In the Tractatus Pneumatologico Philosophicus there is a small section entitled ‘Mystery’.

It reads:

“Mystery is the manifestation of existence as incoherence. Mystery gives rise to
phantasy; if existence were not inherently mysterious phantasy would not arise.
Reality too emerges out of mystery as the phantasy we decide is not phantasy. This
is reality. Mystery is incoherence, hence all phenomena are mysterious. They submit
to the accretion of the pneuma to be rendered incoherently coherent.”

This small term has received no other treatment so far, however now it seems that it presses for a greater expansion of its use. What does the above passage mean? The term phantasy is a precursor to the more recently developed manifestationism -the competing of plural ontologies. A phantasy is a viable reality (it has criteria to support it) that is not the dominant one. The way the Tractatus expresses it is that the solid world of consistent being is reality, where ‘reality’ just means the dominant model. A phantasy could be the dominant model, it is not out and out lunacy (a fantasy). A phantasy is on an agnostic disjunctive par with the current reality, it is just that certain forces currently hold this one model in power (as reality) rather than another.

Incoherence is a reference to the notion within TPP that all concepts reveal themselves in two manners: incoherent coherence and coherent incoherence. A concept in its regular being-encountered is the former, that is we take the concept as coherent without questioning it. Any analysis of any concept will show its edge of collapse and we are capable of knowing this, hence the concept then becomes coherently incoherent.

Mystery is different insofar as it is pure incoherence. Mystery here is posited as the ground that renders the agnostic disjunction possible. If phenomena were not able to be understood through many different ontologies there would be no mystery, just the comprehension of things in the way they actually are. As such mystery has a transcendental quality to it.

Mystery is not just a theoretical description. Mystery is an exhortation to remind ourselves that we potentially know very little about what is going on in this world. This is at least in part Heidegger’s issue. Pure facticity insofar as such a thing is possible reveals the astonishing presence of the world. No matter how convincing science and technology become we need to try to keep the mystery in sight. This at least is Heidegger’s point. This returns me to a theoretical place that I frequently find myself. The human as the dweller in the world responds to the mystery. Heidegger means that this creature, this dweller could be lost and what will remain will be still biologically human but will not be such a dweller. In this instance mystery, whilst not utterly lost, will be essentially lost. The layers will be so great that it will not be possible to contact it. Everything will have its explanation. The choice is whether we want to retain this dweller who has access to mystery or become what lies beyond it?

The philosophy here is less gloomy about the possibility of loss insofar as the agnostic disjunction in relation to encountering phenomena like synchronicity mean it is always going to be possible to interpret certain phenomena as mystery. What is probably true is that it may become harder to sustain the interpretation, to choose the ‘other corridor’ of the AD.

There is it would seem an alliance between ‘mystery’ and occult interpretation of phenomenon. This is confusing insofar as mystery seems to be intended as a phenomenon that enables the agnostic disjunction rather than one that is actively on one side of it. However when faced with an occult event we can either rationalise it (suck it back into the regular world) or accept that the world is much much stranger than we took it to be. The former side plugs into the explanation world that strives towards coherence, the latter acknowledges immediately the pure incoherence of the world. Of course occult ontologies exist, but they always bring the incoherence to the fore. Explanation through metaphysics, as Kant noted, is not really explanation, it’s just speculation.

What of accretive theory then? Isn’t it an explanation? Yes it is. It tries to be the best rational fit for accepting the agnostic disjunctive second arm. One might say in this respect it tries to remove mystery. It might provide some illumination, but the acceptance of accretive theory just does exactly what any occult ontology does (except without the dogma): it brings the incoherence to the fore. All accretive theory says is that if the synchronicity can be said to be ‘real’ then the concept (the pneuminous accretion) has been capable of altering the normal solidity (the umbratic). It’s easy to write this but to try to process what it must be for this to be the case does indeed bring the incoherence to the fore. Accretive theory cannot tell you and does not try to tell you how this happens, only that it does.

The problem of animism (as previously discussed) suggests the kind of problematic situation in relation to mystery. If the world is capable of responding in the manner like accretive theory suggests, then to get it to animistically respond one would likely need to invest in it in an active way in order for it to do so. If one continues to treat it rationally like ‘stuff’ it will not respond. The stuff perception is so strong that of course one does not want to treat the wind and rocks as if they are alive but of course as soon as someone is experimentally brave enough to do so they then face a second problem as soon as they feel the animistic world interacting with them. That is, they then encounter the agnostic disjunction in relation to the interaction. The sense that ‘this is just madness’ is almost overpowering and for good reason. They may well be right. But the safety net of rationality is never strong enough to absolutely dismiss the possibility.

