Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Foolish beginnings

Daily Draw: Pierpont Morgan Visconti Sforza Tarocchi Deck, The Fool

After a chariot ride through various bibliographic databases and an online book store the adventure begins! The Fool is the archetype of innocence. Whereas if the prime purpose of history is to understand why people acted as they did life experience may be an advantage. 

Yesterday I was learning on Coursera about Necromancy (divination through the dead) something practiced almost exclusively by men. Necromancers were mostly clerics because it was a book learned form of magic that required knowledge of Latin. Typically these were clerics in the lowest ranks of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. 

We have to be careful about about projecting our own world view onto people past. Yet reflecting on my own experiences as a new lecturer might provide some insight. 

I imagine these clerics - not the most eloquent or educated occupying low status positions probably in least desirable parishes far from the main seat of power and without much guidance and supervision. Perhaps pressure to impress their parishioners and convince themselves of their own agency led them in this direction?

It's a hypothesis for which I have no evidence. However I am willing to ask and try to answer what may be a foolish question in the pursuit of knowledge. 

People do not wish to appear foolish; to avoid the appearance of foolishness, they are willing to remain actually fools. 

Alice Walker, 1944-


  1. I suppose the parishioners were a tad more foolish than these clerics? :)

  2. Hmmm it can be an exhilarating (and folly inducing) experience when you think you've caught the audience's attention...There might have been one or two tricksters in the congregation encouraging them to make fools of themselves...

  3. Is necromancy where seances came from? I can see how a cleric might use a message from beyond to encourage their parrishioners along the straight and narrow. :)

  4. Ooh good interpretation! I think seances grew in popularity alongside the spiritualist religion in the 19th century but yes a similar activity with more than a little showmanship involved :)

  5. I guess the Chariot dropped you off and now you have to begin your adventure.