Through a GNOSTIC LENS
Perspectives on the War on Terror, Environmental Distaster, and Global Manipulation
For over a year now, I've been in communication with some folks in Canada who have published several articles based on my work on their site, www.agoracosmopolitan.com. This exchange has led to a request for a major article on how Gnostic views and insights apply to crucial issues in the world today. It has generated an inventory of 31 points which I am making available on site. Many points will already be familiar to readers of this site. Some points present new perspectives on the world today, seen through a gnostic lens.
|See also my ten interviews on Not in His Image, with Joanna Harcourt-Smith on futureprimitive.
1 PRISON PLANET
The controversial internet film Zeitgeistmovie.com purports to expose the mechanics of global terrorism, pollitical deceit, and mass-mind manipulation. It presents an image of the terrestrial globe encased by crisscrossing bars, a graphic suggestion that the planet we inhabit is a prison. Gnostic writings from the 4th century, based on an ancient tradition, present an identical image. Religious scholars interpret this image metaphorically and assert that Gnostics embraced a cosmic negativism: "the divine spark imprisoned in matter." But close study suggests that the Gnostic image of a "prison planet" carries quite a different message. What the Gnostics really meant by this term may be considerably more sophisticated, and more exotic, than the well-worn paradigm of spirit-matter dualism.
2 ERADICATING HERESY
Under the assault of Christian adversaries, Gnostics were either eliminated or driven underground. Historically, Gnosticism is regarded as a dead religion, but the Gnostic image of "the earth behind bars" may prove surprizingly relevant to the world today. Much depends on our ability to recover the Gnostic message about humanity's plight, and grasp the scope and subtlety of the ancient visionaries who produced that message.
3 CHANNELING JESUS
Essential Gnostic writings in Coptic, discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945, present the closest evidence we have of original writings from various heretical schools. Additional to the Nag Hammadi material are three Coptic texts discovered earlier, including Pistis Sophia (Askew Codex), a channelled discourse attributed to Jesus eleven years after the resurrection. Other Gnostic writings reject the resurrection as a ruse and a deception, but the school that produced Pistis Sophia accepted that Jesus, considered as a Gnostic master, could appear in phantom form and discourse with the living. His main interlocuter is Mary Magdalene, who is revealed to be equal to the Lord in her knowledge and exposition of cosmic mysteries.
4 OUTER SPACE
In Book 4 of Pistis Sophia, Magdalene asks about "the outer darkness," meaning outer space beyond the planet earth. The answer is long and elaborate, with Jesus describing dungeons or dark zones around the earth, each guarded by an extraterrestrial demon. Other Gnostic writings describe a system of seven demonic shells of imprisonment, correlated to the seven planets. This sevenfold encasement is the realm of the Hebdomad, the Seven, said to be controlled by the Rulers or Authorities -- Archons in Greek (terms capitalized following the convention of Gnostic scholars). These entities are legion but they exhibit a hive mentality that unifies them under the central command of the Lord Archon, Yaldabaoth (pronounced YAL-dah-BUY-ot), also called the Demiurge.
5 DEMENTED GOD
The Demiurge is an extremely problematic figure central to Gnostic theology and cosmology. This entity is not a true god but a pseudo-divinity, the "counterfeiting spirit." The Demiurge masquerades as a god - even as God. The notion of a phony god or deific pretender is uniquely Gnostic, though it is reflected in some trickster-gods in world mythology - such as Loki in Nordic myth. Gnostic teachers from the Mystery Schools invoked the ire and outrage of early Christians, not to mention pious Jews, when they identified the Demiurge explicitly with Jehovah, the divine father of the Old Testament and presumptive progenitor of the god-man Jesus Christ in the New Testament. They claimed that the supreme being of Judeo-Christian faith was a demented monster, not to be taken for a genuine divinity of the Pleroma ("Plenitude", the gnostic Godhead). Gnostics used the term Aeon for the genuine gods, and Archon for the pretender or pseudo-deity. Gnostic theology uniquely places humanity between these two classes of cosmic beings.
