J2.02 An Asmodeus Flight

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Book 2 – Mansoul
An Asmodeus Flight

 

Page 404 – titled An Asmodeus Flight

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1 thought on “J2.02 An Asmodeus Flight”

  1. Damn, this book just keeps getting better and better! Anyway, on to my notes (bear with me, this is a long one haha):

    DATE = 1959

    • This is the same day as the previous chapter, slightly overlapping with the previous chapter’s end.

    P.O.V. CHARACTER = SAM O’DAY/ASMODAY/ASMODEUS/THE FIFTH INFERNAL DUKE/THE KING OF WRATH/THE GROOM-SLAYER/GREG (haha just kidding about “Greg”)

    • He is one of many devils, formerly a Builder, who was “pushed down two or three dimensions to create a plane of physical existence” (page 436, par 6).

    • He feels that he “got off light” compared to Satan, who became “the contorted coral stems that are in fact the living as seen without time,” “every shuddering, mysterious particle of the corporeal universe” (page 437, par 1).

    • Moore drew this incredible picture of Asmodeus following an encounter he had with the entity:

    Here’s Moore explaining the encounter in a 2003 interview:

    “I also had an experience with a demonic creature that told me that its name was Asmoday. Which is Asmodeus. And when I actually was allowed to see what the creature looked like, or what it was prepared to show me, it was this latticework…if you imagine a spider, and then imagine multiple images of that spider, that are kind of linked together–multiple images at different scales, that are all linked together–it’s as if this thing is moving through a different sort of time. You know Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase”? Where you can see all the different stages of the movement at once. So if you imagine that you’ve got this spider, that it was moving around, but it was coming from background to foreground, what you’d get is sort of several spiders, if you like, showing the different stages of its movement.
    Now if you imagine all of those arranged into a kind of shimmering lattice that was turning itself inside out as I spoke to it, and I was talking to my partner at the time and sort of saying, This thing’s showing us it’s got an extra dimension I haven’t got, and it’s trying to tell me that it’s good at mathematics. [laughter] It’s vain. There’s something fourth-dimensional about this. This is all stuff I was actually saying at the time, while I was having the experience, which was pretty extreme.
    Anyway. Over the next couple of weeks I started researching Asmodeus and found out that actually, yeah, he’s the demon of mathematics. [chuckles] Also there is a thing which apparently, traditionally he is able to offer one, and this is called the Asmodeus flight. This is where the demon will pick you up, carry you into the air, into the sky, and you can look down and you can see all of the houses as if their roofs had been removed, so you can see what’s going on inside them. Now that is not a description of being carried through the air. That’s not being moved into a higher physical space. That’s what things would look like if you’d been moved into a higher mathematical space. If you were actually in the fourth dimension, or if your perceptions were in the fourth dimension, looking down at the third dimension, you wouldn’t see places as if the roofs of the houses had been removed, you’d see around the roofs of the houses. [chuckles] In the same way that if you imagine a race of completely two-dimensional creatures living on a sheet of paper, if you draw a square and then put one of those two-dimensional creatures inside it, they are COMPLETELY enclosed, because every direction in their two dimensions is shut off to them. If you then as a three dimension creature were to reach down and pick up this two-dimensional speck because you can see through the roof, which is a dimension that he hasn’t got. So, if you’re a fourth dimensional creature looking at the third dimension, you would be able to see around the walls of a sealed room. This was interesting, because it kind of confirms the fourth dimensional aspect of Asmodeus.”

    https://arthurmag.com/2007/05/10/1815/

    OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

    • Page 404, par 5: Is this Builder, pardon me, MASTER Builder, Mighty Mike from Book 1 Ch4?

    • Page 407, last par: This is a good line, as Sam O’Day is trying to decipher whether Michael is a dreamer, part of a dream, or a dead person:

    “In the devil’s judgment, though, this lad seemed to be real. Dreams and the characters from stories had a tidy quality to their construction, as if they’d been simplified, whereas this present nipper had a poorly-thought-through messiness about his personality that smacked of authenticity.”

    • Page 409, par 2: The Einsteinian Block Universe through the metaphor of a book:

    “The world of space and history was big, no doubt about it, but then so was War & Peace, yet both were finite. Given enough time – or, if you liked, given no time at all – then you could easily attain a detailed grasp of either of them. There was no great trick about omniscience, the devil thought. Just read the story through enough times at your near-infinite leisure and you’ll be an expert.”

    Moore discussed this metaphor in a recent conversation with John Higgs, going on to explain the three ways in which time can be considered to exist within a book. (I believe it’s near the end, but it’s a great overall conversation worth watching.)

    • Page 413, par 6: This might be me inferring something that’s not implied, but the following line seems a little meta to me in the sense that Moore has said he chose to write Jerusalem as reader-friendly as possible (in contrast to the opening chapter of Voice of the Fire).

    “Having considered all the aspects and the angles of this novel circumstance, the devil opted for a gentler approach in his communications with the boy.”

    (Moore being “the devil” and the word “novel” having a double meaning.)

    • Page 414, par 4: Devils are “essentially, a field of living information” and are therefore “more or less compelled to answer any direct question and to do so truthfully.”

    This rule doesn’t seem to phase Sam O’Day, as he finds telling the truth to be a much more subtle and effective way of trickery.

