My Encounter with the word pneuma goes back to Nietzsche. These two sections from ‘Human all Too Human’ seem relevant. The first because it includes the very encounter with the word and the second for the view it holds on the metaphysical world.

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Pneumatological elucidation of nature. – Metaphysics elucidates the handwriting of nature as it were *pneumatologically, -as the church and its scholars formerly did the Bible. It requires a great deal of understanding to apply to nature the same kind of rigorous art of elucidation that philologists have now fashioned for all books: with the intention of comprehending what the text intends to say but without sensing, indeed presupposing, a second meaning. But as even with regard to books the bad art of elucidation has by no means been entirely overcome and one still continually encounters in the best educated circles remnants of allegorical and mystical interpretations: so it is also in respect to nature -where, indeed, it is even far worse.
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Metaphysical world. – It is true, there could be a metaphysical world; the absolute possibility of it is hardly to be disputed. We behold all things through the human head and cannot cut off this head; while the question nonetheless remains what of the world would still be there if one had cut it off. This is a purely scientific problem and one not very well calculated to bother people overmuch; but all that has hitherto made metaphysical assumptions valuable, terrible, delightful to them, all that has begotten these assumptions, is passion, error and self-deception; the worst of all methods of acquiring knowledge, not the best of all, have taught belief in them. When one has disclosed these methods as the foundation of all extant religions and metaphysical systems, one has refuted them! Then that possibility still remains over; but one can do absolutely nothing with it, not to speak of letting happiness, salvation and life depend on the gossamer of such a possibility. For one could assert nothing at all of the metaphysical world except that it was a being-other, an inaccessible, incomprehensible being-other; it would be a thing with negative qualities. Even if the existence of such a world were never so well demonstrated, it is certain that knowledge of it would be the most useless of all knowledge: more useless even than knowledge of the chemical composition of water must be to the sailor in danger of shipwreck.

* pneumatologically: pneumatology is the ‘science’ of spirits and spiritual beings.

A lot of what it says here is relevant to what I try to say in my writings. I use the word pneuma because it does mean spirit, but also because it means air. Those with a cursory knowledge of the western magickal tradition will know that the air element is associated with the mind, the analytic swords of the tarot. It is this double meaning that makes it (to me) suitable as the concept I want.

What is pneuma in the accretive system? Pneuma is said to be the stuff that concepts are made of. Pneuma is sticky and can be made to accrete. The accretions of pneuma follow from the phenomenological lead of the world that is already interpreted. Everything is an accretion of pneuma. This is metaphysics, absolutely. The questions obviously arise: What do you need pneuma for? Why would you want to substantialise conceptuality?

The answer goes back to phenomenology of magick and the agnostic disjunction. Nietzsche thinks the possibility of the metaphysical world is worthless for life. Of course he says this specifically with Christianity in mind but equally seems fairly clear; any kind of spiritual world might be acknowledged yet leaves us with nothing positive to say about it. This is a very reasonable opinion, the problem I feel is that the manifestations of such a world cannot be put to bed. Spectres, UFOs, synchronicities continue to haunt the world and every time these phenomena occur they present to the individual with the agnostic disjunction i.e. was that real or not? The disjunctive question is agnostic because any answer of dismissal is only done on the question begging grounds that such things are not possible because this (solid) world does not admit of them. Equally though if one decides the phenomenon was real, then one must face the incoherent sense of trying to reconcile what it would mean for reality for this to be the case.

Pneuma and its accretions are what I believe to be the best answer for anyone who thinks that the ‘magick obtains’ arm of the disjunction is worth thinking about. It is true that pre-determined harmony of some kind is on the table and partially represents a competing force of the side of actual metaphysical connection. This investigation is for another time. Let’s be clear about pneuma though, on the side of the regular solid interpretation of the world in which these phenomena are coincidences and hallucinations there is no need for pneuma. Pneuma, the conceptual stuff only has work to do on the magick accepting side.

