I used to drive this Pinto which I got in Pittsburgh, PA in 1988, and it has been pretty good
to me so far. Like many people who drive a lot, I am somewhat attached to
my car. These were my wheels, my chariot
Merkavah in Hebrew)
which has taken me on many trips, including the one out here, to
the West in 1989.
Between 1998 and 2004, I drove a 1984 BMW 733i. It is Keter. But since then I got a 1994 BMW 325i. It is Laban.
"Last night I happened to come across a driver's manual. Maybe it was the semidarkness, or what you had said to me, but I began to imagine that those pages were saying Something Else. Suppose the automobile existed only to serve as metaphor of creation? And we mustn't confine ourselves to the exterior, or to the surface reality of the dashboard; we must learn to see what only the Maker sees, what lies beneath. What lies beneath and what lies above. It is the Tree of the Sephirot."
"You don't say."
"I am not the one who says; it is the thing itself that says. The drive shaft is the trunk of the tree. Count the parts: engine, two front wheels, clutch, transmission, two axles, differential, and two rear wheels. Ten parts, ten Sephirot."
"But the positions don't coincide."
"Who says they don't? Diotallevi's explained to us that in certain versions Tiferet isn't the sixth Sephirah, but the eighth, below Netzah and Hod. My axle-tree is the tree of Belboth."
"But let's pursue the dialectic of the tree. At the summit is the engine, Omnia Movens, of which more later: this is the Creative Force. The engine communicates its creative energy to the two front or higher wheels: the Wheel of Intelligence and the Wheel of Knowledge."
"If the car has front-wheel drive."
"The good thing about the Belboth tree is that it allows metaphysical alternatives.So we have the image of a spiritual cosmos with front-wheel drive, where the engine, in front, transmits its wishes to the higher wheels, whereas in the materialistic version we have a degenerate cosmos in which motion is imparted by the engine to the two lower wheels: from the depths, the cosmic emanation releases the base forces of matter."
"What about an engine in back, rear-wheel drive?"
"Satanic. Higher and lower coincide. God is identified with the motion of crude matter. God is an eternally frustrated aspiration to divinity. The result of the Breaking of the Vessels."
"Not the Breaking of the Muffler?"
"That occurs in aborted universes, where the noxious breath of the Archons spreads through the ethers. But we mustn't digress. After the engine and the two wheels comes the clutch, the Sephirah of grace that establishes or interrupts the flow of love that binds the rest of the tree of the Supernal Energy. A disk, a mandala that caresses another mandala. Then the coffer of change - the gearbox, or transmission, as the positivists call it, which is the principle of Evil, because it allows human will to speed up or slow down the constant process of emanation. For this reason, an automatic transmission costs more, for there it is the tree itself that decides, in accordance with its own Sovereign Equilibrium. Then comes the universal joint, the axle, the drive shaft the differential - note the opposition/repetition of the quaternion of cylinders in the engine, because the differential (Minor Keter) transmits motion to the earthly vessels. Here the function of the Sephirah of difference is obvious, as, with majestic sense of beauty, it distributes the cosmic forces to the Wheels of Glory and the Wheel of Victory, which in an unaborted universe (front-wheel drive) are subordinate to the motion imparted by the higher wheels."
"A coherent exegesis. And the heart of the engine, seat of the One, the Crown?"
"You have but to look with the eyes of an initiate. The supreme engine lives by an alternation of intake and exhaust. A complex, divine respiration, a cycle initially based on two units called cylinders (an obvious geometrical archetype), which then generate a third, and finally gaze upon one another in mutual love and bring forth the glory of a fourth. In the cycle of the first cylinder (none is first hierarchically, but only through the miraculous alternation of position), the piston (etymology: Pistis Sophia) descends from the upper neutral position to the lower neutral position as the cylinder fills with energy in the pure state. I'm simplifying, because here angelic hierarchies come into play, the distributor caps, which, my handbook says, 'allow the opening and closing of the apertures that link the interior of the cylinders to the induction pipes leading out of the carburetor.' The inner seat of the engine can communicate with the rest of the cosmos only through this mediation, and here I believe is revealed - I am reluctant to utter heresy - the original limit of the One, which, in order to create, somehow depends on the Great Eccentrics. A closer reading of the text may be required here. The cylinder fills with energy, the piston returns to the upper neutral position and achieves maximum compression - the tzimtzum. And lo, the glory of the Big Bang: combustion, expansion. A spark flies, the mixture of fuel flares and blazes, and this the handbook calls the active phase of the cycle. And woe, woe if in the mixture of fuel the Shells intrude, the qelippot, drops of impure matter like water or Coca-Cola. Then the expansion does not take place or occurs in abortive starts..."
"The the meaning of Shell is qelippot? We'd better not use it anymore. From now on, only Virgin's Milk..."
"We'll check. It could be a trick of the Seven Sisters, lower emanations trying to control the process of creation... In any case, after expansion, behold the great divine release, the exhaust. The piston rises again to the upper neutral position and expels formless matter, now combusted. Only if this process of purification succeeds can the new cycle begin. Which, if you think about it, is also he Neoplatonic mechanism of Exodus and Paradise, miraculous dialectic of the Way Up and the Way Down."
"Quantum mortalia pectora ceacae noctis habent! And the sons of matter never realized it!"
"They never saw the connection between the philosopher's stone and Firestone."
"For tomorrow, I'll prepare a mystical interpretation of the phone book."
"Ever ambitious, our Casaubon. Mind you, there you'll have to solve the unfathomable problem of the One and the Many. Better succeed slowly. Start, instead, with the washing machine."
"That's too easy. The alchemistic transformation from black to whiter than white."
Humberto Eco - Foucault's Pendulum
(To the Ladder/Tree)