The ‘what is it?’ is mystery and mystery is the ally of occult ‘explanation’. ‘Reality’ is surrounded.

 

 

 

This  note forms part of an ongoing discussion at the CEO regarding a number of issues regarding accretive ontology. One such issue involves the possibility of an accretive typology of sorts. No doubt there will be more on this in the future, this whole discussion though seems to have unearthed a general movement towards recognising pluralities within the system.

What seems interesting as a possibility is to try to push the occult descriptions much further than the usual synchronicity area to see if anything can be gained from doing so. Let us consider animism with a serious eye. Animism fits well with accretive theory. The concepts of being alive are accreted to the various things such that they do indeed respond in certain ways. We cannot say what ways such things would be. What we do hit upon here is the modality of attaching significance to plant, stone, river etc behaviour as if it has volition. Such a belief requires connecting phenomena together in certain ways e.g. considering the swaying of plants in the wind to be part of their movement and stronger still than that, that such movement might be discernible as communication or some other kind of action. The wind itself could be viewed in such a way, the wind as a being with a volition.

Such perceptions are only possible under choosing the first arm of the agnostic disjunction ‘magick is real’ or ‘magick isn’t real’. However this choice is not as simple as the synchronicity option. In the case of the synchronicity the phenomena is overtly there as something strange. The event itself raises the issue. After the event we will decide whether reality can really do that in the strong sense (pneuminous accretive intervention) or if really it is just coincidence.

In the case of such animistic interpretations we do not have the same strong reason to make such a choice. There is nothing to prompt any upheaval of our regular interpretation of the inert unresponsive nature of things. To make the choice to do so seems insane and yet we have to be aware that the same issue with reality holds sway. Since we do not have an absolute understanding of reality we cannot say that inanimate things definitely cannot respond in some way. This of course isn’t really much good, it might be true but we have no grounds on which to believe it. The grounds however can come if one makes an experiment to treat the things around as if they were in some sense animate. Such a belief needs something like accretive theory to keep it from descending into indefensible nonsense. Accretive theory at least can give good grounds why anything can be imbued with some form agency if we attribute it to it. If then, we make an experiment of seriousness to treat things as if they had an, albeit incoherent, sense of life, then likely enough we will get some kind of synchronicitous or other like phenomena that seem quite remarkable.

At this point the agnostic disjunction can kick in with greater force to suggest that maybe there is something to animism (or accretive theory at least) because now we have an interference level phenomenon to substantiate it. Of it is a disjunction, we can still opt out. But now the appearance will be such that the strange phenomenon (whatever it was) may well be exactly what it would look like if animism were real, hence the appearance of the regular world and the newly discovered animistic one become equal. The discovery is something like a conditional proof in which we had to assume the truth of animism in order to make its possibility visible. Of course as soon as we do make any kind of acceptance then many ontological problems kick in. Given our habituation e.g. how it that wind and plants are not just contingently connected? How did the lake make the fish leap out at the correct moment to our talking to it in way that seemed beyond chance?

For these things to be actually strange and not just psychological projection we again need something like an accretive theory. This does not tell us the mechanics of how things work, for it is only a phenomenology, but it does say that a reversal occurs in such instances. That is, where normally the concept is determined by the vector, in these circumstances, the concept  (pneuminous accretion) manages to reach into the umbratic and alter it such that at the level of perception the (ambiguous) incredible is perceived.

Make no mistake this does unambiguously assume reality is much stranger than it seems. Such an acceptance seems to imply local reality fluctuations are perfectly reasonable that are often totally undetectable to others.  It also has the infuriating implication that many strange phenomena will not display themselves unless engaged with. This of course would seal the sceptics opinion as it would be literally impossible for them to enter such a world.

Note, none of this is an endorsement of animism or any other stance for that matter. All it says is that the appearance of the phenomena generate ambiguities which are not often impossible to close down (agnostic disjunctions). Animism is interesting because it does not suggest itself in the same way that synchronicity can appear as spontaneous rupture. Few would infer animism from synchronicity, but probably synchronistic phenomena would occur as a result of engaging with animism.

