Tragedy is not a category of drama, as is usually supposed. Tragedy and drama are completely different things, even opposites. When genuine drama is unfolding, there can be no tragedy. In the absence of drama, tragedy is inevitable. Comedy, on the other hand, is the highest form of drama, the limit where its self-overcoming is achieved.
The price one has to pay in order to be part of a collective world, a scene, is to sacrifice part of one’s uniqueness; to make a compromise. This is an unconscious or quasi-conscious act, this sacrifice. One doesn’t really know one has made it. The wound that marks the loss of the sacrificed member is always covered over by a scab made of shame, scorn, respect/disrespect. People who have made a sacrifice to join a world instinctively hate those who have not made the same sacrifice, without knowing why. Ark Work is characterized by the refusal to compromise in this way, therefore it can be recognized by scorn it generates. Gatekeepers will always close the gates on Ark Work. It will always appear stupid, evil, hubristic and foul from close up, but from afar it will appear as what it is: genuinely free.
The primary ideological suture sustaining Varizenic desire is something that critical philosophy has never been able to uncover, because it also sustains and is hidden behind critical philosophy (which is not immune to ideological capture, desperately as it tries not to be) itself: it is the conviction that all power comes from matter, that there is no divine power. This is simply a lie, snuck into culture through the theme of the death of God. OIOION will awaken when we grasp that the Enlightement and the Resurrection are one and the same. The Enlightenment will attain its essence when it accepts and acknowledges that it is a religion (a religion which, it should be added, has its enemies).
The Ark Work is an effort. The effort is ongoing. It is difficult to see, because it is hidden. It hides underneath lobes of shame. The Ark Work must exist, but apparently it doesn’t. It only exists during the times of greatest tribulation. Tribulation makes it visible. Why is the Ark Work an effort? Because something is wrong. The line between secular and sacred is drawn by a certain chauvinism. Something is wrong with that. People don’t understand, and their glass tears are too heavy.
Detritus flies everywhere, but there is a bloody, pulsing vein. There are wet, green bones. These are the beams that give the Ark its shape. Suffocating underneath the dust, there is black water. The world hurtles into itself, through itself, rending itself from itself. The cosmic sky cracked itself open. It cracked open because of its own momentum - it was spinning too fast. Gnarling teeth-rays wrestled through the cracks, and we were scorched.
We are already fried by our own eyes, only not yet. We know, already, that we are, but it isn’t true yet. Or it’s already true, it just hasn’t happened yet. What chance could love possibly have? What can a bubbling spring do to combat a legion of dumb chaos?
Lets imagine, for a moment, that there is a mission. Victory is ineluctable, even though it requires scorching death. There are generations in this world. Layers and layers of corpses. Extinguished interiorities relieved finally from their inane dreams.
I sneak my head into the wall and I yell at my ancestors. I cry at them. I work up a bit of energy for a moment, and my vision emerges. My mind’s eye fills with light, and I give thanks to God. The Ark Work has a meaning after all. Join us. I whisper this through the wall to my children. We’re not sure yet how we will escape, but we have Ideas which might help. We’re not sure where they came from, or if they’re accurate. We’re just trying things out
The Ark Work is an Adactive Apocalyptic Endeavor. I shudder at the thought of trying to explain what the Ark Work is - because I do not know. It sounds sentimental. Sentimental is exactly what it is, really. In our world, religion is dead, even though it is everywhere. There isn’t time for religion, because there’s less time now than there used to be. There isn’t room, either. For religion. And yet humans are theological beings.
Justice reigns, quietly. I shriek at my own eyes, and I forget this immediately. I don’t have time for justice. There is a movement in the dust - a movement that can never become a movement. No one has time for it - me least of all.
