King Nothing and the Tarot Tower

Tarot cards depict archetypal themes and #16, called “The Tower”, depicts a catastrophic bringing-down of high ambitions. Here are four illustrations of it:

tower-tarot-card

This theme lies behind the song lyrics of King Nothing (Metallica, 1996).

Wish I may, wish I might
Have this I wish tonight
Are you satisfied?
Dig for gold, dig for fame
You dig to make your name
Are you pacified?

All the wants you waste
All the things you’ve chased
Then it all crashes down
And you break your crown
And you point your finger
But there’s no one around
Just want one thing
Just to play the king
But the castle’s crumbled
And you’re left with just a name

Where’s your crown,
King Nothing?
Where’s your crown?

full lyrics

This archetypal idea also seems to have been behind the spectacular theatrical display of sending planes crashing into the two “looming towers” on 9/11.

Being archetypal, “The Tower” can stand for any number of things: the pride of the individual ego who thinks s/he can build a strong castle that can keep her/him safe from all catastrophe, the pride of a nation that thinks it has its military security well in place, the pride of a culture that thinks it can show the way to every other culture, the pride of a God who thinks S/He can rule all other gods.

In whatever form it takes, “The Tower” is an image of the consequences of what the Greeks called ὕβρις or hubris.

What person, nation, people or God is not subject to it?


If you are attending a State Library meeting for the first time, here are directions as to how to get there:

directions for newcomers


 

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