There is no spatial, chronological or privileged difference anymore between the real and the concept it mirrors. The real is imaginary and the imaginary is real. It is the closing of this distance that creates a flat, immanant and blindly operational space which I call assimilation. We cannot even relapse into older physicalist notions of the real such as external space and time: an action figure toy does not breathe-in the atmosphere of such a ‘space’, it’s context does not refer to that context shared by physical bodies in space and their social-political narrative.
King Kong is no less real than the chair you are sitting on. Both can be represented in external or eidetic space, Both have a use tem in language (i.e “have you seen King Kong?” or “where is my chair?”). Both have other relations that differ from their present use; King Kong is identified through various relations, contexts and histories such as Science-fiction, the toy industry, the film industry, exoticism, the place Skull Island etc.
Reality – the sum of experience – is not weird, funny nor horrific, ‘It’ simply is. The only other capacity that can achieve this indifference, this reality, is neurosis (hence equating neurosis with experience). In Freud’s Beyond the Pleasure Principle neurosis is the only thing that escapes designation (goes ‘beyond’ it). Content in the mind is designated as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘pleasurable’ or ‘painful’ but neurosis is the condition which produces content in the brain; it decides, through repetition, whether X will appear bad or good. In other words, the neurotic capacity to repeat and fixate (i.e to simulate experience) is found in both sane and insane experiences, both happy and sad ones. Ergo neurosis is this indifferent reality that we speak of (or at least the condition for it). The ability of this Expressivist (Deleuze) or Contructivist neurosis is precisely what Baudrillard is talking about when he observes the relative autonomy of simulation and simulacra (from army training courses to Disney Land); that the real is manipulable based on the relatability of signs, and it is only ‘use’ (and the conventionalising of use) that separates the reality of Disney Land from the reality of a romantic relationship, a 9 – 5 job etc. To be sure, there will be simulations (assimilations) that appear without your consent (what has been ontically found in traditional psychological neurosis); your mind will try and make a reality out of something, a web of designations that one could live within. Based on generic and personal dialectics between general concepts (their ‘shareability’) and your experience, such tensions will spark semantic tensions, but this doesn’t have to be exclusively psychological; a man’s fear of nudity might stem from him encountering his parents having sexual intercourse at an early age, but other symptoms can occur simply by living in a restrictive society. The idea of getting up at 6am the next morning is semantically implicated by the state of drunkenness I am in at midnight. These are not neutral concepts changing under circumstances of the individual; they are concepts that have their own pleasure principle, their own likes and dislikes, their own preferable assimilative processes.
Similar to psychology, however, there seems to be a heuristic difference between process and form; the almost vitalist force of un-designateable reality, of infinite neuroses and assimilations, that only take on meaning when formed and chafed by humans (or living creatures), that become representations amongst other representations like some form of atomistic idealism. The designation of meaning is superimposed onto the domesticated world through our practices, and we inherit these meanings as they enjoy dominion over us or become ‘challenged’ (Nietzsche). The usability of the concept has always carried a correlate of desire with it (the need to be used) and hence concepts cannot be severed from the desire for designation, ergo, concept traces will always tell you more than what is designated on the surface (see Graham Freestone – ‘Spider-Spit’). We always knew this sensitive fragility in the ‘human subject’ (the psychological subject) but now its time to look at the concepts ‘themselves’, as artefacts of the incoherence/incommensurability of present day human.
The first dictum of psychology ; one should never blame themselves for themselves.
