OOO is confused.

I think OOO is confused. Why do I think that? I’m not sure I can articulate it all, it’s a nagging sense I get as I read Harman et al. The problem here is there is so much I do agree with and I see the project as a late phenomenological attempt to rescue things (objects). It’s informational interactions seems good, there’s definitely something I agree with there. But what are the problems: I think the lurking Heidegger interpretation is somehow wrong. This withdrawal notion has been (at least to me) misunderstood. But maybe that’s because of my Wittgensteinian (at least of a sort) position. I’ve always lumped the difference between present-at-hand and ready-to-hand as being basically the same as the Augustinian (naming) language picture and meaning as use.  I’m not the first to find this harmony and I won’t be the last and maybe its in making this identity that my OOO disagreement comes.

I cannot see how Wittgenstein can be escaped. Philosophy carries on fascinatingly after the Investigations and maybe not even pointlessly but what it must do is establish there being an escape route post-Wittgenstein. This I have not seen elsewhere (it is what I try to do here precisely because I see he has made a serious blockage). Cavell thought and maybe still thinks the ripples of Wittgenstein have still not landed properly and I can heartily agree with this.

Why is this? Well for me it turns on trying to articulate this notion of ‘meaning as use’ and what the implications of this are. I think it can only in a sense mean that contrary directly to the OOO speculation in fact there are no objects at all. I then have to immediately retract that statement because that isn’t true either. I have truly in this instance run up against the limits of language. Do we have to remain silent? No not at all, its just that we have to try harder.

Why are there (kind of) no objects? Well part of it runs like this:

If the meaning of a word is its usage then it never actually reaches out to anything. To think the words mean unique pieces of the putative outside is a mistaken understanding of how language is working. This is true at least, if some kind of continuing spatio-temporality is true.  In the common place manifestation of spatio-temporal continuity (which I assuredly must acknowledge much of the time less I become an inert gibbering wreck), this point of awareness that I articulate with ‘I’ (I too is a use term) does various things, and can see various objects. Can’t it? The grammar, the rules that I use for this world that I find ‘myself’ in need a word like objects, at least for the kind of creature I am. I recognize various separate things, things that I can lift, things that I can’t, different regions in this ‘world’. I am taught a word in a context and I apply the rule for it as best as I understand it. If I had two identical contexts with some discoverable difference later down the line I would use the same word for them. I wouldn’t be wrong because the matter isn’t sorted by this later to be discovered ontological criterion (which would mean there was a thing that was determining the meaning). Indeed if that indiscernible difference is never discerned the that’s just what the word means. Words don’t designate, they are just use terms. This applies to meta-terms like objects. It sounds confusing because it makes you make nonsensical statements like ‘there are no objects’ when you can blatantly see there are. This is a grammatical confusion. ‘There are objects’ is a grammatical sentence that makes perfect sense but its just a use term in the meta-context of being-in-a-world. Object exerts such a powerful effect precisely because no one can say very well what the grammar of ‘object’ is. What is the grammar of the copula ‘are’? Obviously that’s a big question, but you could answer by saying simply that it is those instances in which we wish to link use terms in a certain nested way (this is this).

OOO wants to escape Kant and Heidegger but I don’t think you can, or at least not by that route. These grammatical objects might have no identity outside of the our being.  It is a coherent manifestation to say that we make the discretion and contemplating their external to us existence as if they were persisted discretely is not necessary.

Meillasoux comes upon the same problem: You don’t know that our awareness isn’t having an effect upon what ever it is that’s out there (note I’m not saying you don’t know awareness isn’t having an effect on objects, as actually they’re quite keed on that. I’m playing with the manifestation of our kind of awareness having a particular kind of effect on things, a reifying kind of effect and yes this does need expanding on). To be fair, OOO is called speculative philosophy and isn’t claiming a rigorous foundation ( I hope not anyway). But now you wonder ‘what am I talking about? I was on about Wittgenstein and now I’m saying something very very unWittgensteinian?

Yes, it’s a problem isn’t it.  This answer relates to the paranormal parts of the discussion herein. The synchronicity argument takes the inference to be that in the manifestation in which the synchronicity obtains information itself must have effected the putative ‘external world’. The ladies dream brought the scarab beetle out of the dream world.

There is a grammar of weird that is cogent precisely because we don’t know things like ‘what being is like outside of our perception’. If we knew that in a strong sense we could dismiss this grammar yet the manifestation of the paranormal, information interfering with solidity world persists. This persistence guarantees the grammatical application.

If you stay with the informational interference manifestation then you must in some sense be tied to a kind of idealism. There is is the notion of the externality but everything you that is about you is equally a concept.

