Manifestation of Will (In the Neurotic/Assimilative Ontology)
This is just a short comment a propos your notion of the assimilations seeking to assimilate as being for us. The assimilation machine involved in some sort of teleology. I see this as symptomatic of the manifestation of the philosophy of the will as such it replicates those metaphysics. The will is certainly an accretive power worthy of attention but is this sublimated centre stage entirely validated?
Processes of Nominal and Non-Nominal Reality in Assimilation
Well, firstly, obviously I do not believe that ‘neurosis imposes itself upon us out of the various accretions’ (Freestone) because I am yet to fully understand Freestones accretions and also I believe everything is neurotic, so Freestone is more apt when he says ‘competing neuroses’. Let us use Freestone’s term ‘imposition’ though. Lets see what its neurotic power (in use, reflex and madness) can bring forth. In brief – assimilations impose themselves on us from out of assimilations just like thoughts impose themselves on us through the help of other concepts. We have assimilations of conceptual content (neuroses) or processes of attraction and correspondence in all entities (assimilations). Assimilations and neuroses are two sides of the same coin but neuroses is how we assimilate the assimilation/interpret.
How do these assimilations arise? Through showing themselves/being part of a ‘reality’. How do they do this? We either nominate things as things (and then the nomination follows us around or categorizes other things) OR we find ourselves already existing within a nominal world whereby the meanings, uses, designations of things become like reflexes and so we do not question or even think through these nominations. I look across my room. If I did not see the ‘objects’ in the room as bed, chair, books etc (because I or my culture have nominated them as such) then they would not exist for me and I would not see them. You have to know what you’re looking for.
We nominate the world as solid and existing in space and time, hence, this nomination is everywhere in every decision and thought we make (give or take). It is so ‘there’ that it becomes transparent. The strongest neurosis is when you dont even question the conditions, rules, values etc that you are blindly following but just do them anyway. Here the concepts and their understanding/reflexes take over, there is little point of even talking about a ‘self’ here.
It is not all ideal nominations that then linger making up the world though. When the concept is imposed we then craft the concept into the object (make a chair). We literally impose the concept into the object so that they are one and the same thing. However, there has to be something non-nominated that allows for this act of craft, of giving and taking. I think the non-nominated is ‘Umbra’ for Freestone (?). For me it is just other assimilations (like the assimilation of atoms and particles – assimilations all the way down). To ‘be’ is to assimilate or be assimilated. Being needs relations/assimilation. This strikes me as obvious.
For me there is a mind-independent reality that wishes to actualize itself, assimilate itself, become ‘known’ under whatever remit it can be known. The best way for it to be known is appearing to human and non-human organisms because then we can nominate it as ‘such and such’ and thus the assimilation assimilates even further.
Another easier but less precise way to say this is that one of the ways ‘what is’ assimilates/accretes itself is as ‘solid-world – stuff’/ as ‘reality’. Another way of putting this is that whatever there is out there assimilates itself as ‘reality’ (different realities based on what it can effect and perpetuate; human reality, the
reality between two rocks assimilating one another, a wave lapping on a shore …a reality is an assimilation) . There will be many assimilations in the universe, with realities conforming to them. We see many different assimilations in-fact, but we, in-the-last-instance- decide that they are all ONE assimilation … REALITY.
Everything that is assimilated with us in it immediately becomes transposed as reality ‘for us’ (we assimilate atoms, particles, information, relations, into perception and concepts). We assimilate all that is ‘not’ or non-conscious into what ‘is’ and is conscious. That is our fundamental asset.
Different assimilations and their victories are based on capacities of actualization and harmonization; with other assimilations OR potential/virtual/becoming assimilated processes.
Assimilation is a process. It knows the best way to assimilate itself to be seen or known as that assimilation, to forge new bonds, excel, proliferate. Its worth repeating that last sentence because it is not gobbledygook but a great insight. Assimilation is the fighting for existence, or, in a non-dogmatic sense, the fighting to exist ‘for us’ humans. The human assimilation machine is both biological (metabolism, assimilating vitamins and minerals, light rays into perceptual fields) AND conceptual. Our machine wants to make a reality for us.
