Monday, March 30, 2015

The detriment of dichotomies

We, as humans, like binary dichotomies. Black and white. Male and Female. Positive and Negative. This and that. Etcetera ad nauseum.

Reality, however, does not like absolutes. Grey, for instance. Intersex. Quantum Mechanics. 'Tother. Etcetera ad ridiculum.

So, we are faced with a world that we falsely like to lump into binary dichotomies. Us vs. them. Christian vs. Atheist. Straight vs. Gay. Science vs. Religion.

As if the extremes of these two poles are the only positions we can take.

We see this in simplistic depictions of Gnosticism. Us vs. Them. Matter vs. Spirit. Magician vs. Mystic. Demiurge vs. Christ. Gnostic vs. Christian.

However, we are exhorted against falling into the false dichotomy trap. "They said to Jesus, "Then shall we enter the (Father's) kingdom as babies?"

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower"

Gnostics should try to look beyond the dichotomies, to see what lies beneath.

There are many reasons to categorize simply. Fear is one: fear of the unknown, fear of the other, fear of the self. Ignorance is another: Ignorance of the systems we are in, ignorance of the people around us, ignorance of the effects of our actions. Energy conservation is a third: It takes energy to understand nuance, and not everyone has that energy, or puts that energy into other things.

So we lump. We choose 'our side' for various reasons, whether or not we actually chose 'our side'. Sometimes, we're just born into it. I, for instance, am a Packer fan simply because of an accident of my birth. Nonetheless, all the rest of ya'll are wrong.

Gnosticism is a tradition, but it's not one into which you're (for the most part) born. It's a difficult one to stay in if you're not actively engaged.  There aren't very many gnostics, so herd instinct is constantly pulling us away. It's intellectually difficult, leading to some of that energy conservation we mentioned earlier.

Gnosticism must be chosen. You have to engage it. You have to sift and winnow these dichotomies to arrive at an often muddled middle. Once you see the false dichotomies, you're always on the lookout for them. When 'your' side engages in them, you're just as likely to argue with them as you are with those whom you disagree. You look beyond the simple explanation, the pat story, the too-perfect narrative.

You go beyond black and white, and into the uncreated light of the Pleorma. You touch the place where these dualist distinctions mean nothing. You make the two into one.

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