I don’t want to say that occasionally I’m immersed in all sorts of projects, because it wouldn’t be true at all. What is more true is that I’m immersed in all sorts of projects all the time. This requires some planning and self-reflection. I’m good at finishing whatever I start. I don’t know the meaning of postponement, or of ditching whatever project if it turns out to be some shit. I still do it, if for no other reason than because I’m curious to watch my own reaction. ‘Oh my, you wasted so much time on this…’ my conscious self tells my unconscious self, or rather my fancy or the unacknowledged. In my book there’s no such thing as the unconscious. There’s only non-acceptance and non-acknowledgment.
This type of the so-called ‘unconscious’ has a way of retorting stubbornly in a rhetorical question: ‘so what if you did waste your time, only capitalists buy the idea that time is money.’ Now this would be right on the money, my unattached self invested in seeing the obvious, in seeing things as they are, would observe, but consider this: if you ‘struggle’ with time, give yourself no more than two options: ‘do it today or do it tomorrow?’
Note that I didn’t say, ‘do it today or some other time at a later point.’ That’s not an option if you want to get things done. You have to constrain yourself. I often put myself on the spot like this, and ask the question of either/or using the cards to respond. If I’m tired of deliberating and playing judge between my competing conscious desires and unacknowledged aversions, I don’t ask a question about modality, ‘how do I do this?’ or ‘what does it take for me to do this?’ I ask questions that force me to take a position.
Let’s demonstrate with an example by performing a reading in two parts. Each option gets a set of three cards. I compare the readings and go with the option that looks most efficient. In the image below the top row represents the decision to it today and the bottom row represents the decision to do it tomorrow.
For ‘do it today?’ I got 2 Clubs, 3 Clubs, and the Ace of Clubs.
This is an easy one. With this line up, the answer is ‘definitely not today.’ While the Ace of Clubs in the last position speaks of initiating things, because the implicit in the question is actually about a situation when ‘do it today’ needs to be accomplished already, not just initiated, the Ace of Clubs is ultimately too weak a testimony towards a fair judgment. We can be tempted to say, ‘yes, clearly, I have to it today, as this Ace testifies to the beginning of action,’ what you must always think of is exactly this: is the beginning of action also the end of it? Does beginning work also mean finishing it? Does making a decision mean realizing it? It doesn’t.
The ‘Read like the Devil’ method is all about making such remarks that often go against the first impulse when we also start observing: the question is about work, and the cards are all an all Clubs cast on the table. This must mean ‘work.’ Ergo: get to it, do it today. But as you can see here, a finer analysis of what’s at stake in the question discloses how semantics works, via logical inference and situated meaning.
What’s interesting now is to see what the cards for tomorrow’s option say, as I very much like as little contradiction as possible. On occasion, however, the cards like to play pranks on me, and give me an even stronger no, when I actually expect a yes. When that happens I pull another card or two for clarification, as I like to stretch my brain with the new variables. No need for it here though.
For ‘do it tomorrow’ option I got these cards: Queen of Hearts, Jack of Spades, 4 Hearts. ‘Yes, tomorrow is definitely better,’ I said to myself, and took the option to wait for a day.
Now, someone looking at theses cards with some measure of bewilderment may look upon my effort with reluctance, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen a Queen of Hearts listening to what the immature and hesitant Jack of Spades may have to say about it.
At the functional level these two cards share the same quality where slacking is concerned: they are against taking direct action; the Queen of Hearts, for reasons of comfort – it’s better to indulge than to accomplish things; the Jack of Spades, for reasons of insecurity. A man of war with the wrong strategy and tactic is a dead man, not a hero. The Jack of Spades knows this already.
Now, the usefulness of these examples is that it makes you realize that by comparing sets of three cards side by side when you have to choose between two or more options, with each option being represented by one of the sets, you inadvertently also answer your question predictively. Just think: if the question had been this: ‘will I do it today?’ or ‘will I do it tomorrow,’ the answer would have been the same. ‘You won’t do it today, as in comparison it’s more likely that you’ll do it tomorrow.’
For more examples, get the book: Read like the Devil: The Essential Course in Reading the Playing Cards.
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