Notes On Reality Before The Artist [part 5]

25 June 2014

I compose these notes to fit the mind of the student for whom I intend them.This is part 3; you may find parts 1-3 here, here, and here, respectively; part 4 is here. I include the introduction from part 1 again below.

For those more or less advanced, there may seem much that digresses or states things too succinctly. I believe one may still find value in reading these notes, even for those not the student in question. In those places where things seem too much elaborated, I apologise that my student’s frame of mind overtaxes yours. And where things move too quickly, I can only suggest immersing yourself in the more elemental or basic texts that address the matters at hand.

Also, I use past and present conjugations of the verb “to be” under protest. You should imagine every occurrence in quotation marks; typographical preciousness prevents me from indulging this visually.


No system, however imperfect, contains errors.

Therefore, we must come to terms with the fact—ourselves each being omniscient—that the errors of omniscience must lie not in ourselves but instead in the nature[1] of omniscience.

However, given that adding manpower to a late project makes it later, we may understand then not only:

· that the reproduction of the world—understood in its broadest and narrowest senses—puts off the end of the world, but also

· that the elaboration of a trinary (or greater) logic can only paper over, sometimes very cleverly or intriguingly, the abyss that binary logic (or dichotomous thinking generally) opens up.

Let us take some steps to move beyond this.

Undetermining the Determined

In formal logic, the most frequently disallowed construction runs of the type neither X nor not-X (e.g., “god neither exists nor does not exist”). The offense of this claim arises from the fact that either A or not-A must be the case, and this construction insists otherwise. It does not, however, propose some mere paradox but points to the fact that the problem resides in the claim in the first place in the validity of “A” as a statement, that it “is true” (A) or “is false” (not-A). The argument would run, if I call a cat a cat, this amounts to A is true (A=A), whereas if it were a dog, then not-A (“not a cat”) must be true. The construction (“it is neither a cat nor not a cat”) simply points back to the assumption that one’s descriptive category can be true (or false) in the first place.

From this standpoint, what we have said the word “Being” points to is that for which the statement “that which has neither existence nor nonexistence” holds.

In light of this, we would ask, “What determined (or determines) the Artist?”

Our discussion of the Neither discloses something like a Reality encoding adaptively steeped in imagination (i.e., the ground or the basis or the source of narrative). Epistemologically, this puts us most assuredly and absolutely on “this” side of perception; it provides nothing like a privileged view of the “mechanisms” that make “what happens” in the Neither “work”. If, then, my description of the presence in the Neither of an apparently normative positive amplification seems overly metaphorical, this is so because metaphor comprises a central element of the Neither.

One of the ways this seems very clear: I contrasted earlier the adamantine forging of links one might speak of in a mathematical proof, such that one item follows the next item more or less inevitably. I contrasted that with a narrative (a narrative proof) where “what follows” has a very loose, or perhaps no necessary link at all, to what went before. Thus, imagination seems to operate in the Neither in this way as well—one moment an impossible magical spell works, the next the most familiar one in the world fails; and most of the time, things are very much like what one would expect. And if you try to discern why this is, it often seems that an adequate answer amounts to: “to forward the story.”[2]

This topic opens up a vast number of mysteries and questions, but we here wish to determine only how to stop being determined. And if I mention the imagination of the Neither, as a function perhaps of one or more of Maelender’s Primes, then quite clearly a way to no longer be determined arises if we simply petition the Primes, i.e., ask them (or tell them), “Eliminate the influence of the Artist from my mind and life.”

Not everyone may have such access or opportunity, but it doesn’t hurt to belabour the obvious. I have no intention or desire here to get into a dispute about the “reality” of the Primes. I simply insist, if they “are” as the Maelenders purport, then to petition them for relief from the Artist’s influence seems a logical request, impossible or not. One won’t know without trying, whatever that entails.

In a sense, however, the presence of the Primes only puts off the problem. Those who wish to be free of the Artist’s influence rarely remain content with simply that, and yearn instead for freedom from all determination entirely. No joy obtains from escaping the Artist’s influence only to face the threat that the Primes may determine us as much if not more than the Artist.

