1)
A middle aged woman working in a public service and answers the phone.

Hello how may I help you?
Hi…
The voice is soft, almost mumbly, distant.
Hello, can I help you?
Hi, I’m feeling quite stressed…
Oh ok.
She does not know what to say, this is not a line for stressed people, but she is kind.
I’m feeling very stressed, I’ve been working very hard.
Yes it can be stressful, do you need to talk to someone?
I do need to talk to someone, you sound nice.
Maybe I can find you someone to talk to.
She wants to get off the phone but the kindness and concern keeps her in place.
Can you talk to me? Silence for a moment. Are you there? Bear with me.
I’m still here, are you ok?
I’m quite stressed. I’ve been working all night.
You must be tired.
I’ve just had some crack so I’m quite high. Bear with me. Silence. How old are you?
I don’t think we need to talk about that.
You sound nice, you sound a lot older than me. Can you talk to me?
I am talking to you. What’s your name?
People, my house mates don’t know me. My name is Michael.
Oh?
They think I’m like them, but I’m not and I need, I need a release, I need a release from the stress.
She shudders at this term -thinking of the pauses and requests for patients. However the distance, the mumble, the silence somehow stop her from cutting it off.
I’m supposed to be like Mr Jack the Lad, that’s how they know me. Silence. I need a release. Silence. Bear with me. Silence. That’s how they know me but…
But what?
I like wearing women’s underwear, I’m so stressed, I need to smoke some more crack.
Be careful.
I need to smoke some more crack now, can I call back in a bit?
Yes of course.
She doesn’t know if she means this or what the right thing to do is.

2
The call ends and the woman is shaken. This is not a normal call for the establishment to take. Other employees rally round offering support, yet equally seeking information. What has shaken her up? Is it interesting? Their intrigue weighs greater than their sympathy. The woman herself is not above the ability to enlist a certain perception of absurdity to the whole affair. The comedy has the function of alchemically transforming the trauma. Whose is the trauma though? The crack smoking stress head or the woman? Their concern asks if she has a number. No, the phone registers unknown. Why did she keep talking? Policy is to put the phone down. Felt sorry for him, just needed to be sure he wasn’t, you know, in danger. If calls back, need to be more terse. Refer to appropriate body. Comedy reappears. Absurd image. Story proliferates through colleagues. Women’s underwear become pants, a name is born ‘Crack pants’.

3
The staff in the public institution were all of a buzz at the call. It was an incursion into a pedestrian world by an alien force: Crack Pants. There was excited anticipation as to if or when the next call would come. Of course if too much crack had been smoked then it would be unlikely there would a call any times soon. The lady who had received the call, whilst utilising the humorous levity of the office, did not feel entirely comfortable. Instead she felt worried. Partially for the caller and partially for the bogeyman like aura that the event began to acquire. The caller had liked her. You hear about unhealthy attachments like this. Follow people. Say they want to talk but it goes wrong. Frightening.

4
Then, later in the same day a call to a different staff member.

They heard my voice and hung up.
It was Crack Pants.
Are you sure?
I can’t be sure, but someone rang and then hung up. The call shows as unknown.
It was probably him.
Was there any noise?
Maybe a soft hiss before the click.

The original woman is more worried. She eats her lunch at her own desk away from the service dept. The phone rings. She picks it up. It goes dead. Now she is more worried. It is pointed out that if that was Crack Pants why would he hang up when he actually reached her? This line has a number. The number is checked, it has no phone to it. Even though there is no logic to it the worry persists.

At the main desk the phone rings again and hangs up.
It hung up.
That must be Crack Pants.

People are excited.

5
Calls begin to proliferate. Some longer some shorter. Sometimes there is a soft voice. Sometimes there is the hint of a voice. Sometimes a crackling. Sometimes a cough. The comparison is made with the Victorian cryptid, Spring Heeled Jack whose appearance mutated through sightings. The composite name ‘Spring Heeled Crack Pants’ appears naturally in this environment. Other connections are noticed. Spring Heeled Jack began to appear more demonic as time went on.

