Ten of Swords
Recall when I said “those who live by the sword fall by the sword”? Well, here you go. When you have no way to resolve a situation beyond swords, bad things happen. The Ten of Swords is the card of overkill, excessive force, utter ruin, and crushing defeat. Like the Five of Swords, it can be a two faced card – on the one side is that of completely overdoing it (that man did not need ten swords to kill him), and on the other side is that of being completely overwhelmed and destroyed (aka, being the guy who got stabbed ten times). But just like the Five of Swords, the end result is the same: no one has won, everyone has lost. All is failure.
You might be wondering why “Ruin” is the culmination of the themes of “Intellect and Authority”. The answer here is because each suit is not balanced by any other suit. Rationality without regard to compassion or happiness can only ever lead to ruin – it’s when you start hearing things like “we should ban entertainment, it’s a waste of money and time” or “I really don’t see what the problem with eugenics is!” Humanity, and the human experience, is made of many elements – trying to squash them all under the sword of rationality is doomed to failure, and usually just makes everyone miserable in the process.
This can sometimes be seen as removing an evil force – “Thus always to tyrants!!” It can also be seen as the worst happening, but you’re alive, and… well, the worst has already happened. Whatever the case, the destruction and ruin have passed, the disaster is over, and it’s time to start picking up and rebuilding.