Steve KrakowskiThe Great Primordial Languange Rediscovered
Throughout recorded history there have been many myths of a great
primordial language which was once shared by all beings. This language was more than just grammar or syntax, it was the essential structure of all existence � the ursprache code that God used to create the universe, the world, and life itself. Some might argue that this is the pure language of science � a language of numbers and formulas to which the universe constrains itself. Others would say that this is a language of poetry and metaphor, an ancient cant which contains the power of both creation and destruction. Either way, this mythical language has been woven into our collective psyches since the dawn of time � and the search to unravel it has long been a "Holy Grail" for both scholars and mystics alike.
For at least 2000 years, Hebrew numerologists and students of the Qabala have been searching the Old Testament for God's grand code. The following verse of the Bible is especially interesting to students of the Qabala, since it is the only verse which contains all twenty-two Hebrew letters and their five final forms.
Zephaniah 3:8 "Therefore wait ye for Me, saith the Lord, until that day that I rise up to the prey; for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the
kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy."
The verse directly following this prophesy then goes on to speak of a "pure language" which will allow all of humanity to serve Yahweh with one speech.
Zephaniah 3:9 "For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent."
Interestingly, these two verses are a complete reversal of the events described in Genesis 11:1-9; the story of the tower of Babel. It is generally assumed that the pure language
mentioned in Zephaniah 3:9 is Hebrew, but what are the odds that Hebrew will eventually become the one common language spoken by all people? Perhaps Zephaniah is prophesying something more than a mere spoken or written language, but the pure language of creation that we already share.
Scientists often use language as a metaphor when describing the structures and processes of DNA replication and cell biology. Scientists refer to nucleotides and amino acids (the basic chemical components of life) as "alphabets"; and the larger chemical structures made of genetic alphabets are called "words" or "genetic sentences." The process of creating messenger RNA is called "transcription" and the process of turning "messenger" RNA into proteins is termed "translation." To science, DNA is the essential language spoken by all living things. By unlocking the intricate mysteries of DNA, scientists will soon have the godlike powers to create new life from scratch. DNA is the code for life, and that code replicates itself into everything we are.
The oldest book in the Hebrew occult tradition is the Sefer Yetzirah or "Book of Creation." It describes, in a magical way, how Yahweh created the universe and all living things using the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is said that God molded the letters as bits of clay into parallel and complementary strings � much like the lattices of DNA. The text goes on to say that those who learn this creation magic can also create living things � like golems and small animals. This sounds very much like a description of genetic engineering.
Following this genetic language metaphor a little further, it is interesting to note that the 64 unique codons of the DNA "alphabet" are always found in groups which code for 22
specific genetic "letters." Each one of these genetic letters codes for a specific amino acid or a start/stop punctuation message in the chain. Since the Hebrew alphabet also has 22 letters � some which contain full stops and punctuation � I decided to see if I could find a meaningful isomorphism between the chemical language of life and the written language of one of Earth's oldest cultures.
divining the isomorphism
In G�del, Escher, Bach, Douglas R. Hofstadter defines an isomorphism as "an information preserving transformation." His deeper definition is: "The word 'isomorphism' applies when two complex structures can be mapped onto each other, in such a way that to each part of one structure there is a corresponding part in the other structure, where 'corresponding' means that the two parts play similar roles in their
respective structures." In trying to find an isomorphism between Hebrew and DNA structuring, I decided to start by studying the isomorphisms already noticed between DNA and the ancient Chinese system of divination, the I Ching. In recent years, there have been many books which successfully establish very detailed isomorphic maps between the 64 hexagrams (or kua) of the I Ching and the 64 codons which compose the complete genetic code. (see references on page 49)
According to Hofstadter an isomorphism has at least two levels: the "lower level" is a
mapping between physical structures and mechanics in the two systems; and the "higher level" is where deeper mapping of meaning either emerges or is extracted. On the lower level of the DNA/I Ching isomorphism, we find a few similarities right off the top. The 64 kua of the I Ching are constructed by using four emblematic symbols: Old Yang, Young Yang, Old Yin, and Young Yin. DNA codons are also made up of four essential nucleic acids: Adenine, Guanine, Cystosine, and Uracil. When comparing them, they can be logically grouped into the following order:
Adenine is the main component of adenosine triphosphate, the chemical which generates the energy for cellular metabolism, and the purines have a common atomic structure based on 9 atoms. I assigned Old Yang to Adenine because Old Yang's "ritual number" is 9 and yang represents energy in the I Ching (yin represents matter). The other 3 emblem/ nucleotide assignments follow logically because of similar correspondences in their natures (At my web site you can examine the entire line of reasoning which leads to these particular mappings, but in this article I can only give you the highlights). Using this particular table, you can assign any hexagram of the I Ching to its own unique DNA codon by substituting 9 for Adenine (A), 6 for Uracil (U), 7 for Guanine (G), and 8 for Cystosine (C).