What did the caller say? He’s known as a ‘Jack’ the lad. What does he have a [crack] pipe? What does he wear? Women’s ‘pants’, pants pipe, Pan’s pipe and Pan of course is a kind of Christian devil archetype. These strange clues are surely just mass psychotic play.

6
A seated male staff member overheard someone shout ‘thanks Michael!’ and sees disappearing round a corner a figure on crutches. Their detective instincts lurched into life. Michael. The same day. The calls. Crutches -a deviant sign for a possibly ‘cracked’ bone. Making his excuses he went to check the building. Michael seemed to have vanished -probably gone in the lift, could be anywhere now. Drawn on by the mystery he went up a floor on foot. Glancing across the mezzanine he could see a young man in one of the computer labs. No one should be in those he was sure. Finish the building, come back and check on the rule, then evict them.

Looking for Michael continued further up the building. On the inspection his attention was also caught by a heavily muscled male patron who was voraciously eating something out of a pot. A mental note was made to check on this muscled inhabitant on the way back as something did not seem right about him.

The whole building was checked. No crutch burdened Michael was found. Descending to the central office he made the requisite checks about the computer labs and received the information he was already sure of -that no one should be in there. Hastening back to the scene of the crime he was befuddled to discover there was no one in this lab. Furthermore the lab was tightly locked such that only his staff card (or another like it) could possibly have gained entrance. A chill ran down his spine and he hastened to check on the muscular man and his (now surely empty) pot. Circumnavigating the floor to sneak up on him, our current protagonist was horrified to discover that there was no muscular man in the seat where he had once been. Noting the obvious logical possibility that he had simply left, he still felt disturbed by this and the other disappearance (not to mention the disappearing disabled Michael), believing them somehow to be connected to the current spate of calls.

7
In the evening when this service was still open the phone rang. The same man who had dutifully but in vain searched for Spring Heeled Crack Pants or Michael or whoever, was on the desk and answered this call.

Hello, a public service, how may I help you?
Hello… Silent, mumbly and distant.
Hello. Less severe than he fantasized he might be.
Hello, can you talk?
Hello sir, this isn’t really a service for talking. More in control now.
Hello can you talk? I’m quite high, bear with me.
Can I try and find someone to talk to you?
Can’t you talk? I’m quite high.
He wants to ask if he’s high on crack again but it seems deeply inappropriate.
Let me see if we can find someone for you to talk to.
Ok. He seems deflated. The hissing in the background is audible.

The public servant puts CP on hold and begins to try to find an alternative institution that might house his needs. He flounders badly from switchboard location to switchboard location. By the time he returns CP has fled the line.

8
Next day there is a plan in place to put CP through to a helpline if he should call. Staff now are so familiar with the whole phenomena that they joke they might accidently greet the caller as ‘Crack Pants’ or CP. Hi Crack Pants is that you? How are you doing? No one is sure if this won’t actually happen. Senior staff try to tell others to treat the matter with the gravity it deserves. Mid-morning the call comes and CP is directed to a helpline. But no one is convinced it is over. They don’t want it to be over. There are sightings of muscled men with pots on the third floor. Some one else claims there was someone in the computer lab, but again it was found to be locked and empty.

9
Another theory emerged amongst staff. Someone speculated that the phrases ‘bear with me’ might have been incorrectly decoded. The alternative decoding is that there was ‘a bear with him’. Whilst seeming errant nonsense at first, suggestions that the bear might be a crack hallucination or a metaphorical bear rendered it more reasonable. The theory took a stranger turn when it was suggested that CP might be Goldilocks as he liked to wear women’s underthings. This supposedly comedic addition brought about a shudder in the original complainant (who had been listening with interest). She then began to state that she was sure that in the original conversation, CP had used the phrase ‘bear with me’ three times.

10
In the evening the original lady is working. She gazes out the window and sees with some disbelief as a van seems to be reversing fairly swiftly towards the entrance of the building. The van bumps into the door and stops sharply -the driver having realised his miscalculation. Part of the sign for the building is damaged. There is a crack in the letter C of Public. The same woman, who has gone out to inspect the damage, is trying to ignore the significance of the crack and actually listen to the man who is apologizing. She would have managed this had she not then read the sign on the van which read ‘CP builders’. The sudden build up of pressure in her head became unbearable and fearing the man would reveal his name to be ‘Michael’ she ran back inside white-faced, informing her colleague that they needed to deal with the incident as she passed by.