The will is a difficult issue in accretive theory insofar as when we consider magickal acts we associate them with the application of the will. Predetermined harmony/psychological reducibility concerns aside, the phenomenology of magick would seem to entail that the will seeks to alter events to its nature. Elsewhere we have used the definition: ‘to apply a concept to a vector that would not naturally take it’ to define magick. That is, there exists the status quo (a vector region (the how things are) with a description which suits it attached to it) which we are unhappy about. As a sorcerer we create a new concept (the idea of how we would like things to be), we then attempt to apply this concept to the vector region in order to try to replace the current situation with a description (concept) of our own.

The issue here is that in order to replace the current description we seem to need an extra element: will. The will is not what we want (though conceivably we could will to augment it itself), the will is how we want. The differentiation between magickal acts and regular ones is largely going to turn on the application of the will to alter the description. We may often dislike the description of the (a) situation but in regular life often either accept the unpleasantness or seeks to change the situation from within the regular rules of reality. For example, if I do not like the table being dirty I can change the description by cleaning it. In doing so I have used my will and my physicality.

In magickal acts we seek to ask the accretive powers to impose themselves upon a situation without our necessarily doing anything other than the magickal ritual itself. We might following such a request, notice a favourable circumstance arise which then requires our action to realise the full description alteration, but this too would (if we were in a mode that accepted this kind of thing as real) be taken as a response to the request.

The act of ritual is supposed to focus the will in order to connect with the possibility of altering the description. This is how magick shows itself. Something like the conceptual substrate (pneuma) postulated in a lot of the work on this site is necessary for any kind of chaos magickal picture. It may or may not have a further underneath (the umbratic), though the phenomenology would suggest there is such an extra. This picture seems to us sound, except that is for the will itself. Is the will then an extra element that emerges from beings of a certain complexity? Or can it be reconciled more obviously into the pneuma insofar as to see something as willed for is to add an extra conceptual layer to it i.e. when I see something I want, that I want it is part of the concept of that thing/situation.

There seems to be something to this latter account, except we driven to a certain kind of vector field explanation. In its simpler version the vector field is the transcendental realm of stuff behind perception. Different regions of it are given different names, objects, smells, etc. So there is a vector and concept or pneuminous accretion which is plugged directly into the vector. But here we are forced to recognise a different kind of vector region, a kind of affective vector region by which we would say of this feeling we call ‘anger’ ‘joy’ and so on. These affects are the regions, our culture gives us their names. Note that in accretive theory there is a feedback mechanism that makes the object more like the accretion (concept). Once formed, the accretion is attached to the vector. By means of a low level magickal effect, the attached accretion seeks to make the vector region more like itself pure ideal nature. The effect is negligible, but it is there. With respect to the affects, this will no doubt be in evidence and may be exemplified by the reification of the emotions. That is, the naming of the emotions, the attaching of accretions to these vector regions, will make them more like their ideal forms and reduce emotional variation in general.

But again the will is not so easily trapped. We look upon a thing as desired and to us that thing evokes this sense of longing for this thing. There is definitely an attachment going on there in such an instance. The desirableness is attached to the thing -not in ourselves, though it comes from us. But a kind of passive desire does not entail the will has been engaged to obtain said thing. Even on an ordinary level we might long for something and never act upon this desire. So desire is neither a necessary or sufficient condition for the engagement of the will (for I might desire something and not will it and I might will something yet not desire it).

This points to a certain sense of the will being, both in its magickal and non-magickal application a kind power that we may bring to bear to alter the description that is in some sense possible to abstract from the affects. This does not undermine the application of the vector notion to the affects but it does slightly undermine the relevance. The question then remains ‘what is the vector that the concept will is applied to?’ if it is not an affect. It would seem to be its own kind of force. An internal directedness that may manifest either as a call to a series of actions in regular reality that seek to bring something about, or the idea that the application of the will by means of a certain magickal concentration (for want of a better term) may bring about an alteration in the description of a situation that is more in line with with the one willed. Such a situation may well be desired and indeed often is, however it seems to us that there is a certain uncoupling of will and desire necessary to get at the grammatical sense we are after.

