The structure that we attempted articulate seems to have some relation to the work of Laruelle, though in fairness this is more coincidence than inspiration. The early description of ‘manifestationism’ always struck us as similar to his work. However ‘manifestationism’ never pretended to be anything other than a meta-philosophy and was never developed beyond a certain point owing to a paradox type problem. This being that philosophers became agents of the ontologies, or at least this was the preferred tack. However in making this the case one had to align the meta-theory with a particular ontological bias -something definite has to be asserted about the nature of the subject/agent, in this case, that the ontology is essentially of a higher order than the agent that works for it (the philosopher). The problem then is that manifestationism cannot ground itself without lapsing into a particular manifestation. We find there is still something attractive about the notion of philosophers as agents of ontologies and may well pursue this line of thought again.

Current considerations of Laruelle and Castaneda have somewhat reinvigorated this idea, or at least complemented it. For Laruelle, what I have called the manifestations are the philosophies that arise out of the one but are determined by it in the last instance, meaning the impenetrable one calls the shots on them but the converse is not true. Manifestationism had no transcendental one. The endlessly proliferating philosophies were caused by the agnostic disjunctive incoherence between them all. They did not require a transcendental extra, rather they formed a closed system which was basically kept going by scepticism about each other.

Castaneda’s (or Don Juan’s) insistence on mystery, emphasis on the occurrence of seemingly impossible things and resistance to any kind of theorising suggests something similar to the region that we wish to disclose. In making such a move though we stray even closer to Laruelle, for now we have a region closed off to theory from which all theory springs, which is of course very similar to the Laruellian one. The structure here though whilst similar is also different, for here we seek to feed paranormality back into the system without discussing it in any ontological sense, whilst the Laruellian project is more interested in showing the contingent nature of philosophical practice as a practice though arguably still retains the same hidden presupposition of materiality that most of the standard philosophical canon does.

An attempt at the level of ‘what is before’ has two potential strands to it. One is more akin to a Laruellian one insofar as it exists in a pseudo phenomenological space and operates as a transcendental to all possible philosophies. The other would involve reflections akin to those found in Lewis-Williams ‘The Mind in the Cave’. In this book cave paintings are theorised as being the nailing down of hypnagogic like imagery that may have appeared spontaneously to early humans spending time in cave recesses where darkness was absolute. Notions such as this point out a whole realm of experiences which the western theoretical mind will dismiss as not ‘real’ owing to this word’s near synonymity with the solid and continuous. This is not to be dismissive of such reasoning, of course this kind of thought has very good reason for thinking (to the point of assuming) this. The physical world does indeed appear to be solid and continuous. From this perspective of the before then, it is what we call now call the illusions, possibly also the marvellous sights (rainbows, light reflected through water onto rocks, glowing mists etc), powerful displays (thunderstorms, winds e.g.), hallucinations of any sense (for the sake of argument these would include the paranormalities: ghosts etc) and serendipities. If we strip these of our understanding of them then we can allow ourselves a glimpse of the prior. These experiences would all form a continuum with the solid and continuous.

Another example of thinking similar to this is found in Jaynes book on the origin of consciousness. The argument there is that the internal dialogue was previously experienced as an auditory hallucinogenic command voice. This bicameral mind, as he calls it mind was slowly superseded by modern consciousness which integrated the internal voice into its own understanding by the process of learning metaphorical language. We do not say (unlike with optical illusions e.g.) we now have excellent theories about nature of the internal dialogue, our best notions still turn on the theories of Vygotsky, however Jaynes argument is a related claim to our own insofar as it draws attention to possible ways in which phenomena which just ‘are’ were previously taken to be very different in a very fundamental way.

Of all of these what we come back to again and again are the issues surrounding the serendipities or synchronicities and how to conceive these in this more fundamental way. These are taken to be of maximal importance because these are the phenomena the most represent the possibility of reality at large altering itself in relation to the perceiving being. Even the most sceptical of us can experience a certain jolt when we are struck by a synchronicity (or coincidence if you prefer). If we quickly annul it with our agnostic disjunctive choice then we proceed with passive interest at the curiosity but not with the sense that something exceptional has happened. There is good reason for this of course. The alternatives don’t look appealing to many, there is either a kind of predetermined harmony, psychic awareness or reality altering itself around us to choose from.

In the prior there is no such theorising, there is no choice of ontologies. This state shows all these possibilities in a unified way. What we believe we have here is a world inhabited by powers that would be later classified as spirits but here are so continuous with it as to be unremarkable. The synchronicities themselves would be also nothing but normality, an expression possibly of the powers’ state towards the experiencing beings. And it is here we run into difficulties in this heuristic. Statements like the above seem to drag us dangerously close to a primordial theorising of spirits being linked to fortune. The emphasis we feel has to be on the ineffable fluctuating sense of reality that seems possible here, that makes possible the more ridiculed possibilities of psychic awareness or reality altering. The primordial experience that makes these now largely discarded possibilities has them in its living unity. This means there is a kind of push pull action embedded in it between the appearance of the solid continuity and the fluctuating reality of interplay between extended awareness, powers and actual alteration.

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.