So what does it do? Pneuma is called a substance precisely because it can do things, it is no longer the regular sense of a concept that is just ‘how we understand something’. In the system there are essentially three layers. The pneuminous accretions, the vector field and the umbratic. The accretions are everything we perceive with any sense. Everything is understood as something even when that something is ‘the unknown’, this too is an accretion, a concept. This is pneuma bound into endless blobs, connected in myriad ways by pneuminous fibres: homonyms, metaphors, shared qualities, all these and many more are the ways in which the accretions connect to one another. Temporally they are altering, largely under the sway of the neurotic accretions of pneuma (ourselves) who are also nothing but accretions, yet ones with ability to restructure the pneuma into new forms or keep it stuck in old ones.

The vector field is the transcendental field that we must presuppose in order to say that the accretions are attached to something. The possible field of all perceptions of all kinds is the vector field. It can be glimpsed by imagination/phenomenological reduction as that ‘what things would be if we try to remove concepts’. The blur of stuff, smells, sounds. The vector field is pneuma, but it is pneuma unaccreted (other than as the vector field, or hyle etc.). Pneuma bound into a concepts (accretions) is attached to the regions of the vector field. It is called vector field because the different regions are capable of behaving like vectors for the higher up formed accretions. That is, they play host to them; a certain region plays host to the concept ‘curtains’, another to ‘duvet’ and so on and so on. In this way the concept is not simply in the mind of the neurotic accretion, rather it is in the the vector itself.

The umbratic is the phantasy of everything that cannot be perceived for whatever reason. The notion of the umbratic is generated by attempting to perceive existence when one’s head is cut off, as Nietzsche put it. A similar agnostic disjunctive issue concerns this region of correlationism as it has come to be known. Either science is perfectly good at telling us what existence is like independently of ourselves, or it still remains nothing but prosthetic extensions of our faculties that, whilst assuredly expansive still does not  and cannot totalise the titanic otherness that lurks out there.

The inference in this phenomenology goes that, since this metaphysic accepts a kind of correlate, albeit one that is partially autonomous from us and since things remain solid and reliable most of the time then there must be some structure that maintains this solidity beyond this pneuminous interface. This restraint on the vector field is inferred to come from the umbratic, though its actual nature is unknowable (in these metaphysics). So the implication that comes from magickal phenomena is that conceptuality must be capable of altering the umbratic, or as it is phrased elsewhere ‘the pneuma can affect the umbra’.

Here then we see the point of having pneuma as not purely epiphenomenonal. Magick means that conceptuality alters things. The definition of magick we work with here is ‘a concept that is applied successfully to a vector region that would not ordinarily take it’. Synchronicity is often the appearance of objects, words, numbers, images in places that seem somehow pertinent to the individual. The explanation here is that unlike the ordinary state of affairs in which the regular array of the world (as determined by the umbratic) displays what is on offer, in this instance the autonomous action of the pneuminous accretions has somehow restructured the situation such that now physicality (the umbra) serves the pneuminous action. Magick is just a more active form of the same. If synchronicity is achieved by the accretions acting under their own steam, then magick is the manipulation of the umbratic through the actions of the neurotic accretion (self). The NA desires that a certain region of the vector field which is occupied by a certain accretion should not be occupied by another. For example, that I am poor is a concept applied to a region (myself and my lack of funds). The money hungry magician seeks apply the concept of himself being wealthy to the vector region instead. Magick is the process of trying to make the new accretion stick in such a way that the umbratic is forced to alter at the behest of the accretion.

We do not here, offer how this happens, such descriptions stray beyond the point of such a phenomenology. We only say that under this system, if we do not accept predetermined harmony or the non-existence of the phenomena, this is what somehow must be happening. Pneuma is the concept at the heart of all of this. It is the force required to make it functional.

Nietzsche maybe underestimates the power of the appearance of the metaphysical world. There is not necessity to its incurring notions of guilt. This only belongs to the metaphysical world that instantiates the judging god. The appearance of the metaphysical world of fluid but magickally potent conceptuality opens action up to all manner of magickal beseechings that may or may not be effective (agnostic disjunctive epistemology again). Drawing this conclusion about the metaphysical maybe enables it to be reapplied to life rather than shunning it in favour of physicality. The appearances of the metaphysical world in physical will not go away and our ability to decide upon their truth will not increase -unless it is favour of the metaphysical. Any conception of life needs to take these appearances into account without dogmatising them into a system.

