Recent considerations have moved my theorising away from outright human contingent paranormality –conceptuality as active substance– to a possibility that includes human accretive forces as only one element in the sea of what we call anomalous phenomena. Currently being played with is a ‘reticular ontology’, that is, a conception of everything as and endless series of lines or fibres. This is appropriated from reported occult conceptions of reality in this wise (e.g. the web of wyrd, Castaneda) in conjunction with Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of a line of flight.

Perception of the reticulum is supposed to be the closest one can have to seeing existence as it is in itself (note we do not say this is the case, we merely engage with the concept). It is also sometimes called ‘seeing energy’.

Now a feature of the reticulum is that once perceived, the separation of the perceiving being from the externality is considerably challenged. The lines can be clearly seen to extend straight from the being into the ‘outside’. There is a kind of boundary in so far as the being of awareness is a kind of node, yet the connectivity to the whole is immediately present. Furthermore the lines cannot be considered purely to exist in the regular spatial coordinates available to us; the lines bypass temporality as we know it and dimensionality.

A reticular ontology is essentially panpsychic insofar as all the lines are formed of awareness in a sense. Access to the reticulum is access to greater awareness -all psychic type events can be considered momentary reticular access. The reticulum as a whole is entirely self-aware. This is a postulate.

The formation of nodes (beings like ourselves) has an interesting consequence from this perspective. The more nodes develop there own internal awareness the more they believe they are capable of grasping what is going on. Unfortunately for the nodes, the more the awareness becomes centralised in the node, the less it actually accesses the reticulum. This then is the formula of the inverse increase in awareness in relation to the development of the node:

The greater awareness in the node, the less awareness of connectivity to the reticulum.

This means almost the opposite of Hegel’s PoS is true. The development of conscious is a retrograde step, worse still is self-consciousness, increasing narrowment of reticular awareness continues to occur until the crowning glory of this occurs -the state.

This tragedy also seems to entail a strong kind of unpleasant Kantianism. The more developed we become in investigating things with our own developed tools (maths, science) the less access we actually will have to the thing in itself. Of course Kant bars access to the thing in itself anyway, however the reticular as possible perception not only places the thing in itself partially within reach, it also means human rational attempts to fathom it necessarily get further from it. Consequentially all ‘lower species’ as we think of them have an increased reticular access, with this increasing further as one ends up in the inorganic.

Please don’t misunderstand. This is not an anti-scientific stance. Even if the node/reticular concept is accurate we generally do not live perceiving the reticulum and science has been of tremendous value to us. This occurrence of delving further and further away from perceptual access to something like the in-itself cannot necessarily be seen as worse than reticular access. Our investigations in this relatively solid seeming reality function well so the withdrawal from the reticular possibility can also be seen as highly epistemically satisfying.

This leads us to a second point about such an ontology. When we say that perceiving the reticulum is the actual connection to the ‘outside’, we consider it as a totally time/space transcendent perspective in which anything can be known (though equally there must be caution here, accounts like Monroe’s would suggest that even reticular access has many layers to it). It is minimally a totally superior epistemic state to regular human capacity. So it is easy to consider regular human perception as subtractive in its relation to reality. Even without the reticulum and simply with regard to our scientific understanding there is much we cannot see/hear/detect etc. We subtract from reality and our perception of the world is what we get.

Two points complicate this picture. The reticular ontology is totally compatible with human formed conceptual accretions which we literally layer over the regions of the outside. In the reticulum these are perceivable as emanating lines to nodes (accretions are different kinds of nodes) whereas from regular perception we often confuse concept and object.

This means we not only subtract, but that we add. We add pneuma to the externality and it stays there in the reticulum. However this actual state of confusion of regular perception -in which the connecting lines are not visible is also different from reticular perception, which for all its superior access is subtractive of the human state of perception. So our reality is additive and subtractive

Secondly then, this is why we couch reticular access as only the closest thing to seeing things as they are, for whilst it does show the accretions stuck to the vectors, it does not and cannot show the actual confusion of the nodally perceived reality state itself.

That is, even reticular access itself is subtractive.

My colleague here Emanuel Magno has often described the evolution of the CEO into phases; I did not see the development in these terms at first, though I increasingly see what he means. Phase 1 was characterised a kind of phenomenology by the initial development of the pneuminous accretive theory -as sketched in the Tractatus Pneumatologico Philosophicus. Phase 2 can probably loosely be characterised as a combination of returning to the agnostic disjunction that was used to justify the investigation of accretive theory in the first place. This resulted in a recognition of a Laruellesque equality between all ontologies and their competition for dominance of the territory. Phase 3 was the zonal investigations. This was a very specific kind of enquiry that was only tangentially related to the others. In this sense it was both wider (non-pneuminous specific) and narrower (about a specific topic).

