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As explained in Sources of the Gaia Mythos, I draw upon Asian metaphysics, especially emanation theory, to develop the narrative and commentaries. The key principle of emanaton theory is that all being and things exist through other beings and things. Even if the Pleroma is a locus outside time and space, it can still be a galactic core because in emanation theory whatever transcends time and space still manifests through the features of time and space.
Philosophically, this view is called radical immanence. In Tibetan Buddhism, it is called noumenalism. It must not be confused with the Platonic duality of the Eidos (Ideal Forms) and their inferior and illusory appearanes, shadows on the wall of the cave. In this view the appearance of the Real, Ultimate Reality, is ultimately real. Only the operations of the perceiving mind, apt to mistake itself, cause the Real to be regarded as unreal.
Redeemer Complex In the history of religions, an ensemble of beliefs and assumptions focussed on a supernatural figure imagined to have the power to "save" humanity and "redeem" the world, usually through a moment of final reckoning and retribution, Judgement Day. See also salvationism, which repeats some points in this entry.
The Gnostic protest against Judeo-Christianity has not been fairly or adequately stated by scholars, mainly because the scholars who specialize in Gnostic studies are constrained by their religious conditioning. Consequently, whenever the anti-Judaic and anti-Christian elements of Gnostic teachings become evident, they are immediately dismissed, treated as not worth considering. This unfortunate situation has produced a deeply misleading impression: we are left thinking that Gnostics must have been bad people if they rejected the religious tradition that has inspired humanity to high moral standards, such as justice, altruism, brotherly love, and forgiveness.
In fact, the Gnostics protested, not against the clear and obvious
moral values that have tradionally been attributed to Judeo-Christian
faith, but against the ideology of divine salvation enshrined
in the Redeemer Complex. The specific elements of the Complex
to which they objected are:
In the above list, some factors provide a supporting frame for the Complex, such as the belief that the Father God creates humanity in His image, and others reflect the Complex directly, such as the belief that the suffering of the Redeemer somehow changes human experience.When all is said and done, the core belief here resolves into two components: belief in the supernatural power of the Redeemer to "correct" all that is wrong in the world, and belief in the redemptive power of the Redeemer's suffering — and, by extension, of all human suffering. In a full metacritical analysis, the Complex is nothing but an elaborate strategem that compels us to believe in the redemptive value of suffering.
This belief-system reflects the "blackmail of transcendence" noted by George Steiner (cited by Paul Shepard, Nature and Madness). It is in fact a method of extortion that forces believers who accept the redemptive value of suffering, focussed in the ideal of the Divine Redeemer, either to adopt the role of the victim or to adopt the role of the perpetrator, for there can be no victims without perpetrators. This insidious complex induces what R. D. Laing called a schizophrenic "knot". I call the hidden core of the Redeemer Complex the victim-perpetrator bind.
As long as we accept to be victims ("Blessed are ye who are persecuted for righteousness sake...") and let perpetrators do as they will ("Resist not evil... Turn the other cheek... Do good to those who harm you."), the Redeemer Complex will look like the best solution for the unresolved agonies of the human condition. Rather than live bravely with irresolution and injustice, people will inevitably turn to the Redeemer Complex for a false sense of consolation, not to mention the reassurance of being succoured by God. Rather than finding consolation in human love and solidarity with all species, they will look beyond the Earth for it. They will accept the delusion of vicarious atonement rather than have no atonement at all.
Gnostics saw through the Redeemer Complex to the supreme error as its core: the error of believing that we need to be atoned by a "Higher Power," when in reality we are beyond the need for atonement. Instead of atonement, they proposed that humanity can be voluntarily involved in the "correction" of the Divine Sophia, the Goddess who fell from the Pleroma to become Gaia. They taught that we, as individuals, can achieve true atonement (i.e., attunement) by aligning with Gaia, the living Earth, and expanding our consciousness to its full, divine, cosmic potential. The dose of divine intelligence, nous, endowed in the human species by Sophia, is the very faculty through which we learn how to coevolve with Her.
It is impossible to make the connection to Sophia, however, as long as you believe that suffering is exalted and serves divine purposes which must be assumed on faith because only God can know what God designs. At the time of the rise of Christianity, Pagans (i.e., those who lived close to nature and thus preserved the bond to Sophia, the earth goddess) rejected belief in the redemptive value of suffering as a perversion and a lie. Not in His Image, Ch. 19, A Unique Message of Love:
Scholars identify the historical origins of the Redeemer Complex in the soter, "savior," of Zoroastrian religion, but this provenance is very obscure and fraught with difficulties. (Hence the tongue-tangling term, soteriological, so-TARE-ee-oh-LODGE-ih-cull, used by scholars for redemptive programs and end-of-the-world schemes involving a divine savior figure.)
