Originally titled Emblems and Rites, my notebook for Radix begins with this entry:
Friday 13 May 1977
from Lives of Ancient Philosophers, Diogenes Laertius: He lit a lamp in broad daylight and said as he went about, ‘I am looking for a man.’ He says nothing about ‘the man’ being honest.
I am looking for a man. An ugly man and weak with coenesthesia [a dysfunctional state of undifferentiated awareness of one’s body]. A hungry man, maybe like that character in Staudenmayer who has voices in different parts of his intestines.
Saturday 14 May 1977
This man must be a monster in a world of monsters. The Rites must produce outrage, not admiration or pleasure, or there is no possibility of transformation. And the Emblems must be grotesque or there is no hope for beauty in the transformation. Forsake reason; remember what Goya wrote in his own hand on the forty-third Capricho: “The sleep of reason produces monsters.”
By June, I had a name for the protagonist of Emblems and Rites:
Thursday 9 June 1977
Kagan -- Son of Aodhagáin, the stupendous Thinker in the Black Book of Caermathon – also, Germanic counterpart of Cohen, the priest ... Sumner: ‘one who summons’ ... One Who Summons the Thinker ... Jac Cohen, the Delph [Old English Delf: quarry, emblem for hard labor = civilization excavated from the planet] ...