Gnosticism - The world is a vampire, sent to drain? Secret destroyers hold you up to the flames?

#21
Hey Sciborg! Ah, it's a long and winding, rambling, incoherent babbling brook of a story. I'd feel bored writing it out let alone you reading it!:D I could start writing 10 years ago, and wouldn't finish till tomorrow. Basically I'm clueless and bewildered and unable to write anything remotely coherent about it, haha! It just is. I tend not to record or over-analyse my own experiences, I've had them, absorbed & understood the message on a sub-conscious (whatever that may even be) level, and enjoy moving on to new experiences (including that of others) to learn and absorb :) I do like to share if I think it may benefit other people, but the older I get the more I wonder if that concept or ideal is just another egoic illusion...so nowadays mainly I prefer to just listen :)


EDIT - sorry Sciborg_S_Patel, not to be dismissive of YOU at all here, this was about me really. There are some fascinating aspects I'd like to clear out of me head one day, about elements of gnosticisms, specifically that of our destinies, the demi-urge, gnosis, the variety of symbolism that manifests in these experiences (the snakes, lions heads, trickster elements & symbolism etc). Reality is certainly strange. Maybe when I want to thrash it out a bit, I will come back and expand on specific experiencs.....Cheers!
 
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#22
Hi Max - Thanks for the comments. I didn't realise the GoT was such a relatively small document!. I read the Lambdin translation (coincidentally from the site you linked above I think) last night over a couple of hours, pausing after each saying for a few minutes to ponder the meaning.

This is of course nothing compared to your deep investigation of it, and 10 years of dipping in and out. Which is why I would genuinely appreciate any personal insights you feel comfortable sharing about this perspective re. "not bringing any more children", as I doubt I will ever discuss this with anyone with as much personal knowledge & affiliation with the text, and to be honest I cannot see myself having the dedication to it you suggest! I would genuinely just love to hear your personal understanding of it.

I certainly couldn't see what you suggest unambiguously, but there were several "sayings" which could be interpreted as hinting towards it? Certainly a few nearer the end.

Anyway, loved reading your STE experience again. Can't recall if I commented last time, so apologies if repeating myself....

But your experience of the "music" that "ripped" through you, this is a very common thread through a LOT of "other-wordly" journeys and experiences (Eben's NDE also "opens" up into a beautiful realm through a magical "sound", as also in many other NDEs, as I'm sure you know) , and a fundamental aspect of many eastern & tantric mystical practices. You spot references to it everywhere in their texts & mystics sayings. Om. A more "gross" or less subtle aspect of this other-worldly sound also frequently occurs in slightly more down-to-earth "paranormal" phenomena too (I believe there may be an article about this aspect of mystical "sound" in one of the earlier editions of the fantastic "Paranthropology journal" that Sciborg_S_Patel has linked here, if not, D Scott Rogo has a 2 volume book called "Nada" or something which goes into some of it)

Finally, and I hope you don't think I'm making light of your experience, because I'm certainly not, but your experience of seeing all these groups of beings on balconies, and then infinite balconies..... it kind of reminds of several recent Sci-fi films, such as The Matrix and some others I forget....very cool experience! :) It also reminds me a little, I believe, and you probably already aware of it, of aspects of an NDE with some lady called Judy Danison or something? I know it's definitely on the afterlifetv website if you're not aware of it, well worth checking it out. Cheers!
Yeah, you can't really take any GoT saying in isolation, but based on my present understanding of the overall document, I suggest that saying 79 could have such meaning, it's hard to say.

(79) A woman from the crowd said to him, "Blessed are the womb which bore you and
the breasts which nourished you."
He said to her, "Blessed are those who have heard the word of the father and have truly
kept it. For there will be days when you will say, 'Blessed are the womb which has not
conceived and the breasts which have not given milk.'"

There is the definite feeling he has no particular love for his parents, indeed he seems to feel quite bitter towards his mother, and whomever got her pregnant.

