Subj: SEPHIR MOLUS (LONG)
From: markk@cypress.West.Sun.COM (Mark Kampe)
Subject: Sephir Molus (LONG)
Date: 3 Dec 1993 02:32:30 GMT
Organization: SunSoft South
Sepher Molus - a Kabalistic View of Software Development
by Fr. cos Ingeniorum (0=0) "credo quia absurdum"
I can offer no explainations for where this idea came from.
I was examining with a neo-platonic metaphor for software,
when a Kabalistic approach crashed (uninvited) into my
awareness. I toyed with it for less than a minute
and concluded that it might work ... by which time I was
hooked. Rather than try to pull the hook out, I decided
it was probably easier to push the hook through.
I must offer my appologies to any readers who like Kabala
and software development. I must offer a very special
appology to people who are familiar with one, but not the
other ... because this will surely give you a warped view
of what the other discipline is all about.
I'm not really sure what my goal was, but if you can't
tell when I'm talking about programming, and when I am
talking about Kaballa, I have probably achieved it.
Ain-Soph-Aur - limitless light
This is the ultimate source of the energy the permeates
the tree. Fifty years ago a massive orgasm of information
began on our planet, now fed by an industry that, EACH
SECOND, produces enough storage to house all of human
history, and more computational power than all of the
scribes and mathematicians who have ever lived.
In the Ain-Soph-Aur information has no meaning and
serves no purpose, it merely exists ... in inconceivable
volumes, in perfect repose, in dizzying motion, and
in a continual dance of quantum transformation ...
existing simultaneously in all states.
This is a place that has been entirely created by
human minds and hands ... but in its existance
is incomprehensible to human imagination. An
understanding of the pieces conveys not even the
slighest inkling of scope, awe and wonder of
Atziluth - the realm of emanation
where the concepts that underly the software come
into being (the recognition of the need and the
visualization of a solution that is 'at one' with
the need and the available technology)
this is the point at which the limitless
light of the Ain-Soph-Aur enters the tree,
and acquires meaning ... but it is still
undifferentiated. It is within Kether
that all meanings and all possible meanings
are come about, in which all needs and all
solutions simultaneously exist in an
this is not a place where linear thought
is possible, or where we can operate ...
but we can visit this place, and gain
valuable insights while we are there.
the inspiration for a solution, not yet
reduced to any form, a realization of an
information flow and transformation that
fulfills the need.
This is the place where a potential solution
first becomes recognizable as such and the
spring from which they well.
the constraints of the hardware, the language,
the run-time environment, the problem to be
solved ... these are the forms into which
a solution must fit.
visions arrising in Chochma that are not
also in accordance with Binah are doomed
to failure, and unlikely even to make it
across the abyss of Daath.
an accomplished master will find that all
of the visions that arrise in Chochma are
automatically in accordance with Binah,
because Binah has been fully integrated
into the creative consciousness.
Daath - the abyss of knowledge
this is the abyss that separates divine inspiration from
worldly knowledge. It is possible to operate very effectively
in the world, without ever having glimpsed Atziluth. Similarly,
many ideas only exist in Atziluth and never find their way below
Daath, and so will never know manifestation.
relatively few people are comfortable operating both above and
below Daath ... but for those who can do so, their mastery is
readily evident in both their understanding and their achievements.
It is not sufficient to be merely able to operate above and
below the abyss. One must be able to, on demand, operate
at the appropriate level, but never fixate on that level to
the exclusion of others.
with increasing mastery comes the ability to draw on more
of Kether, to take fuller, richer and more complex draughts
from Chochma, and a more complete, persistant and automatic
recognition of/submission to Binah ... and bring these things
across the abyss so that they can become manifest.
actually, it is not all that difficult to cross the abyss
into Atziluth and marvel at its wonders ... the trick is
bringing back anything of consequence from Atziluth when
we return to Briah.
it is held by many that in order to freely traverse the
abyss, one must have mastered (and must manifest) the
sephera of Chessed and Geburah ... for only concepts
so purified can exist in both Atziluth and Briah. A
model must be fleshed out by Chessed and purified by
Geburah if it is to survive manifestation. Unless you
have already mastered Chessed and Geburah, it is unlikely
that the inspirations you encounter in Atziluth will
survive below Daath.
it should be recognized that experience also travels back
up the Tree. Practical experience gained below Daath, when
properly abstracted (through the archetypal forces of
Chessed and Geburah) becomes fit for Atziluth, and
contributes to the raw material of Chochma, Binah and
Briah - the realm of creation
where the dynamics of the system become clarified,
expanded, refined and understood. This is the difference
between an inspiration and a real design.
this is the place of abundant options,
and alternatives, from whence spring
all possibilities (whether viable or
the difference between Chessed and Chochma
is the abstraction, scope, and provinance
of the inspirations. The abundance of
Chessed manifests itself in specific problem
situations, in response to specific needs,
and from related experience. The energy
of Chockmah is far more general, comes unbidden
and exists independently from any specific
The abilities to work well in Chessed and
Chochma are not the same, although they are
surely related - and each contributes to the
this is the crucible wherein the optimistic
options of chessed are tested against external
reality (problem, technology, requirements) and
to some extent Geburah is merely a more concrete
manifestation of Binah ... but the limitations of
Binah are general and fundamental, whereas the
challenges of Geburah are specific to the particular
situation. Binah defines the forms in which software
can be expressed and in which it must function.
These forms exist independently of our problem
and solution. Geburah, on the other hand, shows
us the consequences (within those forms) of the
decisions we have made.
