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.

For example:

  • Humanization, the dreamery, arts, religion, knowledge.

By contrast:

  • 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:

  1. Both suffer from the lifelong ache of the secular weird; it influenced our distinct writing.
  2. Both are philosophers.
  3. We are meek poets; Paweł´s poesy was read at Radio Tide Hamburg.
  4. Greek motives in their poetries; gods as well as demigods.
  5. Greek theater (theatre) texts Paweł wrote: Party of Zeus, Friedrich, The Death of Empedokles.
  6. 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.

We are doomed to speculate upon a moment at which an inside becomes aware of an outside. We are equally doomed to place this moment on a historical axis. Theories like panpsychism do not really help this issue, they merely shift the problem from being about the where consciousness is (everywhere) to how it becomes localised in beings capable of having epistemological crises about their own ontological nature. That is, unless panpsychism accepts that occurring aggregates themselves develop discrete consciousness as unities (animism) it is doomed to be an empty theory that posits some kind of subatomic consciousness that is essentially ineffective until it organises itself into neurological systems. At which point we may rightly wonder what work the panpsychism is actually doing.

Of course panpsychists do not want to accept the consciousness of aggregates as this road does indeed lead to animism -a fish they do not seem to care for. Of course the consciousness of things does have serious problems from any rational stance. What it does though is solve the problem of consciousness in organisms. It does this by saying that the neurological systems are not the seat of consciousness. They are rather second level systems that access consciousness but have not created it. Such a theory would say that aggregates of all kinds have  discrete consciousnesses; neurological interface organism have just overridden this more primordial mode of consciousness which they developed owing to their mobile and energy consuming ways. This kind of model is attractive up to a point, certainly it is attractive to the more paranormal minded. The problem with it is that it must presuppose human criteria for aggregates and then presuppose a world in which things behave (away from humans) along the lines of discretion that humans have imposed upon them. That is to say, we must presuppose we have selected the real objects that existence itself recognises as discrete. If we do not do this we have to draft in more metaphysical rules about which kinds of non-organistic aggregates acquire consciousness -this rock but not this rock, this pool, but not this puddle etc. The whole system becomes too layered in speculation.

If however we wish to retain objects as discrete and that exist in the world as objects we essentially need the feedback system of pneuminous accretions to secure it. This is a contentious claim of course. The part that I think is sound is ‘to secure it’. If we do not use accretive theory then the possibility exists that there is no cogent way of saying that objects interact with one another as one has no grounds by which one can cogently talk about discrete objects as they themselves are only a product of our principium individuationis.

How does pneuminous theory help? Remember that whilst pneuma is there as a transcendental condition for the possibility of magick, it is however also necessarily just the ‘what’ all concepts are formed of. The primary pneuminous relation is the inside/outside. This sets up the primal accretion of both of these. Accepting the magickal relation as true (as an arbitrary decision of the agnostic disjunction: magick obtains/does not obtains), this means that as the inside/outside notion -no matter how primitive- is formed thus it is literally reified by the effect of the accretion. Other primal accretions will be related to propagation of the organism and energy consumption. The order in which these appear can be argued about, but their general primacy can not. The result of occupying a location, being able to move, desiring energy to place inside oneself create the condition for distinguishing one region from another. Three easy pairings can be spotted: outside/inside, food/not food, obstructive/not obstructive, to which we might add (when the organism is sufficiently complicated) dangerous/not dangerous. These primary hermeneutics would all be enabling the pneuminous feedback system by which the concept applied to the thing (vector) in an ineffable way (this is a theory magick remember) makes the thing closer to the concept that is attributed to it. This attributing of structured pneuma to a part of what is (a region of the vector field) is the accretive process. Remember also that the accretion is not simply within the organism, rather it becomes literally attached to the vector region. This notion is crucial for the autonomous existence of objects as objects.

By the time we get to more complex animals, the umwelt is equally so much more complex. Every kind of region of  the umwelt that the organism recognises as a discrete is either some deliberate product of evolution (an accretions itself) or a by product of it e.g. that the very ability to spot that there different kinds of things, might escape from dangerous/safe or edible/inedible things into just general things. Every one of these region/objects is accreted with a discreting pneuminous layer attributing to it some kind of conceptual significance in its world. These amassing layers are the accretions. Furthermore the layers of pneuma are not inert. Once accreted, they exert an effect upon the region (object), external to the perception of the organism. This effect, as mentioned is the curious feedback mechanism of active incoherent reification. That is, the region is nudged towards being of the nature of the concept that was applied to it. In the natural formation of region and concept this effect will be scarcely noticeable because of course it was the behaviour of the region that determined the concept in the first place -so the two are essentially harmonious.

Further explanation is achieved by noting that that the primordial accretion of perceiving of discrete things is still in play. This primal perception -according to the theory- is perpetually making things on some level, literally into separate things. The perception of separation becomes adopted by the outside. This is a subtle change. As stated, the change wouldn’t be possible if existence didn’t permit it. Yet what to a blind existence in itself, is simply different intensities without reflection, upon the the fissure of consciousness opening, becomes the conceptual actuality of discrete things. The intensities are transformed into objects by the pneuminous layers that they must bear.

This is all that is needed. In a (chaos) magickal universe, our individuated things as things are a product of a primal feedback of reifying perception. This in turn has literally formed the autonomous existence of discrete things. Its alteration to their physical behaviour may be almost nil but what it has done, to use a slightly Heideggerian tone, is allow them to be the things they are -something like OOO can actually make sense if you allow for this kind of metaphysical picture to underpin it. Things have necessarily at least a thin layer of pneuma accreted to them, this is guaranteed by their discretion itself, many things have vastly more layers upon them.

Finally a brief speculation upon the effect of the object forming pneuma is warranted. A reasonable possibility is that the organism has accreted, along with this primal individuation a sense of persisting in time and space.  This is a reasonable correlate that fulfils our sense of such things persisting in our framework outside of our perception. It is in effect as if, as good Kantian subjects we did not only structure the in-itself with our conceptuality, but also infected it.