In general, we may take it as a hypothesis that whatever determined the Artist determined his Work as well, and thus all subsequent Beings and Existences. (We needn’t logically assume this, but for the moment, let’s.) And in the broadest sense, we may say that what determined the Artist amounts to his karma, by which I mean “the consequences of his past actions”. To become wholly free of determination on this view means, therefore, not so much to have no past (or to have no past actions) but not to have the consequences of those past actions as they impinge upon my current choices as I go forward.

For those beings who have Minds that link, however indirectly, to a Body, then becoming noncorporeal may represent a step toward such nondetermination, though a Mind divorced of a material substrate is not—as necromantical theory makes clear—free of all influence.[3] But even in a case of actual or complete separation, the “materiality” of one’s spirit or psyche may still impinge upon the disembodied consciousness, as the case of ghosts make clear.[4] However, it still seems that many of our younger luminaries who wish to be free of the Artist’s influence desire precisely that only their Personality alone should determine them.

I will bluntly state that a state of absolute nondetermination seems most approached by Chaos itself. Inasmuch as our Existence-delimited minds can only glance sideways at Chaos, such that Its traces tempt us to believe that when we gaze upon it we gaze upon “raw Chaos” itself, nonetheless to maintain a state of absolute 100% potential at every moment (as the ability to switch from any past state to any other new state immediately, without any transitional states) would seem to require either (1) absolute nondetermination by the past in the first place or (2) that the “property” of nondetermination gets somehow transmitted from moment to moment in Chaos. I mention the trace here because, historically and personally speaking, I do find a trace of stability “in” in Chaos—or, in other words, precisely the sort of thing that allows us or anyone to speak over time “of” Chaos at all (whether as eternal change, constant change, changeless inconstancy, or even simply “Chaos”).

It seems very likely that this stability is a product of our imaginations, by which I do not mean that we see an error or imagine an illusion, but only that we confer or model to Chaos itself a stability, specifically that stability. We become something neither literally nor not literally a mirror to or for It, so that any “attention” we direct at Chaos mirrors Its “curiosity” back at us, and so that Its own curiosity generates us (as a ceaselessly, moment-by-moment recreated thing in the “here” and “now”) at the same moment our attention on Chaos (if not our own curiosity) thus manifests Its curiosity.[5]

But another thing. If in this moment (this here and now) I am X, and then in the next moment (the next here and now) I am Y, then we might (lazily) encode this sequence from X to Y as a dependency, i.e., X à Y. Now let us consider a case when I am X in this here and now and then in the next here I now I am not changed, i.e., X à X. Of course, the claim “not changed” will be controversial, if not incoherent. This amounts to the claim that X à X is already inherently invalid, or can only be valid by taking a very broad view of what “I” means, i.e., X (my name) à X (my name). Or, perhaps even more tellingly: I à I. But what this shows us is that the continuity itself, from X to X (or I to I) is a matter of our naming of it. In fact, we have not “moved” at all, except that we say we have. So, whatever transformation, then, conventionally “happens” in the “typical” situation, where X à Y, and we then fire up a critique that “X” has determined us, it is, rather, more that we have determined ourselves, specifically by insisting on the à. Now, since our younger luminaries complain that the Artist has infected “their thinking,” we can still blame him for making us put the à there in the first place. But we might at least keep in mind, while objection to “external” determination that it is not the X that “forces” the Y, but rather the insistence on the validity of the à, whether given from the Artist or not. Nor by this do I intend any victim-blaming. I’m simply noting that a sense of having been determined (by anything) arises out of the matrix of our reflections. In an abstract way, we may speak of those determinations of us of which we are unaware: does anyone really object to those, or do they only feel vaguely weirded out that “invisible” forces may be having an influence on their life that they can neither register nor change?

But let me pause, dear Student, and take a breath and take stock. What have I claimed so far toward understanding how to free ourselves from the determination of the Artist?

For one, we have the presumption that if we may negate or otherwise neutralise the Artist’s “mind” as an influence on ours, then this will amount to a freedom from determination. This, of course, seems highly doubtful, just as if one lived in a poisoned atmosphere where at the same you’re your Nemesis daily fed you poison; the elimination of the latter does not then guarantee fresh air. Still, our younger luminaries (for the most part) do not seem to imagine this would be the case. Also, relief from poisoning from one’s Nemesis would not amount to nothing. Certainly, for those who have most painfully been subject to the Artist’s consciousness, freedom from determination by him alone might make for a most excellent outcome, however partial. As a second point, then, we have the question of non-accountability in general, i.e., that the desire to remain undetermined by anything (or, at least, only to experience determination at the hands of those things that one wills to be determined by) appears to rest in a desire for the negation of karma in general.

