Transforming Through Tarot
It’s hard to disagree how there have been some seriously fantastic movies released in the last year. Just this past month, I’ve watched two that have simply stood out as sheer genius in acting, directing and writing. I’ll start with Arrival.
But wait hold on you, how does a movie blog relate to Transforming with Tarot? To start, they both touch on two fundamental aspects of the human condition—communication and persistence.
Arrival. This cinematic masterpiece by Québec director Denis Villeneuve explores not only how we, as humanity on a whole, are conditioned to perceive time, but also how we approach the duality of language as a weapon to destroy or as a tool to build.
One of the main themes drilled in by screenwriter Eric Heisserer was that, because we’re masters of our own perceived realities, we define time as a construct of our own psychological conditioning. Okay don’t lose me. If your mind is wired to perceive time as a linear, two-dimensional, flat looking thingamajiggy, we in effect become slaves to its boundaries.
Time has a beginning and an end, and once it’s done it’s done. Time, like language, becomes a science. It has a purpose that leads from point A to point B. It’s theoretical. No magic, no illusion and it means what it means.
Or does it?
Played so beautifully by Amy Adams, Dr. Louise Banks is our intrepid polyglot who not only saves humanity from destroying ourselves, she also lays the brickwork to help her ETs from something extension-like in the future. But to do this, it requires her to use a weapon. Their weapon. A language casted in a four-dimensional mold that is infinite, open-ended and to no surprise, non-linear. And when you learn it—I mean, really learn it, you can time travel.
How’s that for incentive?
Understanding how to communicate in four dimensions, she learns, eschews conventional understating of time as a flat looking construct with a beginning and an end. Ian Donnelly, the no-nonsense mathematician played by Jeremy Renner and who voices the logical side of things, describes this as non-linear orthography.
It takes more than that, though. Only when Dr. Banks rewires her internal technology (her mind) to break three-dimensional thinking does she fully master the alien elixir—a four-dimensional language to be used as a tool or as a weapon. Cool, right?
To me, what’s so head-scratching is how time intertwines with the human experience. As Dr. Banks foreshadows her daughter’s fate and inevitable separation with her soon-to-be husband does she slowly piece together that it’s the experience of time and how we share it that really, um, counts.
Like any language, the alien’s language is meant to be learned and shared. The otherworldly fun really begins at the highest level of understanding, like when it comes as easy to us as piglatin did as kids. Could be that thousands of years ahead, humanity evolves to perceive this four-dimensional script by having rewired our internal construct of destiny and fate, and how it intertwines with our external construct of time and communication.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll appreciate time not as a weapon and as our own worst enemy, but as a tool to unite, share and love. Only then could words and symbols unify to become a bridge that connects us not through God, or cosmogony or ancient texts, but through the shared experience.
Or as Dr. Banks titles her future bestseller: The Universal Language.
Zoë just loves to write. She loves to provide guidance. What better platform than a little blog she could call her own.