6 EVIL WORKS
Following the opinion of the Church Fathers who condemned Gnostics for heresy, most scholars claim that Gnostics attributed the creation of our world, the planet earth, to the Demiurge, and hence considered matter to be evil. But close reading of the Nag Hammadi codices (NHC) presents a different, more complex and intriguing perception of the earth's status in the cosmos. In the closer analysis, the Gnostic message about the Archons suddenly looks relevent to certain issues in the present global situation, especially the environmental crisis and global terrorism.
7 FALLEN GODDESS
To consider first the environmental aspect: No passage in the NHC explicitly states that the Demiurge created the earth, but several passages describe how the Lord Archon constructed the planetary system exclusive of the earth, a realm which he inhabits with his legion of drones. Key Gnostic teachings on the origin of the earth were destroyed, but the most important part of the story survives due to an ironic twist: the Church Fathers had to paraphrase Gnostic teachings in order to refute them! In Book 4 of Against Heresies, Irenaeus summarizes a Gnostic creation-myth describing how the earth was formed from the living mass of an Aeon, the "fallen goddess," Sophia. The goddess does not create the earth but actually turns into it. In this scenario, the earth stands distinct from the rest of the solar system. The myth also tells how the sun co-operated with the earth to make it a habitable planet for humanity, contrasted to the other planets which do not support life as we know it. Irenaeus refers to the autopoetic or self-organizing properties that make life on earth unique in the solar system. In some respects, Gnostic creation-myth asserts ideas strikingly similar to those proposed today in the Gaia theory of autopoesis.
8 PLANET BEHIND BARS
If Gnostic myth reflects any scientific truth, the earth is captured in the solar system, an organic planet trapped in an inorganic system of celestial mechanics. Medieval art depicted the encircling bands of the planetary orbits as an armillary sphere -- identical to the Zeitgeistmovie image of the earth behind bars. To the Gnostics this image did not suggest the crude dichotomy of spirit imprisoned in matter, however. Rather, it represented the way that humanity on earth can be constricted and imprisoned in false concepts or mental conditioning, effectively "barred" from knowing its true origins or its innate divine powers. In this view, the conception of a neat geometrical and hierarchal cosmos can be considered as a false archetype reflecting the Archon construction and not the true dynamics of the universe. If the Gnostics were right, we ought to be able to conceive life on earth in unique terms, including the sun and moon to make a triadic set-up, but independent of the rest of the solar system In fact, this is the prevailing tendency of the new and much-depated Gaia hypothesis (introduced in the early 1970s by James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis).
Clearly, the Gnostic image of a prison planet indicates something more subtle than "spirit trapped in matter." Mental self-blocking is a risk for our species due to the complexity of our cerebral evolution, which exceeds other animals. We can mistake maps and models for reality, blinding us to the natural world and our place in it. Gnostics said that the Archons excel in simulation (Coptic HAL). They lend an insidious spin to our self-blocking, but they do not cause it. They are, in effect, accessories to us in going astray from true potential endowed in us by the Aeons, the genuine gods. The more we yield to the psychic influence of the Archons, the more deviant we become.
Gnostics placed humanity between the Archons and Sophia, the Aeon whose body is the living earth. At the very worst, Archontic delusion would lead us to forsake the earth, ignore the divinity of the natural world, devalue our own habitat, and abdicate our cosmic connection to Sophia and the other Aeons. The Gnostic warning about extraterrestrial intrusion from the Archons rings true when considered in the context of the present environmental crisis. Indeed, desacralization and despoilation of the earth, which go hand in hand, can be identified as blatant symptoms of the Archon effect.
11 COSMIC PRETENDER
Gnostics were Pagan mystics devoted to the goddess Sophia, so they could not have condemned the material and sensory world as the product of evil or demonic invention. Yet scholars continue to claim that "world-negation" was the Gnostic view. In fact, the surviving texts clearly warn that we ourselves negate the world by viewing it as the handiwork of an male, off-planet creator. In several places, NHC writings specify that the Demiurge did not actually create the earth, but falsely claimed to do so. "The Archon chief is blind, due to his false power and his arrogance, So he arrogantly said, 'I am the only god, there is none apart from me.' " (The Hypostasis of the Archons, 86) Yaldabaoth is deluded, a cosmic pretender who perversely imagines that the earth is his creation and his "footstool" (On the Origin of the World, 101). But the genuine gods (Aeons) disrupt the illusion of the demented creator. "His [illusory] earth was destroyed" and "since then, the earth was consolidated itself through Sophia" (Ibid., 102).