My thought slowly lurches from the direct clutches of substantialised conceptuality (pneuma) to more prior considerations. The chief of is the locating of what are called paranormal phenomena in a space where their paranormality is not possible, that is where they are simply a part of what is, and as such do not represent any kind of rupture.

This means considering such phenomena as ontologically prior to their being held as rupture or anomaly. This hypothetical position may be taken to be a kind of transcendental state not unlike the Laruellian one. That is, it serves as a unifying condition of possibility from which the perception of anomaly may be perceived.

Furthermore the analysis of phenomena as pneuminous accretions itself makes an overly rational analysis of the phenomena. To be fair this is what it is supposed to do i.e. supply the most reasonable explanation if one accepts the phenomena. This however ignores the primordial manifestation which cannot decide this interpretation by itself, it can only display a world inhabited by all manner of powers.

Agnostic disjunction is not even primordial, for agnostic disjunction can only occur where an ontology is being formed. It entails the choice between minimally two proto ontologies. The programme of manifestationism -the warring ontologies- must be reconsidered as a later effect. A valid later effect, but not a primordial situation.

Such considerations will hopefully, over time,  be able to yield a perspective that synthesises what later become epistemological problems (agnostic disjunction). That is, the aim is for a description that lies before such bifurcations arise.

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.

 

There is it seems, a way in which the system here may be repeating an inherent issue in Deleuze and Guattari’s philosophy. I say issue as it is not necessarily a problem. It runs something like this. D and G seem to put forward a philosophy that, whilst difficult to penetrate seems to be capable of being understood. Elsewhere in my recent notes on Wittgenstein, I had in particular someone like Deleuze in mind where I commented that such philosophies are not necessarily nonsense but rather that intelligibility is strained. The Deleuzian language games take a lot of rules to learn and need several aspect flips to be in place in order to follow them. However following these various hermneutic junctures correctly comprehension (and hence conversation) is possible.

It seems however that whilst it can be understood to mean a roughly particular something, it also (kind of) matters very little if this something is adhered to. By this I mean the well known call to ‘conceptual creation’ that has become almost the defining feature of the whole system. Production is taken to be important not comprehension of the system. This metaphilosophical exhortation does seem to raise some kind of issue about why one should bother expending any effort trying to understand such difficult work. Indeed I have read accounts of readers of D and G who have simply given up on the work and then felt a sense of relief upon realising that their lack of comprehension was allowed. After such realisations, they have read the work with more relish and allowed it to encourage production without worrying about theoretical comprehension. It is this notion of conceptual creation that I wish to consider and I wish to consider it because I want to know if it has some relation to what I have elsewhere called manifestationism.

Manifestationism is an inchoate meta-philosophy. The issue of manifestationism was noticed by considering occult phenomena, more specifically synchronicity. The synchronicity shows a reality reconcilable to rationality and a reality of incoherent spatio-temporal rearrangement with equal force. We act as agents for a one of these tendencies. but we may be never completely sure about the correctness of our preference. This means these broad ontologies are competing. Further observation notes that ontologies, especially in philosophy, are also always competing, with philosophers acting as agents for different philosophies. Some under the names of dead philosophers, some under an ism. No territory can deliver a knockout blow to the other. Debate occurs but no one really shifts. Ambiguities and different interpretations of words and positions are all exploited to ensure that each agent by and large remains an agent of their inhabiting ontology. Furthermore one cannot even say what kind of subject the agent is, as to answer this would have committed oneself to a particular ontology.

Manifestationism is a description of this situation, of the situation. A meta situation of no particular theory being correct as such, only an endless competition for dominance with no end actually possible and way to access a means to speak about what kind of being is actually doing this without lapsing back into a particular ontology (I feel this particular impasse may be close the problems that drive Laruelle). Of course similar predicaments exist in many fields, however the difference is generally that differing theoretical approaches in science may at some point find some kind of answer that actually renders an enemy theory largely disarmed. Philosophy though, is unique insofar as it is the field that essentially is capable of continually holding all its previous versions as still viable, with no particular one holding any particular ability to defeat the others.

It seems likely that D and G understand this and that this is related to conceptual creation. However, for them, this (the manifestationist predicament) was not simply the description of an increasing catalogue, rather it was a desiring production itself. As such, the status of the catalogue (of ontologies) is not that one philosophy tries to supercede another, rather only that one provokes another. What they decipher is that we need to produce, which in a sense is why metaphysics can never end. That is, to return to another Wittgensteinian observation, his correctness about language games and the possible nonsense resulting in their deterritorializations is in a sense a toothless observation as we will never actually be able tell whether the word is still cogent (or not) in its new home. This truth guarantees that metaphysics (as desiring production) can continue indefinitely. Manisfestationism must pull back at this juncture as ‘desiring production’ is itself an ontological choice. But there is some kind of harmony between the two approaches insofar as they both recognise an endless proliferation of philosophies and neither see such activity as necessarily doing anything other exercising some kind of dynamic action: production or power relations. Indeed it seems the one thing that manifestationism is willing to say is that the manifestations (the ontologies) must compete with each other. This competition though is also not incompatible with the interpretation of desiring production indeed it may just be the flipside -the what-happens to the various ontologies when they are ‘produced’.