Notes on the Zone Concept (i)

Like all concepts the zone resists definition. As laid out in earlier work, the structure of concepts has an an initial appearance of incoherent coherence. This means that we accept the definition/use of the word with little reflection. It seems sound in its sense so that is good enough. Any analysis of a concept inevitably turns up some degree of incoherence, the concept is leaky. The philosophical revelation of this means that the appearance is reversed into a coherent incoherence.

The Lynchian/Strugatskian inspired zone accretion does not really suggests something coherent even initially. However, even though no definition is particularly given, a feeling of an incredible occult-synthesis emits from it. A sensation that maybe here is a sprawling concept that will give some kind of satisfaction to the matter in hand. It won’t. It can’t.

The zone, like some other concepts, over-reaches its ability (outside, umbra, God). It tries to point to a beyond. The zone often begins as a physical space that has been infected by anomaly. It strongly suggests something like inter-dimensionality/reality permeability/soft placeness that persists in a particular area. The nature of this alteration is often couched as outside of current understanding -though no doubt in some SF works zone like phenomena exist that are comprehended if not controlled. Any zone like phenomena in our reality are definitely not understood. Of course competing ontological manifestations occur even in mainstream science. However some versions are so functionally accurate that the only alteration possible will be one that subsumes them rather than outright corrects them. Zone like phenomena are either rejected or hypothesised about (often involving quantum mechanics). Ineffability is a feature of the zone.

Strong suggestions that zonal phenomena are actually located can be reinforced at a pneuminous level. Zonal power as anomalous to regular reality in some way creates the pneuminous interference feedback. Vectors designated as zones are pre-accreted with zonal pneuma. NARPs aware of this bring this accretion with them and add to the phenomena, thus raising the likelihood that anomaly will manifest. NARPs unaware or disbelieving that they have entered a zone (like Robert McFarlane’s encounter at Chanctonbury Ring) may still be affected as, though the accreted area may be less likely to function in the face of non-belief or non-awareness, the autonomy of pneuminous accretions guarantees this possibility remains live. Theoretically zones could be created with no original ontological anomaly (interdimensional interaction), but only with the myth of one. The myth accretion in turn builds more zonal pneuma upon the vector, rendering the site autonomously zonal. This possibility means that even apparently ‘special’ places may be only pneuminously formed.

This insight relates to the zonal concept problem. Insofar as objective and subjective have any value, zonal phenomena do not give themselves to either particularly well, since even putatively ‘objective’ zones may have been previously ‘subjectively’ constituted -only in turn to behave as if ‘objectively’ present. This problem is compounded by zonal contamination. The zone as a vector infected with anomaly also infects other NARPs. The zone escapes its physical location, which we can know must to some extent be illusory as the very nature of it breaches spatio-temporal regularity. NARPs as mobile locations and producers of accretions become infected with zonal pneuma either consciously or unconsciously. Zonal interference follows (synchronicity or other phenomena).

Yet the zone is not the phenomena themselves. This, if nothing else may be the only insight. The anomalous phenomena are housed within the zone. The zone is the region, spatial or temporal or both in which the phenomena may occur. The zone may show itself as a sensation in which the possibility of anomaly is imminent but not necessary. Pneuminous feedback guarantees that even the most artificial projection of zonal pneuma may precipitate results e.g. NARPs of altered or unaltered consciousness may whip each other into a frenzy of believing they have entered a twilight zone type phenomena and in doing so will further accrete such [zonal] pneuma. The zone equally may not be spotted and may be only retrospectively attributed. Phenomena that occur outside of any indication that anomaly is imminent will alert NARPs to their presence and thus awareness of the zone e.g. houses suddenly become haunted houses; the hidden zone is thus brought to life (or created). Unexpected synchronicity may have a similar feeling, especially if there is more than one. This creates the sensation that reality around the NARP is altered ‘at the moment’ and gives the sense that the zone is present.


  1. I have always struggled with the notion that concepts do not need clarity for meaning. This makes me feel awkward and strangely violent, like trying to swat a phantom with a feeling, nothing remotely tangible, but I resist the intangible.

    If meaning is use; for example, a fishing rod would have no conceivable applicable essence on Arrakis; there would be no use for it, the item would evade all attempts at meaning and potentially cease to exist. So, I feel that it is in the clarity of use, not the meaning where understand is to be garnered. So, using a tool ‘correctly’ gives the tool ‘essence’, is that fair?

    Because it implies you can use a tool incorrectly and therefore it loses meaning, it is dispossessed of clarity and logically by extension it loses meaning. Language without clarity, language without any attempt at meaning is probably insanity. Language is a tool that forestalls the insanity confusion, the written word is there to clarify, categorise and cement philosophies of thought into something workable, tangible. Concepts without clarity, is a rule/law of itself. In that language is a mechanism of purpose that strives for clarity. Nobody speaks to be misunderstood, he that does not wish to be understood would render himself a glad mute.