As I have stated already, this is not fundamentally a metaphysical, naturalist, realist or materialist thesis. It is in Idealism that we first find assimilation. It is because of this that the philosophy of assimilation is epistemologically very rigorous and secure. That is, when we attempt to study our own consciousness, to be aware of oneself, we begin with a series of assumptions, images, linguistic marks, values. We can even see them assimilate and develop in our own minds, showing us a ‘picture’ of ‘what we are’. Do not forget that the desire (or neurosis) to attain self reflexivity is already an assimilation. We in no way start with a naive originary ‘question’ or a ‘tabula rasa’. The question is a superimposed or self generative process which adds to itself (; we have a history of this assimilation of self-reflexivity in our literature, philosophy and religion).
The other reason why it is idealist is that it defends the thesis that our assimilation of the world (self-consciousness) is mediated by concepts (is mediated by neuroses). For us to experience a world with any consistency it is only done through vague understanding or the use of metaphorical understanding (this could be/mean that). Vague understanding or metaphorical understanding is created through concepts. The concept, however, is not solely mental (we weren’t born with a fully formed conceptual apparatus). Like the attraction of two magnets we have an assimilation machine (Man) that can correspond with external ‘unknown’ assimilations flying all over the place, making themselves known in other ways/realities.
Through a moment of contraction some part of the assimilated unknown external feeds into the human assimilation machine. The external assimilation may have been captured like how a fish is captured by bait and pulled in, the information machine might see this yet unknown reality as important for itself. Or the unknown assimilation might feed off the man machine; there is a comprehension based on proximity, they both share similar qualities : continuity or similarity is a tunnel that creates itself out of the chaos of assimilations. Perhaps the unknown assimilation is feeding off the man! The assimilation attaches itself to the dimensions of space and time more so, gaining physical form, driving its information into the human body/mind. The information is still with us, even now. It is worth watching the Disney film Inside Out for more clues on what happens to information once assimilated to the human, where it resides and how it can become re-activated or made redundant.
The much simpler answer (which is also idealist in nature) is that we exist in a world of thoughts carved into objects, and these concept/objects navigate our actions and attitudes towards the world. The nominated concept is reflected back on us and we walk around like zombies accepting this fact. The truth I would like to reveal is that nature does this too; a spider creates its world through its mind, a priori silk comes out of its head and constructs a web house which functions as a reality for the spider – it captures, fucks, sleeps and eats there. For the spider there is no ‘Nature’ only ‘Home’ (the tautology of itself). Nature is made up of ‘homes’ i.e ‘non-natures’.
We know that the process of assimilation can happen through nomination (linguistic/conceptual assimilation) AND non-nomination (biological, physical and chemical assimilation – see current research in these fields.).
I am happy to speak of the role of passivity in my philosophy more. However, it can be discerned in this text.
Re-thinking 17th Century Theories of Substance (P/Neurosis)
Forgive me for I have not re-read and will not be replying to the above discussion thread today (however it all links/should link) – the sign of a good philosopher is his consistency as well as his imagination.
I think for philosophy enthusiasts new to all these strange words such as ‘neurosis’, ‘tautological’ and ‘exotic’ ‘assimilation’ and ‘the last instance’ (Johns) or ‘accretions’, ‘umbra’ and ‘pneuma’ (Freestone) we should strip it right back to what we believe is ‘substance’, and then from there explain how substance manifest and under what conditions. So today I will be discussing substance and reality.
If we were born 300 years earlier, myself and Mr Freestone would be quarrelling with Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes on the 17th century debate on what substance is. Freestone would say that substance is ‘information’/pnuema (yet what is this ‘umbra’ and how does it link to pneuma?). I myself have an equally problematic substance theory’ Everything that ‘is’ is being assimilated. This is a process philosophy (like Whitehead/Deleuze). The tarmac on the floor is an assimilation of tar and sand, also benzine and acrylamide
..even the assimilation of fossils thousands of years ago. And lets not forget that each situation ‘in the world’ which appears less ‘structural’ will also have a role in assimilating; what time of day it was will change the rate at which the tarmac sets. Also has a worker (with a particular assimilated attitude) accidentally stood in the tarmac, has a fallen autumn leaf dropped onto its surface, does the topology of the environment effect the even distribution of tarmac on concrete (hills, roads, pavements etc) .. all this will have an historical assimilative side too.