The phases are never pre-planned they just emerge one from the other. Phase 4 has been hinted at from two angles. Firstly there have been notes on a pre-ontology. The pre-ontological sketches have tried to hint at the possible disclosure of reality that seamlessly weds what we would call anomaly and regular reality; to try to speak of how it would be for these to appear as just how things are without one being seen as a rupture of the other. The second of these is the interest in the writings of Carlos Castaneda as fuelled by a recent reading of 1000 Plateaus. Bracketing off concerns of invention, they provide a description of radical possibilities available if the world is accessed in a certain way.

Building on this pre-ontological synthesis and modern tales of ‘Power’ (hyperstitional or otherwise), we believe that phase 4 should be characterised by a move beyond the phenomenological nature of accretive theory as it has been couched so far -a transcendental appearance- to a full blown speculative ontology that seeks to treat all forms of anomaly as not psychological but actual.

A key feature of the accretive phenomenology was the incoherentism it emphasised with respect to how such alterations as synchronicity occurred -the incoherence being part of the appearance. This incoherence was in turn linked to the incoherence that borders our usage of concepts and the way they bleed at the edge. The latter part of this statement will no doubt still be employed -in conjunction with Emanuel’s development ‘decoherentism’, whereas the former will be abandoned in favour of a more definite metaphysic that makes a decision about what is actually happening.

Such an endeavour does not seek to be flakey or new-age pandering. Indeed it hopes to be a rigorous speculation that sketches what reality actually looks like if we understood that the anomalies are actual incursions and not just subjective fantasies.

In keeping with one of the exit points that have spawned this phase, the ontology will probably have the flavour of being a disambiguating plug-in to Capitalism and Schizophrenia. That is, where the paranormal references in CS can seen as analogy or acceptance here we side unambiguously with acceptance. This will be complemented by a more fleshed out less phenomenological version of accretive theory in which pneuma -as substance- can be viewed through a quasi-materialist lens in terms of its strata (accretive layers) and content/expression.

The basic overarching structure of reality will be capable of alterations in relation of subjects minimally two ways. One will entail the seamless move from one reality to another as a perfectly ordinary everyday process whilst another will allow for alterations within a given reality. Intentional accretive entities (egregores) and pre-existent to human intention non-physical beings will both be presupposed to obtain. Physical and non-physical interactions with a variety of entities will also be taken as axiomatic. Locations of such entities must also be presupposed on similar pair of axes as alterations. That is, entities may be residing in this plane of existence in a more or less permanent manner -overlap itself will be a useful concept for explanation- whilst also existing on adjacent dimensional planes.

It is interesting to note that this very classification of beings was used for the zonal investigation project. This in turn shows the connecting thread that drives the general work of the CEO. More detail on all of this soon.

Dear reader, I want you to try a little thought experiment with me.

Given the vast literature encompassing human knowledge, and all the teaching and learning that go on in the world, you probably take it for granted that the languages we employ keep up with the task of articulating, representing, translating, recording, and communicating all that we need to. In other words—now that I have articulated that thought—you probably think that language per se is adequate to the task of consolidating the reality of the world, and not merely personal partial realities, but a bigger, in principle total, understanding of the world. We take the time, make the effort, and the language does indeed ‘keep up’.

Or maybe you have already begun to smell a rat and are willing to imagine the opposite, to imagine that language is inadequate to the task. Well, that is the point of this thought experiment. Take that imaginative leap and consider:

What happens when the reality one is trying to negotiate pushes the language to the limits of intelligibility?

I thought I would ask Gilbert Adair,[1] a poet renowned for his ‘linguistically innovative’ work, to bounce a few ideas back and forth with me …

Gilbert. Hi. …

GA

When the reality one is trying to negotiate pushes the language to the limits of intelligibility …

When the felt pressure of a ‘real’ one is trying to discern does that—so that. 

Never forgetting that (to leech on Olson) what is not poetry is the will to make poetry (altho’ who could call that ‘primary,’ because, you know, society & language)—that last phrase being idiomatic & “to leech on” also, probably, & the lack of a question-mark a (voice-inflected) nother. We teem w/ references, key ones being experienced as (different kinds of) knowledge & many potentially movable up there in a moment of recontextualized “Aha!” that may afford both a concern for a poem or poetic project & a glimpse of the real that will now make its recalcitrance felt to verbal approach while also being contingent on random haecceities of the poet. Specifics I talk. Yes, once your madness has been absorbed by history.

A case in point: What might aesthetic investigation of the notion of pidgin lead to—once you realize that the scholarly acronym for one pidgin (HCE, Hawaiian Creole English) chimes w/ old Here Comes Everybody himself or themselves; & that you presently live on Kauai, northernmost of the Hawaiian islands, & have experience of both Singlish (Singaporean English) &, I suppose, Irnglish (various operations on English as it moved into Irish sensibilities & contexts); & now have a truculently arbitrary means of linking Hawai‘i & Ireland in a 3-part project called h c e.

A pidgin, of course, is much more than an idiom or even a dialect, closer but cigarless to a jargon. The word likely comes from the Chinese pronunciation of ‘business.’ A pidgin is an ad-hoc cobbled together to enable people of disparate languages, cultures, & ranks to function in a variety of work situations: mining, mercenary, trade, shipboard, plantation … a discourse to facilitate proto-imperial coercion from the start, it was almost as soon one of subaltern camaraderie. (When it outlasts a generation—when parents pass the ad-hoc on to their children—a pidgin becomes a creole, a language in its own right.)

