Cloud nine diviner

Cognitive biases fascinate me. Mental shortcuts that occasionally fuck us over are a side-effect of human intelligence, rather than sloppy evolution. If we had to work everything out about every single thing each and every bloody time we did something then we’d never get out of bed. It would be too hard.

One interesting cognitive bias is the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. It’s a frequency illusion where you discover something you previously hadn’t heard of, and then when it appears again you end up paying more attention to it than you normally would have because it’s in your head and you’re unconsciously looking out for it. It’s kind of annoying when it’s an idea you had and people pay more attention to the one that came after, but such is life.

All our ideas belong to each other, anyway. We’re all capable of coming up with anything, and we’ll never run out of dreams. Some people live their entire lives without realising this, though. Some people just exist, and barely give a first thought to their potential – let alone a second. But what’s worse: never noticing it at all, or knowing it’s there and being too afraid to use it?

I get ideas from ridiculous places. My only use for fortune-telling devices these days is inspiration in one form or another – or as something to help me make my mind up when I’m really torn between options. I don’t read fortunes for people anymore. It makes me sad that they pin their hopes on me giving them good news because they’re stuck in a life they don’t want to be living, and instead of seeing a therapist and making some goals and lifestyle changes they go and see a tarot reader and cross their fingers for someone tall, dark and handsome.

I should have come with extra disclaimers. I was always the bringer of bad news in my family, like some kind of manic freckled harbinger of doom. People didn’t like it when I called them because it meant someone had died or was in the middle of snuffing it. It’s not like I enjoyed making those calls, squinting at tiny phone numbers in a little black book my grandad kept in his wallet, but my family still believe I’m a bad omen. I just let them continue to believe in the weird little mythical status they’ve bestowed upon me. It keeps them away.

I gave people bad news if the cards looked bad, even though you’re apparently not supposed to. But you can’t lay out The Tower and a bunch of Swords and say: ‘I foresee a mysterious stranger, most likely a Piscean’ when the cards blatantly have pictures of dead people and a big house burning down on them. People look so disappointed when you don’t tell them what they want to hear, though. I had to pack my little parlour trick away.

The first person I shared a flat with in Newcastle kept asking me to read the cards for her, because my friend had casually mentioned that I used to do it. I said no. I didn’t really like the woman anyway (for many, many reasons), and it was hard enough just trying to live with her without adding in cartomancy stress, but the main reason why I said no was because she was too desperate for someone to fall in love with her and save her.

Love won’t save you, Padmé.

She had a terrible habit of keeping her bedroom door open while she was on the phone and then talking really loud as though she wanted me to hear. I overheard her one night on the phone to a psychic. I asked her about it and she said he was her friend. I asked if she still had to pay premium rates to talk to her friend. She said yes, before telling me all the things her ‘friend’ said was going to happen between her and the new love she would meet in the near future. Just because one person doesn’t capitalise on another’s hopeless desperation doesn’t mean that no one else will. Even ‘friends’.

Things do happen for a reason. Everything is caused by something. Divination is a placebo for overdramatic hopes and fears – at best, the cards inspire a person to act and they achieve their outcome by means of a self-fulfilling prophecy but, at worst, they make people miss opportunities because they’re waiting for what the cards said would appear. People want to believe in the supernatural so badly that they convince themselves they really do believe. Rose-tinted reality blinkers.

Love can save you, but you have to give it away for the sake of it, whether it comes back to you or not – and salvation might not appear in the form you were expecting. Just like dreams, we can never run out of love. It’s not the end of the world if you lose a little bit.

Who needs magic when we can think about each other at the same time and feel exactly what the other is feeling? No one else in the world has a secret exactly like ours. There’s no explanation for us. We just are.

9 comments on “Cloud nine diviner

  1. Interesting post. Why is it called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon?

  2. Not all who believe in the Supernatural are desperate seekers of something far and away unreal. Some have been heavily steeped in it since childhood perhaps. I don’t blame you for not doing readings anymore though.