Now that we've created a structural mapping between DNA and the I Ching, we can stretch the isomorphism to another level. The 64 codons of DNA form groups of groups which code for 22 separate amino acid or punctuation groups. The 22 codon groups of the genetic code can be broken down into 3 classes: 3 codons code for punctuation (Start or Stop); 7 codon groups code for hydrophobic amino acids; 12 codon groups code for hydrophilic amino acids. Amazingly, assigning Hebrew letters to the codon groups was made quite easy by the coincidence that in the Sefer Yetzirah, the 22 Hebrew letters are also broken down into 3 classes: 3 letters are "mothers"; 7 letters are "doubles"; 12 letters are "simples".
Suddenly the isomorphism was clear. I was constrained in making my letter to amino acid assignments by staying within the corresponding groups of 3, 7, and 12. In other words, if I wanted to match one of the 7 double letters of the Hebrew alphabet to a corresponding DNA codon group, I could only look at the 7 codon groups which code for the 7 hydrophobic amino acids. Yet from which of these 7 should I chose? Since the lower level structural isomorphism between the Hebrew alphabet and codon groups has led us this far, I thought it might be helpful to start looking for a higher level correspondence to provide the symbolic meaning necessary to make the final assignments between the Hebrew letters and the codon group/kua assignments.
Since there is insufficient symbolic content assigned to the Hebrew letters all by themselves, it is difficult to map a deeper meaning onto the complex messages of the 64 kua of the I Ching. However, the 22 major arcana cards of the divination system known as the Tarot have had Hebrew letters assigned to them since at least the late 19th century. By matching the Tarot card which corresponds with a specific Hebrew letter to the 7 DNA codons and corresponding I Ching kua, I hypothesized that I could create a meaning isomorphic bridge between symbolic concepts in both the I Ching and the Tarot through the filter of genetic code.
In this isomorphic occult translation I have devised, the 22 trumps of the Tarot perform roughly the same function as transfer RNA does within the replication of a cell � it helps to translate raw data into a form that can be interpreted, processed, and replicated. Each tRNA molecule contains an amino acid at one end and an anticodon at the other end. Each major arcana card of the Tarot has a Hebrew letter at one end and a set of symbols, images, and concepts at the other. But for there to be a true isomorphism between the systems we are comparing, there would need to be a higher level mapping of meaning between the symbolic content of a Hebrew/Tarot card group and their corresponding I Ching kua and DNA codon groups.
Since there are possibly hundreds of ancient and modern interpretations of the I Ching; and literally thousands of different Tarot decks, I pondered which ones I should use. To simplify, I chose those two interpretations which, I believe, represent the best and most widely studied in their field. The Wilhelm/Baynes I Ching is probably the most widely used English translation of this ancient divination system, and critics laud it for its comprehensiveness and fidelity to Chinese thought. For the Tarot, Aleister Crowley is
considered by many who study the occult to be the preeminent authority and compiler of symbolic knowledge. His Thoth Tarot is both widely used and highly regarded. In addition, Crowley also wrote his own interpretation of the I Ching; and so it was reasonable to include his thoughts in my comparison of both divination systems.