This revealing does indeed seem to indicate that as a component of a magickal phenomenology, whilst still a concept and as such an accretion, the will is a kind of special case of that which must be presupposed for active forms of magick. It is the means by which we tap the accretions when we seek to alter regular solid reality.

This synthesis is a long time coming. The whole of pneuminous accretive theory thus far is born of Husserlian/Heideggerian phenomenology, the later Wittgenstein and chaos magic. I can hardly have failed to be aware of the pathway opened up to occult thought by D&G, very specifically through the CCRU. Though this doesn’t seem to do D&G justice, it is possible to read TP as if  they actually allow the possibility of sorcery. Philosophy doesn’t really like sorcery, philosophy doesn’t really want to deal with it. This is understandable, magickal effects are easy prey for scepticism. If you want to create systems that give solid epistemological results then magick is not going to help.

Like sorcery itself D&G seem to hover on precisely the agnostic disjunctive border. It is perfectly possible to read the sorcerous references in TP as just analogy for how things function (capital, assemblages in general)  whilst accepting a broad albeit Spinozist materialist kind of ontology. It is also possible to read it as if any ontology therein is utterly open the actuality of magick. Such a reading would mean assemblages as crossing different strata would not just be crossing over layers of materiality, it would have to include connecting lines that crossed time, that crossed worlds. A synchronicity as assemblage.

The influence of Castaneda on TP does not seem to be readily understood. Maybe the ridicule that Castaneda’s works received have brought about an airbrushing. Brent Adkins’ guide to TP contains not one index reference to Castaneda and yet if you have read Castaneda it is startlingly obvious that TP draws on it massively. Castaneda is certainly mentioned overtly but the line of flight is mentioned many times before it is made clearer that this too seems drawn from there. In Castaneda’s system, luminous fibres extend from the egg shaped energy blob of humans. This world is carefully described to not be thought of as luminous eggs wandering round in the same kind of space-time as we normally experience things. The fibres extend not simply in space but in directions we cannot conceive. They are lines of flight connecting things in a very real sense by contagion. The egg is a theme that peppers D&G which may not be drawn from the luminous egg yet certainly they were aware of this resonance. The key term assemblage itself may be taken from the Castaneda’s term assemblage point -the point of light in the luminous fibres that determines what reality we will experience. It may be that they do indeed just appropriate the ideas to deterritorialize them but equally maybe the usage of such material is there to hint at the extreme possibilities available in becoming.

In the pneuminous accretive theory I have been developing over the past 8 or so years we say that if such phenomena obtain and we bracket off magickal objectivity (this colour, smell really means such and such etc) then we are left with conceptuality being formed of a more active principle which is, under certain circumstances capable of altering what looks like solidity. This active principle we call the pneuma; it gives conceptuality the nature of a substance in the sense that it can interact with what we take to be the regular solidity of the world. All concepts are what we call accretions of pneuma: concepts stuck to concepts stuck to concepts: a multiplicity. Each accretion is formed around a signifier which enables its designation to function both in a regular sense and a magickal sense. Here we see the line of flight in action. When I think of something I am connected to it through such a pneuminous line. The thought is the accretion. They are not two separate things.

In considering D&G then we need to emphasise the sorcerous aspect by basically saying ‘if we treat the work as it is ontologically open to the possibility of magick then how does it account for it?’ Furthermore can we translate the accretive theory into language of D&G to productive effect?

I cannot make detailed progress with this today but I do note that there is clearly something to be worked on with the accretion, the abstract machine and the assemblage. The accretive theory was partly formed as it answers the problem of designation by the pneuminous connecting line: this really means this and it does it like this. It recognises the molar stasis of things. The accretion is the manifestation of this stability, it often appears in an archetypal form, it subsumes its incoherent edges of possibility until reluctantly a new image overtakes it -think of how TVs have changed. A television is a part of a machinic assemblage. An accretion is pure concept, it is the shiny surface and what it does. To many it has the incoherent edge of technology: the necessity that technology runs it yet a general blank as to how it does so. The acknowledgement connects even the most naive TV viewer to the technological axis yet the television runs along so many others also: entertainment, status, sexual, favourite shows and so on. What seems to be happening (as I work this through) is that the assemblage notion can be seen to run within the pneuminous. The big difference I am feeling is that there is a kind of comfort with materiality in D&G that accretive theory feels the need to bracket off. But if there is materiality then there is no sorcery (?). This is why the analogy reading comes in. Sometimes the materiality is palpable in TP.

