Justice vs. The Fool
A couple weeks ago, I went to see Kamaljit, my favorite masseuse in the world, for a long overdue massage. I absolutely love my time there. I always feel like I’m in a safe and sacred port. On this occasion, Kamaljit decided to try something new. She had just journeyed to Santa Cruz to buy new Tarot cards, and as we were discussing how my body was feeling and what I wanted to focus on, she asked if I would be open to drawing 2 cards. I picked the “Justice” and the “Fool” cards.
Most cultures view the word justice as a positive word and fool as a negative one. I admit that I raised an eyebrow when I saw my choices and may have given an inner scoff at the fool card: “Oh great, that’s all I need! And the guy looks like an idiot running off a cliff…awesome!”
She explained to me that in Tarot the fool is the first card in the deck, number zero. It represents seeing the world with fresh eyes, as children do, with a sense of wonder and no expectations. In Tarot, the justice card represents all that we experience as we journey through life and the beliefs that we carry with us about how the world works, what is expected, and most importantly, if we were wronged in any way, that feeling that justice must be served.
Going into that massage, I had just learned of a situation that I felt deserved justice. I had been “wronged.” Why did that person get to proceed as if nothing had happened, and on the surface, appear to succeed? She reminded me to let go and to embrace the fool, “You’ll notice that the fool carries his experiences with him in a pack on his back, but he does not wear them.”
The more cycles we go through on the planet, the easier it is to believe that we understand and know how the world works, how it’s always worked, and how it will continue to work. It’s extremely easy to fall into the trap of wearing our experiences, automatically knowing what to expect since “It was like this before. Why would it be different now?” What’s more, since we expect the result that’s always happened, we don’t open ourselves up to a new experience, and it further confirms that our belief is right: “This is the way the world works. I know because I’ve always experienced it this way.”
Perhaps the mark of true wisdom is to learn from our experiences, carry them with us, but remember that they only inform us up to a point. As Lao Tzu said in the Tao Te Ching, “You can never step in the same river twice.” We are not the same people we were even 6 months ago, and the world continues to change at a dramatic rate. Maybe it’s safer to view the world under our presuppositions because jumping off a cliff into the unknown can be terrifying. What if there’s no safe landing place?
I choose the third option: the wise fool. Holding onto my righteousness was only hurting me and preventing me from fully enjoying new experiences. We can learn from our successes and our mistakes, while having the courage to see the world anew. Who knows? If we give ourselves the chance to see with fresh eyes, we may begin to explore new opportunities and to see dreams that can be realized, if we only believe.