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C1 Nick Land

C1 Nick Land

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Published by Mike Vittner

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Published by: Mike Vittner on Dec 23, 2010
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Qabbala 101
Nick Land
Is qabbalism problematical or mysterious? It seems toparticipate amphibiously in both domains, proceeding according to rigorously constructible procedures – asattested by the affinity with technicization – yet intrinsi-cally related to an Outsideness through which alone itcould derive programmatic sense.If there is no source of at least partially coherent sig-nal that is radically alien to the entire economy of conven-tional human interchange, then qabbalism is nothing buta frivolous entertainment or a fundamentally futile prac-tical error. Yet unlike any kind of metaphysical assault on'the noumenal', qabbalism cannot be definitively cri-tiqued on a purely rational or formal basis, as if its mode
COLLAPSE I, ed. R. Mackay (Oxford: Urbanomic, September 2007)ISBN 978-0-9553087-0-4http://www.urbanomic.com
of 'error' was that of logical fallacy. Since qabbalism is apractical programme, rather than a doctrine of any kind,its formal errors – mistakes – are mere calculative irregu-larities, and correcting these is actually a proceduralrequirement of (rather than an objection to) its continueddevelopment.It is the rational dismissal of ‘the’ qabbalistic enter-prise that is forced to take a metaphysical stance: ruling out on grounds of supposed principle what is in fact nomore than a guiding ‘empirical’ hypothesis (that signalfrom ‘outside the system’ is detectable by numericalanalysis of codes circulating within the system).Epistemologically speaking, qabbalistic programmeshave a status strictly equivalent to that of experimentalparticle physics, or other natural-scientific researchprogrammes, even if their guiding hypotheses mightseem decidedly less plausible than those dominant withinmainstream scientific institutions.Lovecraft understood the epistemological affinitybetween natural science and programmatic (as opposedto doctrinal) occultism, since both venture into regionsonce declared mysterious, following procedures of arigorously calculative-problematical type. It is the alliancebetween purely speculative metaphysics and commonsense that betrays such affairs of pure reason to futility,since they lack the calculative traction to revise their ownconventional notions on the basis of their encounters.Practices – however implausible their guiding motivations – can know nothing of absolute mystery or272COLLAPSE I
metaphysical transcendence because their realm of certainty is procedural-problematic and uncontroversial,whereas their reserve of knowledge is empirical,refutable, repeatable, revisable, nonmystical and accumu-lable.There may be no ‘empirical’, procedurally approach-able mysteries – or mysterious problems – of the kindqabbalism guides itself towards. If so, it will approach thisfact in its own way – empirically, probabilistically,impressionistically, without any logical, transcendental orphilosophical meta-discourse ever having been positionedto put it in its place.
I. P
Traditional gematria (whether Hebrew, Greek, Farsior Arabic
) have distinctive typical features: (1) Theysubstitute letters for numerical values, overcoding numer-als where they exist. (2) They code for discontinuousnumerical values, typically 1-10, then 20, 30 ... chunkedin decimally significant magnitudes.The ocean in which qabbalism swims is notmathematics, but popular numerical culture. From amathematical perspective it remains undeveloped, evenineducable, since it cannot advance beyond the Naturalnumber line even to the level of the Rationals, let aloneto the ‘higher’ numbers or set-theoretical post-numericalspaces. Where counting ceases, qabbalism becomes273Land – Qabbala 101
1. See Incognitum, ‘Introduction to ABJAD’, in the present volume.

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