The vector field is a transcendental plane or rather series of planes that act as an intermediary between the accretions and the umbratic. The vector field can be thought of as unaccreted pneuma. The physical vector field is that experience that phenomenologists often try to perceive as part of their systems: the Husserlian hyle, the pure sensation block that becomes differentiated into different things or as we will say with regard to the vector field, regions. It is that field[s] of existence that can be dimly be seen when try to pretend we don’t know that everything ‘is’ all the different things we see before us.

The most extreme visual vector field is the physical world as pure undifferentiated sensation, however the vector field has not entirely gone in effect on less abstract levels. True the spatio-temporal existence itself can be viewed as vector-field regions, however even when these are established, the effect is still present. When we enter a room and many of the devices in that room are unknown to us, these are now vector regions. They may have a broad scope accretion like ‘machines’ attached to them, but we may have no understanding of where one machine stops and where another ends. They exist in an unintelligible (incoherent) mass. Then the technician comes in and explains the machines, she gives me the names for the different regions and tells me what each one does. The concept (accretion) sticks to the vector. We say in this regard ‘this vector region was capable of taking this concept’ and mean that the word is appropriate to the thing.

The meaning of vector then is like that of a vector which carries a parasite, virus, bacterium. Vectors carry accretions and in the regular language of everyday life this is how language functions. Different regions of the vector field play host to different accretions. Many vector regions are capable of housing more than one accretion. A saucer is easily an ashtray. The vector region that takes the accretion ‘saucer’ easily also takes ‘ashtray’. Sometimes the vector region that takes the accretion ‘log’ can take the accretion ‘seat’. Found objects of unknown original usage still have their original accretion attached but it may then be covered over by a new accretion. The grammar of ‘really’ means ‘original’ but if the new accretion can be taken by the vector then it is just as equally this thing. This is all it means for something to be something.

Equally a different appearing object may house the same accretion. I might show someone an old device and ‘say this is a phone’ (this vector can house the phone accretion). They do not understand how this is true but then I show them that this is the case. They were trapped by the modern appearance of ‘phone’. Likewise the person from the past would not be able to respond to ‘pass me my phone please’ from an array of objects on the table. The black oblong lying next to my keys is a vector that they do not know is capable of taking the accretion ‘phone’. This highlights a feature of accretions in relation to vectors. In a given historical/cultural setting a given accretion is often attached to a vector region or range of similar vector regions that generate false essences. False essences are appearances that pretend to be what the object ‘really’ looks like. These contingent archetypes are often the way the accretion looks when one summons it to mind. Ideal forms like these are related to ‘incoherent coherence’, the apparent sense of definition which always masks the multiplicity of ways in which a thing might appear on three axes: the past, the future and the other (a different culture which might feature the same use-thing in a different form).

False essences as accretive images are the molar aspect of accretions as they struggle to maintain stasis against becoming. Furthermore as accretions exert a magickal effect upon the umbratic powers beneath the vector field, the act of trying to keep something in a particular form will have some effect. This is similar to the way in which false essences are related to the phenomenon of the double. The double is the way in which the accretion once attached to a vector, through the archetypal image (false essence) attempts to make the the vector more like the accretion than the original vector was. This is a process that necessarily goes on all the time.

Of course the vector field is not a purely visual/physical field. For this reason we can speak of the vector field having different planes that intersect, visual and physical being two such -as accretions might be visible without being physical and vice versa. The wind is a invisible region that is physical for example. Audible and olfactory can also be said to have their own planes. Some accretions cut across different planes, some exist on purely one. The planes themselves are of course also vector regions with accretions attached. The olfactory is an accretion that may be applied only to certain kinds of phenomena. However these vast accretions form planes by which a kind of heuristic may be employed. Smells can be learned. There are a myriad of smells in the world that we have often no knowledge of but could be understood. The undifferentiated or ill understood olfactory plane can have accretions applied to its regions. In sounds think of bird song, a twittering mass can be differentiated into individual refrains ‘does that sound take the accretion wood pigeon? No it is a collared dove’. The experiential world is filled with noises. The garbled noise of this plane too can receive greater accretive infestation. Vector regions can be analysed out and have accretions attached accordingly.

