The Centre for Experimental Ontology is going to sleep, maybe only for a short while, maybe forever. This concludes phase 2 of its existence.
Below you can find a rough summary of what this phase dealt with, where the CEO is now and where it might potentially go in the future —Gurdjieff has been pointing to some interesting correlates/directions.
1) Pre-ontology: The notion of a pre-ontology was not explore sufficiently but remains an ongoing concern. The central idea is whether it is cogent to conceive of a way in which existence can occur without an ontology excluding certain modes as possible. The emphasis of the thought is on conceiving of magickal phenomena as totally naturalised on a contiuum with all other phenomena.
2) Pneuminous Accretions: The pneuminous accretions remain at the heart of the general system. Materialised conceptuality (or at least the grammatical cogency of it) enables magick and completes philosophy in all directions.
3) Vector Field: Equally central to the system is the vector field. Meant in the sense of a ‘carrier’, the ability of vectors to host the pneuminous accretions is the counterpart to the accretions that completes the magickal explanation (of philosophy). A vector that houses a concept and suits it is the ordinary usage of the same force that we call magick (we don’t call it magick but the same operation occurs). A vector hosting an accretion that it would not normally house will find influenced/altered on a magickal level (what we tend to mean when we say magick).
4) Different Occult Endgames: The Castaneda system highlights this already suspected possibility. The reality or metaphor of the assemblage point illustrates how there is no necessity to some kind of occult achievement (that could be considered final) over another. Even the notion of ‘freedom’ in CC’s system can be contrasted against other possibilities of immortality. It is the extension of the lack of divine teleology into a vastly increased notion of what exists (which includes the occult possibilities).
5) Memetics: The disbanded science of memetics is highly commensurate with the pneuminous accretive theory. The only addition required is external existence of the memes i.e. whilst created by human activity they do no necessarily need it to continue to exist.
6) Susan Blackmore’s work present’s a considerable challenge to many aspects of esotericism. What she does is highlight the extreme ontology needed for it to be ‘real’ and not purely psychological. Pneuminous accretive theory is a good fit for such an ontology however at least one additional caveat is needed. The notion in question is one of something like levels of reality or consciousness. This is something mentioned both in Castaneda and Gurdjieff. In Castaneda, Don Juan will say that ordinary people would literally not be able to see the anomalies, though they are perfectly real, likewise certain statements are unintelligible unless one has sufficient ‘power’ to understand them. Gurdjieff says likewise that unless one obtains a certain level of consciousness, certain things are not visible and certain teachings incomprehensible. This is not a matter of cognitive ability but something else. This something else is what such an ontology would require, likewise it would say that the whole psychological edifice that Blackmore works in, amazingly admiral though it is to desire to not be fooled, can only return negative results, explainable in terms of neuroscience. This does not mean she has not encountered many frauds, but also it means that there is a certain letting go necessary for the actual encounter.
7) Plato, Castaneda, Laruelle: The most productive discussion in the last phase of the CEO concerned a kind of synthesis of these figures that overcomes that manifestation problem. The manifestation problem is simply this: if all ontologies (manifestations) compete equally to inhabit us, how do we understand an ontology that can account for this without lapsing into one more model. The pre-ontological investigations are related to this. Castaneda claims an absolute mode of perception that sees things as they are. This is the perception of the world as ‘energy’, though this accretion (energy) itself contaminates this perception. The reduction of the allness of everything to an endless series of fibres of light was called the reticulum. Gurdjieff has a similar message though there is less mention of energetic perception, rather he talks of ‘objective perception’, to again mean a perception of things as they are.
This line of thinking reinforces that what we mean by saying occult practices gives the completion of philosophy. To learn to perceive the pneuminous accretions as they are, to perceive the deep layers of the vector field. This possibility (?) undercuts Laruelle by granting access to the one, yet agreeing that philosophy (manifestations) is hopelessly inadequate to make any progress. The one is accessible only through deep struggle. This in turn makes sense of Plato but not as empty epistemology. The struggle out of the cave is a real struggle that we all must undertake and that necessarily most of cannot achieve -I include myself in this number.
But again this all relates to the point about ‘different occult endgames’. What Castaneda and Gurdjieff talk about may well not be the same thing, furthermore there are many different stations in this realm. Gurdjieff talks about ‘right results’ but maybe there are other kinds of ‘results’.
8) The vector field does have a certain incoherence. It is the imagined perceptual residue devoid of concept (pneuminous accretion). Even if this is not cogent, the idea functions a) transcendentally as a necessary condition for the possibility of an object and b) as a heuristic by which we can understand the structure of things. This heuristic dimension is particularly relevant with regards to certain occult technologies. In Gurdjieff for instance, there is a technique related to self-remembering which involves dividing the psyche into a potential real ‘I’ and the personality (often named after the person). The named being is the accreted (neurotic self or selves) and the real ‘I’ is something that comes with the organism. It is this part that the esoteric practices seek to access. Does this division make great sense? Not particularly; the separation of the personality from a putative underlying ‘essence’ is a highly confusing notion analytically. However as an occult instruction, or guidance, it has power. Conceive of yourself in this way and it helps to disclose pointless, repetitive, petty parts of your behaviour. A deeper layer of the human vector, stripped close to the vector field itself.