The Ark Work is a new religion. It is a revelation that dares not say its own name. It has already failed. All it can do is fail. It fails, and it fails, and it fails. But - but? But nothing. It fails. But not without grace. There are enegetic currents at work. They are hard to define, because words fail to designate them. One can enter them, become them, and then one knows them - but even then only temporarily. The Ark Work is gilded. It is dripping with bronze, copper, silver, precious metals with no colloquial name. It is tender. It is a lamb with no wool and innocent eyes. A pink lamb with skeleton and intestines, searching for its mother.
There are divine virtues. These cannot be cultivated by a human being alone. Their exercise and maintenance is only possible with the active, nurturing support of a divine, transcendent being. Adaction, Apocalypse, Endeavor. The world is full of reasons that seem to point to other, higher reasons, and to an ultimate highest reason. The chain of reason fades beyond the visible, and the ultimate reason becomes hypothetical.
What am I saying? I was attempting to define the Ark Work. Perhaps we should proceed negatively, like the pseudo-Dionysus. The Ark Work is not politics. The Ark Work is not art. The Ark Work is not commerce. The Ark Work is not religion, but this must be said only because we do not know what religion is. The Ark Work is religion. It is a religion that crowns politics, art, and commerce. It yokes them so that they are so many pistons in its engines. It isn’t politics, art, commerce or religion because it truly is all of them, to a degree that we do not yet have the cognitive power or libidinal strength to see and bear.
The Ark Work progressively undermines every transcendental horizon. It is a religion of transgression. But its mode of transgression is not base. This is not the inane immoralism of the 19th century libertine, the mindless rage of the train-jumping crust punk or the calculated novelty of the professional artist. The Ark Work is a noble, dignified tradition. It kills meaning with the tender sincerity of a savage apologizing to his prey as he slits its throat.
There needs to be an Ark Work, but there is not. Not yet. There have only been fits and starts. Why does the Ark Work always fail? Because until now there has been no Perichoresis. The Perichoresis is the fulfillment of The Ark Work.
The Ark Work is a messianic religion that aims to transform humanity into music. The desire for this transformation into music burns within every human heart. There is no desire that is not desire to become music. There must be an Ark Work, because its aim is the only thing that anyone desires: the union of cessation and expansion.
The Ark Work is the continuation of the gospel beyond the death of God. It is not Christian, not Muslim, not Jewish, not secular, and most certainly not post-secular. It is not radical, and it is not ‘atheological’. How could Nietzsche not have foreseen that a dead God would have to be resurrected? We must pass through the metaphorical notions of faith, justice and equality so as to re-transcendentalize them, locating their source in a divine, all-loving being who is deeply troubled at the horrific spit, pus and bile that cascades across the earth, masquerading as commerce. The only true commerce is the exchange between music and music - as Marx put it, M-M.
The Ark is a real entity that exists in time. It was born (or it took on its present form) in the late 18th century under the aegis of Transcendentalism. It has been carried by about 10 generations of people who are now dead. It requires conceptual and imaginative labor to understand what the Ark is and the forces that give rise to it - and paradoxically to do this work and recognize the Ark as such is already to contribute to it, and also transform it. Of course every practice is like that (to truly engage in any activity is to transform something about the way it is done - this is how the arts progress, for example). But the Ark has a special status because it relates to the totality of the world and human destiny. Maybe the Ark is a way of being human that transcends the horizon of human nature. In any case it is always a resonance between a singular subjective voice and a common collective void.