There is also the emotional plane. We have named the regions of the emotions. They can be named because the recur. There are rules for feeling and recognition. The regions are a fluctuating mass and their peaks and troughs are the accretions ‘happiness’ ‘anger’ ‘sadness’ etc. False essences occur here too, archetypal dominance is powerful and stasis of these natures encouraged. Small eddies of the emotional plane receive no accretion for their grammar is hard to capture. Sometimes we meet others who know these eddies and we name them together.

Possibly the most curious plane of the vector field is that of rationality. Does thought have a vector field plane? Of course ‘thought’ must have, for it is an accretion, it has a grammar. But the universal similarity of thought as accretion is even less reliable than the contents of the emotional plane, where at least physical displays are common as part of the attribution of the accretion to those regions (happy face, sad face). The action ‘I was thinking’ might be unspeakably different between different beings. But still there are operations of thought, logic for instance. Modus ponens as a concept, as an accretion is just one concatenation of thought that we do all the time. Incoherence does not destroy logic, it merely renders incoherent  the concepts that fill in the Ps and Qs. There is an action we can make that either fulfils the criteria to be called modus ponens or not, hence some kind of vector region exist for it. All logical sequences can have this said of them. What about maths? What is ‘plus’? A rule, an accretion that fits a vector of a certain action. As we explore this area it feels as if there is a suggestion that these mental actions are echoes of the physical plane. They are unbound accretions whose home is solidity.

What is language itself? A word is an accretion attached to a vector. There are the noises we hear between us by which we communicate. Every single word is an accretion attached to a vector. Every letter is an accretion attached to a vector. Scribbles, lines on a page. This symbol says ‘A’. See the symbol as vector region. It is nothing but lines, it plays host to ‘A’.

Everywhere a vector region, everywhere a host, everywhere an accretion.

 

I am forced to ask myself if the philosophy I partially advocate is compatible with panpsychism or not? I say partially because I still have not satisfactorily overcome the problem of manifestationism as raised by the agnostic disjunction. Agnostic disjunction simply points to the way in which metaphysical options are just choices that are bolstered (or not) by criteria in the ‘reality’ we currently occupy. Hence according to this rather paralyzing meta-epistemology, panpsychism is one metaphysical option, it has agents that fight its corner and it has enemies that seek to denounce it. Neither position can triumph over the other without the philosophy transforming into some kind of physics that in some way settles the matter (and even then the enemy agents will always be there).

Rather like occult phenomena though -to which panpsychism is easily related, even if panpsychists would like this not to be the case- panpsychism can only be shown to be true, strong evidence to its untruth will not eradicate the suspicion that it might be true.  Consciousness might be clearly demonstrated as an emergent property of a level of complexity and some people would still wonder if being in general was  in some sense conscious too. Materialism doesn’t get a similar similar treatment, in many ways, owing to the continual solidity of things, materialism looks a fair bet, yet it is this default like status that renders it so vulnerable. Materialism can never do enough, because the anomalies and metaphysical possibilities only need science to back them up a little bit to show that something is clearly seriously awry with it. The reverse doesn’t seem to be true. This is because panpsychism can only be the major ontology by being demonstrably true -in the modern world. And if it’s demonstrably true then materialism isn’t going to be considered seriously, because presumably in this panpsychic dominated world, we can clearly show how to interact with/demonstrate consciousness at large in existence. I think this is something to do with the fact that panpsychism is additive but materialism is subtractive. That is, if you can show things are together then this is just the state of affairs (panpsychism) and it can be accepted, but if you wish to subtract something (consciousness) then you be perpetually gnawed at by the possibility that the two things may well be connected -it is an effort to keep them apart. But this is an aside.