Locating assimilation can be quite easy (just take a look around and you’ll see it) but some assimilations are unnoticed because they dont share powers or aren’t assimilated in proximity to ‘reality’. This is where Freestone and I agree; reality is a kind of image which allows certain things to come through and certain things not to. Its also a kind of ‘use’ – the reality of the car is that it can drive someone around in, it ‘looks’ like how a car should look like, it can involve itself in many assimilations such as the assimilation of status, sexual and monetary power, car t.v shows, all the language games that set this object into motion.
So we can sometimes locate assimilations of things (naturally we play a role in the assimilation of these things ‘as’ such and such). However we can never locate ‘it’ in the object itself (I cannot even understand the statement ‘object in itself’). Every object is held within a dynamic of processes and is utterly contingent on any one of those processes; the pebble can be destroyed or transformed by other parts of the environment, the brain – as an object – does not function ‘in-itself’. This is not to say, however, that assimilations cannot take a life of their own. Of course, the sum of effects and processes will create new affects and processes.
This is how we can account for relative autonomy of assimilations and it is not illogical to assume – like biology, chemistry and psychology – that the assemblage has a will-to-live, a will to stay assimilated and has reflexes of homoeostasis etc. We could say that ‘the world’ is one assimilation.
But how can a valid substance theory be based on ‘relation’. This is basically what I state. It is in relation that anything can be at all. Nothing is without some form of relation. Univocity is a doctrine I hold which states that all things that ‘are’ are told through one voice. This is not the voice of god or vitalism. It is not really a monotheistic account. The one voice is simply relation. All relations have the quality of relation. What assimilates or shows itself from the relation is pluralistic yet the relation has an element in it (the relating part) which can be found anywhere.
Aristotle said that ‘no substance is a relation’. Johns says ‘every substance is a relation’. The conditions for a substance is already a relation.
Regarding Mr Freestone, I would grant ‘information’ status only if we were to characterize it
as in-formation, that is, imminent information that is not set and can change at any time. Information is the actuality and potentiality/virtuality of all relations.
What ‘accretes’? Now I find this notion (or my interpretation of this notion) one of Freestones finest moments in his oeuvre. We could just say that we see things accrete just as we see things assimilate. I think this is a realist idea because it suggests (I think) that we can account for what we see as happening but also that it might be doing something else. I see a dead duck completely squashed on the roadside. The first
accretion is usually the deepest (just like ‘the first cut is the deepest’): the accretion could have been any assimilative force/any criterion of reality; the biological organism of the duck is assimilating/it is just as real but has no ‘personality. The concrete processes of death are at work assimilating. But out of all these pluralistic realities of this thing called ‘duck’ I am faced with the ‘image’ of it. Not only this but I am faced with the image which is full of connotations; duck, animal, dead (used to be a living thing), its quite cute, I used to feed ducks bread etc. One question should be – ‘why this accretion’? or more generally ‘why is the accretion of the image so much more pervasive to us than other real processes conditioning and maintaining entities? Well the easy answer is that we cannot have something on our mind if we dont know what it looks like (we just need even a general outline or analogy). Hence the dead duck survives in my mind through its virtue of being assimilated as visual/a phenomenon. What accretes lingers. And it lingers because it has found the power/the gift of accretion. For me, the power of accretion is the power of the visual. It is horrific and is the catalyst for neuroses. Neuroses is usually formed threefold: 1) conceptual habit/reflex (this is the easiest one). 2) Encountering a concept that does not fit with the plethora of other concepts that constitute a reality (the chafing of concepts and their contradiction/uneasiness with other concepts and uses. 3) the moment when the mind decides to repeat something because it thinks it is gaining power or insight (or it is being sadomasochistic and likes to hurt itself).
Perhaps access to this third neurosis is through accepting Freestones accretion, into the very root of your mind. Even the obsession over a philosophical question or a mathematical equation will still have a visual accretive element to it.
Now, insofar as accretions have any realist purchase on the world around us, of-course they do. Out of all the assimilations taking place within and to a duck, the most pertinent is the accretion of it as a phenomenon/quasi-object in a similarly visual/quasi-object world. The way I see it accretions accrete reality!
