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latent belief A belief held but not enacted.

For a complete list of permutations of belief see Modes of Believing.

learning The main adaptive strategy of the human species, ...although the root-patterns of adaptation may be inborn, i.e., instinctual, and . For instance, if humankind is attributed with the instinct to survive, as many believe, we still have to learn how to survive by communication of acquired skills, imitation of others, and trial-and-error.

Learn derives from OE laest, “a track.” To learn is to follow a track. This derivation supports the theory that the human species may have originally acquired the brain circuits for self-directing narrative by tracking animals. We were hunters for over 95% of the life of the species, so this is not improbable. The trail of the animal tells a story. Added to this would be the story of what happened as a troupe of hunters followed the track. In sharing their experiences, hunters would have recounted a story with beginning, middle and end: how the tracks were found, how they were followed, and what resulted.

    To Navajos, a person’s worth is determined by the stories or songs he knows. Luci Tapahanso, Navajo author.
The human predilection for narration may well stem from skills developed by tracking animals, each trail being the plot of a story. In metahistory we are attempting to track ourselves, the human species, using words as signs along the trail of our story.


The value of learning was elevated to a high level in humanism, but unfortunately the emphasis fell on book learning. Humanism carries the belief that unlimited power to learn is inborn to the human species, but the humanist ideal of learning is skewed away from all that can be learned by communion with other, non-human species. This is a primary flaw of humanism.

The “revival of learning” in Europe was inspired by the recovery of Greek and Latin classics in their original form. Direct access to these works had been prohibited by Christian opposition to learning during the Middle Ages. The retrieval of the Pagan intellectual spirit gave tremendous thrust to humanism, but no particular direction. The notion that the human species evolves by learning — or, to put it in another way, that human evolution operates through learning that evolves, advances and expands — was never clearly or coherently formulated in humanist philosophy. Consequently, the ideal of human potential signaled by Renaissance humanists like Pico della Mirandola [1463 - 94], author of the signal essay, On the Dignity of Man, did not emerge in a well-founded or well-balanced manner.

Human capacity to learn and adapt was rapidly directed toward scientific achievement, and so the Renaissance ideal of “evolving humanity,” vague and ill-defined in the first place, was apidly co-opted to schemes of innovation and technological advance. The notion of unlimited material progress — i.e., scientific advance resulting in total mastery of nature and the universal improvement of living conditions, and culminating in a utopian society conceived and managed by a technocratic elite — was introduced late in the Enlightenment, around 1775, by which time the moral and visionary spirit of humanism was almost entirely defunct.

Romantic visionaries like Rousseau and Pestalozzi assumed the natural goodness of humankind. This assertion conflicts with the fundamentalist belief that humanity is flawed due to the sin of the primal parents, Adam and Eve. The belief in innate human goodness was often expressed in the frame of theistic assumptions. Among the Romantics, the belief that God was the author of a vast evolutionary plan implanted into the human mind, but then left it for humans to discover the plan by their own efforts, was developed by Herder in The Education of the Human Race. At the dawn of the 20th century, this notion came to expression in esoteric philosophies like Theosophy and Anthroposophy.

lego method of Gnostic scholarship My technique of selecting from a wide range of textual materials those passages that support a preconceived view or scenario.

In my comments on reconstructing the Fallen Goddess Scenario, I explain how I intentionally select material compatible with the Pagan (i.e., pre-Christian and non-Christian) message the Gnostics. This method could be applied in any area of scholarship and research, but it works particularly well with the Gnostic materials because they are so skanty and incoherent. No single text presents a full picture of the Gnostic creation myth. Nor does any single document from the Coptic codices present a consistent statement of Gnostic views. Pro- and anti-Christian statements can occur in the same text. To build a platform of anti-Christian views, I select from numerous texts the passages compatible with that outlook. I do so, however, in a completely transparent manner, admitting what I'm doing.

Scholars also use the lego method on the extremely difficult and obscure material of the Coptic Gnostic literature. Unlike myself, however, they do not have, or do not admit to having, a specific intention to reconstruct a particular outlook or scenario. Thus they do not put together particular lego pieces to make an animal or a tree. Rather, they are content to sort through the lego pieces and arrange them in piles. Then they label the piles, using such complicated rubrics as "a Jewish-Christian post-resurrection discourse in a Gnosticizing milieu," and write long treatises on what the labels mean.

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lie: according to Voltaire, “History is the lie commonly agreed upon.” According to Picasso, “Art is a lie that points to the truth.” Might history them be a lie that points to the truth? Or does it merely point to the liar?

ludic belief: able to be modified by playing with it.

The word delusion comes from the Latin suffix de, meaning "from, away" and the Latin verb ludere, "to play". Going strictly by the etymology, a delusion is "what leads away from play."

One might formulate a rule: any belief you hold that you cannot play with may be delusional.

For a complete list of permutations of belief see Modes of Believing.