This whole notion of how far down the vector field goes is a fascinating one that requires further thought.
9) Wittgenstein and Laruelle point to the same place. This is because ‘language’ itself is a use word. It cannot be the ‘real’ noun that designates something. It all emanates from what can reasonably grammatically be called the one, or the human. No statement escapes. Language only speaks as language when it has been accreted, without this it is the vector region that the concept language is applied to (consider discussion two organisms communicating and asking ‘are they using language?’). One cannot understand the world beyond the accretions from within them. The only possibility of a greater comprehension comes from the possibility of something like a different consciousness being possible. This possibility remains agnostic disjunctive, at least from the level of regular thought.
10) Regular thought exists in a band that cannot seriously conceive of the world other than as it appears: solid, continuous. Agnostic disjunction functions at this level of thought. It renders anomaly as a possibility that cannot be dismissed but cannot be established. The only way out of agnostic disjunction is by the possibility of something like Gurdjieff describes as ‘objective consciousness’. This of course brings in the problem of ‘levels of consciousness’ which again cannot be verified in any way other than through the circular achievement of a ‘higher’ or ‘altered level’.
11) Gurdjieff makes a particularly interesting statement concerning art. He divides it into objective and subjective. Subjective art is that art we create when we allow powers to flow through us. Whereas objective art is created by a consciousness that is in control of its various parts and actually deliberately creates the work. Such a work, he says, will not generate subjective impressions of interpretation but rather will impose its meaning upon us all.
The last century and indeed this one, has made much of the discovery that we are not in control of the cultural, conceptual powers (pneuminous accretions/memes) that flow through us. Art controls the artist, we are but a vessel. Our general likes/dislikes and determinations are simply a product of these cultural forces. The CEO has played with this language calling it agenthood and utilised the phrase ‘who do you work for?’ to describe how we work for such forces —philosophers work for ontologies, they are agents for them, this explains their stubbornness of defending positions that are no better than those of enemy agents.
The occult endeavour again highlights the possibility of escape from these forces. The possibility that the ‘being-possessed’ by these powers is a contingent condition that we can potentially escape from -though not without serious effort. The death of the author is true but the author may also exist in some circumstances.
12) The double in Castaneda is the second body in Gurdjieff. This is largely the aim of both systems. The transference of consciousness from the feeble disparate exterior to a unified and separable (from the physical body) interior. He makes a fascinating comment that the kingdom of heaven in Christianity is just the development of the second body. Only when the second body is developed is survival beyond death possible. Even this though is finite —equally fascinating as again it suggests, not an eternal beyond, but simply another negotiable realm.
13) The Moon in Gurdjieff devours our awareness, we only can stop this by the development of ‘objective consciousness’. This is very similar to the ‘Eagle’
14) All adornments (job,clothes, language, hair styles etc) are a semiotic system that displays ones alignment to various powers. Some are imposed, some are chosen. Liberation from these powers leaves a vacuum we must somehow fill with a curious control. If we simply remove them, more accretions will take their place. This aids flexibility but not control itself.
15) Magnetic centres are what we develop and activate when we trigger synchonicity. Our fascination with this at the wrong level easily burns the centre out. We can reactivate it, but our modern consciousness means making contact through the centre is almost impossible. We have no choice but to attempte solitary activity and experiment.
16) Gurdjieff suggests that the mystery schools were/are not complete in their questionings. He indicates they continued to conduct experiments on subjects concerning consciousness. Some products of these are fakirs that one may encounter performing incredible feats. He suggests such people are sometimes simply failed experiments of mystery schools. This suggests a very scientific attitude (that one would not get past an ethics committee) towards their relation to consciousness. Ouspensky mentions an anecdote in which a sheep was brought to full consciousness. When he asks ‘What did they do with it?’ Gurdjieff replies ‘They ate it.’
17) Prevous CEO terminology called the human vector the ‘regional processor’. The ‘neurotic’ or ‘self accretion’ plugged into this to make the NARP.
18) The Hyperqabalah remains and ongoing concern. It is the development of a diagrammatic system in which each path of the previous tree of life is transformed into a sephiroth (node) or the levelled up system. It is a partial product of accident. In the process of forming sigils for each regular tree of life path they were as scribed numbers 1-22 as single symbols. This meant that if this was a new based system, it was necessarily base 23, i.e. the equivalent of 10 could only be achieved after the 22 single sigils. The cultural accretive weight of 23 makes this seem highly appropriate. Much work has been done on this but the nature of the paths between the nodes still needs establishing.