I entered to your discussion list from the back door. I am not a
scientist or a philosopher, but a graduate student researching
Kabbalah, popularly known as Jewish mysticism.
As others here, I knew about this site through "The Theory of
Everything". I landed on the this book through Borges' short story
"The Library of Babel". As some of you might know, this story is
packed with kabbalistic references.
My research focuses now on Abraham Abulafia, a Sephardi kabbalist of
the 13th century. The reason why I am telling you all of this is that
Abulafia had a particular technique to achieve the mystical union
(otherwise called prophecy in Jewish sources) with the divine
intellect. To make it short, Abulafia's technique consisted in the
mental combination of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Abulafia
envisioned this technique of letter combination as endless and only
limited by human capacity.
I claim that Abulafia's letter combination inspired Borges through the
groundbreaking work of Gershom Scholem, the pioneer of modern Kabbalah
scholarship. The Library of Babel is no other than the Library of
Abulafia gave detailed descriptions of his techniques but the ultimate
meaning of the letter combination remains elusive. In Abulafian
Kabbalah the concept of the "Name of God" is paramount. I would argue
that for him the Name of God was the total combination of the 22
letters. The Library of Babel would then spell the Name of God.
If we translate this religious jargon from the 13th century to our
language, Abulafia's letter combination is the verbal expression of
all possible universes. What about this as a definition for a holy
But there has to be more to it. What do you think could be the
meanings of unlimited letter combinations? What insights could quantum
physics bring into kabbalistic interpretations?
Let's tear down some discipline barriers!
PD: And for those bluffed by the presence of a Kabbalah scholar here,
I recommend you to take a look to the story of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl
G. Jung as described in "Deciphering the Cosmic Number".
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