Friday, January 7, 2011

Ayn Sof

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — m759 @ 7:26 PM

(A continuation of this morning's Coxeter and the Aleph)

"You've got to pick up every stitch… Must be the season of the witch."
Donovan song at the end of Nicole Kidman's "To Die For"

Mathematics and Narrative, Illustrated



"As is well known, the Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
Its use for the strange sphere in my story may not be accidental.
For the Kabbala, the letter stands for the En Soph ,
the pure and boundless godhead; it is also said that it takes
the shape of a man pointing to both heaven and earth, in order to show
that the lower world is the map and mirror of the higher; for Cantor's
Mengenlehre , it is the symbol of transfinite numbers,
of which any part is as great as the whole."

— Borges, "The Aleph"

From WorldLingo.com

Ein Sof

Ein Soph or Ayn Sof (Hebrew  אין סוף, literally "without end", denoting "boundlessness" and/or "nothingness"), is a Kabbalistic term that usually refers to an abstract state of existence preceding God's Creation of the limited universe. This Ein Sof , typically referred to figuratively as the "light of Ein Sof " ("Or Ein Sof "), is the most fundamental emanation manifested by God. The Ein Sof  is the material basis of Creation that, when focused, restricted, and filtered through the sefirot , results in the created, dynamic universe.

Cultural impact

Mathematician Georg Cantor labeled different sizes of infinity using the Aleph. The smallest size of infinity is aleph-null (0), the second size is aleph-one (1), etc. One theory about why Cantor chose to use the aleph is because it is the first letter of Ein-Sof. (See Aleph number)

"Infinite Jest… now stands as the principal contender
for what serious literature can aspire to
in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries."

All Things Shining, a work of pop philosophy published January 4th


"You're gonna need a bigger boat." — Roy Scheider in "Jaws"

"We're gonna need more holy water." — "Season of the Witch," a film opening tonight

See also, with respect to David Foster Wallace, infinity, nihilism,
and the above reading of "Ayn Sof" as "nothingness,"
the quotations compiled as "Is Nothing Sacred?"

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