Now why then do we not confer this reality/power to tables, cups, flowers, spiders and bookmarks?! This is a question I explicitly deal with in my new book (available soon!). In brief it is because we have already conferred something with a ‘use’ so we dont then want it to start gallivanting around with some extra reality that gets in the way of our use! (because for us ‘use’ has become reality/reality is in the use .. dont forget
that ‘reality’ is also a use-term which is meant to designate something).
For me this aspect of Freestones philosophy needs some work; how does one accretion win over another? Do the accretions change from one person seeing it to another? What is concretely happening in the object that accretes and the mind that accesses this accretion? Are they the same?
And a personal question from me – how would you describe neurosis in an accretive fashion? Graham?
Charles William Johns Sat 5th March 2016
Response to the Discussion of Substance.
Let me try to answer some of the points Mr Johns raises. I’d like to begin with a clarification. Johns states that pneuma is substance in my ‘system’. This true but it is not the only substance. The point is made that information is substantial but other kinds of being may be substantial too. This in turn needs more clarification for it is not necessarily so. I state that if being is interpreted in a magickal way then information is substantial. I point out that the magickal interpretation of being is in fact as cogent as a-non magickal interpretation of being and hence worthy of consideration. I refer often to this magickal interpretation as the corridor as it is an idea that appeared to me. It is the corridor untaken off the room of solid totalisation.
I use the term substantial to mean only having the power to interact with what we might ordinarily call substantial, though there are potential pitfalls with this appropriation. If the magickal obtains then it is because the symbolic order can act in such a manner as to interfere with the substantial, for this reason I term information substantial (it must have enough substantial quality to bring this effect about). The reasoning then goes that since under certain conditions the information can interact with a putative solid substance why would I want one kind of information some of the time and another in the magickal instances. Hence all information is called for me by my concept pneuma. The name taken from spirit and also air. The air part always seems accretively pertinent as in the magickal systems air is the element of mind.. Pneuma though is all information, hence everything is pneuminous. Everything you see (down the corridor) is pneuma because everything you see or feel has some informational nature to you. It is in this wise similar to the ‘everything is interpreted’ of hermeneutic phenomenology. Yet here there is a more literal realism to embeddedness of history.
Pneuma as a substance has a particular quality, it accretes, hence we speak of pneuminous accretions. The semiotic axes, every feeling, every thought between any two accretions (concepts) is a viscous thread between them. If you think that stone looks like a dog, it literally attaches to the dog accretion right then. The pneuminous thread may be weak but it nevertheless is there. Apophansis plays a large part in the discussion of the accretive connections of the pneuma.
Philosophy is the battle ground of the manifestations. The manifestations are the regions that philosophers adopt, are neurotically overtaken by and try to impose upon the rest by the gift of their own power. Idealism, realism, monism of will, of God. All of these are manifestations, kind of massive incoherent logical possibilities. No one of them can over power the others. There will always be cracks in the system waiting for the dialectical tide to turn. But dialectics fail in any teleological sense because the old concepts do not die, the manifestations remain.
I hold the most central manifestations are the solid world of extending spatio temporality in which things persist beyond us as we see them and the idealistic opposite of human creation of concept, individuation and possibly space and time itself. In a magickal ontology the manifestations are still there, or more importantly the realist (first) manifestation is there. Things still show themselves in this wise. The impossible temptation of persistence persists! This means that since the pneuma is information it is incomplete for we still have the appearance of a solidity behind it. Admittedly this idea itself is still pneuma but it reaches beyond it as a necessary assumption of some other kind of substance. This other substance we call umbra.
The umbratic is close to the Kantian an sich. It is the the manifestation of the notion of being without an observer. Outside of the magickal ontology the umbratic is less interesting for it can be more readily assimilated into being with little epistemological quibble, but here it is crucial. The umbratic is the cold existence outside of obervation/awareness. But in this instance, the pneuma is not just an inert conceptual patina but rather an affective substance which under certain circumstances may alter the umbratic structure radically. Umbra in a sense is things as they really are. But not so also because the pneuma is also real and can affect it. We say of the umbra that is suggests the pneuma but does not control it.
This enough for now (possibly too much already).