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.

Umbratic Speculations

To speak of the umbra is essentially impossible, or at least to say what the umbra is like. The umbra is not pneuminous, the umbra does not even necessarily exist. Its necessity as a phenomenological entity derives from the incoherent manifestation of externality outside of perception. This constitutes the problem. The problem of magick entails a power of information or as we phrase it in here, a pneuminous power. This is, in everyday being, so fine that it does nothing, yet in magickal phenomena it is the information that must have acted as an enormously powerful pivot to shift reality in some incoherent manner. When the pneuminous being attaches the pneuma around it this umbratic being is connected to pneuma. This connection must also maintain when the being moves, though in some lesser sense. When I think of that rock on the beach at night, I think of that rock on the beach at night and a pneuminous thread attaches into this dark recess. Of course I attach only to the pneuma as such yet in non-attending, this fibre persists, rendering it in this plane theoretically possibly to trace this rock back to my accretion. In this sense there is a pneuminous trace within whatever has been assimilated by the pneuminous beings. In this sense outside of awareness yet pneuminously traced being holds a double status. The trace exists there yet without the immanent pneuminous force being upon it, it is between the solidity of the pneuminous grasp and the potentiality of whatever else it might be in the umbra.

We much recall in writing all of this that this is just what is suggested in implication, not some dogmatic magickal physics. The pneuma must persist in the externality for the possibility of magick to persist in ‘a thing’. And if the incoherent appearance of the magickal ‘thing’ shows itself then the pneuma follows as a condition for this to be the case.

Umbra 2.1

The notion of umbra comes more and more to the (ironic) fore.  I’ve written on it before. I’m not sure whether all my definitions are the same, hopefully over time they will become moreso. The other day I wrote this definition:

“That which hides behind the pneuma. There is no possibility of a direct contact with the umbratic for all being is directly pneuminous, or possibly cthonic. As not pneuminous nothing much can be directly said about the umbratic except the phrase that the umbra suggests the pneuma. This means that the umbratic does have a specific form which manifests in a certain way pneuminously.”

I want to consider at the moment that the umbratic is the manifestation of something outside of the pneuma. This is a better definition because it take the notion of manifestations into account rather that actually postulating an umbratic beyond. In philosophy we are engaged in the war of manifestations, that is of logical possibilities of how being might be. When we engage in philosophies of a more idealistic stance we make phenomena like the umbratic appear. Kant’s ding an sich is like the umbratic (though it is not identical). The notion appears as something which hides behind phenomenal appearance.

In this work the umbratic shows itself as that which is outside of awareness. Is this a coherent thing to talk about? Possibly not, but this is entirely beside the point, the manifestation that we can say something about anything outside of awareness from a kind of kantian position is a necessary construct, a transcendental manifestation. Of course when we engage in more realist positions this problem dissolves. The things continue to be outside of awareness in much the same way.

The problem of the umbratic turns as in much of the rest  of this philosophy on the problem of magick -as a force for bending events to ones will. Not all interpretations of magick entail this, but those which grant magick as magick (true reality bending) do. I hold that phenomenologically whatever is held within awareness is relatively held statically and outside of it it shows the possibility that it might be changed (the possibility of it being interpreted in this wise).

The umbratic then appears as every behind of pneuma. Despite the whole object being directly suggested by visible profiles, the hidden part remains umbratic. It must be this strict for it to be cogent at all. This word of shadow is not accidentally chosen. Impenetrable darkness is a kind of ambiguous experience of the umbratic. Of course as it has a context e.g. it’s night, it’s a sealed room, it still has a thin pneuminosity to it, but its umbratic experience consists in that which is within it being completely withdrawn. If I reach into this darkness to check that the cuddly toy is still in the cupboard I employ the pneuminosity of touch to reestablish this solidity (this is still information). However in the experience of staring into the black we are allowed (via the magickal possibility) to consider that we stare into a literal flux of possibility.

This incoherent possibility is the correlate manifestation of pneuma, for within the pneuminous situation the paradoxical question will always arise ‘what is outside the pneuma?’ It is not solidity, in itselfness, that is said to reside therein for these are all information from within the pneuma, though equally it is part of the manifestation of the umbratic that these notions. The persistence of things and their incoherent flux are both contained within this notion. It does not say things are in flux, it says they could be, and maybe the umbratic  can change by itself, but in magick it is the pneuma that changes the umbratic and hence changes the pneuma.

Now it’s confusing because it looks like the umbratic is in charge. It kind of is, as a manifestation of something outside of the pneuminous bubble (existence looks vaster than awareness). We reach a position in which we don’t look too argumentative with modern science, we’re just interested in delineating certain experiences and what they imply.