There is strong message throughout that our 'internal' perceptions are the same as our perceptions of the 'external' world, and I suspect that this lies behind the repeating message of two becoming one, and the different references to entering and leaving the bridal chamber. The 'external' world is claimed to be dead, and our physical body a poverty.

The popular idea of a resurrection seems to be a misinterpretation in my view, of what he is really seeking to do, which is break the cycle of life and death for ever, by bringing this world/existence to an end.

The idea of bringing children (bodies) into this external world would therefore seem to be somewhat in conflict with my interpretation, at least I can't logically reconcile it. Hence this is why I suggest 79 might have that meaning.

Re: My STE and the balconies. The figures were all identical and faceless, and the act of pulling up my hood, made me faceless and one of them too, that seemed important. All the balconies were identical, with the same number of identical figures, there was absolutely no way of moving between balconies.

Looking back, it seemed like some sort of metaphor for a reversal of this reality. Here we can move around in space, but have limited abilities to move around in time. Over-there (if that is the right word) there was no ability to move in space, but repeating versions of each balcony seemed to imply I could perceive different temporal locations. I was in permanent and total contact with each and every figure/version, and that contact was emotional.

I have often wondered about the significance of the number of figures (7-9, I don't know exactly how many), or why I was the last back, and why my reserved space was one from the left (looking at the figures from behind), or why there was an identical wall of balconies facing me across a small gap. All these observations feel particularly significant to me, but I have not come to any firm understanding of what they mean, but I feel deep down they have some particular meaning.

The rear of the balcony was sealed, there were no doorways, indeed I knew absolutely that there was simply nothing beyond these two facing walls of balconies, and the space between them. This was all the space there was. I knew I would stand there forever, but that doesn't make any sense really, because the sense was of timelessness, but I knew I wasn't ever going to move 'spatially' from that spot again, and bizarrely, that knowledge filled me with incredible joy.
 
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#23
Hi Max, that was a great post, I really enjoyed reading it (several times) - thanks a lot for sharing.

Yes saying 79 is probably the most suggestive of the message, which along with a few others could be interpreted as such. Though I am biased, because I have perhaps long seen hints of this in various mystic sayings....as well as my own experiences. But it is never unambiguous, and as you perhaps hint at it becomes an issue of one's personal understanding maturing over time....so interpretation remains very subjective.

I think it could take years of examining a text as well as the linguistic, historical & cultural context of it to get a fuller, deeper grasp of every layer of it's meaning....which is why I appreciate your interpretation, having spent so long with it.

I have long thought, or speculated internally, that the concept of "reincarnation" or "rebirth" is connected to DNA. That perhaps experiences of "past lives" of animals & insects through whatever spritual practice or altered state or whatever, is information that is somehow contained in our DNA, which by some unknown process generate conscious imagery we are able to absolutely identify with.

This concept, which I've had, vaguely, for around 13 years, was initially based on several visionary experiences I had during what is sometimes labelled a "kundalini awakening", or equally a "kundalini crisis". Though completely impossible to explain or describe the profundity, complexity or "reality" of them, one element of the experience was how DNA had a "soul" that runs through it, how in one particular reality (it seemed as if there were infinite realities all intertwined & interconnected and superimposed over another in every little thing or moment), DNA was controlling everything, all life was just a play of this DNA (just to be clear, this was just one reality of infinite others), the prime mover and motivator. This isn't DNA as an idea, or a pictoral symbol, it was a soul.

Other experiences around the same time, I was rapidly experiencing a variety of "past lives" of unbelievable depth & perspective that I don't believe one could just imagine. I was actually seeing, feeling & thinking what is was like to be a spider in a rainforest somewhere....you can't imagine that, it's too radical a shift in perspective from human consciousness. Millions of such lives, flashing through my consciousness with exceptional "reality" to them.

I've got no idea about reincarnation, personally. Maybe I'm a little jaded & cynical, but the whole idea seems a little absurd to me. I've never really managed to hear or work out a coherent model of what reality is and what our human lives fit in. They just don't make sense, at least to me. But I'm a simple fellow I suppose.:)

The question is then, how the HELL did I get all these experiences & information in my head, that poured out almost infinitely to create such beautiful & complex inter-related reality "mandalas"? I suspect DNA may hold this information, and which occasionally prompts our greatest mystics & poets, such as Rumi, to write:

"I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, 'To Him we shall return.'"