The actual philosophy that I wish to consider as and ally of panpsychism or not is the CEO’s own brand of chaos magick friendly ontology: pneuminous accretive theory. This states something like the following.

i) All experiences are formed of a conceptual substance ‘pneuma’. All images, sounds, smells, sensations are pneuminous.

ii) Because everyday experiences suggest structure -solidity, repetitive possibility-, there is the minimum of the idea of restraint upon the pneuma -we do not live in a perpetually mutating dream world (only an occasionally mutating one). That which restrains what the pneuma appears as is the umbra -at least in the case of physical objects.

iii) Memory forming capacity accretes pneuma. Concepts and all the psychological baggage that is attached to them are such accretions.

iv) Concepts are not inert structures contained in minds in bodies, rather they are pneuminous accretions that exist out there in the pneuma, that organisms create and plug into.

v) Concepts as pneuminous accretions are literally attached to the umbratic structure that restrains them.

vi) Pneuminous accretions can, under certain circumstances, affect the restraining umbra. This is experienced as magick/synchronicity/various paranormal anomaly.

vii) All scientific investigations are within the pneuma, there is literally no exit from this, for the umbratic, if real, is necessarily without concept.

viii) The umbratic is not necessarily real but it is a necessarily real idea.

I could go on with these, but this seems sufficient for an outline. What they deliberately don’t contain is an explicit theory for how consciousness comes about. The question as to whether pneuma has always been there or not is not answered either. This is because I have tried not to stray into speculative metaphysics. You might laugh there, noting that clearly that is exactly what I have done. This is true but, as far as I can see these metaphysics are just the logical consequence of accepting something like chaos magick to be ontologically true and not just psychologically true.  The basic condition being that conceptual information must be capable of altering the putatively solid. You could have a pure idealism and not need the umbratic, yet the phenomenology of our experience continually yields the umbratic as concept -the thing in itself being a good example- hence it is inserts itself as kind of necessary agnostic disjunction. As a phenomenology of magickal types of experience, accounting for the cosmological nature of things doesn’t come into it, though clearly there are implications. However as soon as one tries to follow them the agnostic disjunctions begin to proliferate.

So is pneuma conscious? Pneuma is conceptual potential, but that doesn’t make it conscious. Everything you are experiencing is an accretion of some size or another -whether purely mental or physical perception. The chaos magickal compatibility part of the theory says that we can create conscious entities by intent. Essentially by treating something as conscious, so it begins to acquire some form of this possibility. These interactions are magickal and as such temperamental. This is what is known as applying a concept to a vector that will not normally take it. Rocks are not normal vectors that have the concept consciouness ascribed to them. So if I want to talk to a rock I must talk to the rock as if it would respond -ascribe consciousness to it. This will create an pneuminous interface of consciousness sufficient to generate some of kind interaction with the rock. The interface will make an unstable interaction, not a regular kind of conversation.

This commits any physical thing thing we can conceptually describe as being capable of some form of consciousness -of course this is also true of certain kinds of non-physical thing too, but these are often intentionally constructed e.g. egregores. This does not entail that everything is conscious. Certainly in such an ontology, making the pneuma into God would be fairly logical, yet it still remains the case that this does not seem necessarily the case. Nothing about it entails consciousness is everywhere. What it does entail though is that consciousness can escape its home.

If we hypothesize that the appearance of organisms results in the simple binding of pneuma. Evolution of these organisms increases the complexity of the accretions that are formed. Time binding organisms create more and more complex accretive structures. In the history of animism a key question would be whether or not the ascription of consciousness to non-living (to our modern selves) things is the application of concept to unwilling vector or whether it is a primordial appearance that appears alongside the recognition of ourselves and other creatures as sentient. The latter seems quite reasonable, yet of course the actual answer is agnostic disjunctive. If it were the latter, this would mean there was a feedback of primordial ascription of agency (consciousness) towards non-living being, which would in turn -by the magickal thesis- cause the world to respond in a quasi sentient manner. The post hoc version does not have much of a different result, it is simply that the agency ascription is not equiprimordial to agency ascription of other living creatures. It would in this sense represent a kind of primordial ontology -everything is alive. Such an ontology of course would not be doubted, it would be just how things are, it would though be slightly secondary to the recognition of each other as conscious agents. This primordial ontology of animism would indeed render everything as conscious. Yet this consciousness would not be necessary, it would be contingent. Contingent upon there being such a being as possesses the accretion forming ability such that the projection of consciousness upon existence at large was possible.