I realise—or at least I believe that I do—that our younger luminaries don’t stand wholly confused about this. People do realise, to a greater or lesser extent, that liberation from the Artist does not entail liberation generally—liberation equating to freedom from determination—or that freedom from determination actually provides a prerequisite for not being held accountable (for anything). Still, mere self-consciousness about this fact does not seem to stop people also from still desiring these as the sought ends—in which case we may wonder: is freedom from determination really what they seek?

Not to have others hold one accountable, for instance, involves nothing more exciting or necessary than being sufficiently powerful to rebuff all accusers. In the classic formulation: leave no witnesses. Meanwhile, to slit the throat of a god and then want no one to grouse to you about it suggests everything you need to bring that about, whether that amounts to (1) absolutely no trace of your deed that anyone can connect to you, (2) sufficient personal power to annihilate all accusers, or more simply terrorise them with your power into not daring to say anything, (3) the ability to time-jump into another time-stream where you did not commit the act, which is the same simply as shifting actual culpability, and (4) &c.

But this question of non-accountability only starts to muddle all that has gone before. Who does the account-holding matters a great deal, and often enough, the most serious critic or accuser resides in one’s minds. At that point, suicide seems required to shut the influence out, provided no afterlife intervenes to keep that malingering guilt mewling in one’s ear (or auditory sensor). Moreover, why a given kind of accountability occurs also matters, for while our cultures and the people in them may read us the Riot Act for this or that heinous (or marvellous) act, karma itself contains no moral judgment. If the pleasure you experience at another’s expense today comes back in the future as a pain, then one must seek out whoever so arranged things that way to complain, because karma itself operates quite mechanically as simply a quid pro quo, a which for what. (Obviously, this bears no semblance to Tallymand’s moral accounting and credit system.)

We may object that this business of karma simply makes a very tidy piece of evasion on the part of whoever established it in the first place, and we can quibble endlessly whether the “accounting” it performs really accurately keeps the books. In a rather unsatisfying but also unassailable way, one can only say that whatever next happens to you, good or bad, occurs as a function of karma—a piece of accounting that stretches back over any number of days, years, lives, or multiple Incarnations, &c. We might ask then also what kind of accountability comes about. Typically people think of this in a moral sense, but determination in its broadest sense—at the level of the construction of consciousness and any energistic or animate (physical) substrate of or for that consciousness—the “which for what” of “karma” or “determination” runs on its merry way quite unabated, and in a way that—so far as the continuation of our Consciousness and/or the substrate that is or is not needed to support it remains viable—we face some existential difficulties if we object too strenuously to it. We’d simply cease.

But object we must, if only to understand our condition in the world. Nor may we always and forever separate “body” (substrate, energy) and “mind” (consciousness, energy) so tidily. Those with animate bodies must eat, &c. This makes by no means some “abstract” or “empty” determination. The body itself subjects animate beings to violence if they do not eat and, as Schiller notes, in the face of such violence as we cannot resist, then voluntary submission to it remains an avenue for preserving our dignity as existential Beings. I do not see this problem or issue as an empty philosophical quibble. Most people more or less enthusiastically assent to the tyranny of the belly, and happily propitiate it with delightful or noxious substances, and whether that enthusiasm counts in Schiller’s terms to transform their slavery into a dignified and voluntary condition remains an open question. And so long as we don’t protest and object to it, then we will never bother to look for an alternative, which is precisely what our younger luminaries desire.

I want to delimit simply for the sake of usage a connotation for “karma” as functionally little more than a synonym for “consequence”—the sense that “when this happens, that follows”. I intend for this to cover both what would be called merely mechanistic consequences (i.e., you step off a cliff in a gravity bearing world, then you fall; or, if you increase the salt content in a biologically animate form then its water cycle adjusts accordingly) but also what would conventionally be read as “moral judgments” (i.e., if you act cruelly toward someone and at a later time you receive cruelty in return from a different corner). Certainly, if you murdered someone’s family member, the revenge called down upon you might also be described as “mechanically inevitable”—whether karma has “moral content” or not. Also, whether karma itself can be influenced or not remains outside the scope of this essay.

