Speculative Diagrams

poetry, reading

I am a big fan of speculative diagrams in writing. These are diagrams that do not analyze or explicate an idea, but are generative and imaginative jumping off points, or represent something ineffable. For example here is a diagram from Thomas Moynihan’s Spinal Catastrophism: A Secret History. 


Spinal Catastrophism

Thomas Moynihan’s Spinal Catastrophism: A Secret History

And Nick Land – I know we cant talk about him – but here is a diagram from Fanged Noumena. 

And this from Glass Bead! A Thought Disincarnate: What Does it Mean to Think?
Daniel Sacilotto

You get the picture….

Anyway I was reading Henry Corbin on Swedenborg and Islamic mysticism. It includes an account of a mystical and esoteric landscape, about imbuing things we take as indexical as symbolic and filled with meaning.  There is an interesting discussion about number. There is the dyad – the polarity – masculine and feminine (exoteric and esoteric), there is the trinity (material, spiritual, celestial), and there is the fourfold (the ages, the modes of interpretation), there is the 12 (the 12 imams, also the 12 notes in the chromatic scale)… Anyway I was thinking about how would I represent this as a diagram.

How would I make a speculative diagram that would complement this reading? Well first I started making a list of all the things that are numbered. Then I made a list of all the objects or images that I thought were salient. Finally I made a list of italicized/foreign words.

This is my first attempt. The ark sort of looks like a dog or something.