There is a side issue that we might touch on here. The usual presupposition is that of course animals recognise other creatures as such -different kinds of indices. We do however always presuppose that animals perceive other creatures as different from the general environment. We might consider the possibility that animals consider environment and each other as a far more homogeneous continuum than we have previously considered.

The answer then as to whether pneuminous theory entails panpsychism, seems to be possibly. This contingency may have a kind of historical necessity to it insofar as human history may have entailed a world view of an alive world. If it were true that any being that emerges into self consciousness necessarily views the world as alive in its earlier stages, then the theory would be have to say that some form of panpsychism is necessarily true -though it would be one that entails animism- yet equally it would posit a time in which it was not true -prior to the feedback occurring.

If conceptual potential can be identified with consciousness then panpsychism could more strongly be inferred from the theory. This however would not eradicate the problem of the umbratic. This is as follows: we believe we can conceive of Being without any organism present, yet we must be agnostic about the nature of this unperceived reality. From a pneuminous perspective the impossible beyond pneuma (the umbratic) is an idea we cannot remove. A thoroughgoing panpsychism would not need an umbratic, existence would be self-perceiving in some fundamental way. Having said that the umbratic is a necessary idea, not a necessary truth. So maybe the notion of pneuma as conceptual accretive potential working intimately alongside more regular physical forces is sufficient to reconcile the two? This though would stretch the metaphysical speculation beyond the phenomenology. The phenomenology suggests that consciousness can be said to be true of everything in our reality -contingently. But it would also point out that the umbratic possibility of absolute ineffability lurks literally, just out of sight.

This has been written in response to reading Amy Ireland’s piece ‘Noise: An Ontology of the Avant-garde’. It does not deal with the entirety of the paper, we merely wish to point out that there are issues involved in such a picture that are potentially problematic for magickal ontologies. Amy’s paper explains how a Kantian epistemological picture, far from producing clarity, only results in a ‘distorted signal’ at least when we consider matters from the perspective of the outside. This picture is theoretically reasonable unless we actually consider magick to be a possibility.

What is magick? For our purposes let’s take it to be the ability to impose a concept (pneuminous accretion) upon a vector that would not ordinarily take it. Some unpacking there. Let us conceive of everything internally and externally, indeed the possibility of that distinction itself to be concepts imposed upon a pure undifferentiated field of what is. Concepts name regions of this vector field. We call it a vector field because it plays host to concepts and, in the strong magickal version, does so literally -the concept goes outside into the vector. Normally concepts have grown with vector regions and they work together as they have evolved. We call this vector ‘hammer’ because it fulfils this grammar successfully. We call this vector ‘sad’ because it too makes sense to us in consistently applied rules. Pneuma is just the term I use for a hypothetical but magickally transcendental stuff that forms concepts.

Magick says that you can take a concept (pneuminous accretion) out of one place and apply it to another and it will actually do something. That is, it will alter the vector region to be closer to the concept you desire it to be rather than the one it actually is. The love spell is a classic example. A wishes B to love him/her but B does not do so. This is the vector region which has the concept applied to it, B’s not loving A. A uses various magickal means to apply the concept ‘B loves A’ upon the vector region. If successful the pneuminous restructuring takes place which alters the vector field so that now B does in fact love A. This you will notice all takes place with a human or Narp field, even the vector field is still sort of empirically accessible -even only in a phenomenological fleeting sense. There also necessarily something else in play, this is the umbratic. The umbratic is the idea of the beyond -the outside. The umbratic may or may not be identical to what is discovered in the pneuminous realm. It shows itself as the idea of the thing in itself. Being outside of pneuma. The umbratic supplies restraint upon the pneuma. However what magick suggests is that under certain circumstances, the restraint can be breached and the pneuma can alter the umbra.