The image of the insane god is perhaps the most striking element in Gnostic heresy, as shocking today as it was when originally proposed, 1800 years ago.
13 HUMAN ARROGANCE
In the framework of this Gnostic myth, the current plight of our planet and its dominant species, humanity, appears in a new and startling light. The Archons may be compared to modern-day ETs, but rather than viewing these entities as saviours, Gnostic teachings explicitly show that they are implicated in our insane tendency to ruin our own habitat. If the Gnostics were right, humanity can slip into mass psychosis by assuming the arrogance of the Demiurge: we falsely believe that we are the supreme lords of the planet. This is surely the case in the current hype and extravagance over technology, including genetics. Some passages in the NHC depict the Archons attempting to interfere in human sexuality and interbreed, but they fail.
14 ET INTRUSION
Human ego inflation (i.e., the arrogance of the Demiugre) may have some extra-human ramifications. Gnostics warned that we are not alone in our own minds. The presence of the Archontic factor adds "the generation of error," meaning the tendency of our mistakes to run beyond the scale of correction. According to the Gnostics, Archons are a cyborg-like species that inhabit the planetary system but can access the earth only with difficulty, and in brief forays. Their intervention is baffling and finally absurd, for they are said to capture our attention by "senselessness," (NHC VII, 2) and they operate by "deception" and "anomaly" (NHC II, 1). In short, Gnostics warned not to expect anything meaningful from the Archons, certainly not a profound cosmic message or the key to our salvation. This negative assessment recalls the view of veteran researcher Jacques Vallee, who argued that the ET/UFO phenomenon is a psychologically embedded "spiritual control system" that conditions the human mind as if it were an external influence. Vallee called ETs "messengers of deception," a close parallel to the Gnostic characterization, "messengers of error" (NHC VII, 2).
15 ALIEN TYPES
Moreover, in physical terms, Gnostic texts allude to an embryonic type of Archon, conceivably the Short Greys who resemble premature fetuses, and a draconic or reptilian type. The First Apocalypse of James (NHC V, 3) describes close encounters with Archonic demons, including abductions, and explains how to repel the intruders. The theory of Archon influence is subtle, however. It does not limit itself to close encounters and flying machines. (The latter are not described in any Gnostic texts, but clearly appear in the related literature of the Dead Sea Scrolls, cultic tracts which are regarded by some religious scholars as the source of Christian beliefs on the messiah, the chosen race, divine atonement, the afterlife, cosmic retribution, and so on.)
16 RUINING OUR HABITAT
One outstanding inference of Gnostic writings is that the present environmental crisis is a result of alienation from our habitat due to an extra-human distorting factor, but the Archon/ETs do not cause us to be self-destructive. They insinuate the alienating factor that we fail to detect and correct. They subvert our minds because we do not utilize the full potential of our minds, called nous by the Gnostics. Nous is a divine endowment given to us by the Aeons, the genuine divnities of the cosmic center (Pleroma, Fullness). Nous includes the triple capacities of critical reasoning (dianoia), paradigm-change or reframing (metanoia), and creative imagination (epinoia). The effect of the Archons on our world can be regarded as a test to determine if and how we own and develop these capacities. Failing the test, we forfeit our innate connection to the mother planet, the transformed Aeon, Sophia.
17 BIG BUSINESS?
So much for the environmental crisis, oddly connected to the ET/UFO syndrome. Can the Gnostic warning about the Archons elucidate another daunting problem facing humanity today: global terrorism, based in conflicts due to religion, and associated with the manipulations of Big Business and mass media?
18 PLANET GODDESS
First and foremost, Gnostic awareness of the Archontic factor in the cosmos and psyche alike is a matter of personal spiritual maturity. The source of Gnostic wisdom is the goddess named wisdom, Sophia, whose body is the earth. If the planet is a divine being, living and animated, as Gaia theory asserts, then people today can follow Gnostic teaching by revering the planet-goddess and adopting the preservation of the terrestrial super-organism as a spiritual mission.