A few days ago, I thought I would read this book which I've heard about for many years, The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby. I was really astonished to hear his theory. Haven't finished it yet (about 3/4 through, is a short book though), but I've been quite gripped by it, as he has a similar idea, and with some science behind it. Deeply fascinatingly for me, and I never saw this connection before - except perhaps experientially without being aware of the significance as per my recollections above, Narby connects DNA to kundalini itself, via the ancient motif of snakes, and dual snakes. Fascinating book.

Anyway, that's gone on long enough. Basically, as well as the gnostic view (I tend to agree with) this world can be a terrible place, along with this idea that enlightenment or liberation may be related to ending the replication of DNA.....I resonated with your interpretation of this Gospel of Thomas.

Regarding your STE, I actually read it several times. Fascinating, and well recounted!!

It does remind me a bit about some NDEs I've heard of, with "PODs" of "souls", and the joy you mention at rejoining them, and the panning out to see infinite other PODs etc....I have heard it a few times. I'm not sure, but I thought maybe Nanci Danison was one of those who mentioned it, though it may have been Nathalie Sudman (on afterlifetv), or perhaps actually some gentlemen (haha, not much help here!). Funny thing is, the Nanci Danison interview seems to have been deleted from afterlifetv, which is both odd and a shame!

Anyway, thanks Max.
 
#24
I dislike the duality inherent in Gnosticm. The world CAN be a terrible place-but your attitude towards it can trump everything else. You could be in hell while in heaven, or in heaven while in hell-your internal attitude is the ultimate arbiter, not the external things which happen to you. [Or of course in heaven while in heaven...]
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#25
I dislike the duality inherent in Gnosticm. The world CAN be a terrible place-but your attitude towards it can trump everything else. You could be in hell while in heaven, or in heaven while in hell-your internal attitude is the ultimate arbiter, not the external things which happen to you. [Or of course in heaven while in heaven...]
I'd agree with this, to a point, but the reason Gnosticism is compelling is b/c the world of appearances seems to largely argue against the Numinous.
 
#26
I'd agree with this, to a point, but the reason Gnosticism is compelling is b/c the world of appearances seems to largely argue against the Numinous.
I don't get this? I understood gnostic philosophy to be concerned with seeing the world of appearances as a veil behind which lies the truer reality of the Noumena?

Unless you mean that the world of appearances stands in contrast and as an obstacle to the Noumena?

Am I getting my philosophical knickers in a twist here?
 
#27
With the regards to the question of this thread - prison or educational institution.

I just wanted to throw in a third, almost middle path take on this question, from Swami Vivekananda. I came across this in a book a dear friend lent to me at work.
Swami Vivekananda suggested that this world is neither prison, nor school, but a moral gymnasium for the soul. This is to be understood in relation to the deeper aspect of Soul (Atman) in its bigger aspect as Brahman. That we are all God, that the joys and horrors, and trials and tribulations are Atman really working up a sweat in the Gym of morality.

I liked this idea very much, as it lends a slightly less dramatic tone to the whole affair - i.e. we are not here to pass tests (school) or serve a sentence or try to escape (prison), but there is great value in the idea that it is really that we choose to undergo this life as it is somehow beneficial to our health (gymnasium). We have chosen these experiences, they are not placed in front of us by an external examiner, nor by a vindictive prison guard, but we have climbed aboard the gym apparatus willingly, for some greater purpose we seem all to have purposefully forgotten.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#28
I don't get this? I understood gnostic philosophy to be concerned with seeing the world of appearances as a veil behind which lies the truer reality of the Noumena?

Unless you mean that the world of appearances stands in contrast and as an obstacle to the Noumena?