Now the problem is: If there are no objects, the words don’t designate, then how does the informational interference obtain? And now we can return to a state in which I agree with OOO. Accepting the paranormal manifestation, words actually reach out to something. This something unlike in OOO is not an object talking to other objects in its disclosure withdrawal, but it is an accretion of informational substance that I have called pneuma. There is as stated, the idea of externality (which I have called umbra) but pneuma is all we can experience because we must conceptualise (we have no choice). Is it a duck or a rabbit? the flipping is a pneuminous flip, a different accretion is exposed.

The manifestation of the umbratic solidity is strong, is suggests its presence. Pneuma affects umbra under certain circumstances ill understood (magick). Use terms, readiness to hand terms create their accretive correlate. As pure use, there is no object, just a meta-term.

As pneuminous accretion there is a something that can be uniquely or generally designated. OOO in my opinion is studying accretions, and within a certain framework we can make these imaginings. However without certainty of the strength of affect the perceiving being is having granting these objects autonomy as objects is a manifestation that needs a hefty presupposition (I know I know speculative) to get it going. There is more to it than this but this is a stab at articulation.

Meaning

The nihilistic problem is scarcely solved by pneuminosity. Yet nihilism too is an accretion so maybe there is some insight to be had in that. It follows that all meaning is an accretion. Any meaning that is forged is forged with being. Meaning as a sound, as a word of course is an accretion too. We cannot say it escapes but we can say meaning and pneuma are distinctly related. Meaning is part of the clue to existence of pneuma. When we seeking the kind of meaning that might justify existence it has invariably been couched in some kind religious doctrine. Anything other than this gives nihilism.  Even the religious doctrine must presuppose that the God possesses a notion of purpose transcendent to anything we can conceive of or the question is begged as to what the God wants. Infinite continuous or simultaneous being does not confer meaning. But because meaning is constructed in pneuma -the idea of teleological meaning- a teleology is in a sense real when reified. The meaning isn’t local to the inside of a given pneuminous being, it exists within the pneuma at large. In a slightly Hegelian way this means that the successful construction of an idea that gives meaning that overcomes nihilism would not be a repression but being realising its own meaning. When we conceive ourselves as humans, discretely bound such an idea is just one more human construction, but when we are seen as an expression of the pneuma itself, our meaning is its meaning.

Phantasy-Manifestation-Agnostic Disjunction

Further to the attempt to untangle some of the various terminological threads comes the insight that from an accepted manifestation other manifestations appear as phantasies. So if I buy into a materialist manifestation then the solid world appears a phantasy and vice versa. Phantasy we will recall is an epistemologically ineradicable option repressed only by greater weight being given to the accepted manifestation.

Let us remember the notion of the agnostic disjunction as a helpful terminological description. The agnostic disjunction occurs exactly in a situation where the outcome is not decided definitely by any kind of certainty but rather only a preference for one option over another. The pertinent example in this work has always been the interpretation of synchronicity as either a solid world statistical possibility or a fluid world pneuminous interference. The impossibility of arbitrating this (and other similar disjunctions) is named the agnostic disjunction.

There is no perfectly clear boundary between a fantasy and a phantasy, but the general idea is that a fantasy is an engagement with something for which I have no grounds for believing might happen (I might become superman), whereas a phantasy is a possible way in which existence might actually be interpreted. It is incumbent on phantasies that they are able to demonstrate criteria for their acceptance to enable them to be competing manifestations. I did not previously spot the overlap of manifestation and phantasy but clearly the terms are related. To reiterate: when a manifestation is not accepted it is a phantasy in relation to the dominant manifestation. For example, a committed idealist has materialism as a phantasy and they spend their time trying to shore up the territory against materialist incursions.

Here we can see the relation to the philosophy of agency, but this philosophy is largely functional only under the pneuminous manifestation. In the pneuminous manifestation various accretions are vying for territory. Pneuminous beings largely taken over by certain accretions (idealist ones in the example) cannot actually defeat the materialist because both positions are incoherent (remember that one).

It sounds confusing and what confuses me sometimes is that we must remember that pneuminosity is a complete theory. That is, if from the agnostic disjunction you opt for pneuminous theory, yes you are still open to the phantasy of a solid world, but then you must also account for the solid world theory from within the theory.

