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 pneuminous accretive theory in its strong sense gives the following picture regarding physical objects. The contents the ‘visible’ field are thought of as a vector field, where vector rather means the possibility of being a carrier (as in diseases). Regions of this thin pneuminous field are picked up and receive usage by Narps, either handled or described. This process accretes pneuma (concept stuff) on the vector regions. This accretive process is not at all at odds with the seemingly external nature of the vector, for the concept has been formed by the vector’s suitability for this purpose. This is the basic physical pneuminous accretion: a vector region inhabited by layers of pneuma. The vector field is of course not purely physical (indeed physical is a pneuminous form attached to a certain  region of the vector field at large) but also covers any region of existence. Emotions exist as part of a vector region and may be identified as recurrent patterns and receive pneuminous structuration -fear, joy etc. The strong (magickal) version of the theory states that there is a essentially a feedback from the accretion as abstracted from the vector which is then reapplied to the vector -which in turn is plug in to the umbratic beneath. This feedback is a weak kind of magick the purely tries to make the vector more like the accretion that gave birth to it. It is as harmonious a relation as can be had in this situation.

What occurs in the case of finance? In one sense the question is easy to answer. In a given social milieu there exist regions of the vector field that we call ‘money’. As we grow older from being children we learn the rules for these regions. The ‘value accretion’ is attached to these vector regions -in the strong theory, this is literally true. This however is an insufficient picture for what occurs. If value were located only in the financial tokens then these would be interchangeable only with each other. This means that value in the financial sense must be attached to the various accretions. This however is also insufficient since the value accretion in the financial sense is not the primordial one. Instead rather there exists value as what we might call value-in-itself or transcendental value. This kind of value can be easily understood to apply to things like food, clothing, tools etc. Even without a financial token system, these will accrete the ‘valuable’ concept. When financial tokens emerge, this lower level is obscured giving them impression that financial value is immediate. Once financial value is established this monetary value accretion seeks to attach itself to whatever it can, that is, it escapes the vectors appropriate for transcendental value and attempts to attach to other vectors.

Capitalism exemplifies this process, as here the financial value accretion perpetually sends pneuminous threads out seeking to increase its territory. To do this it must be able to create value, but not transcendental value as this will have already been a priori converted. Narps are necessarily (in most of the modern world) plugged into the token value accretion. Indeed the financial token system uses Narps’ various desires to proliferate, whilst Narps need the financial token system to survive in the pneuminous structuration that is the world -the system is reciprocal. Here we get a glimpse of the vast phantom worlds we inhabit. Strong pneuminous theory indicates not that we live in a pure idealism, but it does say that the umbratic underneath (beyond the vector field) is shifted (to varying degrees) by the pneuminous accretive attachment. It is too simplistic to say that money isn’t real, the implication is that rather money is very real (because pneuma is not inert like it appears to be).

The feedback of the existence of the tokens makes them more self-identical. The dizzying abstracted nature of some aspects of the financial world is suggestive of its non-reality (such is the accusation often). Strong magickal pneuminous theory says this kind of statement is in error. The pneuminous form of token value is perfectly real and exerts conversion-desire to some extent or other in most Narps. This is the point at which to emphasise that this does not mean simply the hyperstitional manner in which false financial information deftly fed into the system can produce a result. Rather this is the stronger claim that, whilst plugged into Narps in general, the finance token accretion is also independent of them. It exists as a (literally) god like potential coursing through the veins of the pneuminous structures that we all live in.

In these writings the zone has come to mean to something like spaces that suggest either previous human occupation or continual human occupation except only at a level of vagrants or similar. Dilapidation and detritus are zonal indices. The eerie feeling of zones (in rough line with Fisher’s sense of eerie) is postulated as making them attractive to inhabitation by various entities of unknown origins. These my be pneuminous accretive left overs from previous habitation, purely pneuminous entities that have not been accreted by earthbound Narps, or physical cryptids of some kind -presuming there is more than a heuristic sense in making these divisions.

One problem in making the zone definition is always the issue of natural spaces that feel zonal. Wild desolate places that still emanate eeriness. These natural zones are sometimes identified as fairy homes, though many aspects of countryside can exhibit this characteristic and still have no history (that we know of) to link them to such associations. For this reason we feel the term natural zone is acceptable to  the endeavour here and may prove useful in forging further links as we go on.

Lewis-Williams’ famous book on the origin of Palaeolithic art hypothesises that there is likely a shamanic root to the various cave paintings found. Images produced in alternative states of consciousness as induced through sensory deprivation (dark caves) have been pinned onto walls to preserve the pneuminous form. The wall or membrane as it is often referred to in the text often serves as a guide to where the image will fall. There is a reciprocity between the appearance of the animal and the cave wall. A hole, an outgrowth, a stalactite may suggest some part of the creature and in the absence of the possibility that an image is anything other than magickal such a partial manifestation is to be paid special attention to. For the people of this time the suggestion is that the cave wall is literally the membrane to the other world. The cave is a natural zone of suggested partial inhabitance by pneuminous beings.

Lewis-Williams actual ontology is very much of the ‘this is all hallucination that we can understand by modern neuroscience’. All the experiences of his ancient artists are housed firmly inside the discrete consciousness of his cave dwelling homo-sapiens. In this way he chooses firmly and does not even acknowledge the lurking agnostic disjunction. Yet even in his discounting, his description of the membrane is powerful one.