Am I getting my philosophical knickers in a twist here?
I was thinking about why is it so hard to establish NDEs are more than brain activity (and why doesn't everyone have them at puberty?), that Psi exists at all, that there are poignant encounters with odd entities but it's difficult to pin down hard evidence.

Maybe some of that is skeptical debunking, but if the results were strong, common, and easily accessed I don't think any amount of debunking could hide the truth.

There's something odd about the fact that the Numinous is so easily denied.
 
#29
Let us be reminded of some interesting POVs that mix into this:

1) Several so called experiencers/abductees and their researchers admit that there is a clear mind-memory-sensation manipulation effect going on (Karla Turner, Whitley Strieber, etc). i.e. the phenomena is partially related to consciousness and experience. It is phenomenal in a non-standard and not in an easily classifiable way. Many go further to say that terror and/or emotion of expansive love are control mechanisms for manipulations of humans, in these scenarios.

2) Some of the best paranormal/UFO researchers (the line between the two is very blurred, most admit) have postulated that there appears to be a deliberate (perhaps directly consciousness tapping) masking / obfuscation effect in place (google for Vallee's Control system, Steiger's or Mac Tonnies ideas, or even Charles Fort's 'we are property, or Hansen's trickster).

3) In many NDE and even astral projection research/accounts (not all!) there are claims that whatever you believe in, that is what you will experience. It's a self-accommodating simulation that caters to your desires and/or fears. Due to this, there are even some belief structures, who believe in the continuation of the soul, but explicitly state in their death rituals NOT to go to the white light and love, but to go away from it, to the source (what ever it is).

4) These consciousnesses/entities/beings/AI are extremely highly developed in their abilities in manipulating space-time, emotions, human experience (i.e. so called false memories, implantations, memory blocks, etc).

Now, if the above could be roughly in the ballpark, and I do NOT know they are (or are NOT), then it is quite possible, perhaps even obvious that:

- such a group of entities could easily pose as angels, jesus, budha, mohammed, whoever
- provide one with whatever experience or belief solidifying sensations one needs
- put in a herding system (like for cattle), that keeps those pesky humans at bay and then use special techniques for those who stray off the field and outside the fenced areas

... if they so desired and had motivation for.

Now, I don't personally hold this as true, nor do I think it's even likely.

However, I'm just posting the obvious:

If you are rat in a cage, being fed, or a cattle born into a mass meat production system, what idea do you have of wild nature or "larger reality"? It's the old Plato's cave metaphor or the Matrix illusion, if you will.

There is no way to know and as so many people come back from NDE/abductions/astral travels with SO opposedly conflicting "I know this to be 100% true" experience, we cannot hold these kinds of subjective experiences as a yardstick for truth or way to model the larger reality. Especially, when the stories do not seem to be forming any sort of coherent picture.

In the end, I don't know and I claim that it is likely (although not certain) that if you claim to know for sure, you are merely deluding yourself into a belief and haven't actually thought this well through :)

P.S. The Gnostic (one strand) archon model is roughly mirrored in some (not all) of the shamanic literature (cf. Castaneda's books) and of course in part of the darker abduction literature. There is an underlying theme here. Is it part of the collective unconcious? is it just one "earth school learning program" to go through, to face fears and ascend into all-encompassing love and syntropy? Damn if I know! :)
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#30
And [God] said to [Adam]: "Who is it who has instructed you?"
And Adam answered, "The woman whom you have given me."
And the woman said, "The serpent is the one who instructed me."
And He cursed the serpent, and He called him "Devil".
Then He said, "Let us cast him out of Paradise lest he take from the Tree of Life and eat and live forever"
But what sort is this God?
First [He] envied Adam that he should eat from the tree of knowledge [gnoseos]...[And] afterwards He said, "Let us cast him [out] of this place, lest he eat of the Tree of Life and live forever."
Surely He has shown Himself to be a malicious envier.