I think the key to exploring this is in to tease out how the same connections exist in accretive theory as do in the materiality of assemblages, except in accretive theory the whole thing must be continually held in the space of vector-accretion, every machinic component must be of this nature.

Does it make sense to call the vector-accretion dyad an assemblage? There is indeed a question.

 

Herbal medicine has a great deal of magickal thought in it. Untangling such thought from actual herbal actions is one of the missions of modern evidence based herbal medicine. However as per the agnostic disjunction the possibility shows itself that magickal interventions cannot be discounted no matter how strange the consequences may seem. The idea repeatedly dealt with by myself on this site is that conceptuality can be treated as a kind of substance that can be seen to be attached to all the regions of existence that we conceptualise. This idea is simply the extension of a chaos magickal ontology into regular philosophy. That is, if conceptual entities can be created then regular conceptual entities are not likely to be of a different order. The substantialisation means that the concept substance can seen as attached to an underlying, what we call ‘vector’ -called so because it plays host to the concept. Elsewhere on the CEO site the concept substance is referred to as pneuma and the sticking together of various concepts accretion (since all concepts are necessarily multiplicities).

It follows from this possibility that there may be accretions of pneuma attached to some vectors, which when examined from a scientific position appear nonsensical. Herbal medicine supplies an excellent example of this kind of thinking in signatures. The doctrine of signatures says that plants which in some way resemble an organ/body part/fluid may be considered as useful for treating the same part in the human. So in applying the accretive theory to this we would say that concept of that plant having a connection to that organ/part/fluid (all of which are also accretions plugged into vectors) is embedded onto the concept of that plant.

Such conceptual attachment is of course usually considered inert and any truth behind signatures is attributed either to chance or that the signature was attributed after the herb was known to be efficacious for a given complaint. These are perfectly rational responses, however all we wish to consider here is the interesting possibility that conceptual attachments due to signatures which have no healing function vector to attach to are actual as pneuminous accretions and hence potentially magickally effective. For example, if I have a plant that looks like kidneys and historically has been used for kidney complaints, then the kidney treatment concept has become attached to the plant (vector) and at a magickal level may well be effective all the way up until a scientific analysis removes this concept from the vector (because it had no actual healing constituents in it), after which it will be much less potent.

What is interesting in this notion of attachment is that, since the pneuminous accretions are not inert they may have potential other interactions with the vector (in this case the plant). Speculatively the idea is  that long term accretive attachment of a relatively consistent concept attributed to a vector over large periods of time could create a relation between accretion and vector that would be totally real at what we naively call a magickal level and yet utterly invisible.

A herbalist whom I respect very much says of the plant Iris that it is a facilitator of liver function which is the ‘the house of the ethereal soul or deep unconscious connecting principle’. Is this actually true? What do all these terms really mean? Does it make sense to ask if this is true? If we do not allow for something like the formation of contingent accretions then we would need a kind of spiritual objectivity/better understanding of the way the body interacts with the deep mind to be able to assess this statement. They add further that Iris as meaning the Goddess who used rainbows as bridges between the worlds is linked to the plant for precisely this reason i.e. that soul principle of the liver connects to the deep unconscious, Iris the plant is this bridge. The rich conceptual (accretive) attachment to the vector (the plant we call Iris) may all be metaphor that hints at actual processes.

However if the concept is not inert then there may be a more complicated feedback system going here. These principles of ethereal/unconscious connection through the liver could themselves be accretive structures projected onto a certain occult understanding of the body; embedded in a tradition such structures could function in an autonomous and real manner, literally forging the connection to the unconscious in the liver by the projection. A process of reifying accretive structures over the body vector, feeding back into the body through the pneuminous. The plant contains let us say some real physiological liver action, the vector of this healing action has accreted to it: the Goddess, the messenger, the rainbow bridge. The active pneuminous level of conceptual reality is plugged into the plant vector and its liver action. The magickal associations, the connections to the Goddess (herself and accretion) are (unless a kind of spiritual realism were true) totally contingent yet equally they have been there so long that it becomes hard to tell where vector stops and concept begins.

Of course this is speculation, yet equally that we live in a web of such deep historically constructed vector-accretion webs is only what is entailed by accepting the most rational version of magickal actuality.