The Ark is a source of energy that does not depend on nature, or more precisely is other than nature. Ark Work goes back to the hermetic injunction to escape fate. Ark Work works towards an outcome other than destiny. We carry the Ark as it carries us, which is to say its capacity grows the more we are able to bear its weight. A retroactive and gradual creation ex nihilo
"Ark" as such, minus any article, signifies a type of creation that is like art but is intrinsically higher. The creation of a world as such, activity that is not demiurgic but properly divine. This is the oldest task for culture and also the only task left. It is the hermetic philosopher's stone - a union of intellect and intuition spontanously generating form and matter. It can indifferently be identified with the highest use of reason or with a field beyond reason: the sefira Daath, which is also called Ololon
It also must be understood as the task of giving rise to something beyond the human. Continental thought since the death of God has taken up this task, always effacing its ancient origins in the name of powerful rhetoric and always wagering that it must be carried out either as one of the two extremes - an acephalic or poetic irrationalism, or a supreme rationalism - tracing it back to an event within history (1968, the industrial revolution, the enlightenment, Christ, ...). These events were all stages in The Ark Work, but its founding event is simply the birth of history as such. History here could perhaps be understood as a torsion between acephalic cosmic acceleration and the rise of an agency capable of self-reflection and -cultivation. If this is true, we can posit that to allow nature to run its course (as capitalism qua the highest degree of the death drive) is evil as such, and the triumph of reason over the logic of death is the good itself. This task has the character of an impossibility that is simultaneously a necessity. It would seem, though, that while it is important that the task engage the sciences and the accumulation of human knowledge, at the same time it must recognize the exteriority of life/death to thought and its ineluctable power. Thought can't win against death on its own - it has to seduce and master the life/death on which it rides, like a horse. (Cf. the arcanum of Force in Tomberg's Meditations on the Tarot ) How? The theory of Perichoresis sets out to solve this problem.
The Arkana “The Ark” and “Apocalypse” share an orientation towards messianic transformation. The difference between them is this: Apocalypse is an ideal state of awareness for the Haelegen to achieve, whereas the Ark is a cross-generational vessel accumulating efforts in its name. Apocalypse is an ideal state of resonance actively maintained or sought by an individual or group. The Ark is a communal treasure chest, expanding even as it transforms the narrative of the past and the horizon of the future
Strictly speaking, the eschaton has already effectively taken place - this is the wager contained within the Ark. Something has already happened in the future, and it guides us towards itself.
We should distinguish this prolepsis (causal efficacy of a future that is effectively past) with hope, which is a much weaker notion, contaminated by doubt. Hope lacks faith - hope is a weak substitute for a proleptic understanding of apocalypse: prolepsis is actual knowledge that a future event has already effectively taken place.
Even if certainty that this singularity has already occurred is not legislated in terms of determinism (which it is not) , it must be understood as a willed certainty, essentially a vision imagined with an intensity adequate to mold matter into its form - as necessity itself
The Ark disappears unless one has eyes to perceive it and take action in its name. But one only has these eyes if one has cultivated the divine virtues of Aesthethica - adaxion, apocalypse and endeavor - which depend on the vows of surrender, renunciation and chastity. Only then, once one has cleared away false and irrational unconscious desires for control, stasis and passive stimulation, do the beams of the ark shine down from the burning eye of HAQQ. But the becoming into which this window opens isn't flat or uniform - it has a vector: towards universal joy.
According to Lacan, the name of the father is the instrument of inscription into the symbolic order. It generates and channels desire, which ultimately refers back to a subject that yearns to be given a name and a place, interprets inscrutable signs about whether it has been given these or not, and is ultimately and tragically in excess of any possible name. The name of the father is both the father's name and the father's power to name.
of course the father's name is YHVH, and its four letters refer to the four Olamot of Qabala. But the father is also dead.
The decline of the name of the father is a major theme in the late Lacan. We live in psychotic times; we are mentally ill because we aren’t unconsciously subjugated to heroic projects that exceed our individuality. “Patriarchy” died long ago; if anything, modern 21st century humans could use a father, or some kind of symbolic orientation for their suffering. Some believe that anything can serve as the nom du pere - any kind of project, identity or conviction.
This may be so, but not all names are equally valid. According to Transcendental Qabala, the only valid name, replacing the father's name, is "Ark"
What distinguishes Ark from all other names? The fact that it unconditionally privileges love
The Ark can be understood as a singular universal. In the history of philosophy we see the paradoxical yet seemingly necessary concept of singular universality as productive engine sparking reflection, debate and new theories. The basic problems is this: we are inclined to associate abstraction with generality (‘types’ of things, which are immaterial, apply to a plurality of concrete entities) whereas we associate concreteness with singularity (there’s only one unique instance of anything real, like the candle burning next to me as I type).