-The Testimony of Truth (2nd-3rd centuries), as quoted in Kripal's The Serpent's Gift
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#31
You who hears all.
Who attends to every prayer.
Who sees all -
I pray You blink -
And miss what happens next.
-Grant Morrison, Annihilator

=-=-=
The following has major book spoilers:

Gnosticism and Mccarthy's Blood Meridian

"Leo Daugherty's essay is one of the best explications of the Gnostic underpinning of Blood Meridian, since, unlike so much of the so-called critical exegesis of the novel, it manages to account for the presence of the epilogue in an inclusive way, structurally and thematically."
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#32
On the Trail of the Winged God: Hermes and Hermeticism Throughout the Ages

...The members of the Hermetic communities were people who, brought up in the immemorial Egyptian religious tradition, offered their own version of the religion of gnosis, which others propounded in a manner more appropriate to the psyches of other national backgrounds, notably Hebrew, Syrian, or Mesopotamian. Sir W.M.F. Petrie3 presents us with a study of such Pagan monks and hermits who gathered together in the deserts of Egypt and other lands. He tells us of the monks' attention to cleanliness, their silence during meals, their seclusion and meditative piety. It would seem that the Hermeticists were recluses of this kind. Unlike the Gnostics, who were mostly living secular lives in cities, the Hermeticists followed a lifestyle similar to the kind Josephus attributes to the Essenes.

When it came to beliefs, it is likely that the Hermeticists and Gnostics were close spiritual relatives. The two schools had a great deal in common, their principal difference being that the Hermeticists looked to the archetypal figure of Hermes as the embodiment of salvific teaching and initiation, while the Gnostics revered the more recent savior figure known as Jesus in a similar manner. Both groups were singularly devoted to gnosis, which they understood to be the experience of liberating interior knowledge; both looked upon embodiment as a limitation that led to unconsciousness, from which only gnosis can liberate the human spirit. Most of the Hermetic teachings closely correspond to fundamental ideas of the Gnostics. There were also some, mostly minor, divergences between the two, to which we shall refer later.

Judging by their writings and by the repute they enjoyed among their contemporaries, the members of the Hermetic communities were inspired persons who firmly believed that they were in touch with the Source of all truth, the very embodiment of divine Wisdom himself.

Indeed there are many passages in the Hermetic writings in which we can still perceive the vibrant inspiration, the exaltation of spirit, in the words whereby they attempt to describe the wonders disclosed to their mystic vision. Like the Gnostics, of whom Jung said that they worked with original, compelling images of the deep unconscious, the Hermeticists experienced powerful and extraordinary insights to which they tried to give expression in their writings. Intense feeling generated by personal spiritual experience pervades most of the Hermetic documents...
...A Hermetic catechumen would begin with a process of conversion, induced by such activities as reading some of the less technical Hermetic literature or listening to a public discourse. A period of probation, including instruction received in a public setting, was required before progressing to the next stage.

This phase would be characterized by a period of philosophical and catechetical studies based on certain Hermetic works. (The Asclepius and the Kore Kosmou may be examples of such study material.) This instruction was imparted to small groups.

The next step entailed a progress through the Seven Spheres or Hebdomad, conducted in a tutorial format, one student at a time. This seems to have been a process of an experiential nature, aided by inspiring topical discourses. In this progression, the candidate is envisioned as beginning his journey from earth and ascending through the planets to a region of freedom from immediate cosmic influences. (The planets were regarded mostly as influences of restriction, which the ascending spirit must overcome.) One may note a close resemblance of this gradual ascent to similar ascensions outlined in various Gnostic sources, as well as to the later Kabbalistic patchwork on the Tree of Life.

The final step was what may be called the Mystery Liturgy of Hermes Trismegistus, of which The Discourse of the Eighth and the Ninth is often regarded as a good example. Here the Hermeticist is spiritually reborn in a transcendental region beyond the seven planets. His status is now that of a pneumatic, or man of the spirit. (Note once again the similarity with Gnosticism.) This level entails an experience of a very profound, initiatory change of consciousness wherein the initiate becomes one with the deeper self resident in his soul, which is a portion of the essence of God. This experience takes place in a totally private setting. The only persons present are the initiate and the initiator (called "son" and "father" in this text). The liturgy takes the form of a dialogue between these two.