The pneuminous theory as endlessly touted here, states that everything is understood conceptually in some sense (like in phenomenology). This conceptual understanding however is like a substance (pneuma) that acts upon the hiding umbratic solidity. This is the pneuminous accretion, an agglomeration of concept stuff that can stick to regions of the what-is-shown to us (the vector field). In most instances the accretions make a simple agreement with the solidity, but sometimes they do not. The accretion of a bison that escapes from the seen animal into the purely pneuminous world is what we call the spirit animal, or even the platonic form. We think such a thing is just an abstract universal and neglect the fact that they can be seen and engaged with. Before it was transformed into a universal this was the only version available. Down there in the cave, the cave wall has lost its sense of there being endless rock beyond the rock. There is only the pneuminous membrane, upon whose dark surface the accretion appears. The membrane is the membrane not through to the umbra but to the pneuminous world. In the pure dark, as close to the umbratic as we can be, the pneuma, freed from its solid shackles manifests its accretions freely. The spirit body of our own is of course the same thing, it is the concept of our embodiment released from the vector region we call body. The shamanic ‘other’ world is constructed of pure pneuma, of pure concept-stuff. Of course Lewis-Williams has no problem with this, for this is all perfectly possible within the discrete consciousness.

Yet the other side of the disjunction gives us the option that the pneuminous world is not just hallucination, but rather it does have the ability to actually do things. The zone, natural or not, is not necessarily a fantasy. These powers press against on all sides. The membrane is everywhere if you wish to see it. We live perpetually in face of its possibility. But now we have sided with the shaman and must withdraw to the disjunctive pivot.

The experience is one of multiple ontologies that face us everywhere, yet fundamentally split down this line. Has the escaped pneuma-concept actual potency outside of what we call our selves or does it just operate in projections inert, cast upon a world of solid passivity to it.

“Then this line drawn is a key…”

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.

 

When you cannot see something its ontological status is unknown.

This is the most reasonable formula for the phenomenology of the fantasy that our perceiving things may be in some way altering them. Magickal understanding, at least in a pneuminous (or chaos magickal sense) means that we have to treat this seriously. This kind of ontology entails that the concepts are altering the umbratic restraint -the stuff. Does this mean perception itself is altering it or is it simply the conceptualisation of it that does the altering? The concepts are originally formed out of perceiving the physical vector field.

The idea that creates the idea of perceptual creation is the lack of metaphysical certainty that the non-perceived is ontologically identical to the perceived. In this place seems to be a bifurcation related to the necessary magickal epistemology. To repeat: is it the perception or the idea that is doing the altering (insofar as we can separate these)?

The notion that magick affects at a distance would seem to indicate that pneuminous powers can do the altering regardless of immediate presence. This means that the notion of perceptual creation is separate from the notion of magickal manipulation. Ironically direct perception seems to be the solidifying force. The irony being that the implication seems so powerfully enticingly magickal -that perception itself is altering the stuff. But this alteration is one that renders it largely stable, it is a negative entropic force upon the chaos. This is magickal because it is so stabilising, yet the thing  we call magickal is the power of conceptual alteration (pneuminous interference).

One of the features of static spatial zones is often that human perception scarcely falls upon them with the crucial addition that it used to. This is the dereliction effect. It is related to Fisher’s description of the eerie. For Fisher, the eerie is related to the absence of obvious agency to a particular local and yet the hint that there is still some kind of agency involved -maybe they have gone, maybe they are hidden.

This helps us differentiate the zone from the unplace. Unplaces have old human pneuma attached to them. They were occupied by people and now are only haunted by conceptual ghosts from our sphere. The natural world has come to reclaim the place. The eeriness in Fisher’s term is purely due to the absence of a known agent -the human. They were here and now they are not. Relatively banal paranormality may be present in the form of residual neurotic accretions unshackled from fleshy bonds (ghosts). Equally there may be just the suggestion of human previous presence with possible hints of transient occupation (trash etc.)

Zones go beyond unplaces in levels of eeriness since they become infested with agents that, though likely purely pneuminous, were not ever human. There is a tension. The residual human conceptual layer is there but this is a passive fading power. Behind or alongside it hides the actual zonal power. Zonal powers are more active. They are watching. Like Keelian ultraterrestrials, their actions are unfathomable. It is speculated that the receding human pneuma is somehow attractive to these forces, which is why unplaces are so susceptible to zonal infestation. The lack of human perception is key though. Human perceptual fields keep vector regions relatively safe -it is hard to break through all that hard conceptual reality- but when these powers are not exerted often the conceptual restraint fails.

To repeat: When you cannot see something its ontological status is unknown. 

We cannot know what kind of pneuminous restraints emit from the plants and animals that visit these places when we are not there. For that matter we do not know even if it is cogent to talk about such beings as discrete things outside of the immediate pneuminous field -for they may be just part of an interconnected flux (which of course they are anyway, but we mean by that a more severe metaphysical one in which their individuation at all is just our pure Kantian curse). Even accepting their status as perceiving agents, their conceptual imprinting powers will be radically different from ours. They may well be no ally of ours in keeping such places solid and indeed may in some circumstances contribute to destabilising the area and allowing zonal infestation.