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.

 

Notes

The essential problem with the zone pertains to its ontology. In science fiction the zone may be unambiguously real -in Roadside Picnic it is clear that humans seem in no doubt that aliens have been (and gone) and the artifacts they left are recoverable and repetitively useable. Tarkovsky’s interpretation leaves things hanging a little more ambiguously, though the reality of at least some anomalous interference is rendered clear by the telekinetic glass movement by the mutant child at the end. The aporia in both though is the same -the uncertainty of golden-sphere/room’s ability to grant wishes.

The zone in this world has no such ontological clarification. NARPs reflect the fact that even if Kant is not actually right, his thesis hovers exactly on the borderland of anomaly. The question as to whether Kant is correct or not is unanswerable in a similar kind of manner. The Kantian limitation in this sense is applied to the epistemological status of his own transcendental idealism – it is simply one more metaphysic that, like God, we should bracket off as unknowable. What he does do though is highlight this ontological manifestation like it had never been highlighted before: the possibility of the subject’s being intertwined in the production of spatio-temporal reality.

We cannot properly know whether transcendental idealism or transcendental realism obtain. They remain in perpetual war in conceptual territory being fought for by agents (scientists, philosophers and thinkers who would consider themselves neither). They occupy an agnostic disjunctive status.

The wood becomes so tangled in an instant, I can almost not make out where to go. The zone itself is split in its interpretation. Does it obtain or is it psychological? This is almost pointless as a distinction. ‘Does it obtain?’ has two options: Is it real in the sense of ‘built into a reality external to NARPs’ or does it somehow ’emanate from them’ and yet still affect the seeming externality? ‘Is it psychological?’ is intended to restrict the domain to hallucination, though one could argue that a Jungian psychological take would mean this was the same as the ’emanates from us’ thesis. Usually though it is intended to cover those interpretations in which phenomena are perceived as anomalous, though in fact fall under the understanding of reality as already given. Psychological in this sense implies that no anomaly obtains as such. This is different from the umbratic possibility which affirms the reality of the phenomena as external from the conceptual being. Concepts being merely understanding of the phenomena from the  NARP perspective.

Proliferating paths can dimly be sketched by noting the ontology of various anomalies under either pneuminous, umbratic  or psychological schemas (these mean in a sense transcendentally ideal anomaly, transcendentally real anomaly or anomaly as hallucination to a transcendentally real world).

Reviewing various anomalies under these heuristics may be helpful.

Zonal Anomalies

Ghosts

Pneuminously ghosts are pure accretive formations; they are formed either by neurotic accretions freed from regional processors that have not dissolved, or by accretions formed by other NARPs that project the presence onto the relevant zone.

Umbratically ghosts are literal spirits of the dead that persist in this reality and have not moved on to wherever they should do. Such an ontology presupposes something like actual souls that exist independently of the body and have an existence external to it.

Psychologically ghosts are pure hallucination due to various neurological occurence. They have no existence in a real external world that persists in our absence.

UFOs

Pneuminously UFOs are accretive entities that take conceptual forms either of an autonomous or imposed nature. They can behave as ‘real’ in many ways, but can disappear as quickly as a dream fades -as they are just pneuma interfering with umbra and the interference may stop abruptly.

Umbratically UFOs are either ultra or extra terrestrial entities that exist autonomously in some other sense, yet for what ever reason manifest in our reality periodically.

Psychologically UFO’s are a mix up of meteorological phenomena, hallucination, satellites and airplanes. No such aerial anomaly is real outside of these explanations.

Synchronicity

Pneuminous synchronicity is interference in (our) reality from accretions of pneuma. Conceptual entities manifest poignantly to NARPs, though their may not actually be any particular message, only a pneuminous connection.

Umbratic synchronicity is potentially preordained harmony. This retains the reality of the metaphysical connection and decentres it from the NARPs influence. Another version would be the reality of certain powers that sought to convey messages that were of import to the NARP in question (see umbratic spirits).

Psychological synchronicity is purely statistical probability, confirmation bias and apohenia. No external reality altered in relation to the subject.

Cryptids

Pneuminous cryptids would be similar to Keelian Ultraterrestrials. Pure conceptual powers that have ruptured umbratic restraint and manifest with potent solidity, even capable of leaving traces, yet equally ontologically are created by NARP like powers of accretion. Their autonomy could still be real but not necessarily in the sense of living a life somewhere else.

Umbratic cryptids would be actual alien, terrestrial or ultra terrestrial entities capable of appearing in this reality. They would have a coherent existence, not contingent upon NARP conceptuality.

Psychological cryptids are hallucinations or mistaken actual animals.

Spirits (Angels, Demons etc)

Pneuminous spirits are pure pneuminous constructs. Though created by NARPs they may have a high level of autonomy. Magick/religion creates these entities. Such beings may be visible and capable of bringing out reality altering effects (Magick).

Umbratic spirits would suggest that such beings are real outside of human conceptuality e.g. as if Wierus orders of demons or the Lemegeton  were just a correct descriptions of how these beings were structured. Such a structure might easily involved ontologically real good and evil. Such beings would likewise be potentially visible at leas in certain states, and capable of altering reality (as we perceive it) under certain conditions.

Psychologically such spirits are just hallucination. They may the products of unhinged minds and in this sense dangerous, however never actually existent in the externality.

Telepathy

Pneuminous telepathy is just the tapping into another NARPs accretions and accessing them as if they were ones own.

Umbratic telepathy is entails something similar, though the mechanism would be discoverable as some kind of psi like substance -this is not possible for pneuma.

Psychological telepathy is just knowing someone well enough that thoughts coincide on occasion. Selection bias determine the importance of certain instances.

Telekinesis

Pneuminous telekinesis is the manipulation of a vector that would not ordinarily move without physical help. The accretion ‘moving’ is successfully applied to it in accordance with the will of the telekinetic NARP. The umbratic is ruptured in this way.

Umbratic telekinesis entails that a real force exists (like psi) manipulable in some instances such that physical object may be moved by certain NARPs.

Psychological telepathy does not occur, all instances of it are only apparent.

Poltergeist

Pneuminous poltergeist activity is likely autonomous accretive powers exerting umbratic warping. Little else can be said about it.

Umbratic poltergeist activity may be an actual spirit or ghost. Potentially also it could be the kind of energy discharge theory often touted. It could involve a potentially detectable force like psi.

Alien Abduction

Pneuminous alien abduction is an interaction with the alien accretion and the long standing myth accretion of abduction (which exists in faerie too). The individual may well have genuinely disappeared into the pure pneuminous realm, but they have not gone to a cogent other world or dimension.

Umbratic alien abduction is the being actually abducted by alien beings of whatever kind. The abduction was ‘real’ in various senses of the world. The individual was actually gone and the beings involved abducted the individual with an agenda.

Psychological alien abduction means no such abduction took place. Dream, hallucination and sleep paralysis are likely features of the experience.

Astral projection

Pneuminous astral projection means that the neurotic accretion exited the regional processor and was capable of entering a more flexible pneuminous state. Instantaneous travel and umbratic manipulation is possible in this state.

Umbratic astral projection means that there is such an energy body as the ‘astral’ body or potentially soul. This can exit the body under certain circumstances. Such a entity is potentially measurable.

Psychological astral projection entails no such entity ever left the physical body and the experience is just construct and memory from the existing mind.