The Hermeticists had their own sacraments as well. These appear to have consisted primarily of a form of baptism with water and an anointing resembling "a baptism and a chrism" as mentioned in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip. The Corpus Hermeticum mentions an anointing with "ambrosial water" and a self-administered baptism in a sacred vessel, the krater, sent down by Hermes from the heavenly realms...
...The reaction of the Christian establishment to these writings was ambivalent. It is true that they were never condemned and were even revered by many prominent ecclesiastics. An authoritative volume of the Hermetic books was printed in Ferrara in 1593, for example. It was edited by one Cardinal Patrizzi, who recommended that these works should replace Aristotle as the basis for Christian philosophy and should be diligently studied in schools and monasteries. The mind boggles at the turn Western culture might have taken had Hermetic teachings replaced Aristotelian theology of Thomas Aquinas as the normative doctrine of the Catholic Church!

Such, however, was not to be. One of the chief propagandists of Hermeticism, the brilliant friar Giordano Bruno, was burnt at the stake as a heretic in 1600, and although others continued with their enthusiasm for the fascinating teachings of the books of Hermes, the suspicions and doubts of the narrow-minded continued to dampen any general ardor.

By the seventeenth century, the Hermetic books had enjoyed intermittent popularity in Europe for some 150 years. The coming of the Protestant Reformation and the ensuing religious strife, however, stimulated a tendency toward rationalistic orthodoxy in all quarter. Another factor was the work of the scholar Isaac Casaubon, who used internal evidence in the texts to prove that they had been written, not by a contemporary of Moses, but early in the Christian era.7

By the eighteenth century, the Hermetic teachings were totally eclipsed, and the new scholarship, which prided itself on its opposition to everything it called "superstition," took a dim view of this ancient fountainhead of mystical and occult lore. There wasn't even a critical, academically respectable edition of the Corpus Hermeticum until Walter Scott's Hermetica appeared in 1924...
...While some decades ago it might have appeared that the line of transmission extending from Greco-Egyptian wisdom might come to an end, today the picture appears more hopeful. The discovery and translation of the Nag Hammadi Library generated a great interest in matters Gnostic that does not seem to have abated with the passage of time. Because of the close affinity of the Hermetic writings to the Gnostic ones, the present interest in Gnosticism extends to Hermeticism as well. Most collections of Gnostic scriptures published today include some Hermetic material.

Gnosticism and Hermeticism flourished in the same period; they are equally concerned with personal knowledge of God and the soul, and equally emphatic that the soul can only escape from its bondage to material existence if it attains to true ecstatic understanding (gnosis). It was once fashionable to characterize Hermeticism as "optimistic" in contract to Gnostic "pessimism," but such differences are currently being stressed less than they had been. The Nag Hammadi scriptures have brought to light a side of Gnosticism that joins it more closely to Hermeticism than many would have thought possible.

There are apparent contradictions, not only between Hermetic and Gnostic writings, but within the Hermetic materials themselves. Such contradictions loom large when one contemplates these systems from the outside, but they can be much more easily reconciled by one who steps inside the systems and views them from within. One possible key to such paradoxes is the likelihood that the words in these scriptures were the results of transcendental states of consciousness experienced by their writers. Such words were never meant to define supernatural matters, but only to intimate their impact upon experience.

From a contemporary view, the figure of Hermes, both in its Greek and its Egyptian manifestations, stands as an archetype of transformation through reconciliation of the opposites. (Certainly Jung and other archetypally oriented psychologists viewed Hermes in this light.) If we are inclined to this view, we should rejoice over the renewed interest in Hermes and his timeless gnosis. If we conjure up the famed image of the swift god, replete with winged helmet, sandals, and caduceus, we might still be able to ask him to reconcile the divisions and contradictions of this lower realm in the embrace of enlightened consciousness. And since, like all gods, he is immortal, he might be able to fulfill our request as he did for his devotees of old!
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#33
Swami Vivekananda suggested that this world is neither prison, nor school, but a moral gymnasium for the soul. This is to be understood in relation to the deeper aspect of Soul (Atman) in its bigger aspect as Brahman. That we are all God, that the joys and horrors, and trials and tribulations are Atman really working up a sweat in the Gym of morality.
Grossinger mentions something similar:

