All cards / Latest Cards / All other posts / Notes from Agla

Major Arcana / Minor Arcana / Court Cards
Wands / Pentacles / Cups / Swords
(For a list of all card articles, open March 2008 on the sidebar).

Friday, 3 July 2009

a song from the moon to the devil.

to race the arc to nowhere
and to keep shining with reflected light
to be in moonlight's kingdom
one out of all her creatures, pale, revering
of the dreaming
wishing for what they wish for
dancing through themselves, alone
and I'm watching from below
looking up into the clouds
and saying 'yes, today
and I wait for your tomorrow
for you are in our kingdom
as I am passing through your own.'

(as if we were just our numbers on the axes
as if the additions made a jot of sense
as if her light weren't shining on the river
as if I were right, not nice or good
as if these stolen fragments were a whole
under the moonlight
where the cracks don't show, where we can imagine
that the pieces form a whole
and that all began here,
that this is truth, the rest reflection
but we are stranger than we dare to see
built from white nothing
with our own hands.)

Saturday, 23 May 2009

the hierophant online.

I'm fail!writing OF cyberpunk lately, and the tarot, it comes back to life.

You know the way cards show up unexpected and uninvited. I'm not very good at the Hierophant, as you well know, but up he pops to ask me, where am I in your world? Not mine-personally, but in this flat, networked earth with its wide expanses and ever narrowing information gateways. If the Empress were a root server, what would the Hierophant be?

The Hierophant, as Agla said way better than me, is an authority that stems from writing and organising knowledge. Not the Emperor's authority of 'you're powerful', but instead an authority that comes from 'you're wise'.

Here, that wisdom is said to come from the crowd.

(Like all paths to authority, this one is paved with bullshit, so watch what you're treading in there...)

Picture it. The Hierophant has followers...on Twitter. The Hierophant says 'citation needed'. The Hierophant delivers. Who wrote the Rules of the Internet? The Hierophant did. Am I saying that the Hierophant is Anonymous? Not really - it's more like the Hierophant is small-a anonymous. We know who matters, who's a must-read on the internet via millions of pageloads and thousands of tiny voices. What do they call it on Technorati when someone's linked one of your posts? Authority. Who puts those crazy queries into Google that lead them to my other blog? The ones looking for Les Miserables slashporn, or fishing for gossip about Jen Sagan? I haven't a fucking clue either.

You've got all those anon comms on Livejournal that serve as digital confessionals. Someone takes their name off and suddenly it's like they expect to get taken seriously.

And it's Hierophant as in hierarchy and here there supposedly isn't one, except that anyone who's ever used the term 'A-lister' or 'BNF' knows how much bullshit that is. But the Hierophant has never just been the person at the top of the hierarchy - he's also the hierarchy itself, the 90/8/2%* who all do their little bit to uphold the edifice, he's the pagerank and everything that drives it, he's the sign on that narrowing gateway through which we all pass to get to information, he's the code, and he says citation needed.

They tell you Wikipedia is the crowd's wisdom at work, but in reality about 50% of the edits are done by a core group of only about 500 people. This is the Hierophant as a stand alone complex: once the code's been written and the concept's been defined, anyone can walk up and do the work of that core group. There is no originator, only an expanding set of information. The individuals come and go, but the project is eternal.

You can add something to a page one day, and return a year later and find it gone. Or find that your tiny add has spiralled into four increasingly arcane paragraphs and a vicious discussion page war. You weren't logged in when you left it; the institution ate your individual contribution, you don't own anything and now it's as if you weren't a person there - just a little part of the Hierophant hivemind. Writing it down makes it real. The Googlecache says so. You made it happen, but the you soon vanishes into the it, leaving only the phenomenon behind.

(Yeah, anonymous means never needing to own your shit.)

And so the Hierophant lays down flat and turns into code, just like all of us; I'll see what I can come up with for the other Majors as and when they next show up. taa.

[*this ratio describes the apocryphal media platform userbase breakdown - 90% of users are lurkers, 8% provide content and write comments on other people's content but do not provide money, and 2% pay for the service on behalf of the entire group.]