aleph symbol with title UNSONG

Book I: Genesis

Section header image. A girl on a ladder holding a golden letter L, while a man looks on. Underneath is the quote Now I heard there was a sacred word / That Jala said and it named the Lord / But you don't really know of magic, or us / It goes like this, a tav, a resh / A fearsome joy, a fervent wish / The Comet King incanting haMephorash -- Leonard Cohen, haMephorash

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13 Responses to Book I: Genesis

  1. gbear605 says:

    Oh come on. Really, just a title page?

    Okay, analysis time:

    So the quote is a the song “Hallelujah,” with words changed. Leonard Cohen played a version of it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttEMYvpoR-k

    Original:
    Well I’ve heard there was a secret chord
    That David played and it pleased the Lord
    But you don’t really care for music, do you?
    Well it goes like this:
    The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
    The baffled king composing Hallelujah

    chord -> word
    David -> Jala
    pleased -> named
    care for music, do you -> know of magic, or us
    tav -> fourth
    fifth -> resh
    minor fall -> fearsome joy
    major lift -> fervent wish
    Baffled King -> Comet King
    composing -> incanting
    Hallelujah -> haMephorash

    The Shem HaMephorash is “an originally Tannaitic term describing a hidden name of God in Kabbalah” (Wikipedia)

    Leonard Cohen also wrote “Who by Fire,” a piece relating to Deathism, a philosophy that is usually a part of Rationalism. This song is sometimes sung at Solstice Rituals, which Scott goes to.

    • Oh, don’t worry, there’s a chapter up too now.

    • Eugen says:

      I think you proved I’m not worthy of reading these lines.

    • gbear605 says:

      Jala is an Arabic/African female name meaning “Shining” or “Special One.”

      The Comet King is referenced in the first chapter as being one of the “four kabbalists [that] have ever gazed upon Adam Kadmon bare”

      “Tav” is the 22nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet, “Resh” is the 20th letter.

      The guy in the picture is probably the main character (of Chapter 1 at least), while the girl is probably “Ana”

      • Zippy says:

        As revealed in the first chapter, Aaron Smith-Teller, our protagonist, is 22 years old. Perhaps he is the tav.

        Prediction: Ana is 20 years old, and thus the resh.

    • rossry says:

      “Who by Fire” also includes the line “Who by very slow decay”, the title of a famous SSC post.

    • Not to nag, but the Cohen lyric is

      “But you don’t really care for music, do ya?”

      That way, it rhymes.

  2. Jason Gross says:

    If anyone wants a kindle version of this book, I’ve adapted a ruby scraper here: https://github.com/JasonGross/unsong_scraper. (If desired, I can take it down.)

  3. anonymous says:

    So I’m not sure whether you were the one who drew the cover art or whether someone else did, but I must nitpick and say that the lady’s legs are far too short. Legs are significantly longer than most people intuitively try to draw them. If you fold your legs up to your chest, you will find (within a reasonable margin of error) that your thighs and your shins are about the same length as your torso.

  4. Sukil says:

    Hello, I don’t know if this is intentional, but in the Table of Contents the link text for this link is just a : symbol. It’s a weird thing to see, that’s why I commented.

  5. I probably should have put this on the one before, but I clicked through too fast to stop. Had to read more. That’s got to be the greatest opening page I’ve read this year.

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