    So, I’d wager that an external clarifying law would add, in a noticeable way, provide at least some kind of conceptual use to ‘meaning’, no concept exists in a vacuum, or more accurately in a vacuum there is little need for meaning. Language is a form of clarity, conapts come later. Humans do not operate language in isolation, in isolation language is essentially the esoteric caterwauling of an unhinged mind, a perfect kind of Lovecraftian protagonist. I prefer to see language and it’s use, as nothing more than a fit of frustration, we built a little town but neglected to name the streets.

    I find concepts without clarity, to be the garbled utterances of polite academic pointlessness, like an upside-down map which resists translation. Speaking is exhausting, trying to make oneself understood is embarrassing, language is clunky, chaffing, like bent rusty armour. So why muddy the ontological waters and deny yourself the access to clarifying rules.

    Every time I feel I ‘know’ a thing, I become grotesquely proud and enthusiastically advertise it as a known thing, case closed. With some vigour and a lot of aplomb I delight in toying with clarity. There is a joy to language, best visible in children, they delight in learning how to speak and to be understood, the novelty grows thin quickly, but the initial taxonomy is performed almost without conscious acknowledgment. Initially there is a delight in being understood, children experience this most keenly.

    Yet, that thing which I suddenly and arrogantly feel I know, I feel I can categorise and store away, forget about and treat as sacrosanct. Well it is almost immediately debunked by something that was previously unknown to me, which is hardly my fault, but without clarity language becomes treacherous and ponderous. Language, operates like this I find.

    Language use and language appropriateness, indeed any attempt at immaculate taxonomy operates along those lines of stuttering frustration of over classification. You write…

    “The zone may show itself as a sensation in which the possibility of anomaly is imminent but not necessary.”

    I was drawn to the idea of the zone being revealed by means of sensation, imminent but not especially functionable. This idea of zone anomaly sensation as being imminent, could be the most succinct phrase by which you could with a fair degree of clarity describe the notion of a ‘human conversation’ to an alien.
    For language in all its idiosyncratic manifestations is a rather dull means of recording human aspirations and endeavour; but meaning is always diminishing. Often at a greater rate of decay than the science that travailed it.

    As a tool, the written word could be considered as a relatively recent development, it is resistant to accessible categorisation. I always feel a degree of ache and loss when I consider all those dizzy eons of oral tradition gone to vapour. A quote that has stuck with me, largely because I don’t fully understand it, is that ontology can be best explained as…

    “…a collection of various taxonomies that can be used to describe a domain of knowledge along with the relationships among them…”

    Where inference and ontology become most potent must not have much relevance to the oral tradition as regards clarity. A domain of knowledge strikes me as a very contradictory phrase. How do you come to terms with this domain of phraseological relationships that derive a peculiar and specific meaning purely from that shared relationship? A relationship of itself as written and familiar, doesn’t apply to the eons of oral etymology, surely – if so, what is the point in so much self-congratulatory highbrow verbiage?

    Language be damned and everything else is for the tomorrow, because then it will likely as not meaning something else entirely. Every time we come to a consensus by meaning, the essence of said meaning subtly alters and the next generation of clarity deniers are left bereft of purpose…or not.


    1. Certainly sections of what you say seem to precisely echo my incoherent coherence followed by coherent incoherence. You take pleasure in a meaning given only to reflect on the certainty that this meaning may well crumble in your hands. I have long been persuaded that Wittgenstein is essentially correct about meaning (that it is essentially use) and that (as you also note) language in solitary creature is more like something dysfunctional. We even feel this when we note the banal peculiarity of someone speaking to themselves. The only thing that denies the Wittgensteinian doctrine from being the correct and final description of language is the (repetition alert) the possibility of magick. If magick obtained the language can function in a different way too. It can designate in the way analytic philosophy thought of it as doing. Wittgenstein literally means that Austrian in a purely metaphysical magickal sense (only if it obtains, this is not me saying ‘this is how things actually are’ remember). It does so because the concept accretes to the vector. What we call Ludwig Wittgenstein is a part of the vector field, the mass of stuff on temporal, mental and spatial axes that we name. It receives a name and we learn to call that (at one time) mobile region of the vector field LW. Of course in the case of people they internalise the name and accrete something like a self around it. I would say insanity is something like when the self accretion is not capable of sufficiently controlling the mobile vector it inhabits.
      Your fishing rod on Arrakis is well taken. If W is right the rod, if it has no historical information with it, is a region of the vector field with no name. It is whatever they use it for and if they decide they do not know what it is, the vector is name ‘alien object’ or ‘possible worm lasso’ or whatever they speculate, end of story. However if magick obtains, the incoherent concept ‘fishing rod’ is stuck to the vector, even away from earth. The meaning of the copula ‘is’ is this relation of conceptual attachment to vector. This satisfies the possibility of saying things like truth of the statement ‘but really it is a fishing rod’ as without magick it literally is whatever it is used for. This may not help the people of Arrakis decipher it one iota, yet it seems to me a magickal ontology means this is the case.


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