There does need to be a better description of the dialectic of subject formation but its going to be something like this: Selves are accretions, they are constituted by other pneuminous beings. Pneuminous beings invariably have a self accretion of some kind (though it is not necessary that this is the case, think of certain kinds of what we call mental illness). The self accretion is course accreted to all manner of different pneuminous structures. Now accepting that a materialist would blatantly reject this explanation of things, the pneuminous description of such a theoretical adherent is that they are accreted to a solid manifestation of existence and supporting accretions. A reasonable question would be as to whether it is better to call the self accretion a kind of discrete name/body pneuminous form or whether the self accretion is incoherent unity of the name/body and its accompanying accretions (which would manifest as beliefs etc)? The latter sounds very reasonable in one sense as we might say, here is John, he is a materialist. The very predication instantiates that he is a materialist. But maybe we would also say here is John, he has materialist views, in which case the former looks more appropriate. Potentially there are different kinds of self accretion anyway,  some of which are deeply intertwined with political/religious/or otherwise views, and other kinds of self accretion where the pneuminous threads relation to its beliefs is weaker. This kind of multiplicity is possibly the best way to go with it.

 

 

Concept Beings.

When one conceives of the concepts as pneuminous forces outside of but plugged into the self-accretions we see these beings act through us. Thought arising within us is the action of the concept powers. This can manifest as a kind of creativity. It is long spoken of how the thoughts arise from nowhere. Pneuminously this not the case, they arise from the pneuminous accretions whose fine filaments float freely, tapping and all and sundry with conceptual squidity. Maybe one could conceive of something even like a cell receptor that receives some pneuminous forms and prohibits others. This kind of disclosure makes possible to conception of agency. That is that our accretions are all too often just servitors for other accretive forces passing of their machinations as ‘our thoughts’. In Nick Land’s words ‘can whatever it is that’s playing you make it to level 2?’

There is nothing to say what our reaction to this kind of world should be. Conceptual powers are not evil but they may be self serving, in this sense they  ‘want’ you to harbour them. Pneuminous beings become their agents, amplifying and fighting their causes in the battlefield of manifestations. There may be some pleasure in acknowledging your complicity in being-an-agent-of-the-concept, but equally in a society that believes essentially that separate subjects are thinking up these ideas for themselves it could be an alarming, frightening and undesirable model that tries to point out we are mere vessels for the concept gods.

Think though, a society that bought into this model as whole would find our society incredibly strange, even stupid. The notion that the individual unit ‘contains’ the ideas, is a little backwards. The individual has control over these ideas? We could readily admit that neither of these things are true. This being the case, why would we think a subject was the source of these powers. The subject is just an unknowing agent of the concept.

It begs the consideration as to whether one of the sources of mind quieting practices is the attempt to gain some control over the pneuminous accretive tentacles.

The God of Washing Machines and its Agents.

Power is surging through the system. There is an infection from a parallel body, bringing this work to be what it already is. Chaos magickal contemplations of being as pneuminous entails that if my washing machine is broken I should take seriously a supplication to the Deity (Zanussi: a perfect name for a god) for aid. Are there physical parameters as to when this might work? The manifestation of physicality imposes this idea. The phantasy of the possibility that the god might effect a cure is absurd of course and yet just by accepting the synchronicitous possibility we are tied also to this. The absurdity does not negate the possibility it only adds to the incoherence. When I invoked Zanussi in a simple manner, the machine did begin to work, but this was in a situation of perfect ambiguity (I don’t know that it wouldn’t have started working anyway).

This kind of thinking raises the possibility of subversive magickal acts that attempt to bind corporate entities through magickal means. Naturally some of these accretions are enormous and it would be hard to do so, yet we do not really know what is possible. A fluctuating ontology might warp powerfully from one monadic place. No ground.

Agency seems to emerge from this. We are agents to powers. This is one meaning of the Landian invocation of the old ones or at least one way of looking at it. But agency happens at many levels. I might be an agent of a capitalist ontic accretion like ‘The University of Lincoln’. I might consider myself strongly this agent thus strengthening the accretive power (mirroring, doubling).

I might also consider myself and agent of a manifestation. An agent of idealism, an agent of agency, and agent of philosophy. Conceptual powers (pneuminous manifestations) working through [me] to proliferate. The manifestations are at war in their desire for pneuminous territory.

We then immediately become victim to the swooping hawk of teleology: What for?  What do they want? asks this power. The manifestation of ‘purpose’ is clearly a transcendental. The nihilistic vanguard retort their inevitable response in vain. Yet only as vain as the territory gained by purpose.

 

Potato Accretion.

