Firstly here marks the first attempt to re-appropriate/accrete the term pneumatology which I originally read in Nietzsche (Human all too Human). Hitherto when writing about the philosophy of pneuma I have tended to call it pneuminosity and for some reason shied away from the term pneumatology. That though is really the fitting term. A lot of certainly what I write is the study of pneuma.
What do I mean by pneuma though? Historically translated as ‘breath’ ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’, pneuma here is not unrelated to these senses. However rather than this religio-vitalist flavour, pneuma in CEO writing has a different twist. Pneuma here is the term for information. But why do we need another term for information? The coining of it comes from various angles. The seduction of the word and the desire to use it (which would now be understood as the concept creature itself having attached to my own neurotic accretion) play a role but this is just the start. The extra work the term pneuma performs is that of trying to talk about information as if it were in some sense a substance. Everything a Narp can sense is in some sense information. Information informs the Narp or is predecided by the Narp. But rather than just being a relation, information as pneuma is said to be ‘stuff’. Why though? Why would you want to make such a nonsensical usage of it?
The answer turns entirely on the roots of the whole philosophy (at least the end of it that I write, the other philosophy at the CEO (Neurosis Asssimilation) is intimately related but does not come from the same place) which lies in magick and synchronicity (reaccreted to pneuminous interference). The argument goes (briefly) like this:
In synchronicity (like 23/47 style enigmas) the subject experiences a rupture which raises a question about the nature of reality before them.
There are three options broadly speaking: 1) Statistical probability (the event was nothing special, just an unusual possibility that happened to occur) 2) Predetermined harmony -things were set up in some wise for the events to coincide in this way or 3) Reality in some ineffable way shifted towards/in relation to the subject. This phenomenology of synchronicity raises this as one of the fundamental agnostic disjunctions that determine what ontology we work for. Adherents of 1 commonly believe that this version is ‘true’ because it explains the phenomenon. What this misses is that the synchronicitous phenomenon raises the question about the nature of reality right at a super-certainty level whereas the probability explanation presupposes the material level of the world to tell you the phenomena occurred within that remit (it’s a question begging argument). The synchronicitous phenomenon is evidence that reality has suddenly behaved in a very peculiar manner, it’s just ambiguous evidence and since the solid world probability explanation is what holds most of the time its very easy to believe this must be somehow more true. One cannot though tell someone that there experience was definitely accountable in terms of the probability argument without absolute certainty that the reality bending did not take place -because that’s what you have to answer, and supplying and alternative materialist explanation doesn’t do that. Hence the term ‘agnostic’ disjunction. We have an ‘or’ proposition that we cannot actually decide the answer on.
Of the three options then number 1 has been extensively explored by other thinkers/scientists, we’re not ignoring it or even denying it, it is the ground of the most successful manifestations that exist. Option 2 is interesting but is not treated with much interest here just because it doesn’t seem to reflect the phenomenological sentiment of the experience -though it certainly needs more thinking about. Option 3 though is the nub of the matter. The mind boggling sensation of reality restructuring itself is right at the essence of the description of magick as experienced.
Accepting that the enquiry is not a blind denial of the other manifestations but simply an investigation into ‘option 3’ we ask in a Kantian style of enquiry: what is the condition of possibility that this can happen? And the answer we believe is that either reality is purely informational and can under some circumstances alter itself or that there are in fact two levels: an informational level and a level of resistance and that the informational level under certain circumstances can alter the resistance level. Here we have of course another agnostic disjunction. The focus is on information because the phenomenon is almost defined by a incursion by some symbol that has a kind of prior meaning to the subject appearing in a manner that looks uncanny to the point it seems it must be for me. Rather than the materiality being in charge of information, the information is in charge of the materiality. This sudden active power ascribed to information is its transformation into pneuma. The reason the description herein focuses on the seemingly more implausible split level pneuma and resistance model is again phenomenological. That is, precisely because there is a resistance in what we call the physical world that is not there in pure pneuma (in imagination there is no limit as to what can be transformed into what). This resistance we call the umbra. As written about elsewhere, the umbra arises all the time quite naturally as a paradoxical pneuminous form of the beyond-pneuma. That is, as soon as you try to push an ontology of pure pneuma (a pure magickal idealism) the notion still arises within it that, no matter how incoherent there is a remainder outside of the pneuma. This remaineder is the manifestation of the umbra.
The chaos magick bit? If everything is displayed as a landscape of information hovering over a heuristic shadowy resistance which can sometimes be bent/altered by the information then this bending of course is magick. Synchronicity (pneuminous interference) is just uncontrolled happenings of this kind. What the philosophy does is take the chaos magickal notion that entities can be created (egregores) by practitioners and applies it to the world of ‘normality’. So created spirits are accretions of pneuma, ones that are made for certain purposes. But why would we have one ontology over there for magick and another in ‘normal’ reality? Tea cups, phones, companies, countries, people therefore are also accretions of pneuma. They don’t function in any obstensibly magickal manner because they are not created with this intentional structure. The term accretion is an accretion of pneuma. It flattens the ontology between magick and non-magick (as Crowley astutely already spotted). Words can have power because they are largely the pivot around which the accretion is woven hence they are threads that can give access to (indeed are part of) a given accretion.
Of course you can’t give a precise metaphysics about how this works, that would be for a more advanced science. But what you can say is if you take option 3 as obtaining it is on these occasions the information and not the material that has the power. This is all we need for some form of pneuma (a concept which no doubt will bear repeated refining) to go through.