The manifestation of things implies their externality, even if informationally (pneuminously) held as such, their consistency begs some kind of continuity. Things outside of awareness may  not be identical with things in awareness (awareness is treated as a solidifying force (pneuma)).

The big differences are that:

a) That there is a postulation of difference of beings within pneuminosity and beings outside (umbratically concealed).

b) The pneuma can affect the umbratic via the actions of pneuminous beings in an a-spatio-temporal manner (magick).

This means, as has been put forward before, that any kind an-sich cannot be said to be the umbratic but must be the synthesis of pneuma and umbra as a whole. This from a pneuminous beings point of view is an impossibility as all information would always a priori be pneuminous.

Manifestation of the Un-Correlate.

I believe the key to showing the confusion in some of the speculative philosophy lies in untangling the manifestations. The key manifestation here is that of some kind of existence without an interpreter/observer. This manifestation arises quite naturally all the time, it is related to what Husserl called the ‘natural attitude’. We inhabit the world and from its seemless spatio-temporal flow we easily think of things continuing beyond the incoherent border of perception in the same wise. This is a manifestation, it is the one that gives rise to the view from nowhere, to objectivity. This manifestation is incoherent, but this is to say little because so are all the manifestations. The key opposing manifestation is that the contents of the perceptual field are somehow created by the being doing the perceiving. This is the Kantian formulation which pushes this constitutive power all the way into spatio-temporality itself. The linguistic turn adds to this manifestation or rather curtails it, limiting the spatio-temporal metaphysical claim to that of a grammatical one. Space and time can only mean the instance in which these words are used. We agree with this up the point of departure of the accretive nature of the pneuma, which creates an pneuminous overlay to the putative externality.

The primordial being of a thing then is its use. It is the interchangeable status of things as use items. Primordial hammers are stones. That things persist beyond perception does not turn on their thingness but on their manifestation of continuing existence as a thing (a spatio-temporal thing). In the manifestation of a pure idealism this is potentially not possible as there is no-thing out side of the idealism. In a more limited idealism, there is the possibility that things outside of the ideality may be identical to within it but this cannot be known with  certainty (something akin to what happens in the pneuminous disclosure). Here though language is important because it is the home of the pneuminous. When we say somthing ‘is’ this is an accretion, the accretion of being (a complicated accretion to say the least). Nevertheless it should be recognised as Heidegger did that the actual saying of being brings being about. This means that being is not the term for a putative externality outside of a hermeneutic structure. The name for this is nothing. The continual simple use of the world takes the things to be there continually, but the theoretical disclosure of the world epistemologically cuts short the ability to speak of the things as being in this way. The manifestation of a spatio-temporality allows a specultive analysis to take place but only so long as certain correlational traits are maintained. The first of these is the spatio-temporality which potentially is different outside of awareness (phenomenologically e.g. the synchronistic fluid world view) and the second of these is the individuality of each thing which may have no determinate existence is relations outside of awareness. This point turns on whether the identity of intentionality (of a being we call aware i.e. ourseleves) with the relation that we would call physical of one ‘inanimate’ thing to another, holds. This begs the question in Harman’s scheme as to whether we are a real object or not. He says I am a real object, but what does this ‘I’ entail. If it is my body then there seems to be a problem, as my weight upon my chair is not my intentional relation to it. But if it’s not then what is it? My body as object’s relation to the chair, exclusive of some other me?  If I am not my body what am I? The answer seems simple enough, I am the uses of the word I and nothing more and simultaneously the secondary I accretion that occurs after this primary one but is yet there to beguile us. The third of these is the belief that the naming/accretive relation is nothing. If the naming accretive process has gathered, discreted, shored up the use thing in anyway then the persistence outside of awareness is unwarranted as similar. The intentionality problem then returns for now for the identity of relations to persist, the putatively separate thing must consider other things as wholes, as accretions. This is more of a challenge than equating intentionality without a magickal effect with physical relations and frankly the word speculative rises to the fore here.

It seems to make more sense to say that if there is an identity between human/thing relations and thing/thing relations then this is at the primordial level of what something more akin to the ready to hand in which the thing has not shown itself as theoretical object/accretion. This means something akin to the fact that being as we know it is more like the theoretical abstraction and readiness-to-hand/use is a kind of pre-cognitive level. The phantasy of returning to this is what the buddhists seek (in part). But as the kind of being we are and become more and more or, whilst we should recognise the existence of this aspect we mustn’t lose track of the importance of the linguistic turn as complementary to any speculative philosophy.

Speculative Pneuminosity

In Graham Harman’s work a manifestation is assumed. This is the manifestation of a spatio-temporality extending beyond a monadic immanent field. This of course is a very reasonable manifestation, it is the solid world manifestation. But it isn’t the purpose of this work to describe the solid world manifestation, here we are concerned with something else. Yet Harman’s work contains something interesting that we wish to connect with. I’m not sure where we are going here, I’m going to write and see what accretions we can connect to.

