October 05, 2006

The Hand and the Eye: The Tyrannical Tendency of the Visual and Luminescence

“The eyes are the windows on the soul.” -Unknown.

There are methods of sensing the world, at least five of which are available to humans.

It is the first of these that concerns us here, that of vision. Vision requires light to enter the eye, and as such is generally perceived to be the primary method by which the world is apprehended.

Analysis of one's linguistic patterns will often reveal that there is one sense which rises above the others in terms of communication. In terms of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, the prevalence of visual metaphors in communication is obvious. 'Look', 'see', 'appear' and other such words are dotted within our everyday speech. Indeed, the primary forms of entertainment, with the obvious exception of music – films, books, television, computers, and vicarious enjoyment of sporting events through watching , all seem predicated towards the visual.

It should be noted that spectacle, spectator, and scope owe their lineage to the Latin root specere, meaning “to look at” which itself owes its origins to the PIE base “*spek -” meaning to observe. Relations include the Sanskrit spasati “sees”, Avestan spasyeiti “spies”, Greek skopein “behold, look, consider”, skeptesthai “to look at”, and O. H. G. spehhon meaning “to spy”.

Meanwhile, the verb “to show” comes from the O.E. Word sceawian meaning “to look at, see” from W. Gmc *skauwojanan which owes its roots to the P. Gmc. “*skau-” or “behold, look at” which itself comes from a variant of the PIE base “*skeue-” which means “to pay attention, perceive.”

Both of these, and the etymology of “see” itself, imply a distinct focus of attention – that is, interaction of consciousness via visual methods. Arguably, there is linkage with the roots of the word “follow” also.

It should come as no surprise that the primary form of sensing becomes inextricably linked with conciousness. The boundaries to vision, be they induced by architecture or landscape, tied in inextricably with movement . Without vision, one is safer without moving, and when the senses reach their limit, the only option to increase knowledge/information is to move.

We define ourselves visually, albeit not solely so, but it is the recognition of an image of self as self in a mirror that has long been used as a test of self-awareness in young children.

Philosophically, sight is an active component of consciousness – without sight we are unable to draw boundaries, to differentiate. A simple optical illusion of a vase that resolves itself into two faces is indicative of the confusion we feel when we are unsure what we are looking at.

Often, the next step to test the validity, or boundaries of an object, its to touch it. Not solely for the purposes of solidity, we engage a process of engulfing, placing the object within our sensorial sphere of influence.

Even our notion of reality – in the English-speaking world at least – is bound up with the primacy of the eye, and its second in command, the hand.

Mirror, Mirage, Phantasm, Phantom, Illusion.

All these speak of the falsity of sight without substance – the image of a thing is not the thing. The image is not the reality. Yet the primacy of the image is such that despite such common sense, oftentimes “Seeing is Believing”.

We create eidolons from images. The fact that the hand and the eye are so intertwined, if the image is before us, it becomes real. Eidos means form, after all.

Such visualizations are well known in Tibet, as tulpas or thoughtforms in the West. The explorer Alexandra David-Neel became enamoured of tulpa creation and created her own, until eventually it achieved a form of external existence - people began to ask about the stranger on the edge of the camp.

Dismissal of the tulpa became difficult – it appears the entity did not wish to be destroyed – and its dissolution took several weeks, leaving its creator exhausted.

Within the context of thoughtform creation, it is the visualization that is often the starting point, later adding greater sensory details until the entity begins to act independently.

But what has this to do with the current petro-political and ideological climate?

Quite simply, it may be discussed in terms of a conflict of vision. All we have to do is compare the ideological associations of light and darkness.

Unsurprisingly, darkness and loss of sight are indications of loss of control. Therefore, the one with more light is better off – one can see better. Consider the Fog of War and DUST and other such phenomena.

All of these obscure sight.

Without the visual component, the boundaries become fluid – lines of thought and differentiation cease to exist. This is why Sun Tzu's dictate to be Formless is so effective.

For those still used to definition by boundary, the Formless is terrifying. The Crawling Chaos of Nyarlathotep is monstrous for its essential plasticity, its ability to essentially permeate all boundaries by remaining unfixed.

The mind that sees, that contours and engulfs rebels against that for which the boundaries are no boundary. The sorcerer and monster of mythology is not bounded by the same laws as the populace – its ability to exist within the unheimlich terrifies, and its monstrous nature is an attempt to give form to the Formless.

Similarly, the techniques of nomadology and Autonomous Zoning as practiced by those under the Assassins go against the boundaries of the society.

Or to put it another way, why is a ghost terrifying? It's not so much that it's the spirit of a dead person, but rather that it is a spirit – an order of being which is not bound by the same rules of movement.

Hence, faceless, nameless horrors – things that do not possess or need human signifiers of identity. That have essentially become Inhuman.

Such monsters always dwell in the dark those places where the hand and the eye are not one hundred per cent effective.

It is a fact that light is created via combustion or chemical reaction – oil itself drives the machines that the Enlightenment made possible. The struggle is one beyond theology or politics.

In a very real sense, it is a struggle of epistemology where the last words of Goethe are echoed as an expression of a universal human cry:

“More Light!”

Indeed, the phenomenon of the weltfeuer which lurks inside Germanic thought might best be described as the metabolizing of resources which all humans must perform in order to exist – the consumption required to maintain status quo.

In Norse myth, it is the Sons of Muspell who burn Yggdrasil, the World-Tree to ash and a new world rises phoenix-like from the ashes. But, as a noted occult author once said to me:

“Why does nobody ever look at the ashes the phoenix leaves behind?”

Posted by Craig at October 5, 2006 12:50 AM




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