Amazingly, the task of content comparison was not as difficult as I first thought it would be. In fact, the correspondences fairly fell into place! I now had a Hebrew letter assignment for every one of the 64 codons, 20 amino acids, and 2 termination codon groups. In the end I had an occult artifact that was, part for part, isomorphic with the universal genetic code. I called it the "Occult Genetic Code". If an isomorphism is an information preserving transformation, then what information served? Do the messenger RNA strands carry a message written in ancient Hebrew or a Proto-Canaanite
precursor of Hebrew?
I don't have space enough to give you a content comparison for all of the Tarot/I Ching correspondences I found through the occult genetic code, so one example will have to suffice. But be aware that when viewed through the filter of genetic transcription, the similarity of content in the sample below is repeated for the other 21 letter groups in the occult genetic code.
pe, the tower
he card called "The Tower" has the "double" letter Pe assigned to it. Therefore, when trying to make a content match, I am restrained to look among the 7 kua/codon groups which correspond to the hydrophobic amino acids. Among those codon groups is one which contains the following kua/codons which code for the amino acid leucine.
CUC=868=kua 3 "Difficulty in the Beginning"
UUA=667=kua 20 "Contemplation (View)"
UUG=667=kua 23 "Splitting Apart"
CUU=866=kua 24 "Return (The Turning Point)"
CUG=867=kua 27 "The Corners of the Mouth"
CUA=869=kua 42 "Increase"
We will first examine the kua to see if they contain any imagery found in The Tower, and later we will compare the conceptual content to determine if the symbols stand for or illustrate the same set of concepts. The Tower is a tall, strong human-made edifice, but its roof is shattered by lightning and its foundation is assaulted by the mouth of Dis (a god of chaos). Weakened by attacks from both sides, it splits apart and falls into ruins. Human figures are seen falling. Its Hebrew letter is Pe; which coincidently means "a mouth".
Now let's check to see if there is any overlapping Tower imagery in the I Ching:
Wilhelm: (kua 3) ... The situation points to teeming, chaotic profusion; ... But the chaos clears up. A thunderstorm brings release from tension, ...
Wilhelm: (kua 20) The hexagram can be understood as picturing a type of tower characteristic of ancient China.
Wilhelm: (kua 23) The lines of the hexagram present the image of a house,... and because the roof is being shattered the house collapses.
Wilhelm: (kua 27) This hexagram is a picture of an open mouth; ...
So, with just these four kua, we have all of the salient images and symbols incorporated in the Tarot card the Tower. We now turn our attention to the concepts associated with these symbols. According to Crowley, The Tower represents ruin, destruction, danger, and sudden death.
Kua 23, The sequence: Splitting apart means ruin.
Crowley: (I Ching, kua 23) "Overthrow" Falling; over- turning; ... Destroy, ... the small man digs his grave.
Crowley names kua 3 "Danger and Obscurity".
What is the meaning of all this danger, destruction and ruin? What significance can this imagery have for an individual or for a society?
Crowley: Breakdown the fortress of thine individual self, that the truth may spring free from the ruins.
Wilhelm: (kua 23) The thought, here taken together with that in the next hexagram (24), shows the connection between decay and resurrection.
Wilhelm: (kua 24) ... the hexagram counsels turning away from the confusion of external things, turning back to one's inner light.
Kua 24, Appended judgements: Return leads to self-knowledge.
Crowley: (I Ching, kua 24) Coming back; thou'rt free to come and go.
Crowley: ... escape from prison.
All of kua 20, in Wilhelm's translation, deals with the viewing or contemplation of one's life and times. It counsels self-knowledge, self-examination and the overcoming of
Crowley: (I Ching, kua 20) Consider thy life's course, lest action err, and criticize thy soul's true character.
To summarize, both systems use the same imagery to illustrate the same set of concepts; i.e. a chaotic storm splitting apart a large human-made edifice. This symbolizes the necessity to destroy the structure of ego in preparation for the reconstruction of a new broader-based conception of self suited to the ever-changing times.
