Friday, July 06, 2007

Gnostics and the Wide World

A blogger by the name of Madcap asks some questions in the course of discussing Nietzsche as a Gnostic. I won't speak to Nietzsche as a Gnostic, as I've not read enough of the German Philosopher to have an informed opinion. I do have an uniformed one, but that's neither here nor there.

The questions:

Do Gnostics, as you define them, think that humanity can come to a point in time where things like starvation and war will be no more? If so, how will this come to pass?

Of course not. I've never met one. I've met some Socialists, some Utopians, who thought so, but never anyone who claimed Gnostic as a title, or acted Gnostic in their thought processes. Even the ancient texts recognize that there is something irretrievably fucked up about the world. Not evil, just not working correctly. The key is irretrievably, trying to change it in a permanent way is futile, because the tools you work with contain the seeds of the destruction of what you've built.

Do Gnostics, as you define them, think that an individual can come to a point in their spiritual development where they can become free of all attachments and illusions of reality? If so, how can one achieve this? What should be done with the ego?

Early in their development, some Gnostics claim this, or that this is the goal. As they progress, most of the Gnostics I know have come to the realization that freedom from attachments and illusions only comes through awareness of them. You'll still have the attachments and illusions, but you know them for what they are, and can react as if they're important, or not.

The ego is a tool for interacting with the world. Most Gnostics I know need to interact with the world until they're ready to shuffle off the mortal coil, and so it stays around. It should have a greater or lesser degree of subservience to the gnosis, though.

Would Gnostics, as you define them, consider it unfair and disingenuous to take note of other schools of thought, belief systems, and political philosophies that might answer these same questions in a similar manner, thus tending to show a common theme that runs through all despite other differences? What name should be given to this common theme, should it actually exist?

Most of the Gnostics I know do claim that there is a line of thought that runs through many 'schools of thought, belief systems', a mystic line of thought. There are few if any political philosophies that have a mystic line of thought (although neo-conservatism seems to think that somehow when we beat other people up they will magically love us. However, neo-conservatism is NOT GNOSTIC. Thought I'd point that out, even though it should be obvious. It's apocalyptic and millenial).

I would say this theme is 'acquaintance with the divine'. Mystic experiences, gnosis, satori, enlightenment, and the like.

As a final point: Gnosis is not about changing the external world, putting into place the world government, ending war or starvation, or any of that rot. It's about changing how you interact with the world around you. It's personal, not societal. My gnosis, or acquaintance with the divine, dictates how I interact with you, and the rest of the wide world. It does not, and should not, dictate how you interact with me. Your gnosis does that.

My gnosis is informed by the Qabalah, which has a pillar of Severity as well as Mercy, and by Ecclesiastes, which says "There is a time for every purpose under heaven". War, violence, suffering: These all have a place. My Gnosis tells me that I should work to alleviate them when they are unnecessary (which is often), but be ready to use those tools when necessary. War, especially, has a place. Sometimes, the strong must defend the weak.

5 comments:

Donald Donato said...

Bravo. Some tiny bones to pick, but the meat is delicious.

Oh, Great Anatolian Mother, after reading this piece of social realism I just remembered that I am still an idealist :)

I guess great minds think alike -- if you saw my post this morning.

Xx.-D.

Theo_musher said...

Hey Guy,

I Live in Madison and was looking on the internet for a Gnostic church, and it turns out I have to e-mail you to find the secret location of the church or whatever.

what's up with that?

Anyway, I think I am a gnostic, with the help of reading phillip K Dick.

As you may be able to imagine, people into Philip K Dick may have a tendency to not want to jump through hoops for authority figures.

Which it kind of seems like one of those things with this secret church and so forth,

but i am not trying to be negative, its just that, Do I really have to e-mail you and wait for a response, answer questions and so forth just to vist your church? I man it is saturday. It would be nice If I could just drive there and visit tomorrow without all the rigamaroll.

You probably won't read this by tommorrow. But anyway thanks.

Ted

Reverend Father Scott Rassbach said...

Yes, you have to email to find the secret location of the church. Gnosis isn't easy, and we're a persecuted minority, and no one gets in without being properly vetted first. I mean, you could be an Opus Dei operative.

Just kidding.

Our location is in flux at the moment, so we don't have an address listed. We're a small church, so we move the hosting around.

Drop me an email at father.rassbach@johannite.org, and I'll send you the location. We meet in the evening, 8 pm, so you should have plenty of time.

Theo_musher said...

Crap! I have to work at 6 pm.

Hey its cool that you just responded so quick. i just e-mailed some other e-mail adress you had on the website. this one st.gabriel@johannite.org

But anyway, now that you are on the net, I see you link to Tim Boucher. If you are interested you can read the recent comments and watch my kind of "conversion" to gnosticism.

its kind of a wierd thing.

But anyway, glad to find your site and so forth. Maybe next sunday I can take time off from work or maybe some morning I can buy you a cup of coffee.

ted

marcus said...

You speak with great clarity on Gnostics. In many ways you seem to be saying "cut to the chase, and leave all the BS behind."

So it's about conscious thinking then. Being aware of what is going on it your mind so-to-speak... http://www.thethoughts.co.uk/thoughts/positive-thinking/