19 FAKE POWERS
The surviving texts constantly emphasize that the main power of the Archons is simulation, as noted above. They can imitate, fake and pretend, but they lack the imagination and intention for true creativity. Humans, however, are gifted with nous, the spark of divine intelligence, and epinoia, the power of creative imagination. Nous is not imprisoned in matter, but it can be suppressed by the Archontic influence. The prison is one we construct for ourselves when we fail to develop our divine potential and, so failing, turn the natural world into "hell on earth."
20 COSMIC PRETENDERS
The Gnostic prison metaphor does not warn about a divine immaterial spark entrapped in matter, but about the genius of human intelligence (nous), obscured and oppressed by a fake higher power. The Archon pretenders may be imagined to inhabit and travel in outer space, but more importantly, they are part of our mental field because the earth is captured in their domain, the planetary field. The twelve or seven zones of emprisonment described by the Gnostics are reflected in the layered conditioning of human minds. Humanity will play out its conditioned responses in a blind, self-destructive way, unless it asserts its primary bond to the living planet (Gaia-Sophia).
21 DEMONIC GATEKEEPERS
The images of the prison planet and the medieval armillary sphere both call to mind a maze with circling paths. The maze of the extraterrestrial tricksters resembles a computer game where players have to fight demonic adversaries and work through levels. Shifting through the levels of the game, players use passwords, exactly as seen in the Archon test of the planetary spheres. The Gnostic tacher supplies the student with passwords and magical gestures for getting past the Archon gatekeepers at each level. In many aspects of life, especially in the realms of technology and media, humans are confronted with a maze-like array of lures and ruses calculated to draw the species into artificiality, dependence on information and high-tech prosthetics, and blind excess. Even if it is only taken for a metaphor, without considering Archons to be self-existing other-dimensional entities of a predatory type, the Gnostic prison scenario reveals a lot about the way humans can be entrapped in illusory mental constructs.
22 MESSENGERS OF DECEPTION
According to Pistis Sophia, the cosmic battle unfolding on earth is not between good and evil, but between the "counterfeiting spirit" (Yaldaboath and the Archons) and the Virgin of Light (Sophia, conceived as a luminous divinity or Aeon). The battle is tricky because the Archons can so overshadow the human mind that people cannot distinguish organic life on earth from simulations and fakery. Gnostics insisted, however, that the Archons are not evil, they are merely agents of error, or "messengers of deception," to cite again the phrase of Jacques Vallee. They also asserted that the errors used by Archons to deviate humanity are inherent to the human mind and can be corrected, so that the Archons are rendered powerless. Detecting and mastering the Archon factor in our minds, we claim our innate divine powers. They present the test that releases our innate potential, the triple nous.
Time and time again, Gnostic texts assert the human capacity for self-correction "You are the very thinking and the serenity of the single-minded One," says The Dialogue of the Savior alluding to the Pleroma, the realm of the Aeons or genuine cosmic divinities (the Godhead, in theological terms). "You are from the Pleroma, cosmic fullness, and you dwell in the place of incompletion," the Dialogue asserts. In the same text a disciple declares, "Behold, the Authorities dwell over us in the planetary realm, so it is they who rule over us," but the Gnostic master replies, "It is you who will rule over them. But first you must divest yourself of jealous envy toward each other, and by means of the ensheathing light, enter the bridal chamber." The Greek term nymphion, "bridal chamber," is an occult term used in Gnostic writings to describe immunity to the Archon effect or ET predation. Immunity is said to be acquired in a specific way by contact with the luminosity of the Virgin of Light -- that is, by accessing the divine light-force concealed in the natural world due to the transformation of Sophia into the physical planet.
25 SACRED SEXUALITY
In some respects, application of Gnostic teachings may depend on mastering paranormal techniques and related practices such as "entering the nymphion." The Gospel of Philip clearly presents sexual intercourse as a sacred or sacramental act, suggesting that sexual repression may be a social disease and delusion connected to Archontic deviation. Gnostics were condemned as sexual libertines by puritanical Christians, but there is no proof that their cultic orgies were either perverted or unhealthy. Pagans in general -- Gnostics were originally Pagans, though some of their ideas were later Christianized -- regarded uninhibited sexual expression as basic to a sane society. The Pagan ethos was reasserted by Wilhelm Reich, a champion of sexual freedom whose scientific and psychological views exhibit many Gnostic elements. Interestingly, Reich devoted his later years to exploring the ET/UFO phenomena and even designing equipment to repel malevolent extraterrestrial influences in the atmosphere.
