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.
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.