[ilds] beloved Kabbalah!

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 2 10:57:45 PDT 2010

Re the "Cabal" and Carlo Suares, the relevant sections occur on pp. 307-10 of Michael Haag's Alexandria:  City of Memory (2004).  I'm not sure how Durrell (influenced by Suares) makes the jump from the Kabbalah to his personal philosophy or "heraldic principle," as expressed in the "airgraph" to Diana Gould, about "self-indulgence."  Namely:  "Where you wish to conquer indulge and refine, never prohibit" (p. 308).  This reminds me of Blake's Proverbs of Hell and his philosophy of excess:  "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom," "Prisons are built with stone of law, brothels with bricks of religion," "The cistern contains; the fountain overflows," etc.  Is there a connection outside of Durrell's rampant imagination?


On Aug 1, 2010, at 11:49 PM, Denise Tart & David Green wrote:

> Dear Illyas,
> yes, OK, perhaps beloved is going too far, but let us recall Durrell's deep interest in Eastern Philosophy and also other 'ways of living' Philosophies.
> MHaag provides good evidence for LD's high affinity for Kabbalism (cabbalism....)
> The following is from his book Alexandria: City of Memory which I hope he wont mind being quoted on this forum
> "Carlo Suares became one of the models for Balthazar in The Quartet.
> Durrell's notion of a cabalistic group of Mediterranean adepts came  
> from Carlo Suares whose interests during the 1930s had expanded beyond  
> Krishnamurti and into the world of Jewish mysticism which just then  
> was undergoing a revival. In particular Suares had been delving into  
> the Sepher Yetsirah, a third-century account of the means by which God  
> created the universe. The Psalmist wrote, 'By the word of the Lord  
> were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his  
> mouth', and so the Sepher Yetsirah claims that the divine utterance  
> included all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet which in their various  
> combinations make up the holy language, the language of creation. To  
> each letter is assigned a number, which taken together were the  
> instruments by which God created the cosmos in all its infinite  
> variety. For the cabalist, this system of linguistical and numerical  
> manipulation would reveal to him the real meaning, the true  
> revelation, contained in cypher form within the Book of Genesis and  
> other holy texts, but it was also seen as a means of revealing the  
> structure of universal energy. To Suares the release of this energy  
> involved a transcending exaltation of the seven deadly sins, whose  
> real significance, he believed, could be traced back to Gnostic  
> origins; and to achieve full realisation of oneself, said Suares, it  
> was necessary to become aware of the energies of these 'sins' and  
> their true values so as to be able to integrate them into oneself. ...
> Suares and his mystical Hebrew alphabet gave Durrell the idea in  
> Justine for Balthazar's cabalistic group with its exchanges of  
> Hermetic philosophy written in Greek in boustrophedon form. But though  
> there are rumours that Suares was working for French intelligence, and  
> while at the heart of the medieval cabala was the belief that the  
> spiritual dislocation of the Jews would be healed when they returned  
> to Zion, there is otherwise no indication that his get-togethers at  
> Saba Pasha were a screen for Zionist activities. That was left to  
> Durrell's imagination when after completing Justine he decided to  
> extend his Book of the Dead into a political thriller.
> And....
> And in April 1945, after his adventures with Suares and his group,  
> Durrell wrote this letter to the dancer Diana Gould, the future wife  
> of Yehudi Menuhin:
> Myself I have been drafting notes for the book of the dead which is to  
> be about (a) incest (b) Alexandria (c) The Hermetics. I have been  
> examining the doctrine of the modern cabbalists and have evolved from  
> it a philosophy of self-indulgence very Alexandrian in its refinement.  
> My Grand Inquisitor says: 'What I have to offer the world is not a  
> morality but an aesthetic. Where all religions tend to prohibit,  
> exclude or sort out human behaviour, my aesthetic includes: Our object  
> is the same: to remove envy, greed and other vices from the human  
> nature. I say indulge them but refine yourself by them and thus refine  
> them too. Take experience for a laboratory. No sin can remain sin if  
> it is informed by this principle which I call the heraldic principle.  
> Where you wish to conquer indulge and refine, never prohibit.  
> Prohibition by the law of opposite increases demand'."
> It is the norm on this list to talk about what he wrote rather than what he read, or thought or indeed to discuss who he was. I am personally very interested in Durrell's emerging self and the transformative processes of his life. His literature maybe save territory for scholarship but the man offers us a more challenging world, perhaps..
> David
> Denise Tart
> designing ceremonies
> Civil Celebrant - A8807
> 16 William Street
> Marrickville NSW  2204
> +61 2 9564 6165
> 0412 707 625
> dtart at bigpond.net.au
> www.denisetart.com.au

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