There's information everywhere

One of the ideas that I've been playing with for a while is that the Universe is constantly bombarding us with information. Information which is of direct use to us, which is designed to ease our path and make it easier for us to progress in life.

Quite often I get asked 'how does the Tarot work?' (so often I wrote an article on it), but we might equally ask 'how does astrology work?' or 'how does I-Ching work?' or 'how does Gematria work?' What people are often asking, I think, is 'what mechanism allows these things to work?' What force arranges cards so that they are in a meaningful order, what mechanism causes the position of planets to influence our personality at birth, how are languages structured in such a way that 'meaning' can be found in the numerical value of letters?

There is, let's face it, no satisfactory answer to these questions. You can give one, if you wish, and many people do, but the follow up question of 'And how do you know that to be true?' is the point where it all bogs down again. The only reasonable answer to 'how does the Tarot work?' is really 'We don't know. It just does. Let me show you. That'll be £45 thank you.'

But from a spiritual point of view, I think we're asking the wrong question. The spiritual Universe seems not to be terribly concerned with mechanism, but only with result. At the spiritual level things like mechanism, cause and effect, time, get a bit… blurry, anyway. I think a better question is 'What is the best way to allow the Universe to communicate to you what it wishes to communicate?'

I think the best perspective to have is that there is information everywhere. Everything around us has a message for us. Not simply the content of dreams, the arrangement of cards, the position of planets, but random conversations, coincidental happenings, the shape of clouds, the colour of your toast in the morning. There's information everywhere. The Universe is bombarding you with it. The problem is understanding what it's trying to pass on to you… and separating the signal from the noise.

Humans have come up with thousands of forms of divination over the years. I've tried a fair few of them myself. I've found that, on the whole, they just work. You don't even have to try very hard – deal cards, and they'll turn up in a meaningful pattern. Flip some coins and consult the I-Ching. Throw some runes. They'll all give you results. Make up your own form of divination involving dropping sticks in a stream, or taking photographs of clouds, or taking random results off Google. It'll give you something to work with and think about. But you may find what you get varies in terms of quality, depth, and ease of understanding.

The advantage of well worn divination systems is that when you set out to learn them you can explore the thoughts and ideas of many smart, well informed, and experienced people. They have each contributed their own logical, psychological and spiritual insight into the system. The problem with creating a new system just for yourself is… well, we all have blind-spots. We have areas of life, experience or spirituality that just don't interest us (or don't interest us yet). We are ignorant of some things, even whilst being brilliant at others. If we are working with a system that is entirely of our own making the results we get back will be tainted by our own thoughts, beliefs and lack of experience. We may never notice we've left something out, or that we've included something in the structure like 'anger is always bad' before we've had the chance to figure out the fact that sometimes that just isn't true.

Systems that have passed through many hands, and that have been worked with for many years, end up being more polished, more rounded, and more complete. It's unlikely any is perfect (containing the entirety of human experience and need in a single deck or book seems deeply unlikely) but the more established systems of divination have proven themselves through use. They contain a rich understanding of human experience, and when used well have mechanisms within them to prevent an individual reader going 'off on one' – letting their own obsessions or preconceptions taint the information they are being presented with (which is why I prefer my information to come through a structured medium like the Tarot rather than something completely free-form like scrying – the nature of the cards pins you down and prevents you getting lost in your own fancies).

People can get lost in obsessing over what manner of 'ray' emanates from the planets that influence the daily life of people, or what 'spirits' change the orders of cards in a Tarot deck, or indeed how savants managed to 'build in' spiritual wisdom to the structure of language. I think it's much simpler to think in these terms – there's information everywhere. The Universe wants to help out, wants to answer questions, wants to give you guidance, wants to interact with you. But it can't speak directly into your ear – you have to give it a method to get the information across to you. Divination gives us a set of methods to do just that. But so does dream analysis, or psycho-analysis, or the synchronicity that happens around us all the time. To make use of this information we have to learn to engage, to be open to it, to notice when a message is coming through and to try to work with it.

The system, the mechanism, doesn't matter nearly as much as the information. We should judge the system we are using (and the results we get) with a healthy scepticism to try to filter out our own blocks, fears and prejudices (and this is where working with others, or professionals, can help), and to look for distortions and blind spots within the system itself, but as we embrace the system and the perspective it brings us then more and more information will flow to us and we'll be much the healthier, and wiser, for it.

One Response to "There's information everywhere"

  1. Richard says:

    Here's an extract from the intro to a roleplaying game I am designing. I think it may be on-topic for you musings about information…

    "When life first aquired a central nervous system its model of the Universe was very, very simple: too hot, too cold, that sort of thing. It was physically incapable of recognising any other concepts. When that became insufficient the model evolved to include other factors. A few billion years later, you are the result. Your brain holds a very complex model of the Universe, you can recognise many, many concepts, but there are still an infinite number that you can not. Just as an early protoplasmic blob might recognise temperature but not light level, so you can detect some things and not others. Even more important your model of the Universe has never been too complex. It's no good to be able to handle concepts that have no bearing on survival and procreation, because the more complex the model the bigger the brain, and the more trouble it is to transport and keep safe…
    "The brain is designed primarily for ignoring things. Your eye sight is very accute, as is your hearing and your sense of smell. All your senses are receiving a huge amount of information every second, it is the function of the brain to ignore everything apart from the stuff that matters. Forget that rather beautiful wild flower, there's a mammoth about to tread on me… When you experience an event you perceive it in terms that you are familiar with. How many times have you been about to greet a friend only to realise that he is a perfect stranger who bears only a passing resemblence to your friend. Your brain has taken the inadiquate data supplied by your eyes and matched it to things it knows, in this case your friend's face…
    "So your brain is an organ that is designed to perceive only that which directly affects it, to actively ignore most of that and then force the remaining data to reinforce things it already knows. It's not really surprising that the Universe seems quiet and reliable when you are ignoring most of what is going on…"

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge