Towards a Patakabbal part 3

(first published in Maybe Quarterly vol. 2 issue 4, winter solstice 2005. This online magazine was sadly removed but one can still find its reflections in the Wayback Machine.)

Part 4. The Book of Sand

Chapter 1. Emanations and commissions: the Collège as a tree

The sefirotic trees are a metaphor for different emanations of that which a kabbalist calls 'god' for lack of a better word. As in the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, study of kabbalah is a study of that which we are able to percieve, not of the world itself but of its emanations. Revelation stands for the insight into those symbols, which probably tell as much about the examiner as about that which gets examined. The immanent (Ayin Sof, every-thing) and the transcendent (Ayin, no-thing) are by definition impossible to percieve. No hidden variables here, but a way of considering different reality-tunnels as in Maybe Logic!
Similarly the structure of the Collège de 'Pataphysique reflects many worldviews. Classical science gets subdivided by the object of its study, the POV is usually corroborating the ruling paradigm of the moment. The commissions, sous-commissions, cocomissions and other intermissions of the Collège by contrast are defined not by that which they study, every one of them pretty much englobes everything that can be studied; but by the way they examine it.
In the same way as each of the 40 sefirot (10 in each of the four worlds) symbolizes a certain consciousness and as such, a revelation associated with a certain point of view on the totality of creation, each of the more than 100 commissions (27 of which considered 'fundamental') of the Collège (grouped into seven departments) symbolizes a paradigm on its own.
In this chapter I intend one day to examine every commission and see if a relationship can be seen with one or more sefirah.

Chapter 2. Questioning the Quinconces

The "Administration des Quinconces" is one of the many bureaucratic sections inside the Collège, flowing through some of the commissions but as such exterior to the departments. Its main goal is to ask questions or "qu'est-ce-tions": in orde to keep the Collège alive it's essential to keep doubting everything on the one hand, and to keep searching on the other. Happily the goal here is to ask, not to answer. More on this in 'Carnets trimestriels du Collège de 'Pataphysique n° 15', march 2004.
In the same vein (vain?) a true kaballist is supposed to keep asking questions to his master. By doubting and searching, new answers keep popping up to get rapidly destroyed by new questions to the real seeker. Here the essence, hence the goal, of man, is to seek. Life and larger cycles as a quest, the ultimate goal of which lies outside the emanated truth.
The hierarchy in the Quinconces is quite strange, every person acting as a centre coordinating some questions for their nearest neighbours in the structure, and at the same time participating in nearby study groups. Whether this structure is purely theoretical (it is!) seems of no importance.

Part 5. Gematria and Nominalism

Chapter 1. Notariqon, Temurah and Oulipo

Chapter 2. The apostroph on the Golem's forehead

Both chapters will find their way in the future. Oulipo, Oulipopo, Oupeinpo, Oubapo and all other Ou-x-po deserve a bit more consideration. When writing about constraint in 'pataphysics usually one is supposed to write with a constraint to express that which is told about by the way it is told…
Previous to writing about the difference between pataphysics and 'pataphysics, between truth (emet) and dead (met) written on the forehead of a golem I want to learn more about gematria and other wordplays.

Without conclusion.


Alfred Jarry: 'Gestes et opinions du docteur Faustroll, pataphysicien', annotated edition, in "Organographes du Cymbalum Pataphysicum" 15-16, 15-16 bis, 15-16 ter & 15-16 quater, 1984 - 1985, published by Collège de 'Pataphysique
The 'Carnets Trimestriels' of the same Collège in my library had each at least one little hint that I could associate with KBL. Particularly the # 16, june 2004 about Adam.
All the flabbergasting Kaballah lessons by Joris De Brandt, year 2, 3 and 4, 2002-2004 were inspiring in more than a way. I had some epiphanies in the course of his lessons which lasted three hours each, about 15 lessons a year. Wrote it all down and lay-outed it afterwards adding some of his visionary imagery from the 'net. I missed some lessons though…
Ornella Volta: 'Guide de l'Au-delà', Balland, Paris, 1972. a great book about the different ideas concerning death in many older or more recent religions. "All souls meet on their way a symbolic figure called 'religion' which is no other than its past life" (about zoroasterism). Miss O. Volta is a Régent of the C de 'P, member of the Sous-commission of interpretations.
Dion Fortune: 'Mystical Qabalah', in a Dutch translation. A great book explaining western KBL without following Crowley. Points towards a lot of keys without revealing them.

Further reading

Klaus Ferentschik, Régent de Démonologie spéciale and Harry Kümel, Régent de Demonologie et Occultisme both probably published writings dealing with subjects of interest but I was unable to find any.
What I did found quite recently and seems a revelation are writings by a certain 'Lothaire Liogieri' in french, a self-appointed pataphysical philosopher not affiliated to the college. Especially his or her research about mythologies (three long webpages) proves a campbellesque brio from a pataphysical perspective…
Marcel Jean and Arpad Mezei wrote a book called 'Genèse de la pensée moderne dans la littérature française' which suposedly associates pre-dadaists with esoteric traditions. Although many writers tried to express similitudes between surrealism and the occult, few seem able to bring something else than nonsensical new age mumbo-jumbo… The site fUSIONAnomaly seems a pleasant exception.

  • "Like surrealism, occultism tries to break the domination of rational philosophy and logic, stressed by Descartes. Occultism is based on the belief in a higher reality of certain forms of association through the cabbala, faith in the power of dream- and trance-images, and in the stream of words uncensored by the intellect."
    P. R. Koenig


Since everything is pataphysical, the Science also deals with spirituality, with hidden knowledge and with the reception thereof and as such proves eminently kaballistic.
'pataphysics can somehow get redefined by kaballah: The received doctrine (from qibbel, to receive), the mystical teachings that deal with the ideas of creation and concepts of a spiritual nature. A body of mystical teachings often based on an esoteric interpretation or a secret doctrine resembling these teachings. But most revealing seems to define kaballah by using the definitions of 'pataphysics, by both Alfred Jarry and Doctor Sandomir:

a merry Thule to you all,

résident, S.-C. des Onomonymes

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