymous.


Take the example of this article. Written (originally at least) at 4:02 AM, the time might seem significant, linked to the card "The Lovers" by the sum of its digits. But could I not have written it at any other hour, achieving the same response? In a parallel universe, does the time of publication truly alter the article's impact? Why this specific set of time necessitates insights I can give at any time of the day?


The answer is that there is no universal necessity between symbolism and what they aim to represent, meaning they do not always have exclusive representation. Of course the Swatzika symbolizes nazism, but the fact that we associate the swatizka with nazism does not mean it does not represent other things as well, such as the Jain symbol from Jainism.


Conversly, other symbols also represent nazism, such as the iron cross or the SS bolts. You don't need to use the swatzika to indicate nazism like you don't need to be awake at 4 AM to write a specific insight. This in general can disprove the idea of determinism that aims to necessitate every single point of time with a certain chain of events.

It is not inevitable to write the same insight at 4 PM instead of 4 AM like it is not inevitable to use the SS bolts instead of the swatzika to indicate nazism. Therefore there is no necessary cause-and-effect between symbols and events.


Just because two events occur in sequence (a tarot reading before a certain event), one doesn't necessarily cause the other (an event trigerred by the tarot reading). Dogs barking at sunrise don't make the sun rise. Black cats are not these energy sources for bad luck if you happened to lose a gamble when the odds of a gamble was against your favor.


Conclusion


We need to understand that we are the authors of our own narratives, capable of shaping our destinies without relying on cosmic puppet strings. While the arcane may offer a temporary escape, or a way to further understand our intuition, it is through examination of cause and effect that explains how the world works chronologically. It isn't through feeling whether event "A" really led to event "B" occuring. It is through understanding why one event led to the other, if it led to it in the first place (and thus: Skepticism).


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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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