If you negate magick as a possibility then the Ireland/Land picture goes through perfectly reasonably. If however you entertain the possibility of magickal interaction then you have to rethink it. This is because under this possibility the pneuminous accretion (concept) is not some passive function, rather it is an active process that is plugged directly into the outside such that it actually can alter it. There are a two consequences to this that are worth going through. i) You have a version of Crowley’s ‘Every act…’ in that passive conceptuality is essentially still magickal, it is simply that the concept applied to the vector is perfectly appropriate to it. Hence by this logic, the hammer is actually made curiously more hammer like by the feedback of accretion onto vector (and hence into the umbratic). ii) The signal is primarily distorted by the Narp’s production of the vector field but active magick (conscious and unconscious -synchronicity) is reaching directly into the outside and restructuring the umbra with subsequent consequences for vector field -it will alter it. That is, you cannot think of the picture as being either a pure distortion of an outside signal (because even the outside is infected with the pneuminous inside) or a clarity -because it is also true that the umbratic is sufficiently alien that the signal -the vector field- can always yield novelty of a potentially terrifying nature.

Negating magick makes it a one way process in which we, as cut adrift lonely organic processors struggle to conceptually assimilate an awesome vastness. The possibility of magick does not entirely obviate this, but it does mean that whatever is going on, we are more directly plugged into an umbratic/outside than the strong insignificance picture suggests. Magickal type activity is still possible in the pure distorted signal model, however by making the outside utterly indifferent to our will, one ends up committed an essentially scientific magick. Under this mode, chaos magick is a futile activity that may only hit the mark occasionally by pure chance. Effective magick would be the realm of actual magickal geometry/symbols/sounds that genuinely activated parts of the outside in ineffable ways -a kind of Neoplatonism.

This does not sit particularly well with certain related aspects of this theory set. The numogram for instance is purely accretive or hyperstitional if you will. This makes good sense if you accept chaos magick and strong hyperstition (by implication). On this front the pneuminous accretion of the (p)numogram can exert ontological effects -synchronicity etc. However if we adopt the cut of from the outside model, then all such hyperstitions (unless you want to say they are the real ones as found in a scientific magick) are only of the weak type -effective at a psychological but not ontological level. Chaos magick and strong insignificance are not good bedfellows even though on the surface they look compatible. Chaos magick actually entails the possibility of weak significance -significance propped up by ourselves yet also external to us -a diy God. Strong insignificance can have a Spinoza like God but this renders all chaos magickal adventures in numerological like play utterly ineffective (apart from psychologically) and utterly pointless.

 

The Centre for Experimental Ontology looked at magickal effects through the schema of the pneuminous theory in a particular way. That is, the pneuminous accretions were concept-stuff (pneuma) stuck together by NARPs -self aware accretions. The nature of existence was theorised to show the appearance of a duality: a solidity inferred by pneuma, perpetually held in a beyond, the umbratic. The ‘explanation’ of magick, such as it was, was the transcendental move that the apparently ineffective pneuma could in fact, under certain circumstances alter this umbratic solidity, the result being some sort of rupture like effect (synchronicity, spell efficacy etc.).

As a strict phenomenological epistemology we believe this still holds. It never says this is how things are, it just says if you accept the reality of such things then this is the most rational ontology -to avoid being bogged down in dubious, precise competing metaphysical models (Kabbalah, Theosophy etc.). The further complicating factor comes in the manifestation of detail. Of course one is in speculative land here, a speculation that is based on the premise of the actuality of something like magick obtaining, so really the territory is  really quite ridiculous. Yet equally it is not so. The appearance of magick is strong (it is inerradicable) and so the phenomenology of its explanation is only one step behind it, it appears almost with it, it is conjured by it, to save the phenomena from its Kafkaesque or Lynchian abruptness -which we only find tolerable in these settings, and even here we frequently attempt to work out the back story. The territory is preposterous and reasonable at the same time. It is a problem we -as children of the enlightenment- feel we should not bother with, and yet it nestles its epistemological problems happily alongside those of Descartes’. It gives succour to his rigorous level of questioning -it makes it relevant.