"If enlightenment is the unquestioned goal of all existence, what about the problem of timeless nondual being, with all of eternity to nondual, yet somehow and for some purpose choosing to manifest intricately and perniciously dual forms? Why? Why has energy chosen to generate the human platform, to place ego identities inside subjective containers for experience...? How to explain the source of a relatively low-end predatory situation on worlds and through incarnations like ours? How did this inferior state of being make it through Buddhic customs and get sanctioned? Is it possible that this world's dualistic density and set of cosmic filters is essential to a different sacred agenda, perhaps the creation of novelty (as Whitehead and crew would have it). Not exactly counter-enlightenment but rich and profound in a whole other way."

And of course Bergson:

"Men do not sufficiently realise that their future is in their own hands. Theirs is the task of determining first of all whether they want to go on living or not. Theirs the responsibility, then, for deciding if they want merely to live, or intend to make just the extra effort required for fulfilling, even on their refractory planet, the essential function of the universe, which is a machine for the making of gods."
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#34
More on the positive Gnosticism angle:

"If our minds were sharp enough, we would see that our consciousness in the first moment of awakening from sleep emerges not all at once, but in a series of rapid stages. First there is a simple registration of sensation—sound, light, the touch of the body against the mattress. Along with this a primitive feeling tone arises accompanied by a reaction of attraction or aversion. Within the space of less than a second, more complex feelings, thoughts, and intentions come into play. Finally, our ordinary 'self' is fully reconstructed and we 'awaken.'

If we were to expand each of these periods of milliseconds to billions of years, we would see a remarkable parallel to the unfolding of consciousness... over the course of evolution. From a state of apparent sleep, the universe 'wakes up' to the consciousness of 'matter,' then in plants and animals gradually becomes conscious of primitive feelings and reactions. In mammals and primates, the capacities of knowing, willing, and feeling become progressively more complex until, in the human being, thoughts, intentions, and feelings come together to form a 'self.'"

-Don Salmon, The Fractal Nature of the Evolution of Consciousness
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#35
Some stuff about the Yazidi's Gnostic beliefs:

'There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the Yazidi, and a lot of contradictory information. But I was drawn to this aspect of their beliefs: Yazidi don’t have a Satan. Malak Ta’us, an archangel, God’s favorite, was not thrown out of heaven the way Satan was. Instead, he descended, saw the suffering and pain of the world, and cried. His tears, thousands of years’ worth, fell on the fires of hell, extinguishing them. If there is evil in the world, it does not come from a fallen angel or from the fires of hell. The evil in this world is man-made. Nevertheless, humans can, like Malak Ta’us, live in this world but still be good.'

As Yazidi beliefs were not—and still are not—widely understood, a lot of that clearly has more to do with these writers’ own romantic projections than reality (similar to how early 20th century writers like T. Lobsang Rampa created fantastical and ultimately nonsensical portraits of Tibetan Buddhism, when Western people had very little access to primary sources or contacts with actual Tibetan Buddhists).

But what is clear is that the Yazidi tradition is an incredibly complex and beautiful belief system, that we have a huge amount to learn from it, that it probably does represent the true survival of earlier Gnostic currents in both Islam and Christianity, and that its adherents need to be protected and rescued from the genocidal ISIS immediately. Whatever the wider political motivations of the US’s return to the Iraq region, I hope that the trapped Yazidis are rescued immediately, and their people in Nineveh and throughout the world are protected from harm.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#36
“It would be difficult, if not actually impossible, to find a clearer expression of the mytheme of Radiation: for Keel, the world’s mythologies are literally vibrations or frequencies along the electromagnetic spectrum (EM) interacting with the vision-generating, mythmaking organ of the human brain. We see what our cultures and religions have conditioned us to see as we interact with these energies, but—and this is the subtle part—there may well be something “out there” interacting with us.