Another likely candidate for the prototype of the Redeemer would be the avatara, "the one who descends," of Hindu mythology, exemplified in the ten Avatars of Vishnu, the God who dreams the universe. This model is comparable to, and in fact at the origin of, the lineage of reincarnating Bodhisattvas seen in the Tibetan tulkus, some of whom walk among us today. The Gnostics also had a conception of a lineage of enlightened teachers, the Phosters or Illuminators, also called Nous Illuminators or Revealers. These teachers, who may be men or women, are not conceived as incarnations of divinity (a key element in the Redeemer Complex) but as fully human, albeit exceptional, instruments of divine knowledge. The Gnostic Revealer does not save anyone, but he or she presents the knowledge that saves. The saving knowledge is not a doctrinal formulation in definitive terms, and cannot be reduced to a set of fixed rules, for it evolves in the course of human experience. Gnostis is a revelation of novelty and open-ended learning, hence Revealers must appear through time to discover and develop the new insights and lessons that apply as human experience changes.
Gnostics were particularly outraged by the exclusive conception of the Judeo-Christian Redeemer because they viewed it as a counterfeit to the Revealer, and counterfeiting, or simulation, is the signature of the Archons. Hence they attributed the Redeemer Complex to the deviant insinuations of the Archons.
Whatever its origins, the soter of prehistory came to be defined along special lines in the Messiah of the ancient Hebrews, which in turn became converted into the Christ of Pauline and Johannine doctrines. In Islam, the third branch of Abrahamic religion, the figure of the Redeemer is dually represented by a book of supreme and unquestionable spiritual authority, the Koran, and by a messianic figure, the Madhi, "he who is guided," imagined to be a man who will arise at the end of the world to lead the faithful.
A clear contrast between belief in the Christian Redeemer and the Gnostic teaching on the innate power of humanity to realize itself can be seen in these two quotes:
For God so loved the world that he gave his Only-Begotten Son that whosoever believeth in hin should not perish but have everlasting life.
New Testament, The Gospel of John
A great power was emanated to you, which the Originator, the
Eternal One, endowed in you before you came to this place,
in order that those things that are difficult to distinguish,
you might distinguish, and those things that are unknown to
the multitude you might know, and that you might be released
sane and whole to the One who is yours, in you, who was the
first to save and does not need to be saved.
reflex belief: held relative to what one believes. Reflex belief is a redundant mode of believing in which we hold beliefs about what we believe.
resolute belief: cannot be altered by evidence or proof to the contrary.
Example: Some people believe that Elvis never died. This belief cannot be altered by evidence or proof to the contrary. Only if Elvis was to appear publicly, and it were proven genetically that it is he, properly aged, could this belief be validated. Lacking this validation, the belief remains resolute and the strength of it (the word resolution is etymologically equivalent to strength) resides in the fact that it cannot be disproven. In terms of Karl Poppers criterion for scientific ideas, resolute belief is "non-falsifiable."
revealed belief: based on a scriptural tradition said to have been received by special messengers who communited directly with a superhuman authority. The Ten Commandments
revealed religion: belief-systems characterized by the authority placed in written texts said to have been dictated directly by God to certain chosen emissaries such as Moses and Mohammed. These scriptures constitute Holy Writ and represent the central textual artifacts of sacred history. They can neither be altered nor augmented. Holy Writ acquires enormous power over the minds of the faithful because the beliefs about the Sacred stated in Holy Writ are themselves held to be sacred. This is an example of belief inversion, taking a doctrine about the Sacred, or a text in which that doctrine is expressed, for something sacred in its own right. The Torah, the holy books of the Jews, are a sacred object and their content, down to the shape of every single letter, is held to be sacred as well.
Creeds of revealed religion are based on a belief-system that fundamentally denies the innate learning capacity of humanity. Romantics such as Herder, who proposed grand notions about the education of the human race, collided head-on with traditional Christian doctrines, yet they often tried to reconcile their ideas with Christian tradition. In Beyond Theology, Alan Watts skillfully juxtaposes the two viewpoints, fundamentalist and humanist. Discussing the supreme and exclusive value of Holy Writ in revealed religion, Watts wrote: It is thus that mans wisdom is not handed from generation to generation by heredity, but by the recorded word, which reposes in a supernatural domain outside the spontaneous impulses of the body. (66)
In the comparative overview basic to Metahistory, we learn that revealed religion is not the sole creed that has sustained humanity through the ages. All around the world, the wisdom of many peoples was handed down orally from one generation to the next, and the transmission seems to have been adequate and enduring; yet the wisdom thus transmitted was mysteriously overwhelmed by the imperial force of revealed religion. (One possible reason: fundamentalist texts like the Bible and the Koran contain the divine sanction to impose revealed religion by force, using evangelic persuasion and/or armed aggression to do so.) At the same time, the knowledge acquired directly through the body and through Sacred Nature knowledge explicitly placed under taboo in the Biblical texts all that can be learned through the spontaneous impulses of the body, recedes into the background as a supernatural Deity beyond this world is elevated to the role of supreme Overseer. Revealed religion denies the authenticity of body-knowledge and even denies access to the hidden powers of the body, represented by the serpent in the Eden scenario. For a Gnostic version of Eves temptation, a story that contradicts the Biblical taboo and elevates body-knowledge to the level of divine revelation, see The Fall.
reversed belief Any belief that
remains valid, or assumes an altered validity, when the evidence
of experience contradicts it.
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