Thursday, October 09, 2008

Being and Nothingness

According to Fazlallah, the dividing line between Being and Nothingness was sound, because everything that passed from the spiritual to the material world had its own sound; even the "most silent" objects made a sound when knocked together. The most advanced sounds were, of course, words; words were the magic building blocks of the exalted thing we called speech and they were made up of letters. Those wishing to understand the meaning of existence and the sanctity of life and see God's manifestations here on earth had only to read the letters hidden in the faces of men.

We were all born with two brow lines, four eyelash lines, and one hairline - seven lines in all. At puberty, when our "late arriving" noses divided our faces into two, the number of letters engraved on them increased to fourteen. When we took into account the more poetic real and imaginary lines, the number doubled again, to prove beyond all shadow of doubt that it was not by coincidence that the Prophet Mohammed had spoken in a language with twenty-eight letters, or that it was this language that had brought the Koran into being. But Persian, Fazlallah's native tongue and the language in which he wrote The Book of Eternal Life, uses thirty-two letters, so Fazlallah, wishing to see all the letters of the alphabet in every face, found the four extra characters by looking more carefully at the hair and chin lines and dividing them into two.

The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk page 298

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