I am forced to ask myself if the philosophy I partially advocate is compatible with panpsychism or not? I say partially because I still have not satisfactorily overcome the problem of manifestationism as raised by the agnostic disjunction. Agnostic disjunction simply points to the way in which metaphysical options are just choices that are bolstered (or not) by criteria in the ‘reality’ we currently occupy. Hence according to this rather paralyzing meta-epistemology, panpsychism is one metaphysical option, it has agents that fight its corner and it has enemies that seek to denounce it. Neither position can triumph over the other without the philosophy transforming into some kind of physics that in some way settles the matter (and even then the enemy agents will always be there).
Rather like occult phenomena though -to which panpsychism is easily related, even if panpsychists would like this not to be the case- panpsychism can only be shown to be true, strong evidence to its untruth will not eradicate the suspicion that it might be true. Consciousness might be clearly demonstrated as an emergent property of a level of complexity and some people would still wonder if being in general was in some sense conscious too. Materialism doesn’t get a similar similar treatment, in many ways, owing to the continual solidity of things, materialism looks a fair bet, yet it is this default like status that renders it so vulnerable. Materialism can never do enough, because the anomalies and metaphysical possibilities only need science to back them up a little bit to show that something is clearly seriously awry with it. The reverse doesn’t seem to be true. This is because panpsychism can only be the major ontology by being demonstrably true -in the modern world. And if it’s demonstrably true then materialism isn’t going to be considered seriously, because presumably in this panpsychic dominated world, we can clearly show how to interact with/demonstrate consciousness at large in existence. I think this is something to do with the fact that panpsychism is additive but materialism is subtractive. That is, if you can show things are together then this is just the state of affairs (panpsychism) and it can be accepted, but if you wish to subtract something (consciousness) then you be perpetually gnawed at by the possibility that the two things may well be connected -it is an effort to keep them apart. But this is an aside.
The actual philosophy that I wish to consider as and ally of panpsychism or not is the CEO’s own brand of chaos magick friendly ontology: pneuminous accretive theory. This states something like the following.
i) All experiences are formed of a conceptual substance ‘pneuma’. All images, sounds, smells, sensations are pneuminous.
ii) Because everyday experiences suggest structure -solidity, repetitive possibility-, there is the minimum of the idea of restraint upon the pneuma -we do not live in a perpetually mutating dream world (only an occasionally mutating one). That which restrains what the pneuma appears as is the umbra -at least in the case of physical objects.
iii) Memory forming capacity accretes pneuma. Concepts and all the psychological baggage that is attached to them are such accretions.
iv) Concepts are not inert structures contained in minds in bodies, rather they are pneuminous accretions that exist out there in the pneuma, that organisms create and plug into.
v) Concepts as pneuminous accretions are literally attached to the umbratic structure that restrains them.
vi) Pneuminous accretions can, under certain circumstances, affect the restraining umbra. This is experienced as magick/synchronicity/various paranormal anomaly.
vii) All scientific investigations are within the pneuma, there is literally no exit from this, for the umbratic, if real, is necessarily without concept.
viii) The umbratic is not necessarily real but it is a necessarily real idea.
I could go on with these, but this seems sufficient for an outline. What they deliberately don’t contain is an explicit theory for how consciousness comes about. The question as to whether pneuma has always been there or not is not answered either. This is because I have tried not to stray into speculative metaphysics. You might laugh there, noting that clearly that is exactly what I have done. This is true but, as far as I can see these metaphysics are just the logical consequence of accepting something like chaos magick to be ontologically true and not just psychologically true. The basic condition being that conceptual information must be capable of altering the putatively solid. You could have a pure idealism and not need the umbratic, yet the phenomenology of our experience continually yields the umbratic as concept -the thing in itself being a good example- hence it is inserts itself as kind of necessary agnostic disjunction. As a phenomenology of magickal types of experience, accounting for the cosmological nature of things doesn’t come into it, though clearly there are implications. However as soon as one tries to follow them the agnostic disjunctions begin to proliferate.
