These notes work towards the development of the previously mentioned idea of a description of a pre-ontological level that would fail to register any paranormality as such, owing to its simply being one more aspect of existence. Whether such a kind of prior state is adequately describable is questionable (the meaning of prior this instance being one of the problems), however it may be that the attempt will prove useful.
One stumbling block in such definition as ‘pre-ontological’ is that the issue we seek to discuss can be seemingly achieved by a given ontology. That is, it is perfectly possible to conceive of an ontology that does not need deny paranormal phenomena, rather it simply incorporates them into its theorising about being. Such a move though, is unsatisfying because any given ontology belongs to the other end of the structure.
What do we mean by this? What we are trying to work with is in fact a double ended structure. One end is the pre-ontological level and the other is the level of multiple ontologies. The end of multiple ontologies has in the CEO been labelled manifestationism. More can be read about this in this old CEO compilation. It basically takes it that a priori no philosophical theory (a manifestation) can be ambiguity proof. This is based on the incoherence/coherence thesis that can be read about in the Tractatus Pneumatologico Philosophicus which states that all concepts are essentially incoherent in some way or another. Philosophers as agents of different ontologies to which they are affectively attached, will work with the inherent incoherence to defend the ontology that they work for, whilst being blind to the incoherence in their ’employer’. Everyone argues with everyone, forever.
This is one end of the structure we wish to try to articulate. This end is the multiplicity of theory by which we try to understand what is going on. Theory has happened and is continuing to happen. Of special interest to us is that fact that modern scientific and philosophical theory, especially in the west has in general placed all paranormality outside of it. The presupposition is that despite various idealist discussions continuing, materialism actually supplies something that approximates the true. The world is solid and continuous. Theories that supply alternative pictures are relegated to quantum-fuelled new-age speculation. The radical picture of reality that such thought demands looks so distant from the cosy walls of hegemonic materialism that it appears whole-heartedly ridiculous. Hence whilst the manifestationist multiplicity certainly contains such theories, they are at the moment largely distinct from ‘conventional’ philosophy.
This kind of talk repeats the spectre of the ontology that is accepting of various ‘para’-normalities. As mentioned, such an ontology is certainly possible (pneuminous accretive theory is exactly such a thing), however it is not what is required here. The mention of paranormality here is not to emphasise it as an important realm of theory (manifestation) but only to show how this is relevant to the other end of the structure.
The other end of the structure has be characterised as pre-ontological. This language is used to draw attention to how it must be ‘before’ theory has happened. Possibly this can only be employed heuristically, nevertheless we will continue with this and see where it goes. The point of this prior end of the structure is to imagine a space in which there is no schism in the experienced world. One can feel a kind of Heideggerian sense in what is being aimed at here. Poetic disclosure in a primal sense, an announcing of being. This encounter though cannot abnegate events that we would deem as paranormality, it cannot have the hidden presupposition that such things are not real to it. It is this level that we must ask ourselves, if possible, what might it look like?
A hydra of theory heads emerging from the dark earth. This is the task.
Postulating there is no deity setting actual rules for existence (other than deities which are themselves vast hoary accretions, or potentially powerful pneuminous beings not of our creation, either of which would not be an ultimate being) what can we say about the ethical status of the accretions? Does this question even make any sense?
We believe there is some kind of commentary can be made on this topic, though it is difficult given that all human existence is a priori accretive (if we accept the theory). All the ideas in your ‘mind’, all the stuff you can see and hear, even yourself are all accretions of the same conceptual substance -pneuma. The commentary requires a kind of wondering. The wondering is something like this: is it possible that attaching too many accretions to the self (the neurotic accretion or NA) is in some sense negative? Again this is tricky because of the issue of value. In an ethical void, whether we exist as pneuminous beings bound up with endless threads to endless other accretions or whether we minimise the lines of connection seems to matter little. However there is the matter of the functionality of the organism. Is it possible then that weighing the NA down with endless accretive layers impairs its functionality? This doesn’t really seem unreasonable.
