text and photo © Jonathan Zap
It is the unformed aspects of life that create room for free will. Paracelsus, the great alchemist, said that we are here to “finish nature.” We are subcreators, here to bring form out of the formless. In writing this card, I am bringing form out of the formless mass of zeros and ones from which the card arises. This card indicates an area of formlessness that you are called upon to give form to.
Often we tend to think that the answer to what troubles us lies fully formed somewhere, and we need only seek out that fully formed answer through an oracle or some other means. But perhaps we are, as George W. Bush would say, “The Decider.” It is not for something outside of us to supply the answer; it is for us to choose the answer. Some people fall for what I call the “museum curator fallacy.” Perceiving that there is something sacred about the universe, they feel that they don’t dare touch anything or change anything or interfere with anything. They become like a member of a Star Trek away team with an over fussy sense of the prime directive. What people caught by the museum curator fallacy forget is that they are not outside of the glass case, they are in it, and they were designed by nature to be interventionist alchemists.
Another classic mistake people make is what I call the “single correct diagnosis fallacy.” According to this fallacy, there is a single correct diagnosis of what is going on in a given situation. But we know from quantum physics that the universe is not as cut and dried as that. An electron is not in any particular place; it is more like a cloud of probabilities. Interpretation of what is going on is often a choice, a choice that generates a timeline. For example, a friend of mine had his wallet stolen. Unconsciously defaulting to the single correct diagnosis fallacy, he assumed that he was the victim of a random, meaningless misfortune. From the rationalistic point of view, this diagnosis was the most reasonable interpretation. From the point of view of Occam’s Razor, the random misfortune diagnosis was the simplest explanation, and therefore, logically, the one most likely to be true. But there are other ways to judge truth than logical efficiency. Although one could make the strongest logical case for the random misfortune diagnosis, it was a truth that was both aesthetically displeasing and disempowering. By choosing the logically efficient random misfortune diagnosis my friend gained absolutely nothing but a demoralized sense of being a random victim. I suggested an alternative diagnosis, that the loss of the wallet was a synchronicity. In dreams, I pointed out, the loss of a wallet often means a need to shed an old identity as our wallets are full of ID that supposedly tell who we are. I proposed that the loss of the wallet was a painful but synchronistic shock meant to awaken him to the need to shed an old identity that no longer served him. Since this related to things my friend was going through, this new interpretive choice was felt by him to be very empowering and it allowed the painful shock to become a catalyst for his metamorphosis.
Consider that the truth is sometimes unformed and waiting for you to choose an interpretation that will govern the ensuing timeline. Consider this a propitious moment of unformed space, a propitious moment for you to give form to the formless.