Friday, March 6, 2015

Wheel of Fortuna

Studying a lot of Machiavelli in class (and how oft the term is misused/ misunderstood)
One thing that struck me is the idea of fortune (Fortuna) and luck

It ties in with many disciplines and a very ingrained modern day thinking that "you make your own luck". But I feel that is fundamentally at odds with the reality of what a 'bad stroke' of luck can deal us.
In our world if something 'fails' we are perceived as 'losers' (I strongly recommend the Alain de Botton documentary: Status Anxiety, it helped quell a few of my thoughts and fears) but we rarely see the system itself as the problem and blame things on providence. When things go well we see that as the system working, our hard work rewarded, but when things that we cannot possibly have anticipated eg: the death of a loved one, the effects of war on a populace, even something as everyday as bad weather and the effects it has on farmers, we perceive ourselves as losers, not having tried hard enough.

Enough of my ramblings, I really enjoyed the search and uncovering of many medieval illustrations of "the wheel of fortune". Considering the role of religion at the time, good faith was just expected. Then someone like Machiavelli comes along and espouses somewhat unpopular views.
Anyhoo, I was pondering the nature of luck and fortune, and wondering what it can really mean, particularly for world events.

We even have game shows with the same title which are a long departure from the ideas vested in the wheel of fortune, and the religiosity that comes along with it too. The idea of the wheel of fortune is strongly rooted in astrology and tarot. I just love history!

All the pictures are from Wikipedia and Pinterest.
Some are from the Codex Buranus, a great medieval manuscript.
The Hortus Deliciarum was another trove.


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