Five of Cups with Temperance

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Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

Indulge me for a moment while I briefly discuss sports. American sports. Specifically, American football. I promise I’ll make it brief.

In 2008, the New England Patriots went to the Super Bowl, facing the New York Giants. New England waltzed into the Super Bowl having not lost a single game in the entire 16 game regular season, giving them a 18-0 record going into the big game. New York was facing this undefeated team after squeezing into the playoffs as a wildcard with a regular season record of 10-6.

Needless to say, the Patriots were heavily favored to win the Super Bowl. Yet New York was able to beat them in the big game 17-14.

Here’s my belief in the outcome of that game. Had the Patriots lost a game in the regular season they would have probably won the Superbowl.

Nobody save the psychological masochist or the celebrated victim likes to lose. Losing rends from us the last shred of self-confidence we clung to for survival during our final battle. The higher the stakes of the contest, the harder the gut punch we receive with a loss.

The biggest losses we experience, or let me be so bold to say nearly every loss we experience, comes through necessity. When we experience defeat it is a defeat that is necessary and often overdue. The loss tells us that our current trajectory of growth has plateaued, that there was really nothing more for us to gain with a win, and that it is our destiny to rediscover ourselves.

Does a win compel us to look inward to the degree that a loss does? Does one win create as great of an appetite for victory as does our most recent defeat? Now mind you, this is not to say we should make sure we lose or that we should deliberately lay down our swords in the midst of combat just for the sake of experiencing a loss. Au contraire, we should play to the hilt even knowing the odds are stacked against us, for when we lose in light of this, our loss creates an even greater opportunity for us to grow, beyond where we would have otherwise.

Prince of Swords with Seven of Wands

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Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche

Someone said the best offense is a good defense

…or is it the best defense is a good offense?

Either way, someone said it. Likely someone military or game or sports oriented, like George Washington or Lao Tsu or Guy Lombardo… or is that Vince Lombardi?

The idea here is that if you are constantly pressing an aggressive offense onto your opponent, they exhaust themselves in their defense so that they have no time or energy or provisions for a counterattack.

Enter American Football. The adage in today’s 21st century gridiron is that it’s the defense that determines the outcome of the game. In other words, an excellent defense against a good offense is more likely to win than an excellent offense against a good defense.

Are you confused yet? You should be.

Enter David and his warped-ass concepts, birthed from the carnival of his cognizance and conceptualization…

Much to the condescending contempt of colonels and coaches everywhere, I would dare to say these two sides of the coin of conflict are indistinguishable. Offense and defense may seem different on paper, but the only true difference is no greater than the color of the chess pieces on either side of the board. If you’re in an offensive position you are simply exercising proactive defense. If you find yourself on the defense it is because you are offended.

Let me take this one step further, a step away from merely waxing philosophical and toward practical and functional: whichever side we believe ourselves to be on during any melee, skirmish, scrimage, or campaign, it would behoove us to not purely consider ourselves merely on offense or defense. Each side must acknowledge and embrace the other aspect in all engagements, or we will lose whatever battle we are embrawled in.

As offense, we need to be ready to defend ourselves at a moment’s notice. When we are on the attack, the assailed will fight back. During our attack we constantly need to parry against defensive countering. On defense we cannot simply brace our shields and hope for the best. We must counterstrike each blow to drive back the aggressor.

This concept is not restricted to sports and military and fisticuffs. It benefits us to apply a well balanced mix of offense and defense in any challenging situation. Any time we need to apply energy to get through an obstacle or we need to steel ourselves against an adversity life decides to throw at us we need to apply this principle. A purely aggressive or defensive position in any endeavor leaves us vulnerable, no matter the power of our onslaught or the thickness of our fortification. Like all other things in life, balance in the mode we take toward our conquests assures us the strongest position.