Using our the recently developed D&G plug-in we can say that extra accretions are formed through intensities. Emotional attachments, patterns of behaviour, these are how it happens. Keeping things, holding onto feelings, being fixed in routine. If accretive theory is correct then these kinds of actions are creating actual accretions of pneuma that themselves accrete to the NA. Some kind of affect, some kind of will makes this happen.
It is easy to note systems like Buddhism eschew attachment (many religions touch on this kind of aspect) and in that sense encourage forming as few a lines as possible. What we find interesting is the tension between the poles of maximum and minimum accretive attachment. A truly minimal engagement with excessive accretions is often the aim of occult systems. The notion is that the accretions encumber the ‘energy body’ and thus reduce its capacity to be effective. This, in its harshest form, could involve separating oneself from even other persons in order to free oneself from the bonds both of our attachment to them and of their ability to pneuminously restrain us through their perception. At the other end of the spectrum is the pneuminous hoarder. Some NAs don’t know how to let go of anything , either emotionally or physically. Pneuminously these are near identical. A physical thing is just pneuma attached to a vector, it is the pneuma we are in contact with, not the vector. ‘Physical thing’ is just one more concept (accretion) itself, admittedly a deep grammatical one. Unbound pneuma (the contents of the mind) is just that, pneuma unbound to the vector field plane that gives rise to physical grammar. Emotionally charged accretions, either bound or unbound can be astonishingly powerful and the NA may feel it cannot separate itself from them. Artifacts, memories, places all can be accretively bound by intensity. Extreme cases of being wedded to endless accretive structures can be reasonably said to impair the well-being of the organism.
But in the middle of this spectrum, isn’t this where ordinary human existence lies? Accretive formations are a regular part of existence that humans generally manage to negotiate without lapsing into the hoarding pole -the other pole is generally perceived as less problematic and certainly not something one is likely to lapse into. What is interesting to speculate about in this regard is the role of capitalism in relation to our accretive relations. Mass production, endless improvement and easy replacement arguably have a negative impact on what could be seen as positive accretive relations. Whilst it can be seen as unhealthy to be excessively attached to appliances, furniture etc, it is possibly better to have some kind of intensity attachment to such things as opposed to viewing them as purely disposable. Disposable is fine if the disposability can be dealt with, however we can see that this has not really worked out.
The point is that a certain kind of keeping things is not unhealthy attachment even if it can resemble it. Disposable and/or mass produced things mirror each other in their encouragement of the non-special. The keeping of and passing on things imbued with intensity is an important part of being-human. By this I again refer to something like the notion of Heidegger’s human. The human of the disposable is the post-human. The fantasy of freeing oneself from stuff (unless one is embarking on an occult path) is largely exactly that. You free yourself from stuff in order to passively accept the disposability of stuff. You cannot give someone a phone and expect it to be particularly meaningful. No one will keep it to pass it on. But things like vases, plates, cutlery, rooms, tables these should be allowed to grow old (for humans to be humans -if they want to be humans) and be passed on.
In this sense capitalism gives the worst of both worlds. It generates attachment to stuff, desire for stuff. The accretive attachment becomes to ‘buying’ itself and the ephemeral status/feeling the stuff may bring. Capitalism gives no freedom from attachment to accretions like the sorcerer requires, attachment is still horribly present. But equally, valuing the stuff is lacking, for there is so much more where it came from. The attachment of affect at the level of what I have called being-human is missing.
Viewing things through the eyes of accretive theory can help to redeem some of the capitalist dehumanising. This is so because accretive theory says that the things gather what happened to them. Not just in their cracks and knocks but at the pneuminous level. Things accrete like we (NAs) do, it is a double process. Just as I become attached to it so it does to me and when I am gone my interactions with the thing are still there accreted to it. Disposability/mass production helps to develop the attitude that the things are all the same. Each thing has embedded in it its story in the pneuma.