People often insist on imagining that karma functions mathematically, inductively; that in committing the foul deed here and now, then (like the declaration of the geometric axioms of “point, line, plane”) the future corrective retribution is already written. But karma, like the future itself, does not have this inductive character; this desire for mathematical (basically: guaranteed) karma requires a closed, purely self-referential world (like a language), and not even at the level of the Primes as the Maelenders show it to us is the world (Reality in its broadest sense) unitary, closed, or sufficiently self-referential to work that way.

Some misdeeds go unpunished. Some don’t get noticed even. So that karma functions more as an aesthetic concept, rooted in narrative, and thus not at all inevitable in the mathematical sense, but for that reason all the more sweetly inevitable seeming—seemingly perfectly apt—when it happens, i.e., when at the moment when the hammer of karma falls on the head of the ne’er-do-well, we may respond or feel, “Ah, so that’s it, yes.” (Perhaps even when we are the one “enjoying” that moment of karma ourselves; “Yes, I deserve this”.) This means that karma becomes apparent only after the fact, like meaning in a narrative. If there is any “prediction” in karma, it lurks (1) only in our confidence that karma will one day out, and (2) in the mind of the Author who reads all of the narratives of the World, though even here the Author herself or himself or itself may not see the karma coming.

Certainly, our younger luminaries want nothing to do with this kind of “accountability”.

But karma operates as well as the shaper (a determinant) of Interaction, even when that interaction is with ourselves. Whatever slights and kindnesses I have thrown around, karma “puts the response” in front of me, interactively, usually in the form of another person, but just as often in the form of “circumstances”.

In one sense, then, I name karma when it happens, by recognising it, by feeling the point of the à. Those younger luminaries who wish to evade determination would feel the heaviness of such karma at the moment when the angry person stands before them declaring, “I didn’t like that you did that” and the like. And in all of these operations, the term “karma” simply (or complexly) points to the “which for what” the “this happens, that follows” sense of the word, whether understood at the level of energy, consciousness, life, or culture, &c.

The broader question then concerns whether or where (at what point) the Artist’s influence enters into karma. Insofar as the Artist aesthetically mapped time and space, i.e., aesthetically mapped the most fundamental parts of Reality (that he had access to), this suggests that karma “infects” every layer of Reality from its (nearly) lowest to its (nearly) highest extent. I say “nearly” because whether one imagines Chaos as the “most fundamental” or “highest principle” the Artist did not (or failed if he attempted it to) impose time/space on Chaos.

Whatever else we might claim to say about Chaos, the overwhelming consensus agrees that whatever one introduces into It “turns into Chaos”. So, if the Artist “threw his desire for time and space” into Chaos, Chaos turned it into Chaos. One cannot, in a very literal sense, impose on Chaos; presumably Chaos cannot either. So that whatever Chaos manifests (as something apart from Itself, i.e., all of Reality), that manifestation floats on the seeming paradox of something that simultaneously exists and does not exists, as something that cannot exist “outside of Chaos” but does. I suggest we might better state this: “Reality neither exists nor does not exist” if we wish to get an intuition (rather than empirical, intellectual knowledge) of what we confront in this. In any case, it seems clear already that any notion of “outside of Chaos” must point to “infection” by the Artist, since “outside” denotes already a spatial concept. Since Reality neither “is outside of Chaos” nor “not outside of Chaos”, this awkward construction gives us a clue (an intuition) about the “actual” state of affairs, even if it still gives us no clue for how next to proceed. It illustrates, if an illustration were required, how the “which for what” of karma affects our thinking when we think of it as inhabiting—infecting, affecting—the nearly most fundamental tropes of our existence. Thus, I stand determined by the fact that I stand “outside of Chaos”. I don’t personally know of any of our younger luminaries who want to object to this determination, but if they did, then what?[6] We can already see that “outside” stands as a categorical error. “Neither outside nor not outside” of Chaos more accurately expresses something closer to the actual state of affairs.