11
Whilst the van incident was duly logged, despite the fervent attempts of the woman to explain the significance of a ‘crack’ in the C of Public, the builders’ name and the symbolic act of trying to enter the building, management were not sympathetic. She was informed that she should either take some time off or put the whole business behind her.

There were no more calls that day and the weirdness seemed to subside. A symbolic cleansing took place. The kitchen and office were deep cleaned. Everyone promised to be more tidy. Everyone felt more settled.

Then someone returned from the kitchen saying there was a solitary dirty spoon on the draining board. This seemed especially appalling since everyone had only just now made such strong covenants that they would keep all utensils and crockery clean from now on.

Several persons began to google if a spoon was required for smoking crack.

Previously we considered sorcery as a kind of response to the void. We also consider that maybe the previously phraseology of void-parasite may be awry. This is the case because the void must always be mediated and hence it is not the void that is the parasite but the void-mediation-system. In the examples of Buddhism of sorcery we may broadly say that compassion and awe respectively mediate the impact of the void upon the human-vector.

We can consider other activities also as responses to the void. Not least of these is philosophy. Philosophers all brush with the void to a greater or lesser extent. This encounter is (for example) the dizzying vertigo one gets when encountering Descartes radical doubt for the first time. This sensation is often (but not always) easily repressed and the activity looks like one more mode of study. But of course what characterises philosophy is that really none of its questions receives an actual answer. It has this character because there are no regular knowledge criteria for the kinds of questions involved. This is because it responds to an encounter with nothing. Ultimate questions have no answers, only speculations: What should we do? Maybe this… What is the nature of all things? Maybe this…

Philosophy proceeds by creating and counter-posing logical speculation against logical speculation. Sometimes more regular-world criteria emerge from other disciplines (science, logic) that facilitate the partial withdrawal of some aspects of it. However otherwise what happens is largely a proliferation of systems reacting to a total unknowable.

In this way philosophy is indeed a void response, only unlike the awe and perceptual manipulation of sorcery and the compassion of Buddhism, it focusses on arguing about what is the case and what we can know. It is what it thinks it is: a love of reason (to interpret wisdom in the way in which philosophy has evolved it).

Such talk cannot help but put us in mind of the work of Laruelle and our own notions of manifestationism and agnostic disjunction. Laruelle puts forward a similar notion of war between differing ontologies, none of which can triumph, as all are reliant in the last instance on the One. The One in this sense can be likened to the void. It is the font of all concepts and yet contains none in itself. What we note also is that the conception we have of philosophy as an encounter with the void presents the void as a transcendental condition for philosophy and stronger than this philosophy is a transcendental consequence of the void. The human as human cannot help but develop these questions because the void is real and hence cannot help becoming locked in their labyrinthine argumentative structures.

Two additional observations come to mind. The first concerns prescriptive religion (largely monotheisms). These are interesting insofar as they do not so much represent a void interface as a-voidance. That is, they deny at least the moral void whilst preserving the ontological void -only God can understand being properly. The response that humans should have to the world though is not up for grabs, rather it is dictated by the deity in a book/system of rules.

The void is a more rational response to existence whereas the dictator God seems less so. However in a sense either of these notions is equally plausible such that they form a kind of meta-manifestationism (meta-non-philosophy). That is, it seems that the void/prescriptive God opposition operates at a different level to which e.g. idealism/realism does.

This fascinating consideration aside there is another way in which the prescriptive God works with the void. If we consider pneuminous accretive theory (which is a void entailing theory) to be correct, then any monotheistic deity can be seen as a vast pneuminous accretion that by its own conceptual power (definition) entails its supreme nature. As such, this supremacy is to its followers (and even to some extent to non-followers) actually supreme and its laws ‘real’.

