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Tuesday, December 25
by Kim on December 25, 2007 08:59PM (PST)
Al-Kemi recounts the story of the eighteen months that Andrew VandenBroeck, a painter and writer, spent in daily contact with the remarkable French philosopher, hermetist, and Egyptologist, R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz (1887-1961). Structured like a mystery, and distilled in the crucible of memory for fifteen years, Al-Kemi provides a passionately felt, personal, and dramatic introduction to the startling world of this contemporary alchemist (from back cover).
... Before reaching these particulars, it must be known that de Lubicz held the traditional conception of an esoteric science and its transmission: true knowledge is inaccessible to the rational mind. This epistemological tenet caused his writings to be spiked with metaphor, innuendo, and at times, obscurity. He mistrusted the written word, disliked writing because truth was inevitably degraded when committed to paper through a profane language. This attitude most clearly ordinates the lineage along which he inscribes himself by his premises and his results. His low regard for “demotic” writing as a means of truth-communication made personal contact with him invaluable, for he had no such reservations concerning the spoken word, the word of gesture. Thus he actively believed in oral transmission of a kind of knowledge best called “gnosis,”  and in private, I always found him accessible to leisurely conversation on the most exalted topics. As our relationship soon proved more than casual, his information became increasingly direct, in contrast to his written expression which often presents problems of meaning and referent.more »
To such an epistemology, personal contact is the kingpin of communication, and I found out later to what extent his frame of reference was tailored to his correspondent. ...
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