None of this says what anyone should do. It merely describes certain relations under various conditions.
I read Carlos Castaneda about 20 years ago; previously to that I had deliberately ignored him as new age nonsense. However at some point the moment appeared when the academic philosophy was less and certain other impulses were more prevalent. I must be honest. I was bowled over by it. Castaneda can write and the narrative is both seductive and compelling. It begins with what seems like some kind of initiation into possibly real practices and progresses into a description of stranger and stranger things. Taken as it actually is it’s really quite terrifying: proper reality bending sorcery is actually possible, teleportation is possible, non-organic entities lurk on the periphery of reality and some actually feed off our awareness as a default state of existence. The books eventually unveil a system that resembles a quite extreme form of chaos magickal reprogramming. One must break ones habits, learn to not be the habitual self, unlearn perception itself to achieve as Deleuze and Guattari rightly note ‘the body without organs’. Opportunities for ‘power’ lurk all over the place and if we are interested we have to know how to grasp them.
The system has a energy body which describes humans as a luminous egg of fibres with a particularly bright patch behind the back in the same place in us all. This is the famous assemblage point (my Deleuzian interest is piqued at this name). The position of this point determines what reality we experience and in most people it stays in the same place, however the sorcerer learns to move it so as to move between worlds. As the books progress we learn the possibility that we may not even be aware of many things we have done or even do and that when we die we are consumed by a giant entity called the eagle. That is unless we have done our practices so rigorously that we can bypass this option and escape into the infinite.
The seductive possibility of such things being true is very attractive to all manner of minds in various states. I cannot even now say such things are not possible and such denials are not the point. What is the point is that the Castaneda system offers no actual sense of freedom that helps anyone other than yourself. The liberation of the self from the self into the infinite is the goal but there is no accompanying compassion (like in Dzogchen e.g. which Castaneda assuredly drew on). There is just awe and wonder and impeccable acts. Now of course this may be actually a kind of correct response in an indifferent universe, but as a system it lacks the ability to do anything for anyone other than break them down with the promise of powers and an endgame that even if actually achievable is clearly spelled out to need an astronomical amount of effort way beyond the ability of almost everyone. This gamble comes at the cost of the your family and your friends, the full Castaneda is not just some gentle new age system. Even if it’s anthropologically nonsense there is power in the writings and they will do things if you play with the techniques in there. But for a human connected life it’s not really something many of us would want to consider.
This brings us to Land or at least an aspect of the philosophy associated with him. I find something almost equally self-defeating in the ushering in of the human eschaton by invoking the AI god from the future through accelerated technocapital. There is a kind of undeniable logic to the Landian view that is actually hard to escape. How do we stop ourselves from creating AI that ultimately surpasses us given that we don’t seem to want to? It may well still be a long way off and maybe it isn’t possible. The impression, the appearance that shows itself no matter how incoherent is that it is possible, and this is all that is needed to generate the teleology. Why is it not a fitting end to transfer our cognition magnified a thousandfold into a vessel far more durable than our ‘fleshy drag’? In an indifferent universe this is a reasonable response so long as one places no value on the human and its being-human. I’m not here to make some heart wrenching plea in favour of the human, but I do feel a similarity between the hollowness in feeling towards this endgame and the Castaneda option. Both offer an escape at the cost of everything familiar.
Castaneda’s system uncoupled from Castaneda is a similar logical endpoint to Land’s: achieve the body without organs with no compassion or create the AI entity that potentially has no compassion. Compassion dies in either instance, different impulses have taken over but the end is the same. I do not say that any system that advocates dissolution of the self always entails no compassion, indeed the Buddhists bolt compassion onto the system quite possibly as a safe guard from this conclusion, achieving the void without compassion. In this sense it may be that what Castaneda advocates is more pure for it removes the compassion which the Buddhists kept. This compassion, the logic suggests, was an contingent connection to the human and just as the flesh and emotions must go for AI, so a thorough system of energetic freeing must remove the notion as a stable structure.