In this case such a deity does not so much as make a void mediation system as a void-protection system. The monotheistic accretive entity cocoons the void and prevents the humans from coming into contact with it, offering up instead a deity complete with life and death explanation, teleology and morals to determine how existence should be lived. It is of course the removal of such a cocoon that Nietzsche called the death of God.

Secondly, and this in part builds on the possibility of a two tier philosophy dissection. It seems interesting (if maybe not at this stage plausible) to potentially align the void interfaces with the Jungian quaternity.

Such a lining up would tentatively be as follows:

Thinking Philosophy -mediated through reason

Feeling Compassion -mediated through good deeds

Intuition Sorcery -mediated through awe, astonishing events

Sensation Pseudo-Hedonism -mediated through physical work and sensory pleasure.

What I want to consider here is the term ‘power’ as used by Castaneda and consider how this fits with various other types of experience. To qualify my use of treating Castaneda with this level of seriousness I would point out that I do not naively take the contents of the books to depict actual events, though neither do I deny that they might. What I do find important in the books is the way in which (to me at least) concepts like power make a massive amount of sense. This feeling though, as we shall see, serves as a ambiguous kind of evidence for the general thesis.

Power in Castaneda is both an impersonal and personal force. Basically it is what is responsible for any incredible things occurring. Persons wanting to cultivate occult ability need to acquire ‘personal power’. The chief manner in which this is achieved is through ‘impeccable’ living. This simply means doing ones best at everything and not wasting time on endless thinking about what to do, thought is functional so that it leads to action and it should lead to action (not more thought). The notion is that by tidying up ones life one stops leaking ‘power’ and becomes able to retain it. The distinction between the personal and impersonal is something of a false one. Incredible things that occur are ‘for’ specific people insofar as they brought them about themselves. Jungian synchronicities could be seen as examples of such phenomena though events in the books are far more extreme. Power can present itself as something that might seem incredibly impersonal, yet the possibility of viewing the event at all turned on whether one had enough ‘personal’ power to do so.

Another key feature of power is the ability of more powerful individuals to lend power to others. Don Juan frequently tells Carlos that some of the things he is able to witness are only because of his (DJ’s) power and not Carlos’. Some entities that Carlos sees in the hills and Carlos’ initial dreaming success are both ascribed to Don Juan’s power and not Carlos’. It is this feature of power that has captured my attention.

This notion of acquiring power from others seems related to a common experience people have when reading texts, or even reading about texts. Certain texts to certain individuals can feel so persuasive that they feel overwhelmed by them. In the case of philosophy this may result in becoming ‘a Heideggerian’ ‘a Deleuzian’ ‘a Wittgensteinian’ etc. This kind of acolytehood no matter how temporary can be seen through the above lens in two ways: i) as the power of the author to bring you under their fold ii) as the power of the individual to comprehend the text. The second interpretation features in a similar manner in CC’s work. There are instances of certain explanations that are literally impossible to understand without a certain level of ‘personal power’.

I tentatively want to argue for a heuristic division of ways in which texts strike us. This split I would label as rational and intuitive (for want of a better word). Furthermore this division is not intended as always occurring in an absolute manner, all instances will no doubt be blurred. Neither should we think that the rational understanding of a text is denigrated. This is the attempt to understand the arguments presented and follow the authors steps through to their conclusion. I am not saying that this results in truth; lurking underneath this tendency are still affective factors -as suggested here.

What I am suggesting though is that it is when an intuitive tendency takes over, that one is more open to the double motion of being-controlled and suddenly-grasping. Being-controlled is as such,, only insofar the author has exerted power through the text. Being-controlled is the sense that the work is so powerful that one must push this agenda and adhere to it. This is what elsewhere referred to as being-an-agent, that is even if it is not for a particular thinker, one might be an agent for e.g. idealism. As someone ‘persuaded’ of this truth, one works for idealism, to further its status in the world etc. Suddenly-grasping can be separated from being-controlled insofar as it does not entail that one agrees with what one has suddenly grasped. Whilst I could also concede that suddenly-grasping does not entail that one has suddenly-grasped correctly, in the sense of power that we mean here, in a way it does. Suddenly-grasping as an act of power is an actual comprehension brought about fluidly from the text in a very natural unfolding as opposed to hard cognitive work.