Let me be more clear. For some Beings, merely to state a thing will make it so. The amazement and fuss that certain cultists kick up because their god enacted “let there be light” shows only their woeful unfamiliarity with the activities and actions of numberless wilful creatures, most of them not at all arrogating to themselves the title of deity. So when one says “I am outside of Chaos,” for some existent Beings, this has the force of fiat and generates a pseudoreality where everyone becomes obliged to treat it as a fact. For far less wilful creatures, to declare “I am outside of Chaos” has a similar world-defining force but only for that speaker. A regular creature, making such a statement, will thus live in their world in that way, but this imperative will not necessarily demand or impose on others that they live by it as well.[7]

Thus, we see it as only a matter of degree, of reach. Such a declaration merely describes the scope of one’s reality-declaration, i.e., it stipulates who must assent to it (whether consciously or simply as a consequence of everyone else doing so). But we should remember, as I say this, that by “everyone” I do not mean only sapient (self-conscious) creatures living in the Reality so declared. Everything, from the very rocks to the gods themselves, declare the “truth”: “I am outside of Chaos”. The very mechanisms of matter and culture alike conform to this Reality declaration, so that (in a well-ordered Reality at least) no sign of this contradiction can be found. In inadequately declared Realities, by contrast, one might find numerous “cracks”. Discontinuity of narrative seems to be an inevitable and maybe even necessary part of any aesthetically declared reality; the discontinuities generally comprise “part of the story” (often the most essential parts) rather than any evidence of faulty construction. Sometimes, however, one does encounter a “faulty construction of reality” narrative. A “cynical” narrative of the World then often comes to the fore, that Reality is the work of an incompetent (for instance), no doubt with us as his—it’s almost always a he—most miserable failure. By contrast, for the mere individual “mortal” who declares, “I am outside of Chaos” this declaration again has a motive force obligatorily only for the speaker, but she or he might still persuade others by various feints to sign up for this declaration as well. Religions often happen this way.

However, people will say anything, and just as we needn’t assent to some mortal’s merely personal world-declaration neither must we assent to some ambitious or wilful deity’s declaration either, even when (1) we are fundamentally made to do so, and (2) even as we cannot find any evidence from Others or the World that something other than that World-declaration exists, or is even possible.

The shortest way to counter all world-declaration, then, involves the neither-nor construction already described; to declare (to counter-declare): “Reality is neither outside of Chaos nor not outside of Chaos” for instance.

Of course, merely to make this counter-declaration has only as much extensive power as the one speaking it. An exceptionally ambitious being within Reality might by this formula open a rift in the current Reality that looks out on goodness knows what. Of course, it must be clearly understood that what the “magic” purports to accomplish in this phrase involves de-valuing whatever word or phrase the formula focuses on. In other words, when I say “the cat” I am asserting that “the cat is true”—which asserts the truth not of whatever external phenomenon to me that we conventionally use the word “cat” to denote “actually exists” but is validating only the fact that I made a statement at all. More simply, when I use the magic of a word to refer to something, the neither-nor formula reminds me that what I think I am speaking of and what I am speaking of are not identical.

Of course, the force of experience is so strong that we typically rebel against this notion. We might ask, politically then, who benefits from our perpetual self-delusion? Whatever wilful creature has declared the Reality I inhabit, when I assent to any sort of verbal construction that “such and such is true” (or such and such is false”) then I implicitly, and probably unconsciously, enter into a collusion with that Reality-declaration, and by assenting to the contract implied in it, I also accept its declared obligation (however much under protest) and “go along with things” (even if against my will).

For mortals, they simply find themselves caught in the biophysical matrix (as Sade was) even as they have the capacity, in Consciousness itself, to realise they can mount a rebellion against Declarations. Schiller, more reasonably but just as much sensing the awfulness of the trap as Sade does, proposes voluntary submission. But both of these resorts—very much dictated not only by the authors’ temperaments but also by the World-declaration they inhabited—gives us no way to escape. And because the Artist has declared Reality (at least as we now encounter it) at such a “primitive” (at the first) or “radical” (at the root) level, such that our existence and thought (if not our Being) now stand affected by it, then any sort of speculation further about the degree to which the Artist’s influence affects karma (i.e., at the level of culture, world, or narrative) must, at least at this point, remain moot.

