Friday, November 16, 2007

the alphabet is a wellspring...

"have you ever noticed that the letter Y is a picturesque letter open to countless different interpretations? a tree is in the shape of a Y; the fork of two roads forms a Y; two rivers flow together in a Y; the head of a donkey or that of an ox is in the shape of a Y; the stem of a glass is Y-shaped; a lily on its stalk is a Y; a man who prays to the heavens raises his arms in the shape of a Y.

besides, this observation can be applied to all aspects of what constitutes basic human writing. all that is to be found in the demotic language is there because it was put there by hieratic. the hieroglyph is the essential root of the written character. all letters began as signs, and all signs began as images.

human society, the world, and the whole of mankind is to be found in the alphabet. freemasonry, astronomy, philosophy, all the sciences find their true, albeit imperceptible, beginnings there; so it must be. the alphabet is a wellspring.

A is the roof, the gable with its crossbar, the arch; or it is the greeting of two friends who embrace and shake hands; D is the back; B is D upon D, the back on the back, the hump; C is the crescent, the moon; E is the foundations, the pillar, the console, and the architrave, the whole of architecture in a single letter; F is the gallows, the the gibbet, furca; G is the french horn; H is the facade of a building with its two towers; I is a war machine launching its projectile; J is the plowshare and the horn of plenty; K is the angle of reflection equal to the angle of incidence, one of the keys to geometry; L is the leg and the foot; M is a mountain or a camp where the tents are pitched in pairs; N is a gate closed by a diagonal bar; O is the sun; P is the porter standing with a burden on his back; Q is the rump and the tail; R represents rest, the porter leaning his stick; S is the snake; T the hammer; U is the urn; V the vase (hence the two are often confused); i have already discussed Y; X is crossed swords, combat - who will be the victor? we do not know - so the mystics adopted X as the sign of destiny, and algebraists chose it to represent the unknown; Z is lightning, it is god.

so, first man's house and his architecture, then his body, its structure and its weaknesses; then justice, music, the church; war, harvest, and geometry; the mountains, nomadic life, cloistered life; astronomy; work and rest; the horse and the serpent; the hammer and the urn that can be upturned and strung up to make a bell; trees, rivers, roads; and finally destiny and god; that is what the alphabet contains."

victor hugo, travel notebooks, 1839, in writing: the story of alphabets and scripts by george jean, 1992

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