Let us try to look at an example of how this philosophy ‘works’. A Muslim colleague of mine politely asks that I do not leave alcohol in the bottom shelf of the fridge again as this is where she likes to leave her food. I acquiesce to this happily out of respect for her beliefs. What is going on here?
Presumably there is some fiat in Islam prohibiting alcohol or at least the doctrine is interpreted in this manner. Possibly there is some notion that even the proximity of it is to be avoided. So there is a rule from a religious source that stipulates this. To this has the structure of a phantasy; this means it is (from a solid world perspective) an unlikely irrefutable possibility grounded in a metaphysical grammar (this is descriptive not pejorative). The metaphysical grammar here is the religious language, the notion that there can be rules issued by a deity that should be adhered to and the criterion for this is that such rules have been written down and accepted as such.
The problem the colleague has with the proximity is based on an incoherent conception of the problem of alcohol – -again this is not a criticism, it is a description. If the problem with alcohol is only that it might interfere with moral behaviour then proximity is not a problem. But the proximity is still felt as a problem. This feeling is an informational contagion, as sense that the association of the alcohol might infect the food.
This means there is some incoherent (again this is a phenomenological term not a critical one) sense in which the alcoholic drink might somehow contaminate the food. We can say of course it doesn’t, but this isn’t to do justice to the situation. If we think of it pneuminously it makes perfect sense. The accretion of the alcohol is not restricted to just the drink, it permeates the bottle and the label. It makes an aura of alcohol accretiveness. The proximity of the information of alcohol in proximity to the food gives the connection of pneuminous accretion of connection, by a kind of pneuminous conjunction: ‘food and alcohol’. But not just any food: her food. The pneuminous sense of ownership draws a line that connects directly from her accretion to the food accretion. This is not some psychological irrelevance this is an actual connection given clearly to us by the simple fact it has been thought.
The fact that she is connected to her lunch in the fridge means rationally it is very reasonable that the alcohol not be in proximity so that the pneuminous conjunction can be avoided. We might want to say that ‘really’ nothing happens by these two things being next to one another’ but this is not to understand the logic of pneuminosity. In the pneuminous realm these connections are entirely real whether or not they ever manifest something we might call a ‘physical change’ in either body. The alcoholic drink is conected to the accretion of the immoral behaviour or whatever the issue may be and thus to connect it to the food in any wise necessarily is to make a problem for the pneuminous being (the person) that is accreted to the transcendent rule (the religious fiat (another accretion)). This all turns on the incoherent possibility that the informational connection is somehow affective which is the same possibility we find in magick.
If we ask, ‘but what if the alcohol was in a water bottle and hence she didn’t know?’. It is difficult because now the self accretion does not know of the problem of contamination, to this extent they are entirely protected from the pneuminous alcohol contamination. The situation might pass and they would never know different. On the pneuminous (magickal) plane though, they are then exposed to the effect of contamination (if there were any) insofar as i) someone knew that there was alcohol in the bottle and ii) by the pneuma that accretes outside of perception to things identified in a certain way. The pneuma can persist in its accretive formation outside of direct pneuminous force.