Harman uses a sensuous exterior encrusted onto a dark inner real object. I have a problem with this I cannot articulate properly, and then I wonder if I really do have a problem with it because otherwise surely I would be able to articulate it. I’m concerned about calling the interior the ‘real object’. My equivalent of such an object would be the ‘umbra’. My umbra has pneuma welded to it. The pneuma is the interpreted everything whilst the tentative sub-pneuma, the cthonic is the manifestation of uninterpreted being. This still not the same as the umbratic which necessarily hides.

This is possibly a difference, for whilst the perception of an object certainly entails its incoherent wholeness, the missing profiles have actually returned to the umbratic. It is the immanent pneuminosity of being that suggests the continuing presence beyond it and the anomalous phenomena that suggests that this field may be just that. So if Harman wants his mysterious beings to persist in spatio-temporality then surely something like his picture obtains. Whether or not his vicarious causation is cogent is another matter. This would turn on whether there was enough of an identity between intentionality (sincerity) from this kind of being (an aware one) and a putative inanimate one. I’m not convinced this holds but in a sense this can only be an inclination. If I say that I at least have a choice in intentional structures this only says that, thus something else has no choice in intentional structure, that doesn’t make it not an intentional relation. in a Husserlian sense though I think it is different. My weighing down upon my chair and thus to the ground is something that I could constitute phenomenologically, but the weighing down is not in itself an intentional act.

Pneuma is a phenomenological term for a substantialised information as a condition for bringing about magickal relations. Its ability to tap the umbratic renders connections that cross spatio temporal borders. How pneuma came about is not something we can answer. Pneuma is not necessarily aware, it can be made so (by talking to a rock eg) but its informational status does not entail its self awareness.

In both these philosophies (mine and Harman’s) there is a desire to give objects back a certain reality. In some sense I am indulging in an undermining activity here by rendering the informational world as a pneuminous layer to an umbratic noumena but whole object also reemerges in a special way. Down the magickal corridor I cannot see how the object can persist without the label (if the label is doing something to it) i.e. if magick obtains then the thing is literally gathered by the word: it is a golf ball. Primordially the relation is use, in this instance there is no-thing. Only in the naming relation does what is known as present-to-hand appear. After this fact (use) the accretion forms, the image, the theoretical object, the a posteriori Platonic form. Yet because information is substantial, the information can persist outside of the immanent field, embedded in the umbra, in this sense the object persists for me, it is not a contingent x but the label ‘golf ball’, the sound itself, the letters, the gemetria is embedded in it through the accretive layers of pneuma. Granny’s special cup, really is Granny’s special cup even to other beings, this trace is still in there as accretion.

To reiterate as I always must. This is not to say this is how things are. This is how things are if you accept a magickal ontology spill out of its home.


A manifestation that re-emerges constantly is that of energy. This kind of notion has obviously been with us for a long time, prana, chi, orgone, vital force, being some examples. The work here has not used this notion believing that information is sufficient to rid ourselves of this idea. This might still be right, yet it seems there must be some kind of acknowledgement of this issue (as a manifestation). The reason we have not employed it is because calling it energy is always a kind of explanation for various phenomena which conveniently maps along various axes e.g. ghosts and living creatures would be powered by the same force. It remains a supposition to then say that there must be an energy that takes these different forms (an undermining strategy in Harman’s language). The problem is at least better phenomenologically posed if we say that the phenomena are only information (pneuma), and then adjust what information must necessarily be in order for this to be the case. This has the advantage of starting with something we can know, i.e. that we see the floating mist as ghost, and as such imbue it with a person like quality. In the ghostly instance the pneuma that is commonly attached to umbra (we call this unity a human being) becomes uncoupled from it and persists to a lesser or greater degree. We do not say how this comes about merely that if such a phenomenon is taken as obtaining, then this is the most we can say it is and when we stray to energy theory we have gone into speculation. The problem that persists is the problem of intensity. This issue regards (amongst others) the notion of why one sigil is magickal and another is not. Certainly the language of energy is employed in this wise, people talk about ‘charging’ symbols. We can say ‘but this is an accretion, and the magickal act is the act of forcing accretions together’ but the we must ask ‘but how is this done?’

Accepted, the willing subject is also an accretion whose coming into being as willing subject is born out of umbratic depths (umbra suggests pneuma, but does not control it). In either instance a perception of something growing in power is a pneuminous one: I am overpowered by the perceived force of the phenomenon or I seek to give power to the phenomenon, in other words I strive to look at it as if it were powerful. Force comes from the umbratic suggestion or the controlled pneuma. Energy (in this sense of magickal energy) is certainly an accretion, but it seems from my rumination I am still unable to give it the necessity it sometimes seems to beg. A feeling of increasing energy is still pneuminous, it is exactly that information and whether I seem to manipulate this increase, or have it imposed upon me I am still within a pneuminous frame and have no recourse to an extra ‘energy’ other than as language game employed as an explanation for the phenomenon.

