All this talk of the invisible world seems to invoke the mystical, the spiritual, the religious. But this is not how I see the role of affect at all.
For me, affect is part of the empirical world. And, being an empiricist, it is impossible to ignore. I mean, there is so much fucking information beaming around, ricocheting around, right in front of us — and in us, below us, above us, next to us, with us (prepositions are tricky and powerful).
Part of my invocation of affect is to reveal the scope of information that makes up our experiences — information that is usually only engaged peripherally. I wonder, then, what happens when we all take affect more seriously, when we cast our senses upon the invisible world: What world might this breed? What kinds of things might be revealed? What lives might be lived?
What happens when we understand ourselves as fundamentally constitutive of this world, as nodes within an infinite ecology of things and forces, visible and invisible, at once earthly and cosmic?
Is there a mystical component? Perhaps. But, knowing little of mysticism, I am hesitant to use this word or idea. Part of me wants to leave mysticism to the mystics, to those with extraordinary powers. And to suggest that affect is part of the make up of the everyday — it's not something mystical and "out there." On the contrary, it's right here. Where? Here.
This is not a critique of mysticism; it is a declaration of my ignorance.
Is there a religious or spiritual component? Perhaps. But, again, that is not what I'm talking about. I am talking about leading a beautiful life, an engaged life, a vital life — and such a life entails reckoning this world which, empirically, is visible and invisible, material and affective.
Again, this is not to deride the spiritual or the religious. I may or may not consider myself religious or spiritual but it would never be in any terms that anyone uses such as atheist, Jew, Buddhist, and so on. It's just not what I'm talking about here.
My simple point is this: my discussion, my invocation, of affect is empirical. It is what I sense, what I experience, what I know.