So is pneuma conscious? Pneuma is conceptual potential, but that doesn’t make it conscious. Everything you are experiencing is an accretion of some size or another -whether purely mental or physical perception. The chaos magickal compatibility part of the theory says that we can create conscious entities by intent. Essentially by treating something as conscious, so it begins to acquire some form of this possibility. These interactions are magickal and as such temperamental. This is what is known as applying a concept to a vector that will not normally take it. Rocks are not normal vectors that have the concept consciouness ascribed to them. So if I want to talk to a rock I must talk to the rock as if it would respond -ascribe consciousness to it. This will create an pneuminous interface of consciousness sufficient to generate some of kind interaction with the rock. The interface will make an unstable interaction, not a regular kind of conversation.
This commits any physical thing thing we can conceptually describe as being capable of some form of consciousness -of course this is also true of certain kinds of non-physical thing too, but these are often intentionally constructed e.g. egregores. This does not entail that everything is conscious. Certainly in such an ontology, making the pneuma into God would be fairly logical, yet it still remains the case that this does not seem necessarily the case. Nothing about it entails consciousness is everywhere. What it does entail though is that consciousness can escape its home.
If we hypothesize that the appearance of organisms results in the simple binding of pneuma. Evolution of these organisms increases the complexity of the accretions that are formed. Time binding organisms create more and more complex accretive structures. In the history of animism a key question would be whether or not the ascription of consciousness to non-living (to our modern selves) things is the application of concept to unwilling vector or whether it is a primordial appearance that appears alongside the recognition of ourselves and other creatures as sentient. The latter seems quite reasonable, yet of course the actual answer is agnostic disjunctive. If it were the latter, this would mean there was a feedback of primordial ascription of agency (consciousness) towards non-living being, which would in turn -by the magickal thesis- cause the world to respond in a quasi sentient manner. The post hoc version does not have much of a different result, it is simply that the agency ascription is not equiprimordial to agency ascription of other living creatures. It would in this sense represent a kind of primordial ontology -everything is alive. Such an ontology of course would not be doubted, it would be just how things are, it would though be slightly secondary to the recognition of each other as conscious agents. This primordial ontology of animism would indeed render everything as conscious. Yet this consciousness would not be necessary, it would be contingent. Contingent upon there being such a being as possesses the accretion forming ability such that the projection of consciousness upon existence at large was possible.
There is a side issue that we might touch on here. The usual presupposition is that of course animals recognise other creatures as such -different kinds of indices. We do however always presuppose that animals perceive other creatures as different from the general environment. We might consider the possibility that animals consider environment and each other as a far more homogeneous continuum than we have previously considered.
The answer then as to whether pneuminous theory entails panpsychism, seems to be possibly. This contingency may have a kind of historical necessity to it insofar as human history may have entailed a world view of an alive world. If it were true that any being that emerges into self consciousness necessarily views the world as alive in its earlier stages, then the theory would be have to say that some form of panpsychism is necessarily true -though it would be one that entails animism- yet equally it would posit a time in which it was not true -prior to the feedback occurring.
If conceptual potential can be identified with consciousness then panpsychism could more strongly be inferred from the theory. This however would not eradicate the problem of the umbratic. This is as follows: we believe we can conceive of Being without any organism present, yet we must be agnostic about the nature of this unperceived reality. From a pneuminous perspective the impossible beyond pneuma (the umbratic) is an idea we cannot remove. A thoroughgoing panpsychism would not need an umbratic, existence would be self-perceiving in some fundamental way. Having said that the umbratic is a necessary idea, not a necessary truth. So maybe the notion of pneuma as conceptual accretive potential working intimately alongside more regular physical forces is sufficient to reconcile the two? This though would stretch the metaphysical speculation beyond the phenomenology. The phenomenology suggests that consciousness can be said to be true of everything in our reality -contingently. But it would also point out that the umbratic possibility of absolute ineffability lurks literally, just out of sight.