Go big or go home, right? I’ve been having a useful discussion with Iago over on this post from a few days back and it’s getting complex enough that I want to start talking about some of the issues being raised as independent posts, some of them a bit long.
Back in my first year or so of graduate school, I attended a lecture on the importance of writing in mysticism. I wish I could remember the name of the woman, but it escapes me. I carried a copy of it around with me through a few moves, but there have been just one or two many sharp turns in my life since then; it fell off the proverbial truck.
It was the late 1990s and she had come of age reading Derrida and De Man, but beneath the veneer of deconstruction there was an astounding core: for a group convinced of the ineffability and transcendence of the divine, mystics were obsessed with writing about it. It’s almost compulsive. Rather than a via negativa that opens to a pleroma, what if it only ever opens to a threatening negativa, which it is the work of writing to obscure?
The story of Adam Kadmon always sits up against the story of the dismembered giant that pervades the Indo-European mythologies. In the case of Adam Kadmon, you have this figure in the mind of God that serves as the blueprint for the work of creation. Adam the created, the Adam of the Garden, clearly partakes of this figure’s nature in some way, too, for while he does not possess the force of Adam Kadmon to create, he still possesses the names of things which activates those forces. The dismembered giant, by contrast, tends to be a monster or tyrant who must be destroyed and broken apart to provide the material for the created world.