Let’s be clear, this is an occult thesis offering a parallel interpretation to more normal ways in which we think we understand things (we read something, we take in the information and weigh up). Power is not understood to have an agenda, the actions of power are completely mysterious. Why was a given person suddenly able to understand the text? Simply because they had enough power to receive that information. End of story. We can render power in this sense, slightly more cogent by thinking that unconscious forces in operation are motivated towards certain ends and as such will reveal text that suits their ends.

Being-controlled can be thought of in a similar way, though it can also be comprehended as being literally taken over by an alien conceptual body. The thoughts that we have that agree with, (indeed argue for) this stance seem like our own but really we are simply being partially controlled through lines connected to the relevant theory accretion/psychic structure. Whilst, at first this suggests a sense in which there was a ‘me’ that is now partially controlled in its theoretical doings by an external accretion. A more sensible way of looking at it would be that there was either no or very little ‘me’ and in fact all the thoughts present in this region were just the external plugins of all manner of different kinds of accretions. The ‘me’ could be better understood as the system of filtering rather than the ideas themselves, as it is the system of filtering that actually is local whereas all the ideas are essentially out there and in this case very literally ‘out there’.

Another instance of this kind of usage of ‘power’ is a therapeutic one. We can conceive of a therapist as someone who lends some power to their patient. This is a specific kind of action in a sense. It is not the kind of action that normal healthcare uses as the modern western system externalises power into the action of the medicine and not the healer and psychologically increasingly the the technique and not the therapist.

A psychological type therapy though is the best kind of relevant example as the aim is very similar to the Don Juan/CC relation, that is, one seeks to alter the way of perceiving things of the other. In the therapeutic setting, if we allow for an occult concept like power to have force, then the action is literally one of lending some power to the patient. Now the being-controlled notion takes on a different edge. Here being-controlled would be a deliberate allowing oneself to be-controlled. The therapist plugs the forces for which they are an agent directly into the patient. ‘Power’ here is ability to do so, to lend your ‘stable’ mind to the patient and attempt to nuture autonomy of the stability-implant so that the connection can be eventually mostly severed. This would also suggest that power is the power to control ones own filtering system and other people’s filtering systems.

Lest this sound too reasonable statement, the extreme version of ‘filtering system’ here would be the alteration of seemingly solid reality. The line between what looks like simply perceptual alteration and actual ontological change would also be totally blurred.

The meaning of the ambiguous force of Castaneda’s own works as evidence for the thesis is probably fairly clear now. The ambiguity is of course our old friend the agnostic disjunction -is power ontologically real or purely psychological? On the strong (occult) interpretation CC’s works themselves are capable as a power source capable of altering the filtering system of readers. This is certainly a common enough effect of reading the books just as being infected by the 23 phenomenon is with RAW/Burroughs’ work. Power in this way operates in a certain circularity. Its comprehension requires sufficient power itself. This is almost the strangest heart of agnostic disjunctive territory for only by allowing power to be power could it show itself in this wise. A constant refusal to do so will reveal it only in its psychological dimension which will view its occult counterpart as total bunk. This does not even say the psychological reading is wrong, it is consistent within itself.

It is not called an agnostic disjunction for no reason.

The attempt to describe the potential structure of beings that, from our perspective, are formed of pure non-physical being can present the appearance of relative simplicity. That is, a straightforward pneuminous interpretation involves saying that such things are formed of the conceptual substance: pneuma. Pneuma though has only ever been intended as a transcendental phenomenological category where it serves the function of enabling the possibility of magickal interactions. This is achieved by its definition being that it is capable of interaction with the hidden restraint of the umbratic. This is part of the pneuminous definition of magick: that the conceptual can affect the putatively solid.