I claim no fluency in any of the Hawaiian pidgins (minor variations island to island). As a poet, I’m more interested in what can be glimpsed or grazed, startled into apprehension, via the potentially heretical notion of ‘a pidgin of one.’ The first two sections, h & c, have, among many other things, built a vocabulary of repeating words for use in e (standing, at least in my own mind, for english—or extinction—or emergence—or elder tree, etc) in a variety of fictional work situations, beginning w/ a trial, or mebbe only a trial. When I first came to Kauai, I could understand perhaps 30% of what one of our neighbors said; now I’m at around 70%. & section e as I embark on it is much to do w/ finding means of crafting relative meaning-opacities, given our experience of rushing-in aspects of the world is rather musical (audible, visual, ‘furniture’) than verbal & bearing in mind another of Olson’s remarks, this from his Mayan Letters of 1953: “Joyce … did not improve on … the Irish of the time the Irish were the culture-bosses, what was it, 7th–9th century, or something: he tried to get at the problem by running one language into another … more relevant to commerce, now, than … to the aesthetic problem.” We do run words together, & we like doing voice impressions. & Leopold Bloom, like the hero of North by Northwest (1959), is in advertising.

PP

We hit the poetics from the outset. That chimes with me, with my disenchantment with aesthetics, aesthetics in Modernity certainly. To reprise Olson:

… every element in an open poem (the syllable, the line, as well as the image, the sound, the sense) must be taken up as participants in the kinetic of the poem just as solidly as we are accustomed to take what we call the objects of reality; and that these elements are to be seen as creating the tensions of a poem just as totally as do those other objects create what we know as the world. (Olson, Projective Verse)

With the focus entirely on how the poem is made, the undertow is irresistible, pulling us toward the ontological sense of poetics. What mind and breath can draw together in poetry is a distillation of something occulted already in the mess of the mundane. Say to me: “what is not poetry is the will to make poetry” and I hear the philosopher breaking wind. It can be that bad. The will to make poetry is bound into precedent, principle, pre-existing lines of thought, … it beggars heritage and that is not poetry, but it is the ghost of an ontological poetics: “the objects of reality … create what we know as the world” (ibid). Olson invokes a contrapuntal logic; this is no mere metaphor.

Hence we come to where—take a breath—ontological reserves trigger the production of syllable and line, and do so reflexively to “afford both a concern for a poem or poetic project & a glimpse of the real”—concern for the former in the interests of the latter. But is the motive warranted and is it a genuine prospect? This brings us back to the original question.

If “a glimpse of the real” is “a genuine prospect” the implication must be that in the last instance language is adequate. Yet its recalcitrance impresses itself at every turn; the more the poet pushes and pulls the syllables into breathable lines and the more the vivid specificities that inhabit the poet’s reality, and that represent its most substantial reserve/resource, are brought into play, the more there is that can be said and must be said.

Thus words do not reveal the real, they (ad)dress it, they make a reality of the little that they grasp by fashioning fascinators (as/of/for things). The “random haecceities of the poet” are thus particularly pointed instances of necessary illusion. Self-delusion is not involved; the poet knows full well that they can keep scratching away at the surface of things, that they are expected to do so. Usually the more work the poet puts in the fewer words are needed to make a poem. The clarity of a ‘this’ does not reside in the words used to point to it, but it can seem to when great economy of means is achieved.

The problem is that economy of means may generate monsters. The real may intrude in the guise of an elusive essence, but that is passé for the poet today. Who really cares anymore for another way to say … “I love you” or “goodbye” or “I fear death” or “nature is mysterious” etc, etc? The ‘elusive essence’ is from one perspective a distraction, perfect for play and for time-wasting, while from another it is, through iteration, reductionist fallacy and to be resisted. What matters now are our entanglements, that worlds are at odds with each other, living hells, and the poet’s address in this case defies the distilling trajectory of traditional “clearing” strategies. Babel beckons, the retrieval of an originary linguistic mode that promises a gateway to the real.

So, playfulness and resistance (equally purposeful) define the poet’s dichotomy and confuse the answer to our question: in the last instance language is (in)adequate … which is it to be? There must be more to say.

Post #2 … forthcoming


[1]     Gilbert Adair—born in Northern Ireland, poet and critic, coined the term “linguistically innovative” poetry. In London in 1980 he co-founded, and for the next twelve years curated, Sub-Voicive, a series of experimental poetry readings. His most recent completed project, Syzem, a re-visioning of William Blake’s Milton, was published in two volumes 2014 & 2019 by Veer Books. He lives and works on Kauai, Hawaii, and his current project is HCE, which mixes a mix drawing on Spenser, Joyce, Badiou, Zizek, exile ambivalence, a more nuanced exploration of Christian morality than simply as rationale for empire, and the sonic architecture of Hawai’i Creole English.

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.

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.