    • Page 418, par 4: More insight into the unique nature of pigeons. “The devil knew that this most special family of birds were more or less unique in their ability to pass between the Upstairs and the Downstairs world, and often would take refuge in a tree’s higher dimensions where they knew that they’d be fairly safe from cats.”

    Later it’s noted that pigeons have five times the perception of humans and are one of the only non-mammals who feed milk to their young (page 433, par 2).

    • Page 420, par 2-3: Sam O’Day and Michael approach “the illuminated cobweb knot of Castle Station,” which “was perhaps the devil’s favorite of the many ruined vistas that the Boroughs had to offer,” and he recalls historical moments that that he observed take place there, including King Henry the Second’s betrayal of Tommy Beckett; Richard the Lionheart setting off on the third crusade; and Walter the Tyler’s peasant army in 1381.

    • Page 421: Some info on the carvings found on the billiard/trilliard table’s pockets.

    The Northwest pocket has the “golden penis etched onto it,” and it was in the Northwest of the Boroughs where King Henry the Third’s soldiers robbed and burned in the 1200s. (This event was previously mentioned in Bk1 Ch12).

    The Northeast pocket is Regent Square, which is “the death corner where the severed heads of traitors were displayed once, and its corresponding snooker pocket was emblazoned with a golden skull.” (Severed heads were previously seen by Peter in Bk1 Ch5).

    The Southwest corner is a “gilded turret…representing stern authority.”

    However, there’s no word on the Southeast corner, which bears the cross-like symbol.

    • Page 422, par 7: This entire paragraph is Sam O’Day explaining the four-dimensional Einsteinian Block Universe to Michael. However, he briefly mentions that there are actually ten or eleven total dimensions:

    “In truth, all things in the universe have more than three dimensions, but there’s only three that human being seem to notice. To be honest, there are ten, or at a pinch eleven, but there are just four of them that need concern you at the moment.”

    The idea of the universe consisting of ten or eleven dimensions is consistent with String Theory (and/or Superstring Theory and M-Theory). Per Wikipedia:

    “String theory has been used to construct a variety of models of particle physics going beyond the standard model. Typically, such models are based on the idea of compactification. Starting with the ten- or eleven-dimensional spacetime of string or M-theory, physicists postulate a shape for the extra dimensions. By choosing this shape appropriately, they can construct models roughly similar to the standard model of particle physics, together with additional undiscovered particles.[88] One popular way of deriving realistic physics from string theory is to start with the heterotic theory in ten dimensions and assume that the six extra dimensions of spacetime are shaped like a six-dimensional Calabi–Yau manifold. Such compactifications offer many ways of extracting realistic physics from string theory. Other similar methods can be used to construct realistic or semi-realistic models of our four-dimensional world based on M-theory.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory#M-theory

    • Page 427, par 6: “Reconstructed Sam O’Day had heard of Alma Warren. She’d grow up to be a moderately famous artist, doing paperback and record covers, who had intermittent visionary spasms. During one of these she would, in thirty years or so, attempt a portrait of the fifth eternal duke in his full dress regalia, the reptile and arachnid image-wrap with the electric peacock-feather trim. The picture wouldn’t be much of a likeness, and she wouldn’t even bother trying to depict the lizard lining of his tailored aura, but the devil would feel vaguely flattered all the same.

    So Sam O’Day has heard of Alma, and is aware that she will someday draw him – this is funny because Moore has actually drawn him in real life (see image linked above).

    Also, some insight into Alma’s art career: “paperback and record covers.”

    • Page 430, penultimate par: “Each day and every deed’s eternal, little boy. Live them in such a way that you can bear to live with them eternally.”

    This echoes Moore first (and likely only ever) tweet from about a year ago:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/MomentOfMoore/status/666294106608541696

    • Page 443: The deathmonger who saves Michael from Asmodeus could be the deathmonger from Bk1 Ch10 who mentored May Warren in deathmongery.

    Also, and now I’m definitely inferring what’s not implied, but she burns the fish guts in a “brazier” (which is a portable BBQ), which I initially misread and pictured as a “brassiere” (a female undergarment) – and this made me think about how feminists in the 1970s would burn bras at protests. …Yeah I don’t even know why I even shared that dumb thought; my ramblings have gone on long enough already haha.

    THESE LINES MADE ME LAUGH:

    • Sam O’Day to the Master Builder:

    “My dear boy! Have we walked into a pearly gate?”

    “What you ought to do is drop the snooker and go back to organizing dances on the heads of pins. Not half so violent, and you’d have a good excuse for wearing gowns all the time.”

    • Page 406, penultimate par: Sam O’Day’s expertise includes “anger,” “handicrafts,” and “mathematics.” “Oh, and idle hands. He liked those too. And good intentions.”

    • Page 411, par 6: “He felt a flicker of mild irritation at the fact that while people continually identified him as a devil, nobody was ever sure which one he was. It would be like somebody greeting Charlie Chaplin in the street by shouting “You’re the bloke out of that film.”

    (Also – Charlie Chaplin mention!)

    • Page 413, par 6: “You caught more flies with honey than you did with vinegar, and you caught more with bullshit than you did with either.”

    • Page 427, par 6, Sam O’Day reflecting on Alma: “Though the devil would admit that he quire liked the woman, he would also quickly point out that he didn’t like her in THAT way, just in case anybody got the wrong idea.”

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