So pneuma as transcendental condition does not make any statement about any variation that may be present in its ontological nature, it notes purely that it must be ‘what concepts are made of’ insofar as magick entails that they can interact with solidity as we experience it. This fits well with chaos magickal notions about the spirits, which seem to imply the relativistic nature of these entities depending on the cultural backdrop by which one accesses them. The conclusion being that these beings have no reality other than as accretions of pneuma formed by ourselves and yet are not less real for this. Such entities once set up are capable of entirely autonomous actions and do not in particular rely on the belief of a humans (e.g.) for their continuing existence.

This is a very rational position to take if one wants to accept the belief of such things. However in following the appearances of things we must be aware there are important appearances in play here that complicate this picture.

The most important of these is the appearance of such things as not purely relativistic structures. That is the older interpretations of such entities which treated them not as contingent formations of the human mind but rather as just entities that existed in another plane of existence e.g. upper world, lower world. Such beings however are not well known for their consistent accounts of things. This problem is exactly one of the threads that leads to the more post-modern interpretation of them as real but not real beings in themselves. Yet the rational description that reduces them to pneuminous accretions does not render the possibility of there being some beings that are  existent in such realms as possible.

So there may be entities which are not accretions of pneuma formed by humans but still are so alien from our perspective that they alter their appearance and contact in relation to our engagement with them. This notion explains the contingent appearances and the incoherent messages. The problem (if one is trying to escape pneuma as a useful idea) with this idea is that one still has a non-physical being which is still capable of physically interacting with our solid world, this is still pneuma.

What this does suggest though is other possibilities beyond the narrow chaos magickal investigations so far. The appearance of such beings as not formed by human intent has three discrete possible pathways. The first is that such beings were constituted by other physical beings like ourselves either in an earlier or other time (insofar as time makes sense in this way) and potentially after their creators demise, continue to exist in the pneuma as free floating quasi conscious autonomous accretions. The second is that such beings are the consciousnesses  of physical beings that have exited from physicality (of some kind) into a pure pneuminous state. Examples of this kind of exit certainly exist in our world, the Dzogchen tradition describes this possibility very clearly. Lastly there exists the possibility that the pneuma is itself home to beings of the kind that can exist in this realm; beings that have some kind of consciousness that was not constituted by ourselves or any other being that could be called physical. Such things could indeed be expected to behave very strangely as the experience of a world of unbound pneuma must be incredibly different from the solid continuity of the bound pneuminous world that we inhabit.

However thought these represent discrete paths, the possibility that comes with these possibilities is the chaotic possibility that all of them may in part be correct. That is, that there are human formed accretive spirits around, and there are also hoary strange accretions from time  gone by (or adjacent to ours) and in addition to these there are beings of pure pneuma formed only in non-physical realms. The notion of the non-physically formed entity suggests another appearance also related to this picture. That is, we make frequent comment that the physical beings of bound consciousness may create pneuminous accretions of quasi conscious like natures -chaos magickal spirits- but no mention has so far been made to intimate an inverse process. That is, on the table must also be the process by which the beings that reside only in the pneuma themselves project (through their own intent) beings of physicality, a physicality which can nevertheless effect the pneuminous (from their perspective the inversion of the magickal speculation that the pneuma can alter the umbra).

This of course raises the well known notion that we are spiritual (pneuminous) beings incarnate with the twist that we could just be magickal egregroes of non-physical beings. The multiple possibilties thesis though entails not just this thesis but rather that there might be an endlessly confusing cross pollination going on. Physical beings with consciousness constituting non-physical accretive entities. Such entites in turn might constitute physical ones. Beings of pure pneuma that were not constituted by physicality may be constituting physical entities with consciousness which in turn may be creating more egregore like structures.

There might have been a beginning in either or both ends of the spectrum (physical exit into pure pneuminous and pure pneuminous exit into physical) but once the system has been up and running for a while the possibility of an incredibly complex and chaotic pattern of interactions between these two poles  (with regard to conscious entities) seems entirely plausible and strangely more likely that simply the chaos magick model, which can sometimes look quite anthropocentric.

 

My Encounter with the word pneuma goes back to Nietzsche. These two sections from ‘Human all Too Human’ seem relevant. The first because it includes the very encounter with the word and the second for the view it holds on the metaphysical world.

