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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The umbratic is a curious intersection of different ideas. It is necessary and unnecessary. Its necessity is derived from the fact the idea cannot be removed. It’s lack of necessity from the fact it is technically not needed.

What is it? The umbratic is the idea of the unseen. It is the incoherent phantasy of being outside of perception. It is the wood where no one is watching or listening. The idea emerges out of sceptical thought that attempts to answer the question: is being that is perceived identical to being that is not perceived? The resultant inability to answer this question leaves the agnostic disjunctive appearance over the answer: we cannot say if there is a difference or not. The phenomena that point to there being a difference are again the occult ones. The point being that in synchronistic/magickal phenomena reality has shifted somehow outside of our perceptual sphere -we mean this specifically to the exclusion of the manifestation of spirits/immediately visible/audible phenomena (these invoke different kinds of concepts). That is, we do not see the mechanism by which magick/synchronicity has occurred. There is simply an uncanny rearrangement of things that has the appearance of some kind of agency being involved. This appearance is suggestive of a radical reality rearrangement that was only possible outside of perception, hence the invocation of the umbratic as a space in which the rearrangement was possible. Of course this doesn’t entail that magick/synchronicity could not still be functional in a metaphysical sense without umbratic rearrangement. Such possibilities exist as attractor models: the reality alteration is brought about metaphysically in some way by bringing certain things towards the protagonist without literal finger clicking alteration (such models also entail accretive type entities). However, the fact that the sudden alteration model exists is enough to give the umbratic life.

One can think on the impossibility of the umbratic, on how a space that isn’t perceived is not possible, on how there maybe always something there to detect, to perceive. But the impossibility of the umbratic is not enough to defeat it. It is a strongly incoherent concept that thrives on that impossible sensation of attempting to think what it is to imagine a space that is not being perceived. From here it derives a lot of its power.

The umbratic is related to the thing in itself. It is similar to a perfect scientific object. Something without any observer bias. This is part of its phantasy. But all prostheses act with our consciousness, there are no reports back from the umbratic.

We can try to do away with it. In the pneuminous theory we can imagine that there is only the pneuma, only the conceptual stuff. The umbratic, as mentioned, becomes unnecessary. But the appearance of the beyond the pneuma, beyond the vector field is still there, the phantasy of the outside, the absolute beyond the human security system. So a pure idealism always generates the idea of its beyond which it can never ascertain the validity of.

The umbratic gives the idea of structure. In the Tractatus this is how it is often mentioned. This association is related to the pure idealist issue. The appearance of the idea that there must be something behind the image invokes the notion that this part is what does the holding together. This is reinforced by the way in which the pneuminous level of concepts seems so easily detachable from the vectors. The pneuminous accretions can be unbound from the vectors and clearly perceived in the mind (a field of pure pneuma).

Does this mean the vector field and the umbratic are the same thing? No. Because it is possible to catch a kind of glimpse of the vector field. Phenomenological stripping down achieves something like this. But the vector field is still perceived being. It is like being without any accretions attached, or at least as best as we can achieve. However we can never be sure that there are not inbuilt structuring forces that mean the vector field itself is perceived as a limit, that is there is some kind of Kantian aesthetic holding things together even at this level.

The umbratic is darkness, literally. Darkness is where we cannot perceive so again the notion of the unperceived reemerges. This creates the curious identity between the space behind you and the space in the shadows. Seeing the shadow is the closest one can get to perceiving the umbratic. Of course a certain aspect of the shadow accretion means that it is totalised, that we simply understand it. But the ontological shadow is different from this. The ontological shadow reveals darkness to be the space in which the regular accretions of that shadow space are more prone to being taken over by different ones. That is, the umbratic is presupposed to be a structuring power that lies beneath the vector field. The accretions, the concepts, plug into the vectors, this unity makes our world of things. But the accretions exist unbound also and operate on their own unbidden by our conscious minds. The accretion has the power under rare circumstance to alter the umbratic. To do this is must alter an existing vector-accretion arrangement. In perception as it is happening, the feedback of the realness of the world enables the perpetuity of the solidity itself. But outside of perception it is different, outside the accretions imprinted on the vectors are in some sense still there, yet immediately there is a loosening. This loosening is what makes magick/synchronicity possible. This loosening happens in the darkness because ontologically the lack of perceptual ability facilitates the loosening of the solidity and interference from rogue accretions.

There is power in the shadow.


  1. Manifestationism
  2. Incoherence
  3. Phantasy
  4. Pneuma
  5. Accretive theory itself
  6. Design a god.
  7. Significance/Insignificance
  8. Designation
  9. Vector theory
  10. The Umbratic
  11. The Double
  12. The zone
  13. The numbers/the system
  14. NARP

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.