Though he often framed the issue in the form of a rhetorical question, Keel clearly believed that there exists in the environment “a mysterious exterior force that has the ability to manipulate us.”41 We are being written, and zapped, and screwed with.

By what? By the superspectrum, a spectrum of energies that, at least at its higher reaches, cannot yet be measured with our present technology and science. Why can’t we measure these higher reaches of the superspectrum? Because “it is extradimensional, meaning that it exists outside our own space-time continuum yet influences everything within our reality.” In a word, it is occult.”
-Jeffrey J. Kripal. “Mutants and Mystics : Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#37
Excerpt from Elaine Pagel's excellent book, The Gnostic Gospels

"Scholars investigating the Nag Hammadi find discovered that some of the texts tell the origin of the human race in terms very different from the usual reading of Genesis: the Testimony of Truth, for example, tells the story of the Garden of Eden from the viewpoint of the serpent! Here the serpent, long known to appear in Gnostic literature as the principle of divine wisdom, convinces Adam and Eve to partake of knowledge while "the Lord" threatens them with death, trying jealously to prevent them from attaining knowledge, and expelling them from Paradise when they achieve it. Another text, mysteriously entitled The Thunder, Perfect Mind, offers an extraordinary poem spoken in the voice of a feminine divine power:

For I am the first and the last. I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin....
I am the barren one, and many are her sons....
I am the silence that is incomprehensible....
I am the utterance of my name.


These diverse texts range, then, from secret gospels, poems, and quasi-philosophic descriptions of the origin of the universe, to myths, magic, and instructions for mystical practice."
 
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#38
He saw that he was confronted, actually, with two propositions. The first was simple: “The circumstances are such that I must concentrate on so-and-so”. The second was less simple: “The circumstances have been so contrived as to suggest that I must concentrate on so-and-so”.

In pursuing the first proposition he must, at least, not lose sight of the second.
-Michael Innes


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Teasing Away the Threads: (Non) Insights on Gnosis from a Cyborg

In an odd way, electronic media has done a very good job in securing the definition of psyche-delics (mind manifesting) through a digital cocoon. Or space suit. I’m inclined to the latter, as is Amber Case (see this video) and her notion of prosthetic culture. The counter-culture we oft identify with (and I’m having a real problem holding onto the idea of a counter culture. In many ways it is, and isn’t) has constructed a Visionary prosthesis, opening virtual pathways to interact with one another in shared approximations of hyperspace called Twitter, Facebook, email, forums, etc.

All of it, appears to me anyway, is a kind of digital gnosis. A Consciousness-environment-culture dialectic that feeds back on itself and allows more people to hop in the water, and what was only digital approximations of culture quickly becomes (or further develops) lived bodies. Face-to-face. We’re living in strange times.
'Wouter Hanegraaf is a Religious Studies scholar and the author of the very helpful Western Esotericism: A Guide for the Perplexed. In it, he cites the important work of Imants Baruss, who coined the little-known term: ‘alterations of consciousness.’ This is an important distinction from the more recognizable phrase “altered states of consciousness.”

Think of the language here. Altered implies an alternative from something. Hanegraaf rightly points out that this assumes we have a normal, static, waking consciousness. “Alterations” of consciousness implies that consciousness is a complex-dynamic flood of different states, all working together to constitute the flow of awareness we call, well, us.'
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#39
Wake up! Gnosticism and Buddhism in The Matrix
The Wachowski brothers' 1999 hit release The Matrix draws on multiple religious traditions to establish its complex worldview. Two of the most prominent are Gnostic Christianity and Buddhism, which, like the film, pose humanity's fundamental problem and its solution in terms of ignorance and enlightenment. Because of ignorance, people mistake the "material" world for something real, but they may "wake up" from this dream with help from a guide who teaches them their true nature. This article explores the film's pervasive allusions to Gnosticism and Buddhism, which in turn opens up the question of the film's overarching message and ultimate view of reality.
 
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