The Archon hypothesis echoes the widely considered notion that humanity is being deceived and controlled by a small group of men, including political leaders, scientists, and religious authorities. In Gnostic terms, such men are in league with alien powers. In The First Apocalypse of James (NHC V, 3) the master declares that "Jerusalem is the dwelling-place of many Archons," and warns about "Archon-like types," meaning those who are under the spell of error or mental deviation. Scholars decline comment on this passage for fear of being labelled anti-Semite, but Gnostics did not oppose or condemn the Jewish people as such. They argued that some extremist religious beliefs among the Hebrews carried the mark of the Demiurge, the false creator, whom they equated specifically with Jehovah, the vengeful father god of the Old Testament.
27 OFF-PLANET SALVATION
Today scholars affirm that all three religions that dominate world affairs, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, originate from the same root. The Abrahamic faiths are deeply implicated in global terrorism, not just by circumstances but in causative ways. In the mere six years since 9/11, there is a growing perception that these faiths are inspire and support the terrorist syndrome. Gnostics of the classical world would not have been the least surprized by this realization. Indeed, they were the first on record to observe that Judeo-Christian faith is both the instrument and evidence of extreme spiritual deviance. They attributed off-planet salvation and divine retribution as primary symptoms of the Archon effect. from Precious little of their argument agsinst salvationist religion has survived intact, but there is still enough to reconstruct their case and apply it to contemporary issues such as faith-based terrorism.
28 FACING TERROR
In The Function of the Orgasm, Wilhelm Reich wrote: "Knowledge of that which is alive can alone banish terror." Were he alive today, Reich might observe that the terrorism threatening life around the world originates in the outlook and behavior of people who are threatened by life, by the power and beauty of the life-force. In Gnostic terms, "knowledge of what is alive" is rooted in humanity's connection to the planetary body of Sophia, and focussed in sexuality. The Gnostic warning about the Archons goes a long way toward exposing the destructive twist in the human psyche, causing sex to be regarded with scorn and repulsion.
29 GLOBAL DOMINATION
In application to the claim that a small, insidious group of men is manipulating the human race, Gnostic perspective is also quite revealing. How would the putative global controllers be regarded in this perspective? First of all, they would have to be considered as human beings who have slipped deeply into deviance due to mental errors. They would either believe in the false creator god, the Demiurge, or cynically exploit such a belief as a tool for mass behavior modification (a "spiritual control system," according to Jacques Vallee). As masterminds of a global plan (new world order), they would be out of their minds, Gnostically speaking: that is, out of touch with nous (innate divine intelligence) and Sophia, the planetary intelligence.
Consistent with Gnostic analysis, the global masterminds would be expected to use Archontic techniques to enforce their program of deceit and control: false-flag manoevres, simulated attacks that coincide with real attacks, media substitutions promoting false values in place of genuine ones, Orwellian doublespeak, and so forth; and they would ultimately make free thinking a crime. Such techniques are now blatantly evident to many critically minded people around the world. To detect the Archon effect would be the most direct way to work against the hidden power games of the global controllers. If humanity were to develop immunity to that effect, as Gnostics suggested, there would no chance for deceit and manipulation to prevail in the world, as they currently do.
31 ENSLAVEMENT OF HUMANITY
All in all, Gnostic views present quite a few vivid insights into the hardest problems facing humanity today, and even point to solutions or ways of opposing and overcoming the evil few who are causing the problems. Faith-based religion is perhaps the single most pervasive threat to planetary security. Gnostics were eliminated before the rise of Islam, but their critique of Judeo-Christian faith as a trap of the false creator god applies equally well to the third and most historically recent of the Abrahamic creeds. The heretical message of Gnosticism is an antidote to the tragedy of the prison planet. The warning about the enslavement of humanity to a false agenda is a liberating message, no matter what its source. The fact that it comes from the radical minds of religious sags who were repressed and annihilated 1600 years ago, makes it all the more poignant.