So it may just be that I read about August Kekule’s benzene dream at an impressionable age, or spent too much time scouring the late Merleau-Ponty about the ‘flesh of the world,’ or just watched too much Hemlock Grove (I know, hardly the high culture), but the longer I look at the Tree of Life, the less convinced I am that the tree is the best model for what it describes. And the super-fancy Western Esoteric versions of it that stack trees upon trees? It just feels a little too neat and medieval. Instead, the more I consider it, the more it seems like the best way to think about it is as a coil through which the spiritual ‘juice’ of the world is circulated.
What if we think of Keter and Malkuth as modes of connection to the world rather than spheres unto themselves? What if we plug both the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’ of the tree into the world?
Instead of talking about the withdrawal from the world, what if the Kabbalistic work is a matter of modulation? What if the strictures of purity are about creating the psychic equivalent of laboratory conditions?
All those levels of refinement? What if it is less about getting higher and higher, but about running the outputs of each process through the coil, again and again; hyper-efficient ouroboros-like remoras on the skin of the world-shark?
What if every person, every spirit, is a coil plugged into the world? What if we carry the molecular implications of that even further and started talking about the interlacing of coils with each other in addition to the world?
These questions aren’t rhetorical and I don’t have all the answers. While I can see the horizon of their resolution, the specifics aren’t in focus yet. To the extent that I do have answers forming in response to these, I find more questions entangled with them.
There are answers that definitely favor my intuitions about:
- how important it is to take the individual’s constitution into consideration when you talk about the possibilities of spiritual work
- the possibility that what we consider ‘our’ world is entangled with others, but sometimes in only indirect ways, like the way a tourist is often only indirectly entangled with the locales they traverse,
- how the unity that finds its perfection in God manifests in creation in the imbrication of both consciousness and matter, such that it becomes difficult to isolate a singular individual from the networks in which they manifest.
There is more, much more. I will likely spend more than a few posts wandering down these avenues because I sense that there is a horizon into which this trajectory can be projected.