Nonetheless, we do not find ourselves wholly trapped. However presently unsatisfying or merely semantic the neither-nor construction seems, it nonetheless points a way out.


[1] My aversion to the use of the word “nature” borders on reasonable, but here needn’t occur a variation on the origins of my aversion. What I would note, rather: I would much sooner have written “Therefore, we must come to terms with the fact—ourselves each being omniscient—that the errors of omniscience must lie not in ourselves but rather in the qualities (or perhaps the quiddity) of omniscience itself”—but had I done so, not only would the sense of the claim have become unfamiliar (largely due to the word “quiddity”) but also because a certain kind of intellectual “work” or “symbolism” gets carried by the word “nature” that fails to come across with the word “qualities”. This suggests that the word “nature” (rhetorically speaking) performs a sleight-of-hand—perhaps even a bait-and-switch—that, I suspect, lies at the root of how sapient consciousness in particular get deceived about the most fundamental things. Perhaps later in these notes I will return to this.

[2] Of course, not only does this description seem also hopelessly metaphorical, it implies a “someone” who does the imagining, &c., and raises the spectre of the Maelender’s Primes again: meta-beings who seem to look down into our world and pull all the strings and levers and pulleys to make the “plot” of the world unfold. As already noted, these creatures do not resemble gods in the least; in fact, most often they appear as the most day-to-day kind of mortals, inexplicably given essentially absolute power over even the most infinitely powerful creatures and beings and existences and icons in our worlds. But whether they “are” mere mortals or disguised ultra-deities, or something in between doesn’t matter. More saliently, while their capacity to reality Encode seems hopelessly unlikely, to “operate” the curious mechanism of “imagination” seems well within their capacities. How such “imagining” reaches “our world” (or the Neither, for that matter, where Imagination does seem to behave differently) remains an open question. Perhaps there is something like a fiat: the Prime declares, “there is an Encoding” and Reality (or, in my opinion, more likely Chaos) then simply makes it both come about and come about operationally adequately.

[3] It is surprising, or perhaps disheartening, how often disincarnation results in the discovery that much of what seemed inherently the problem of fault of the Body remains present in the disembodied spirit or psyche. At that point, we hear a lot of talk about psychic residues and failures to disconnect entirely, but Occam’s Razor would propose that maybe the hypothesis or pious hope that separation from the Body would end one’s problems remains unfounded.

[4] By ghosts I do not mean those colloquial spooks or spirits but Dromian ghosts, who represent a material manifestation of nearly 100% unadulterated Will. Even these creatures find themselves condition, however marginally, by necessity, though very few report any principled aversion to the fact.

[5] Briefly, if you play a game where you take the square root of a number, and then use that result to calculate the next square root, then if you start with the number 1, it will loop forever on “!” and will seem never to change, though it remains constantly in motion. It simply keeps “returning the same value”. We may understand the “stability” of an object not, then, as a stability, but as a stable function that constantly cycles but reiterates itself. Similarly, unlike a case where you started with some other positive integer and kept grinding away on square roots so that you could see a descending progress, the “history” created by multiple square roots of one would “erase themselves” so to speak. Unless someone stood by keeping track, the “evidence of change” as a trace of time would no longer be visible. Of course, this game is wholly deterministic. Just because it seems free of time and history for the number 1 does not mean that it is . And for that reason, this illustrative operation does not describe the “iterations of Chaos”. It would be more accurate to say, adapting the above game to Chaos, that when one takes the square root of some initial number, any other number might result (including the correct number), and then that result would be fed into the next iteration. You start with 64, and get -9 out; you take the square root of -9, which should return an error over the real numbers, and you get 111857395721. You take the square root of that and get 0. You take the square root of that and get 0. You do that thousands of times more and get zero, and then in the iteration following, you get 773230. &c.

[6] The condition “outside of Chaos” denotes simply a particular case of the more general one of “outside”. I stand “outside of you” or “outside the city (or the world)” and so forth, so that “outside” itself stands already on the distinction inside/outside, which “space” (as part of the Artist’s legacy) makes possible.

[7] It may matter of not that that Neither seems more accommodating about such declarations, although for a “regular creature” such an assertion as “I am outside of Chaos” will probably result more often in a private reality bubble of solipsism—as a sort of classically, skewly granted wish.

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