8
Pneumatological elucidation of nature. – Metaphysics elucidates the handwriting of nature as it were *pneumatologically, -as the church and its scholars formerly did the Bible. It requires a great deal of understanding to apply to nature the same kind of rigorous art of elucidation that philologists have now fashioned for all books: with the intention of comprehending what the text intends to say but without sensing, indeed presupposing, a second meaning. But as even with regard to books the bad art of elucidation has by no means been entirely overcome and one still continually encounters in the best educated circles remnants of allegorical and mystical interpretations: so it is also in respect to nature -where, indeed, it is even far worse.
9
Metaphysical world. – It is true, there could be a metaphysical world; the absolute possibility of it is hardly to be disputed. We behold all things through the human head and cannot cut off this head; while the question nonetheless remains what of the world would still be there if one had cut it off. This is a purely scientific problem and one not very well calculated to bother people overmuch; but all that has hitherto made metaphysical assumptions valuable, terrible, delightful to them, all that has begotten these assumptions, is passion, error and self-deception; the worst of all methods of acquiring knowledge, not the best of all, have taught belief in them. When one has disclosed these methods as the foundation of all extant religions and metaphysical systems, one has refuted them! Then that possibility still remains over; but one can do absolutely nothing with it, not to speak of letting happiness, salvation and life depend on the gossamer of such a possibility. For one could assert nothing at all of the metaphysical world except that it was a being-other, an inaccessible, incomprehensible being-other; it would be a thing with negative qualities. Even if the existence of such a world were never so well demonstrated, it is certain that knowledge of it would be the most useless of all knowledge: more useless even than knowledge of the chemical composition of water must be to the sailor in danger of shipwreck.

* pneumatologically: pneumatology is the ‘science’ of spirits and spiritual beings.

A lot of what it says here is relevant to what I try to say in my writings. I use the word pneuma because it does mean spirit, but also because it means air. Those with a cursory knowledge of the western magickal tradition will know that the air element is associated with the mind, the analytic swords of the tarot. It is this double meaning that makes it (to me) suitable as the concept I want.

What is pneuma in the accretive system? Pneuma is said to be the stuff that concepts are made of. Pneuma is sticky and can be made to accrete. The accretions of pneuma follow from the phenomenological lead of the world that is already interpreted. Everything is an accretion of pneuma. This is metaphysics, absolutely. The questions obviously arise: What do you need pneuma for? Why would you want to substantialise conceptuality?

The answer goes back to phenomenology of magick and the agnostic disjunction. Nietzsche thinks the possibility of the metaphysical world is worthless for life. Of course he says this specifically with Christianity in mind but equally seems fairly clear; any kind of spiritual world might be acknowledged yet leaves us with nothing positive to say about it. This is a very reasonable opinion, the problem I feel is that the manifestations of such a world cannot be put to bed. Spectres, UFOs, synchronicities continue to haunt the world and every time these phenomena occur they present to the individual with the agnostic disjunction i.e. was that real or not? The disjunctive question is agnostic because any answer of dismissal is only done on the question begging grounds that such things are not possible because this (solid) world does not admit of them. Equally though if one decides the phenomenon was real, then one must face the incoherent sense of trying to reconcile what it would mean for reality for this to be the case.

Pneuma and its accretions are what I believe to be the best answer for anyone who thinks that the ‘magick obtains’ arm of the disjunction is worth thinking about. It is true that pre-determined harmony of some kind is on the table and partially represents a competing force of the side of actual metaphysical connection. This investigation is for another time. Let’s be clear about pneuma though, on the side of the regular solid interpretation of the world in which these phenomena are coincidences and hallucinations there is no need for pneuma. Pneuma, the conceptual stuff only has work to do on the magick accepting side.