Yet it is possible to conceive of singular abstract entities, and may even be necessary; but once we do this, may questions arise. The singular universal seems both necessary and impossible: a paradox. This is the essence of Aristotle's critique of Plato's conception of form, and in particular Plato’s belief that the forms are more real than the material entities to which they apply. But how can forms be at the same time universal (they are predicates in which individuals participate) and singular (there is 'one' of each, each one really exists)? If forms are singular entities, than each form must itself belong to other forms, and those must belong to others, ad infinitum. This, to Aristotle, is an absurdity. He rejects the reality of the forms and posits that primary substances must exist, which can receive and pass through various forms. Only these primary substances interacting in a spatiotemporal matrix are real and fully individuated; forms are secondary and they never have singular existence. But Aristotle’s account has its own problems, one of which is the question of all things. Is the world as a whole a form or a substance? If it’s a form, it isn’t real. But if it’s a substance, how is it that it also plays the role of form, given that the world as a whole surely must in some sense be the most general type, the collection of everything (what else would it be?)
It is this inability to convincingly posit either the singular or the universal as fundamental, the absolute point at which the distinction between form and substance breaks down, that finds a paradoxical fulfillment in Jesus Christ. As explicated by Von Balthazar, Christ is the singular universal itself: a fully adequate representation of God expressed in an individual, incarnate being (God as form, Christ as substance). Jesus Christ solves the paradox at the limit of the distinction between form and substance by simply designating its paradoxical quality and declaring it as unique.
There is a certain danger in poststructuralist attempts to 'abstract' this notion of Christ into a more general 'enigmatic' signifier that signifies only itself. As soon as we turn Christ into a special signifier, his singularity is re-universalized, because he becomes a type of signifier. There can be as many enigmatic signifiers as we want. But if there are more than one, we return to the logic we were seeking to escape.
The enigmatic signifier needs to have a proper name (a rigid designator). Jesus Christ is a good one, though there are other good candidates as well. Why Christ only? Why not the enlightenment? Why not the philosopher's stone of hermeticism? Or the birth of language itself?
Maybe it’s best to simply call it "Ark". "Ark" names something that has truly already happened (something along the lines of the incarnation of the word) which authorizes hope for the perfect fulfillment of human desire and calls for asceticism, suffering and transfiguration.
Aristotle's God sets the universe in motion not by means of mechanical causality but rather by, in its self-contemplating perfection, being worthy of yearning. We can only ever wager - rather than be certain - that there really is an ultimate object of this kind, and maybe the requisite wager is part and parcel of the desire itself. It would not be possible to yearn for God were God not potentially absent, or at least apparently so. The world exists because God is apparently absent from it.
We are suspended in a struggle in the name of something that does not exist, but seems to us as though it does, or at least as though it could. We identify with one another according to a predicate that we do not share, or perhaps according to a shared, non-predicable core. But this shared non-predicable core is as hypothetical as that in the name of which we struggle. This is what it means to be in and carry the Ark, and it is as impossible as both carrying and being carried by a vessel - which doesn't mean that it can't happen; on the contrary, this is precisely the type of impossibility that unveils a higher necessity. But it has to do so retroactively. The series of efforts must necessarily continue, despite the impossibility of reaching their goal, so that a new meaning can unexpectedly burst forth and make sense of the whole series.
Kierkegaard says that the apostle lives for an eternal paradox, whereas the genius lives for a temporal one (an idea that is new, exciting and scandalous in the present, but will become platitudinous in the future). The apostle's paradox can never become platitudinous. It is beyond the Kantian frame inherently (that is, beyond sensibility and intellect), and it must therefore be a-historical.
