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.
[Ludwig Staudenmayer, Die Magie als Experimentelle Naturwissenschaft, Leipzig, 1912]
I had found this book twelve years earlier in Samuel Weiser’s Occult Bookstore in Manhattan and had spent a year in middle school translating it, hoping to acquire magical knowledge. The title in English is Magic as Experimental Natural Science.


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] ...