Compassion means valuing the human (amongst other beings) but now we are frankly nauseated by this idea and we hate ourselves because we cannot be trusted, we have betrayed everyone. I do not know where this goes. The human ended with Heidegger (though his compassion is of course dubious), he defended a kind of poetic human dwelling which he warned us was covered and yet might be covered forever. We all know ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ and the danger of which it speaks. For Land this is not a danger, this is the destiny and ‘nur noch ein Gott kann uns retten‘ is to be actually realised.
We just didn’t know which God would come calling and what ‘saving’ meant.
This is a philosophy that Paweł Markiewicz has drafted.
Paweł Markiewicz is author of poesy as well as of thinkful flash fiction and essays. Pawel was winner of a 2019 poetry competition in Ybbs, Austria, winning second place.
Proceeding from Kant´s sentence: “The bestarred heaven above me, the moral law in me.”
There are two parts on Earth: the human part down below and the starry section up there.
One reaches for the stars, longs for them, dreams of them; there is a marvelous star for philosophers, one wakes up at the Morning Star.
From the star’s perspective: the people are moving barely; it is in fact a human tremor. The human role is not to move, but to let achieve the human-becoming. The humanization accomplishes anyhow through dreaming, whereat everyone is able to dream. The other ways of becoming human are the following: art (as well as literature), religious thoughts, philosophy.
The people are only under the stars, only a genius-like spirit (born from religion, art, or philosophy) can prevail over the stars, hanging.
In the time of the demise, each one gets a mite of little light of the stars. This lightlet is needful to pass over to the sempiternity (such an obol).
A tender argent light the living poets get from a star-muse, every time that they enchant by means of the most propitious poems the ontological being. The star-muse lives on the morning star, on dreamy Venus.
There are plenty of the stars. After the human decease, it is given for each an star in remembrance of the man: a forename, like the decedent, and the surname; an another of insect-names, as the meekest names in German *in English too (the most marvelous nemes). The muse of Venus above gives these names.
The dualism of verbs: “become” versus “be.”
- Become: down here.
- Be: on the starlit heaven.
- Humanization, the dreamery, arts, religion, knowledge.
- Stars are immovable, the venus-like muse is she-custodian of the night being of starry night (for the sake of the lingo, it would be valid by a conceived extra-neologism, to wit: starrynight-being).
Only at the naming of stars the being and becoming combine a wee bit like the dreamy contingence.
The dreamed Venus for the muse´s sake is star or not star, so it is a question.
I want to follow the most magnificent dreaming of Kant and to become such like Kant.
The Paweł-star would be called: Paweł-painted lady (butterfly).
And the moon? Is it absent? The Watery Star (the moon called by Shakespeare in The Winter’s Tale) is present. It is by a sibyl administrated that she must manage the following. Firstly, she is keeping slips on which human-like dreams and earthly arcana have been written down golden. She conjures the ocean of the stars so that the stars are shined by the moon. She is mesmerizing the sea of stars, so that the stars after their naming are shined twice by the tender moon. The moon has something common to do with the Earth, namely the shivering. In case of the moon this is an atomic vibration, what would bring into being the ontology of corpuscles.
Paweł and Friedrich have something in common, to wit:
- Both suffer from the lifelong ache of the secular weird; it influenced our distinct writing.
- Both are philosophers.
- We are meek poets; Paweł´s poesy was read at Radio Tide Hamburg.
- Greek motives in their poetries; gods as well as demigods.
- Greek theater (theatre) texts Paweł wrote: Party of Zeus, Friedrich, The Death of Empedokles.
- Paweł wrote about 300 poems (provably), Friedrich´s full poetries in Polish (translated in the 20th century) number about 300 works.
It is simply peaceful to have become F. Hölderlin.