Let us be clear, there are intractable mysteries here (indeed the transcendental mystery has been elsewhere in here posited as an ontological category) whose description we have by no means scratched. The pneuminous accretion that we call ourselves is one of the central issues here, for from this curious accretion emanates desire, or at least the desire accretion is necessarily attached to it (to the extent that it has the manifestation of an umratic suggestion). The ability to weave accretions together is the essence of anything we call creative. Whether a satisfactory disclosure of this beings inception will occur, it is not possible to tell. For now let us note the being of energy still as a distracting force until some greater argument compels us to better reconsider the matter.

Sketch of Accretion/Concept and Analysis Regarding Speculative Implications.

I was looking at the sand/grit container at the train station and contemplating how my framework accounts for this. It’s so tempting to make the notion that only the front is presented. This is true but also not true. Pneuminously the container is given to me immediately, I see directly not the yellow plastic box but the container as grit container. But this thing is information or pneuma, I see an accretion of pneuma forming a whole new structure.  As a passing thought I see this raises the question as to whether or not there are ‘pneuminous atoms’. As a manifestation this seems cogent. The fact that yellow has various connotations to any given individual does not mean it does not also have the abstractive possibility as an atom, an informational feature further irreducible. Yellow is an accretion because it is indelibly accreted to so many other phenomena yet it also has an atomic manifestation as something pure, we might say that accretions of abstraction and purity are able to connect to certain phenomena that present themselves as atomic in this sense.

But we have strayed from the point. The accretion rather like in phenomenology has already contained the idea that it exists in space and time and the ‘what it is’. Its constitution as spatio -temporal is a priori but not its use. But here it gets confusing for these are in some sense separate accretions held together by a conditional relation. That it is a grit container entails that it is an object in space/time but that it is a spatio-temporal object clearly doesn’t entail it is a grit container. There is a lurking manifestation in here, one that separates out the solidity from the information. In one sense the information (the grit containerness) is only made possible by the spatio/temporality. In another we must feel that this is a contingency and in some sense separate, for I might not know it was a grit container. It might not have grit in it, and if no one ever knew that and thought it was a bin, then it would be a bin and that would be it. So in that sense you can’t talk about autonomous objects because the thing is the information, or rather the information is the relation to us. This is what brings in the pneuminous accretions as metaphysics for this problem. It can only continue to be a grit container outside of its functionality as one (its inceptive intention) if it is imbued with this accretion in a way external to human influence, or rather that once the human accretion has imbued this thing with this information, this information persists attached to what I have elsewhere called the umbra. Even if spatio temporality persists outside of human perception, without a pneuminous trace in the thing it is no longer a grit container, desolate and alone on the platform it is in a sense not.  Here Heidegger is cogent to me: the naming is the relation of being, but if we extend the accretive trace then the naming has persisted outside of our sheltering and now holds this thing, even on the desolate platform, as the faithful grit container, standing in reserve to protect us on the icy days and other beings might have relations to the grit container but they must fight this pneuminous hold if they wish to claim it as their own).

Let us review this fruitful exercise. We want the solid thing and information to be as one naively. But if this is just a name for us then no designation persists and Wittgenstein’s meaning as use is exhaustive of the situation. So then the thing that persists (outside of our use) cannot truly be called what we have called it because that is not the relation that the other things have engaged it in. The speculative realist might say I am splitting hairs here but I don’t think so. If you don’t know that the naming-human relation does not add some kind of difference to the umbratic-thing then you shouldn’t call it that in its relation to other things. Maybe there are natural kinds instances where the usage seems appropriate, where the accretive idea is more harmonious from human and other relations, but this is still problematic because any accretion like ‘fire’ is going to have many accretive connections in the pneuma. It is from this instance possible that we could be presented with video of a phenomenon that we could not recognise informationally as ‘fire’ (in some strange intergalactic form) and then the fire accretion would not be touching it. In this sense this phenomena would not be ‘fire’, neither as use, nor as thing out of our scope of understanding. But it is interesting here and we should not shy away from it. For when the scientist somehow understands that this phenomenon is some raging cosmological fire we accretively appropriate it thusly and we are then presented with the manifestation that it was somehow ‘fire’ all along.

Maybe the difference lies in that part of the accretion itself (in fire) is that such things once recognised [as such] have always been thus, whereas in the case of the grit container, the umbra admits of contingent relations even to its creators. This is clearly not all the story here and I note that my attempt to summarise and review has just opened the can wider…