These same symbols and concepts used on the personal level also apply to social and historical levels. The "tower syndrome" always leads to the death of naive egotism and the subsequent resurrection, from its ruins, of a more fully functional self. Crowley also interprets this card as symbolizing the death or destruction of an era and its subsequent resurrection in a new civilization more in tune with the will of heaven. The persons who have experienced their own "tower syndrome" and learned the necessary lessons will be in a position to understand and deal with, in an appropriate way, the simultaneous dissolution of one world view and its replacement with a new and more functional world view. The kua give advice for ameliorating the worst effects of such a transition.
Wilhelm: (kua 42) To rule truly is to serve. This conception also expresses the fundamental idea on which the book of changes is based.
Crowley: (I Ching, kua 42) Increase; now's no time to sit and shiver; but to move on, even to cross the river. ... Let all men share in thine improved estate! By soul's disorders realms disintegrate.
It is widely accepted by students of the Tarot that the story of "The Tower" is based on the biblical tower of Babel. The mouth symbol represents the confusion of languages that was a deity's response to human arrogance. In the biblical story, Yahweh undoes the work of an ambitious civilization in a fit of jealousy and fear. Then, to keep the advancing society from reorganizing against him, he confounds their common language and scatters the peoples to the far corners of the earth.
Unlike biblical scholars, the philosophers of the I Ching didn't require a vengeful deity to understand why prosperous peoples got punished. They understood, from their observations of the cycles of nature, that times of relative abundance are
invariably followed by times of relative scarcity; and so they warned those in positions of authority to prepare for this eventuality. If the leadership does not heed this advice, the punishment is swift and all encompassing. The fall from the heights of prosperity can wipe out generations of progress and compel all concerned to start again.
Kua 42, "Increase," marks the beginning of decline. To soften the worst effects of the time to come one should work on broadening the base of participation in the relative abundance occurring in the time of increase. To do otherwise leads to the "tower syndrome" for the entire society. To continue the material growth of society for the benefit of only those at the top of the economic and social pyramid (and at the expense of those composing its base) is to persist in a process which will bring inevitable and irrevocable destruction to that society. With the powers now available to us, this destruction (fire is often the agent predicted) will, with high probability, end the human experiment on this planet.
The Hebrew name Zephaniah means "God has hidden (something)." If that something was knowledge of the genetic code, and that knowledge was secreted away within the occult Qabala ("hidden tradition") of Earth's ancient cultures; then its rediscovery at this time may be the fulfillment of a portion of Zephaniah's prophecy. If so, what comes next?
If you study all 22 of the trot/kua comparisons you will see that the content of the two divination systems is identical; and that the isomorphism between the two systems manifests only when the 64 kua of the I Ching and the 22 major arcana of the Tarot are arranged in the same way as the 64 codons and 22 amino acid and punctuation codons are arranged in the genetic code. This is too much coincidence for me; and the only conclusion I can draw from its existence is that it is somehow intentional. The occult genetic code is a meta-message, a pointer to the existence of a genuine message from its designers within the encyclopedic text called the human genome. Do we have the courage to find and decipher it?
Steve Krakowski is a management sciences consultant and computer programmer currently working in the security field. He is a self-styled guerrilla ontologist who plays seriously with the ancient traditions. You can find out more about the Occult Genetic Code at: http://ddi.digital.net/~krakowss/index.htm.
Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation; Aryeh Kaplan, Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach Maine, 1990.
DNA and the I Ching: The Tao of Life; Jonathan F. Yan, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA., 1991
The I Ching & the Genetic Code: The Hidden Key to Life; Martin Schonberger, ASI Publishers Inc., New York N.Y., 1979.
The I Ching or Book of Changes; Richard Wilhelm translator, rendered from the German into English by C.F. Baynes, Princeton University Press, Princeton N.J., 1976
G�del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid; Douglas R. Hofstadter, Vintage Books, New York, N. Y., 1980
The Book of Thoth (Egyptian Tarot); Aleister Crowley, U.S. Game Systems, Inc., New York N.Y., 1979
The I Ching; Aleister Crowley, Level Press, San Francisco, Calif., 1974