    I do agree in regards to fortunes most are shams, and people def look to hard for that simple answer from them. Likely desperation plays a strong part in the scams run using these means. Unfortunately that leaves the legitimate parts of the Supernatural with a bad name.

    People are welcome to believe what they wish. If one believes the idea of the supernatural is nothing but silly imaginings so be it. Same goes for if they have lived a life that makes it impossible to not believe in the supernatural.

    Regardless it upsets me when people use the supernatural as a mere parlor trick and a con. See, that is disrespectful, and things like that don’t end well for people like that.

    I like that you told the bad fortunes when they happened. Regardless of how that ended, at least there was an attempt to be honest with the client.

    I find the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon of interest as well. I will stop here.

    Cheers! ^_^

    • I’m sorry if I’ve been disrespectful here – when I said ‘parlour trick’, I meant that’s how I felt I was being treated. I like using tarot cards for therapy, to help prompt people into looking at situations from other angles and suggesting things they hadn’t thought of. And regardless of how, the cards end up where they need to be in a layout – just as people end up where they need to be in life. I found it pretty annoying to only ever be asked to read tacky love fortunes, and I guess it’s those kind of people I was thinking of when I wrote it – people who only think about the supernatural in terms of ‘tell me what I want to hear’.

      So I agree with you, even though this post may read as though I don’t. I believe anything that can’t be explained by science is supernatural, and science can’t explain everything yet. I will go a bit more into what I actually believe at some other point, because it’s all dreadfully complicated and I could never fit it into a comment!

      I am genuinely sorry if I offended you, though. Honestly not my intention :/

      • You might have misunderstood me. I apologize. I was in no way upset at you. I’m fine if you don’t agree or you do agree with me. I deeply apologize. What I meant by what I said was simply that people who use fortune telling or anything supernaturally related to scam people, those people are being disrespectful.

        I probably came across a bit ticked but I assure you it was not at you in any way. Also, you should never apologize for your beliefs. I don’t hold ones beliefs against someone. I celebrate the differences quite often, and find it interesting as I’m quite often curious what makes people believe the things they believe.

        I PROMISE you I in no way intended that comment in any way as negative towards you. I don’t find a thing you said offensive or your using tarot cards as offensive. I actually think it is awesome that you were honest with people, even when people just wanted you to tell them kind things. People quite often want to hear that sort of thing. I suppose it is natural.

        Yeah, I imagine it would be super disrespectful to you for them to simply use you for the all to cliche who is my one true love fortunes. Xp It seems to be a thing people frequently do. I’m talking in circles now though. At any rate, I am so sorry if you thought I was in anyway upset at you. I promise you, I was not. I was upset at quite a few (the majority) of so called psychics out there who use actual cheap cons and tricks to simply steal people’s money away and at the same time disgrace and disrespect proper use of such arts as fortune telling and if in the case of a seance the dead.

        • Hey, don’t apologise, honestly – I was just worried that I’d sounded as though I was being irreverent when I didn’t mean to! I’m the same, I enjoy talking about everything under the sun and I like hearing about what other people believe and why. I’m just aware I have a tendency to be self-deprecating, and it only occurred to me when I read your comment that what I wrote could actually come across as insulting!

          It’s the telephone-hotline psychics and tell-you-anything-for-a-fee fortune-tellers I have the issue with, because they are the ones giving people false hope. Like I said in the post, people want to believe in it so much that they kind of force themselves to. I find it upsetting when people give away their free will just because a girl with some cards made a vague suggestion.

          Sorry for the misunderstanding!

          • I’m sorry for the misunderstanding as well. I do that…I’ll go back, read something and think I hope they didn’t take that how it may have come across. Yeah, people will desperately throw themselves into those “psychics” and believe whatever is said because that is what they so desperately need to hear.

            You are just fine how you are, no need to ever apologize for how you write something. 😉

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