Marrying a concept

Marrying a concept December 26, 2019
Photo: Camelia Elias

The things we do at high holidays make me think of how we perceive life changing events. Any intervention in life and death is ‘life changing’. But then so is taking a course in ‘managing finances’, ‘managing the mind,’ or ‘managing your astrological transits’. Falling in love is life changing, and experiencing the death of your mother and father is life changing. Divorce is life changing and so is losing your children to ‘the other’.

The funny thing is that all we call ‘life changing’ is life changing by default. This makes me think that any other perception of ‘life changing’ is in fact nothing other than a marriage of concepts. And concepts are, well, concepts, not the thing itself.

Not only do we live in the mind, imagining what we are, who we are, and what we want to become, but we marry the very idea of ‘life changing’ identity. Now I’m successful. Yesterday I was vulnerable and a bum. None of that anymore. Yay. Any belief in transitioning ‘from rags to riches’ is the same as committing to an idea, that is to say, saying yes to marrying a concept.

Being with family and friends for Christmas is a marriage of concepts. Finding another mother to replace the mother of your sons and daughters is a marriage of concepts. Finding your voice and speaking from the depths of your ‘shadow’ is a marriage of concepts. Practicing a philosophy of meditation is a marriage of concepts. Imitating the habits of billionaires is a marriage of concepts. Reducing work to one hour a week is marriage of concepts. Sending the kids to Harvard rather than the public school is a marriage of concepts.

All these marriages are based on the idea that there’s something that’s ‘life changing’, obviously bigger than life itself, because if it wasn’t bigger than life itself, we’d be most suspicious of what it is that we ultimately buy. And yet, I could also think of just how liberating it would be, if not, indeed, life changing, if we stopped desiring to ‘be seen, be understood, and be recognized.’ In my observations, clinging to this trio that’s manipulated with by all the marketers in the world is one of the most unhappy marriages, though there are others that are even worse.

In the world I’m operating here, people seek to spiritually sanction their marriages with concepts, for which reason I invite you to reflect on the following, while using your favorite cards:

What do you currently think of is life changing for you? Also, and this is the hardest part, if you decide that something IS life changing, do you stake your life on it to make it work, or do you assume that the ‘life changing’ event is just something that will take care of itself by some imagined notion of a default state?

You’re welcome to think of this a critique of how you marry concepts in general, because that’s exactly what it is. Think of it as my ‘life changing’ love for you. After all, aren’t we supposed to share love at the end of any year, so that more of it will come back to us? Let us all make it life changing, since we can’t escape the enchantment…

Jean Noblet Marseille Tarot, 1650, reconstructed by Jean-Claude Flornoy (Photo: Camelia Elias)

My own cards, World, Death, and Popess, tell me this about my perception of what is life changing:

A whole world is dead, and I’m thinking about it.

Right. I’m not sure what provokes my laughter right now. The fact that I want to take this seriously, it’s life changing after all, or go with the notion that marrying a concept, however fulsome, is a really bad idea.

Perhaps, indeed, being a spinster suits my temperament much better, as I prefer to sit and stare, or at most, distinguish between my passions and illusions, if I should be in need of any entertainment.

Happy New Year.

Stay in the loop for ‘Read like the Devil’ courses. Next is the Playing Cards Foundation Course, opening for registration in late January.

About Camelia Elias
Camelia Elias, PhD & Dr.Phil., is a former university professor. After 20 years in the academia, she left her career to pursue her interests in teaching and writing on the philosophy and practice of reading cards. She works with contemplative arts, oracular language, and martial arts cartomancy and Zen at her own school, Aradia Academy. You can read more about the author here.

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