Just as it is possible to integrate an understanding
of Binah so well that our Chochma inspirations are
automatically in accordance with Binah ... so it is
possible to understand the action of Geburah so
well that we come to see options and consequences
as inseparable aspects of a single whole, coming into
existance and being recognized simulataneously.
This is the mastery/integration of Chessed and Geburah
that makes it possible to recognize, assemble, and
retrieve significant and useful insights from Atziluth.
Without this mastery we cannot distinguish epiphany
from delusion, and are unlikely to be able to breathe
life into the concepts we encounter.
Tiphereth is the heart of the tree, the place
where Hod and Netzach, Chessed and Geburah
are all blended together and flows are adjusted
so that the entire tree might function as a harmonious
Tiphereth is the place of the teacher and the
student, of the helper and the helped. It is
the place where one who understands gives to
one who needs ... despite that the recipient
often does not (at the time) know what is
actually needed or understand what is actually
Tiphereth is the place of the wounded healer,
where negative experiences are turned positive
when the lessons learned are shared with others,
and where the helper often gets as much benefit
as the helped.
Tiphereth is the place that makes the hard
decisions and does what is necessary.
Paroketh - the veil that separates worldy from archetypal
The veil of Paroketh divides the tree through Tiphereth.
Below Paroketh are common human experiences, readily
accessible to all. Above/behind the veil are archetypal
experiences, generally only accessable to initiates
who have been trained to recognized and manifest them.
Yetzirah - the realm of formation
where the evolved design is translated into an implementation.
Most non-initiates believe that Yetzirah (or even Hod) is all
there is to programming.
Netzach is the place of passion. It is here
that the programmer finds expression. Netzach
is a place of ego and pride, and it is perhaps
here that the love of programming arrises and
It is Netzach that will not be defeated, and
that persists in the face of frustrations. It
is Netzach that cannot decline a challenge. It
is Netzach that awards and celebrates the victor's
It is Netzach that will not accept an inelegant
or incomplete solution. It is Netzach
Hod is the place of intellect and skill. It
is the place that collects experience and
learns lessons. It is the place of logic,
is one of the easiest places where the program
and programmer can be 'at one'.
Hod knows languages and conventions. Hod
has memorized protocols and algorithms. Hod
recognizes symptoms and knows techniques for
approaching problems. Hod amasses information,
shares it, and seeks more information.
Yesod is the place of the unconscious, and
perhaps a much better repository for experience
than Hod. Yesod experiences Malkuth directly,
and as filtered by Hod and Netzach ... and
ultimlately gives rise to Hod, Netzach and
Yesod is the place of intuition and gut feelings.
It is the place of fears and doubts, and of knowledge
that is too foolish to voice ... but true none the
Yesod is the foundation, and it is in Yesod that
our values (both aesthetic and ethical) are take
shape, and then give shape to our work and our lives.
Yesod is not seen directly in our code, for it only
manifests itself through Hod, Netzach and Tiphereth,
yet it acts inexorably though those agencies and
in fact cannot be hidden.
If we are cautious or bold, it will be seen in
the risks we take. If we are outgoing or reclusive,
it will be seen in the extent to which our creations
reaches out to other people. If we are provincial
or worldly, it will be seen in the ideoms we employ.
If we are meticulous or casual, it will be seen in
our attention to detail. Vanity, confidence, wit,
obsession ... all of these will inevitably find
expression in our creations.
Assiah - the realm of action
where the software actually executes
The upper nine sephera of the tree are as the first
nine months of gestation. No matter what happens
durring the first nine months, a being who does not
emerge into the tenth month is still-born, and not
a part of the Olam of action. The other sephera,
important as they are only filter and direct the flow
of energy into Malkuth.
It is in Malkuth that software executes, that
the potential to transform information is realised,
and the only place where information truly has
meaning. In the previous nine sephera, the
program was inceived and formed ... but in the
tenth sepheroth the software will control processors
and manipulate data. Malkuth is the kingdom,
and is the place where a program ascends its
Whether the program was well or poorly prepared
for its reign, whether it was sublimely or
crudly conceived, whether it was masterfully or
poorly constructed ... it will now execute and
manipulate data. Malkuth does not distinguish
between good programs and bad ones ... for those
are judgements, and Assiah is the place of action.
It is in Malkuth that software finds manifestation ...
and contributs to the orgy of information that is
General notes and expanded excuses
As with the Kaballa in all other areas, the key to the
tree is not found in any one sepheroth, but in ballance
and flow. Programming is not a single activity and does
not take place within a single sepheroth ... or even in
a linear sequence of sephera. Programming is a ballanced
interaction of activities, all taking place more or less
at the same time. If programming is not working, it is
probably because the flow is not active and ballanced.
The metaphor of the tree is useful in understanding the
flow and ballance.
The test of any insight is its ability to yield useful
results. The test of this model is the power it (may)
give the initiate to understand and address problems
in the software development process. If the model is
a good one, working with it should yield many useful
As I have observed on other occasions, I am a very left
pillar kind of guy, and as such my description of the
tree (and my inuendos about its paths) are heavily
laden with Hermetic discipline. I actually do know
a few Orphic (right pillar) programmers but (in my
arrogance) I distrust their path, and so have not
given it the attention it probably warrants. There
may be a middle path, but if so I have not seen or
Part of working with the Kaballa is applying it to all
aspects of life, and using it to gain value and understanding.
This operates at many (and in fact all) levels. Thus,
while I have endeavored to write this at one particular
level, I have acted on many other levels (both higher
and lower). I will understand, however, if real Kabalists
(who read this work on higher levels) conclude that I have
a Chessidic imballance that requires Geburahic compensation
and act to restore the ballance by sending me death threats.
I am sufficiently comfortable with Geburah that I see the
inevitability and righness of such responses :-)