Psychology teaches us that the identity and classification of concepts on paper may be satisfactory at first glance yet the mixture of concepts within the human organism (or if you wish the mind) is far from neutral, objective or clear. Concepts travel through the terrain of affectivity yet affectivity is always already travelling through the terrain of concepts (a lot of thinkers make the mistake of trying to create a clear distinction between the two or favour one over the other). This bilateral relationship accumulates the ‘Subject’. The subject is – if it is anything – 1) this bilateral relationship between affectivity and how such is comprehended (i.e how the affectivity of ‘guilt’ is conceptually categorised (through different periods of history)) and 2) concepts and how they affect (how an already formed idea becomes a determination and even circles round to become a reflex; for example to turn a light switch on). This latter description has a broad spectrum; from tacit knowledge (the physical encoding of a conceptual task) to being determined by a concept over and beyond its standard use/meaning. We should think of the determination of the conceptual as determination per se (or conformism) because we are directed through an already-made concept. However, obsessions that appear troubling, unclear or without any immediate pragmatic orientation may very well be the awareness of a chafing; where the concept does not sit well with the particular subject (or N.A.R.P if you will). It is obvious that concepts affect people (not just through behavioural studies but also as symptoms i.e neuroses). This is mainly down to the concepts foreign nature and also to its indiscernibility (a concept can be broken down but its essence will not be found and its poignancy – of manifesting at that particular time – will never be fully understood). There has been much effort to reduce and stabilise the non-identity of the concept (and in many ways the non-location of the concept, as each subject appropriates overlapping similarities of the concept and not some fundamental coherent identity of the concept). The way a civilization achieves this reduction and characterisation is qua assimilation. First we decide that the concept should abide to the same assumed rules of objects; we want the concept to subsist, to be empirically legitimated, and to be representational (which amounts to the same thing). As soon as this assimilation takes place we have what I have hitherto called tautology; the concept attaches itself as the shallow definition of an object (the concept-meaning-use of a ‘chair’, a ‘lamppost’, even a ‘concept’ itself as if it were intrinsically understandable). Whether through pragmatism, utilitarianism, positivism, capitalism (this tautological philosophy allows companies to sell us a concept-draped object as if they were one and the same thing) or perhaps simply for our own health, tautological reality is the fundamental paradigm of our being-in-the-world in the 21st century. The epiphenomenon of tautological concept-objects gathers its power of seduction, not only through social assimilation (large groups of people telling us this is how reality ‘is’) but also through the ephemeral, dialectical idea of resistance ; the notion that there has to be some kind of delineation whereby an object stops being an object or becomes a different object. One of the presuppositions in the notion of ‘causality’ is that something has to be caused for causation to ‘work’ or manifest. Beyond the relative, shallow contingencies of ‘use’ or ‘meaning’ (such can be transformed at any given time) and the ‘material’ contingency of an ‘object’ (again such can be transformed at any given time under the necessary conditions) what we are left with is a conceptual territory in-the-last-instance whereby the concept has to auto-delineate itself (in the subject but not outside of the subject) in order to play itself within a game. The game will necessarily be unfulfilling if we are programmed to nominate concepts based on objects and ‘uses’ within utilitarian life in-the-last-instance. The affectivity of the subject (or the void/nothing/incoherence/transcendence of the subject) is precisely the anxiety of where the chain of concepts will go and how they will affect us. This anxiety of the concept, and not simply the determination of a concept creating anxiety, discloses to us a form of reflexivity, a reflexivity somehow observant of the concepts flowing through us, a reflexivity I have called neurosis in the past. …
On The Irreducibility of Concepts and Their Unaccountability (Part One)
The problem of a classical theory of concepts (definitionism), which amounts to the same thing as a classification theory in general, is not only the assumption of some underlying identity of a concept (the same essentialism that Wittgenstein would critique, opting for the notion of ‘family resemblance’ instead) but also the problem of how the ‘subject’ personally associates with the concept it encounters. The critique of the definitional theory of concepts and essences has been well exemplified in thinkers such as Wittgenstein and Deleuze (through polythetic methods and pluralism) yet the critique of a neutral presupposed ground for the ‘shareability’ of concepts is sorely lacking. The two critiques should really come hand-in-hand, unless one decides to give concept formation and analysis a purely socio-historical remit which would make the signified (concept) a purely social-historical product, reducible and diaphanous with socio-historical reality.
In many ways the positivistic attitude towards the shareability of concepts mirrors that same attitude we find in contemporary capitalism and mass conformism; everything can be shared and converted without any significant amount of noise in the process (of consumption).
