Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Four Worlds: A Brief Philosophical Exploration

"We are assailed by the Image. The Image is real."

By this, one usually means that an appearance is real as appearance, though a yawning gulf may yet lie at its back. Through the undoing of that pedestrian and vulgar form of binary thinking, it is possible to conceive this gulf as itself having real existence. As a real existent, it might follow, this gap has determinants of its own. Size, for example, may be ascribed to the being-appearing gap, or density if one prefers. Not only magnitudes or indications of intensity, but also qualitative distinctions, could be explored, depending on what is being negated in the gap's constitution. 

Let us call an object with this gap a “material” object, consequently subject to the regime of representation. An object with no such gap we shall term an “astral” object, or “imaginal” if one prefers. In this case, the object is directly its own appearing, subject not to representation but to presentation, purely and simply. An astral image, for example, is not a representation of some other thing, but directly is itself. If one likes, it represents or refers directly to itself. Such is the conception of a magician undergoing a vision; the vision is real, and any images of angels or demons seen in the mind's eye directly are those angels and demons.

This is not to say that an astral entity does not have other facets that it is not showing at some moment, only that there is no representation involved, hence the image is real not merely “as image”, but real full stop.

Aside from these two relatively simple registers, there is another that is rather more difficult to explain: the mental. It is perhaps easiest to conceive on the back of the astral, in the form of an example. When one listens to black metal, one does not exactly feel an emotion. Rather, one receives an affective image or series of images (image here is not exactly the right term, but it should suffice). This image, this sensuous but not obviously emotional response to musical extremity, can be meditated and dwelt upon, contemplated until it appears not as a mere image but as a kind of essence. This purified and abstracted “image” is no longer sensuous, but it has been drawn from the sensuous domain of music by the Will or the Intellect. This is an Idea, and it is a mental entity.

A mental entity is a combination of form and force, an abstract system of logic and the force to think through it. It is the highest sense of Mind as conceived by various ancient systems of idealism. It is, in other worlds, a singular world unto itself, effected only by the One that is God. It can be thought, that is inhabited, by the seeker, or rather the seeker can become part of that world. A mental word, for example, does not represent some other thing, but directly is itself (like an astral word), but beyond that, the very criteria for determining what it is are contained in seed form within the word itself. The speaking of the mental word changes reality in profound ways, a force contorting the fabric of the cosmos, even so far as to create an utter interiority separate from the One. Such is the conception of names divine or barbarous as they are chanted in certain contexts sacred or with inverted holiness.

There is, finally, the Causal world. The causal is just that – the cause of other stuff, while not being itself caused. In fact, it can never be effect. It is not only singular like mental entities, but sovereign. It like Laruelle's vision-in-One, or a unilateral duality. It is not unreasonable to term this world “God”.

The causal world acts by overflow, constantly reproducing itself as sovereign as it simultaneously produces the shards of non-being and sends them plunging in to the abyss. These shards of broken divinity can then be taken up into an Idea and used to forge a new God. In philosophical terminology, we might call the shards “exceptions”, the byproducts of formalization, the structural possibilities of diagonalization (in the Cantorian sense) and hence the reconfiguration of the causal (or better, the production of a new causal entity, for why should there be just one?).

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