The previous explanation of the relation between pneuma and umbra has itself been cloaked in darkness. This is a necessary step for there is no available knowledge of such a putative relation between two categories, which are admittedly phenomenological. However there has always been a certain path trodden amongst the manifestations (competing ontologies). It was admitted a long time ago that there are not two possible options for the manifestation of magick but three -though the agnostic disjunction always suggests just two (the solid and the mutable). The third is the passed-over option of pre-determined harmony. This option has received little treatment and will not receive a good deal today, though it is worth noting that it does tread a reasonable middle ground, by acknowledging actual metaphysical connection between phenomena whilst retaining an unmutable integrity. There are curious lines of connection, but there is no alteration of umbra by pneuma through action of the will as such.

It is this notion of the solid integrity of the existence that raises its head today. As mentioned, the pneuminous theory entails that the putative solidity (as held together by the umbratic), whilst generally extremely reliable, can be on occasion, completely restructured by the force of pneuminous accretions. The system is layered such that the basic pneuminous field prevents direct umbratic access, we have a kind of access to a vector field. This is the ‘given’. It can be inferred to exist (transcendentally) and can be half perceived with phenomenological viewing -by stripping away all conceptual layers that you can. The accretions form around regions of the vector field, these regions are our things. Magick is simply the application of a concept to a region of the vector field that does not invite it. If the concept is applied to the region with sufficient force, it may give way and adopt the nature of the concept rather than the usual route -which is that it determines it.

This picture implies a highly volatile, almost incomprehensible reality in which umbratic resistance is to a greater or lesser extent, giving way to the weight of the pneuminous forces. The notion of any human friendly coherent integrity is totally missing. This lack of coherence, is not a worry to the system. If this is the description, then this is simply where the phenomenological trail leads, we are not here to adjust the result just because it seems utterly bizarre. There is however an option which seem a little less frustrating. The previous option seems to have a hidden sense of a single world to it. It is not stated overtly but it is most obvious by the omission of any statement that suggests multiple realities. The onus is on the accretions ability to alter the umbratic and hence what we call reality. The essential ability of the conceptual accretion to do something, to exert an affect can only be jettisoned by the acceptance of inert (to pneuminous influence) reality or predetermined harmony and these possibilities are not what we are discussing here.

So if reality, in a singular sense, is not twisting and turning around us in relation to the way in which various accretions are attached to various NARPs, what is the other option? As may have been guessed from the above comments, the alternative manifestation of how the magickal effect is achieved, is simply to say that we move from one reality to another. This somewhat banal sounding answer shows itself as the simple opposite to the incoherent unity which can be dispensed with by this simple move: the one is in fact the many. The notion then would be something like this: potentially we move between multiple near identical looking realities all the time. Pneuminous accretions that autonomously activate in relation to a NARP causing synchronistic like phenomena do not do so by altering a single reality. Rather it occurs by causing a kind of hopping between various realities, dragging the NARP to the reality tunnel where a certain phenomena is actually happening, one where the accretion (merely idly pondered in one) is actually attached to vector. One can think of the 23 in this way. The 23 accretion, when tapped, pulls people through a variety of realities in which it appears physically (on the clock, on the train ticket, on the door your visiting etc.). A more active magick i.e. in which a desired pneuminous structure attempts to be imposed on a vector to alter it, will, if successful move us as close as it can to whatever reality stream most closely resembles this outcome, we of course will never know we have travelled thus.

This model, whilst in one sense as outlandish as the single warping reality, in which NARPs and other powers vie for dominance of the territory, has a vague sense of greater sanity. In this model the regular integrity of reality is retained, at least in those phenomena that do not directly display rupture. The discussion of what adjustments we may or not need to make to the model to deal with direct rupture, is for another time.