Absolutely! How could you have missed that?mikeh wrote:At the moment, my questions for him are mainly related to whether his own analysis does not violate his interpretation of Dummett, and why his any less than what I say.
My entire project is an attempt to SOLVE his riddle of Tarot. His view was that there might be no riddle to solve, and I claim to have solved it. How could I have been more emphatically explicit about that? That is why I named my old Web page The Riddle of Tarot, and one of the reasons for quoting him at such length, explaining his position and the constraints of this particular project. Every time I claim that there is a design to the lowest trumps, or the middle trumps, or the highest trumps, I am acknowledging and accepting much of his analysis (like the three sections finding) and simultaneously attempting to build on it in a way that will refute his conclusion, there there was no systematic iconographic programme to the trump cycle.
His view was that there was no coherent meaning to the trump cycle, and that any alternative position must overcome extremely difficult challenges to be considered plausible. I agree with that, and I continue to attempt to meet that challenge, to find and present a better conclusion than his. That is precisely what the term "null hypothesis" refers to -- it is the hypothesis which I attempt to overthrow, with my "alternative hypothesis". Perhaps when I rewrite the old Riddle of Tarot page it should be re-titled, for clarity:
Solving the Riddle of Tarot.
If we both dispute Dummett, then how are we different? Among the many differences between you and I are the following:
1. I am interested in Tarot history per se. Your interests are elsewhere, and for some perverse reason you have chosen Tarot as a vehicle for pursuing those other interests, from Shakespeare to alchemy. There are a number of reasons why one might choose this approach, and it it entirely conventional, a long-standing tradition to impose one's own interests on Tarot, but it is a fundamentally different approach to the subject than mine... or Dummett's.
2. I respect the work of historians. I take their findings and most of their conclusions as a starting point, rather than making up my own "history" and cherry-picking things from the real historians to suit my fancy. Because my interest is in objective history rather than personal imaginings, the endless years of research and analysis they have done is necessary -- I love those guys! (We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.) They researched and documented this historical world and thereby created a world of constraints. This is what makes a project like mine possible, so I embrace it as being not merely helpful but essential. The alternative is fantasy and bullshit.
3. I respect the work of experts in many fields, including the long history of esoteric subjects. In terms of modern scholarship, as an example, experts in ars memoria ignore Tarot -- with good reason. In terms of historical evidence, no one ever mentioned Tarot in that regard. You want to overrule the experts in a field and ignore the historical evidence in that field, whereas I accept them and use their work as fixed point of reference.
4. Most importantly, in this context, is that I respect and am working in the framework established by Dummett. The historical foundation he built is the very basis for my own project, which is a direct response to his challenge. I'm playing in his playground, and I know that, accept it, and attempt to build on that foundation rather than ignoring, marginalizing, or rejecting it.
Why is my carefully considered and overly detailed rejection of one of Dummett's conclusions different from your seeming indifference to Dummett's entire body of work and your lies about what he attempted and what he accomplished? First, I am challenging just one, very particular conclusion of Dummett's. It was an explicitly provisional conclusion, and the least speculative one possible, being based primarily on parsimony: the question is whether a theory is needed at all! Second, I am accepting the overall history of playing cards as it has developed through the work of playing-card historians. Third, when I think he's wrong about something, anything, (e.g., his description of the "harmless appearance" of the Tower card in Sicilian decks), I check it out as best I can before announcing his failure and my triumph. That is, I give him the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because he knew infinitely more about Tarot history than I ever aspired to know.
Even if we just look at our respective interpretations, you are in the process of making up 10,000 different stories, if you live long enough. Most all of them concern isolated details placed in a false context, and none of them will offer an explanation for the subjects and sequence of Tarot. Instead, you are simply fantasizing about what some hypothetical people might have thought about details taken out of context. For some reason you find this sort of make-believe interesting and worthwhile. It is certainly true that people would have done that from time to time, especially in the 16th and 17th centuries when emblem books developed and became so popular. (On the other hand, they probably would not have expressed the same ideas that fascinate you so much. We can see that just by looking at the popular emblem books and their typical subject matter.) Somebody might even have made up a game, using the trumps as "conversation cards", and perhaps someday a document describing such a game will be discovered. Maybe, might have, could be, we can speculate, yak-yak-yak, yada-yada, blah-blah-blah.
Because it does not seek to explain any historical facts, simply to interpret them as someone like you might have done, your project appears to have no historical significance. In contrast, I am making up just a few stories, which are intended to account for the selection of subjects and ordering of cards in specific historical decks (i.e., to explain known facts), and by extension, to understand the original design, the unseen Ur Tarot. Someone invented Tarot, and all the extant decks are derived from that invention. Why did that someone choose those subjects and arrange them in that original ordering, whatever it might have been? Obviously, there are several assumptions, working hypotheses behind that quest, but the point here is simply that you and I are looking for very different interpretations. You want lots of them, none of which will explain anything about Tarot history. I want just a few, and at least one which will explain the selection and sequence of trump subjects.
Regarding your objection to my characterization of your approach, consider the arguments presented in support of those characterizations. If I state as a fact that you are an occultist, (because, "you are what you do"), or more precisely an occult apologist, you will take offense. When I present as evidence the fact that you are arguing, repeatedly and at great length, in defense of various traditional occult fictions, that you are attempting to rationalize longstanding false claims into arguably justifiable ones that sound the same, you may still take offense. However, those appear to be the facts and the plain description of those facts. Your writings are a perfect example of the nature of the more sophisticated 21st-century Tarot folklore and the way it follows the same paths as traditional occultists as well as the New Age writers of the late 20th century.
(Yes, I also realize, using the argument "you are what you do", that I am an arrogant, obnoxious SOB. In my defense, I'm arrogant in dealing with you, whereas you are arrogant in dealing with Dummett.)