The Zone as Transcendental Idea.

In the CEO Zonetology project, zones have previously been described in three basic modes:

1 Spatial -This place is actually connected to an exterior power e.g. another dimension etc.

2 Temporal -This particular time brings this other kind of world/influence closer e.g. twilight.

3 Projected -The otherworldly effect is contingent upon the being of awareness e.g. pneuminous accretive theory.

The possibility we wish to look at here is that the zone is better understood in a more fluid sense than this admittedly heuristic taxonomy suggests. This more fluid conception though, may free the zone up from its slightly parochial usage to something much closer to the transcendental (in the Kantian sense).

We begin by suggesting that zonal instances are primordially affective. The zone is a feeling. The feeling is one of a certain alien/other-worldness. The zonal theory (as found in various zonetology writings) that the withdrawal of the accretions (the human concepts that covered the region) and the creation of a vacuum into which alien accretions are drawn is an explanation of the feeling, but it is not a description of the zone per se -unless we want the zone to be a very restricted concept.

The affective feeling of the zone suggests an ontology other than the one of the everyday world (at least for most people). Even if you ‘believe’ in weird occurrences, their actual happening still supplies a moment of strangeness. This is true also for rationalists, the difference being that the rationalist (as I use the term here) is an agent for the solid continuous world idea and discrete psychology. This means they have answers to paranormal oddities; they can be amazed by them but nevertheless explain them. Whereas agents for anomalies as anomalies have no clear answers, the above mentioned accretive theory is an attempt to supply a quasi rational answer that pares away all specific religions and magickal systems, but no matter how rational pneuminous accretive theory might be it still has none of the force of the explanations of the solid world model.

The agnostic disjunction points out that anomalous experiences as anomalous (contra the rationalist) have a fundamental epistemic equivalence to their rational counterparts. However despite this, the ability to give a more easily accessible looking answer (coincidence, hallucination) still gives the rationalist an apparent edge of explanatory power.

The modified zonal idea here is that the zone can be considered the space (in broad sense of the term) before alliance is made with either anomaly or rationality. So for instance when the synchronicity/coincidence occurs, the null state or ‘vector region‘ of the event can be considered the zone. The interpretive apparatus of the organism goes to work on the event and depending on what accretions (conceptual entities) are dominant in the organism, an interpretive decision will be made about its ontological status (rational or anomalous). In general this will be pre-determined by the accretive set up in the organism, though of course an extremely powerful zone might sway a previously rational agent to consider the anomalous possibility.

This raises an important structure of zonal dynamics: the zone only tends one way —towards anomaly. This is obviously true when you think about it, as an event or place that tends strongly towards normality is just, well, normal. However because rational explanation is much clearer (on an Ockham’s razor type principle) than anomalous explanation, the rational tendency of explanation is more powerful than the anomalous. Ultimately though, neither version can totally overpower the other.

How then do we assimilate both synchronicitous type phenomena and more spatial ones (like the eerie derelict) under the zonal? The answer to this lies in the affective nature of both. That is, both are constituted by a feeling of anomaly. Any vector region that gives criteria for being interpreted as anomalous can be defined as zonal. Thus the derelict car park that has the other-worldy look to it, does so by feeling. This is the zonal appearance of anomaly; the rational discourse says that this is just an appearance generated by the emptiness and unused appearance, whereas the anomalous discourse says that there really is something other-worldy about the car park —yet is unable to furnish you with any way in which this is so. In this (to reiterate) we see the above described double motion of the zone. It suggests anomaly by appearance and begs explanation by rational cognition more than by occult system.

The recent Castaneda investigations make for an interesting correlate or even extension of this idea. In these writings much is often made of ‘illusory’ phenomena. For instance, we get a description of how Castaneda perceives a dry branch for some time as an incredible creature. After Castaneda loses this image he discovers it was ‘really’ a branch. Don Juan (the shaman type figure) tells Castaneda that the branch had ‘power’ in it and that he has wasted an opportunity. The same zonal idea can be applied. The ambiguous branch that looks like the creature is the zonal phenomenon, suggesting the anomaly. For a while Castaneda sees the creature only and is spellbound —the zonal anomaly is in charge. Then he discovers the branch and has understanding of the ‘reality’ of the situation. This ‘reality’ is, especially in this instance, so overpoweringly tempting that it overcomes him immediately and he is relieved no such creature was there. But Don Juan will not yield to this ontological reduction, for him the zone was there and now it has gone —and it was Castaneda that sent it away. Even though one side has an explanation and the other has none, yet both are real on their own terms. This is the zonal logic: non-explanation does not count to deny the phenomenon.

Don Juan often refers to part of the practice of sorcery as ‘hunting for power’. ‘Power’ is these ontologically ambiguous opportunities that should be seized upon to extract the maximum anomalous interpretation from them. Given our connecting line between zone and power we cannot help but feel the echo of a related hunt in Twin Peaks i.e. William Hastings ‘Search for the Zone’. This ill fated ‘hunt for power’ contained classic zonal elements of dereliction and anomaly —though in a much stronger sense. It also suggested the strong draw that the zone has upon people. This maybe highlights another dynamic of desire related to the zone.

The zone is attractive, as people want reality to be mysterious, yet as soon as mystery turns into real anomaly the mystery might become terrifying and needs the rational mode to ‘explain’ it. ‘Explain’ here though is not about the desire to comprehend, it is about repression. Curiously this repressive explanation comes with the hope of inverted magick. That is, though the anomaly may have been terrifying, the explaining in rational terms seeks to mend reality, to normalise it, to erase the anomaly: it is the desire for the solid rational worldto reassert itself. Under all this though, the zone remains, for the zone is not the anomaly the zone is the ambiguous space that is its condition of possibility.

Many thanks to Bec Lambert (@LadyLiminal1) for the zonal image.

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