So what does it do? Pneuma is called a substance precisely because it can do things, it is no longer the regular sense of a concept that is just ‘how we understand something’. In the system there are essentially three layers. The pneuminous accretions, the vector field and the umbratic. The accretions are everything we perceive with any sense. Everything is understood as something even when that something is ‘the unknown’, this too is an accretion, a concept. This is pneuma bound into endless blobs, connected in myriad ways by pneuminous fibres: homonyms, metaphors, shared qualities, all these and many more are the ways in which the accretions connect to one another. Temporally they are altering, largely under the sway of the neurotic accretions of pneuma (ourselves) who are also nothing but accretions, yet ones with ability to restructure the pneuma into new forms or keep it stuck in old ones.

The vector field is the transcendental field that we must presuppose in order to say that the accretions are attached to something. The possible field of all perceptions of all kinds is the vector field. It can be glimpsed by imagination/phenomenological reduction as that ‘what things would be if we try to remove concepts’. The blur of stuff, smells, sounds. The vector field is pneuma, but it is pneuma unaccreted (other than as the vector field, or hyle etc.). Pneuma bound into a concepts (accretions) is attached to the regions of the vector field. It is called vector field because the different regions are capable of behaving like vectors for the higher up formed accretions. That is, they play host to them; a certain region plays host to the concept ‘curtains’, another to ‘duvet’ and so on and so on. In this way the concept is not simply in the mind of the neurotic accretion, rather it is in the the vector itself.

The umbratic is the phantasy of everything that cannot be perceived for whatever reason. The notion of the umbratic is generated by attempting to perceive existence when one’s head is cut off, as Nietzsche put it. A similar agnostic disjunctive issue concerns this region of correlationism as it has come to be known. Either science is perfectly good at telling us what existence is like independently of ourselves, or it still remains nothing but prosthetic extensions of our faculties that, whilst assuredly expansive still does not  and cannot totalise the titanic otherness that lurks out there.

The inference in this phenomenology goes that, since this metaphysic accepts a kind of correlate, albeit one that is partially autonomous from us and since things remain solid and reliable most of the time then there must be some structure that maintains this solidity beyond this pneuminous interface. This restraint on the vector field is inferred to come from the umbratic, though its actual nature is unknowable (in these metaphysics). So the implication that comes from magickal phenomena is that conceptuality must be capable of altering the umbratic, or as it is phrased elsewhere ‘the pneuma can affect the umbra’.

Here then we see the point of having pneuma as not purely epiphenomenonal. Magick means that conceptuality alters things. The definition of magick we work with here is ‘a concept that is applied successfully to a vector region that would not ordinarily take it’. Synchronicity is often the appearance of objects, words, numbers, images in places that seem somehow pertinent to the individual. The explanation here is that unlike the ordinary state of affairs in which the regular array of the world (as determined by the umbratic) displays what is on offer, in this instance the autonomous action of the pneuminous accretions has somehow restructured the situation such that now physicality (the umbra) serves the pneuminous action. Magick is just a more active form of the same. If synchronicity is achieved by the accretions acting under their own steam, then magick is the manipulation of the umbratic through the actions of the neurotic accretion (self). The NA desires that a certain region of the vector field which is occupied by a certain accretion should not be occupied by another. For example, that I am poor is a concept applied to a region (myself and my lack of funds). The money hungry magician seeks apply the concept of himself being wealthy to the vector region instead. Magick is the process of trying to make the new accretion stick in such a way that the umbratic is forced to alter at the behest of the accretion.

We do not here, offer how this happens, such descriptions stray beyond the point of such a phenomenology. We only say that under this system, if we do not accept predetermined harmony or the non-existence of the phenomena, this is what somehow must be happening. Pneuma is the concept at the heart of all of this. It is the force required to make it functional.

Nietzsche maybe underestimates the power of the appearance of the metaphysical world. There is not necessity to its incurring notions of guilt. This only belongs to the metaphysical world that instantiates the judging god. The appearance of the metaphysical world of fluid but magickally potent conceptuality opens action up to all manner of magickal beseechings that may or may not be effective (agnostic disjunctive epistemology again). Drawing this conclusion about the metaphysical maybe enables it to be reapplied to life rather than shunning it in favour of physicality. The appearances of the metaphysical world in physical will not go away and our ability to decide upon their truth will not increase -unless it is favour of the metaphysical. Any conception of life needs to take these appearances into account without dogmatising them into a system.