If we are to take anything from Wittgenstein’s family resemblances (or language games) it should not solely be the account that language determines the reality (or meaning-as-use) of the content it attempts to articulate( we could then reduce concepts to the roles words have in a language game ) but rather the opposite; that the fundamental identity of a concept is never there in the first place but rather extrapolating and assimilating in a given situation (; overlapping similarities in the games that produce and even precede the ‘family’ i.e identity). The shareability of concepts is set ‘in-the-last-instance’ (one could even say reduced in-the-last-instance) but the playfulness of the game always suggests otherwise (i.e the dialectic, conceptual animism/creatures, the agnostic disjunction/decision, the subjective affectivity of the ‘shareholder’ of the concept (the neurotic)). I will explain all these incoherent factors in the succeeding passages…
So far myself and Freestone have thrown partially inchoate terms into ‘the world’. Or perhaps it would be more apt to say that we have conjured-up words that describe a new world; a world where the solid-world manifestation (and its neurotic workers and assimilation’s) is only one competing manifestation (against solipsism, aspects of phenomenology, idealism etc). So what do we have? We have neurotic subjects – not just neurotic in the psychological sense (a neurotic patient is aware of thought) but also in an ontological sense – whereby a subject is a site for various fleeting, contradictory concepts (….and nothing more?). Hence the neurotic subject is either a blabbering puppet of passing thoughts (what Nietzsche called the herd mentality), or they are players in a game; “I have got here through my thoughts so I must uphold them and spread their power” – the millionaire might say, or the religious thinker might say etc. The concept of ‘identity’ is a ruse which basically makes us maintain various concepts and draw them out to see how far they go (we are led to believe that we want this identity formation .. we say “this is who I am” etc.).
We also have this strange ephemeral description of assimilation; the concepts assimilate people to do and think certain things; we act in the name of a concept (‘the good’) and hence we are assimilated by the concept (we may even wish to die for it). For things to make ‘sense’, in the most rudimentary way, they must be assimilated into a meaning-use context or piece of equipment; a word in relation to another word, a movement in relation to a piece of dance etc.
A subject’s neurosis (a being aware of the irreducible facticity of thought) can further assimilate a larger domain; Van Gogh’s personal neurosis becomes assimilated within the post-impressionistic collective movement, becomes emulated, I wear a t-shirt with his painting on it etc. In short – a thought can become a culture if assimilated correctly.
Even if the neurosis does not become assimilated it will almost definitely still accrete. This concept (or ontological description if you will) exists thanks to Freestone. What this means to me is that information can become unbound from mental acts or behaviours and exist in a semi-active realm (being dormant or gushing forth). For example; a London tower is assimilated by people via meaning-use terms, but what can accrete might be the plastic cladding installed in the building; the information about the plastic cadding was known to a select few people (people might have known it was a dubious material) but its informational power remained ‘real’ (or actual if you will) and was disclosed at a moment when it A) showed itself , or , B) was tapped into by certain assimilations.
For me the pneuminous realm is precisely this commitment to informational structures instead of prioritising a certain manifestation (or its manner of ‘appearing’). For each manifestation the information is still there, forever mutable and absolute.
In other words – I cannot see why an accretion cannot be both a solipsistic auto-generation (like neurosis), the condition in which meaning-as-use objects remain tied to their use (a radiator may accrete radiator-ness) and … I don’t see why an accretion could not be an encounter with information hitherto undisclosed (‘the great outdoors’?).
When we add accretion to neurosis and assimilation we have the bricks and mortar that allows assimilation to happen. Before accretions existed we had assimilations working through predictable patterns or extrapolations (of cultures, peoples, language, etc) but with accretions the assimilation no longer takes its own course but meets all sorts of varieties of information through the assimilative journey. In short we have a kind of Hegelian process where an assimilation takes place yet the reality that it produces doubles on itself as the changing of information indexes itself back onto reality after the event (…and never fully leaves!!!!).
The Agency-Assimilation-Accretion nexus forms a key part of the CEO’s understanding of how pneuminosity functions. One way to consider the matter would be to use a Heideggerian analogy. In this reading Assimilation becomes something similar to the notion of the ready-to-hand whilst Accretion is more like the present-at-hand. That is to say Assimilation is the subsuming active process that the Narp is embedded in, whilst the Accretion is more a reflective description of the entity that has been formed by the pneuma that has stuck together (accreted).
A Narp is assimilated by a bar that it enters; it is plugged straight into it and unreflectively acts directly in accordance with what it is (buys a drink, takes a seat etc). Of course the Narp might resist the assimilation of the bar either by non-understanding or a determination to not be assimilated (working for another . Another assimilation is in process in these eventualities. The accretion of this particular bar is a pneuminous entity formed by all those different smaller accretions held together under the incoherence of the noetic ‘this bar’ or ‘Gino’s’ which binds the pneuma together.
The agent is the Narp working for the accretions. It seems that no matter what the accretion it always has within it the notion of its self perpetuation as part of it. This pneuminous constant is related to desire in other assimilative/accretive forms. The pneuminous constant (the primordial desire accretion/assimilation) means a given controlling accretion is seeking to perpetuate itself. The accretion as active process is the assimilation. Agency describes the way in which all Narps are agents for accretions: this takes place as a happening through assimilation.