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Coagula Ne « back

The Arabic alchemists of the 8th and 9th century preserved the Hermetic thought of Egypt, and the resurgence of alchemy in Europe during the late medieval period is indebted to them. Safiq Al-Kahir, even among his contemporaries, was an enigma and, by the time the Italians were devouring every Islamic manuscript they could find, Safiq was already buried beneath layers of dissembling mythology and cryptic commentary. In some ways, alchemy ignores him; while in others, his work is the secret cipher that illuminates their efforts.

I've done a lot of research since the dream of the library, and while some of the others have heard of him and his book, no one seems to know of an extant copy of the text. Not a full one at least. An oneironaut who calls himself Brother J confirmed the paragraph read to me in my dream was indeed written by Safiq. He wanted to know where I had read it, and I haven't told him yet. I'm not sure I will.

There is an ugly undercurrent on the mailing list. Tempers are short, and people are quick to read offense and respond with invective. Paranoia is starting to creep into conversations. "Is poison nothing more than a substance which the body cannot assimilate?" If you read an online community as a virtual body, then is such a confusion synonymous with a toxin being introduced into the system?

Safiq is credited with something now called "The Theory of Protolinguistic Identity," a name that thoroughly neuters the "theory" in favor of academic providence. In fact, I seem to remember a paper making the circuit a year or so ago that mentioned this theory but failed to credit Safiq with it. I think I know why now: too much mysticism for a piece of academic criticism that wanted to be taken seriously.

We are such a divided group: too many counter-culture rebels vying with earnest academics for the secrets of the Oneiroi. You would think there should be enough room in the collective unconscious for all of us, but apparently it gets pretty crowded. So big, and yet so small.

The story of human existence, right? So many possibilities, and yet so many tiny mistakes. It's who we are, isn't it? A self-aware bundle of contradictions. Trying so hard to be separate and unique, but still so desperately wanting to be part of something. Maybe that's what Safiq was hinting at. "Is the collision of opposites what causes Death?" If you can avoid such collisions, can you avoid Death? Can you avoid being absorbed back into the formless chaos of Non-Identity.

Coagula ne, indeed.

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