Once I grew a potato in a small terrace house garden. The plant grew to quite a prodigious size and was positioned just outside the back door. As the foliage got larger it grew, not as I would have expected towards the lighter part but in fact straight towards the door. The leafy stems in fact extended so much towards the door that when you opened it the potato plant would flop into the kitchen. This became quite annoying but viewing the plant as an entity with some interest and affection I was loathe to curtail its expansion. The growth of course only took advantage of my kindness and pushed further still. After putting up with this for some time I began to joke that the plant actually wanted to come inside to be with the people. This idea, whilst a joke, I also recognised as having some sense of possible incoherent actuality. I was undeniably less philosophically reflectively involved in magickal thinking at the time and hence ascribing a kind of spirit sentience to the plant seemed quite reasonable (I’m not saying it isn’t now, I’d just be more reserved it and couch it more accretively). The potatoes self-inviting became more obvious as it relentlessly tried to extend the stems that pressed against the door. This strategy was ultimately self defeating for the plant, as it began to get bashed around by people opening and closing the door. I began to feel some sense of resentment for its suicidal tenacity, largely generated by the mess of mashed stem and leaves that was accruing round the entrance. After enduring this for a short time I decided enough was enough and truncated the plant appropriately so that its longing to be in the house could not be fulfilled. This worked perfectly well and the plant continued growing outside.

About a week later I noticed something. A potato appeared on the kitchen table and stayed there day after day. I don’t know why but I didn’t investigate it initially. I suppose because, knowing it wasn’t mine, I assumed it was something to do with my house mate. It didn’t go anywhere so after a while I examined it. It turned out not to be a potato but a stone that looked identical to a potato (at least until close inspection). I asked my house-mate about this curiosity and he replied that he had seen it lying around whilst out and had felt compelled to bring it home. He had not however (at least consciously) spotted its similarity to the aforementioned solanaceae. My magickal interpretive faculty flashed immediately on hearing this, it seemed quite clear what had happened: The potato power, had tried to make its way into the house, initially  in plant form. This avenue had been thwarted and it had rerouted itself in such manner that its place in the house would be assured i.e. it re-manifested itself in stone format and then signalled to the other entrance route (my house-mate) that it he had some need for it. He had been an easy unwitting ally of the potato and had brought it straight to where it wanted to be and there it now sat in front of me.

What went on there? Obviously we can lay it out as nothing more than coincidental stone and plant and need say no more about it. What is more important though is, deluded or otherwise (it is impossible to say) this was not the experience of it as viewed through the corridor. The experience here is one of pneuminous interference by the potato accretion. The background of magickal interpretation makes it possible; this allows the accretive world to function. Of course there is a degree of doubling there, pneuminosity is just a heuristic but also an accretion itself. That’s for another day though.

The magickal interpretation of the potato as potato spirit accretes pneuminous awareness to this potato plant or potentially liberates its existing awareness to new teleological heights (it wants to be with its fellow beings). The possibility is given that without treating the potato in this manner it would never have sought refuge in the house. This particular end was brutally curtailed but the newly formed potato accretion attached to that unutterable umbra was not to stopped. This pneuminous power exercised some ineffable manipulation on whatever is tomake its pneuminosity send an accretive tendril to re-manifest in the pneuminous sphere of the house mate. The house mate, was as it happens aware of my attitude even if he treated it as a humourous oddity. His awareness and being-in-the-house make him easily attached to the accretive entities involved and hence and easy target for the solanaceous machinations. This literal accretion of stone (no doubt an accretive link to my name) and pneuminous potato spirit tapped the pneuminosity of my house mate, compelling him to bring it with him. Once in he had no use for it and deposited it exactly where this simple consciousness wanted to be: in the kitchen. The accretion was then noticed by myself and I was able to immediately recognise its triumph, observing it both outside the window and curiously in the house in my hand at the same time.

potato accretion stone

Pneuminosity of Dirt Association.

It is known that if you put some faeces in a sealed bag on a plate and then take them off again people will not want to eat off the plate. This is pneuminosity in a nutshell. The near impossibility of ourselves to believe that information does not contaminate. It seems to me the same issue. We are told of the solidity of the world and yet in this instance we find it hard to disassociate the faeces from the plate, there is somewhere the nagging doubt that the information might have penetrated the plate. This is the essential bifuraction of the two pneuminosities. One is essentially psychological and says association is what has happened that then puts people off the plate, whereas the other is that there is the possibility that the information has interacted with the solidity.

I take a bowl from the kitchen to wash some children’s shoes in and my wife admonishes me for taking the wrong bowl as I have taken a food bowl. I want to argue but then remember my own philosophy and that this is its perfect example. The shoes should not be washed in a food bowl because they are two separate accretions and we must be wary of the possibility that the pneuminous force is real. If I wash the shoes in the food bowl, no matter how clean I then make the bowl, it is attached to a different accretion, one of garden tasks and realms outside of the culinary. This is an modern manifestation of the notion of the sacred re-emerging. The food bowl is sacred to food and this sacred relation is not to be tampered with by making it a bowl of relativism. I do not say we should have separate food bowls and garden bowls, I merely point out that such a differentiation is (in one wise) grounded in a magickal speculation that is entirely rational.