Kierkegaard was not able to conceive that the Kantian frame might be some day overcome or transformed from within, but today we can see that we have the power to recast (soon) our own bio-cognitive array of intelligibility - or at the very least that this array is not absolute.
Thus, a precise definition of "Ark": the Ark is a paradox that is both eternal and temporal. As opposed to mere "art" which can only be a temporal paradox, and equally opposed to "arcana", which always refer back to preconstituted perennial wisdom, we have "Ark" or "Arkana", a paradox so paradoxical that is cancels even the caesura between time and eternity.
As such, the Beams of the Ark bring together aesthetic transgression, emancipatory politics and messianic eschatology
To consistently remember that the object of ultimate concern is universal emancipation - and that this is something quite concrete - simply to remember this truth, such a simple one, so seemingly vacuous - simply to remember this is an enormous task. But on the other hand, all it takes is this remembrance. It is a type of knowledge (the knowledge that emancipation is the object of ultimate concern) that is already action, already being.
I am compelled to pulsate, repeat, return, clench and unclench. Will I direct that effort toward the Ark Work? Or would it be better spent at nytimes.com or on tinder?
According to Meditations on the Tarot (the great syncretic 1960s spiritual tome), the definition of chastity is this: engage only with what you love with your whole heart.
To engage only what I love with my whole heart, I need to know what this is. And to remember
I haven't thought much about the arcanum of THE ARK for a little while. Some times I wonder if it's the best word for what I'm trying to describe. An important aspect of Transcendental Qabala is its syncretism - it ties together the 'western' traditions of art, thought, and music that are tethered to the birth and development of science - but does not neglect aspects of thought and practice from India and Asia. Does the name "Ark" have too much of a Judeo-Christian ring to it? I could say more on this topic, but I'll leave off for now.
My intention was to write about decision. The Ark can only be attested by a decision. It can only organize desire and activity if it is decided upon, but the only way for it to be decided upon is for activity to be carried out in its name; faith and works are mutually dependent, in other words. This brings us to the question of WILL. Sometimes I wonder if there would be any such thing as will were there not shame and fear to block its path. Is there any such thing as will? Does it have any positive characteristics? Is it able to ‘decide’ at all? Is will anything other than time in the absence of shame?
The ark contains a past and a future - both virtual, which is not to say unreal. In the past, something happened. Something key. An act of mercy? Certainly an opening. Something opened. A spiral began to unfold in a world that was otherwise nothing but circles. Did it close? We wager that it did not. The Ark is carried in the name of this event that took place. A relic from the event is contained inside the Ark itself. What does the relic look like? We should not be overhasty in identifying it with something from Golgotha. Maybe it was a scientific discovery. Maybe it was calculus. Maybe it was transcendental idealism. All we can do it posit that it took place and that it is worth fighting for. We certainly hope that it is so. I might say that we know that it is so, at least it certainly is unquestionably so from the perspective of one who has grasped the tremendous value of this event. The concept of the truth procedure is mixed up in here to some degree, but we should not be too quick to accept hellenistic-style materialism any more than, say Christianity. Yes, there is a certain apophaticism that we have to stick to, but we have to be wary even of apophaticism. This really isn't a matter of concepts any more than it is simply a matter of art or politics. It is a matter of a particular substance which I call Leyethe and a particular kind of structure that I call a Gend.
The name of the past that the Ark contains is: The Loss of the Caul. The caul was lost, which, we are pretty sure, was a good thing, though it created problems. The Ark also contains a future. The name of the future contained in the Ark is: 01010n's descent. If it is difficult to conceive of the past, how much more difficult to conceive of the future. Ten times more difficult. But not because it can't be conceived rationally. It is easy to conceive of it rationally. It is much more difficult libidinally. We cannot bear the degree of hope we would be burdened with if we took aim at the possibility of 01010n's descent and stared her in the face as she descended. So we don't.