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

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#41
“We are pluriforms of God voluntarily descended to this prison world, voluntarily losing our memory, identity, and supernatural powers (faculties), all of which can be regained through anamnesis.”
-P.K.Dick

“From Ikhnaton [pharaoh who initiated monotheism] this knowledge passed to Moses, and from Moses to Elijah, the Immortal Man, who became Christ. But underneath all the names there is only one Immortal Man; and we are that man.”
-P.K.Dick

=-=-=

'There is a very good reason for this chameleon-like nature of Dick’s self-interpretations, I would suggest, and that reason boils down to the fact that Dick understood himself to be a kind of gnostic comparativist, that is, he saw the deepest truth of things as being available to us in the history of religions, but also as “splintered up over thousands of miles and years.” There are sparks and bits, for example, in Neoplatonism, Zoroastrianism, Gnosticism, Taoism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Orphism, and so on, but no single system taken alone is true, hence “none is to be accepted at the expense of all the others.” Rather, like the Soul or the Self, the truth must be recollected from its dispersal in history and culture. “This is my task,” Dick declares.

Having admitted all of that, it is also true that Dick was profoundly drawn to systems of thought that he himself identified as both “Christian” and “gnostic.” Dick understood Gnosticism to be an accessible, “already accomplished” truth that was best reflected in a set of early Christian communities and texts that saw the world of matter as corrupt or even evil and that understood the biblical creator-god to be a kind of dumb demiurge or lower creator god. As we have already had many occasions to note, the true gnostic Godhead, who was entirely beyond this material world, could be reached not through the violent and finally ignorant beliefs and rituals of the orthodox churches, but through a personal gnosis, that is, a mystical experience that revealed to one the ultimately illusory nature of the material, social, and religious worlds and the essential divinity of the soul-spark. In other word—Valis.

This is a dangerous truth. Hence the simplest summary of Dick’s gnosis is probably Sutin’s potent observation that one of the most common and consistent features of the Exegesis is the author’s sense of himself as “a frightened ‘knower’ of a secret” (DIS 117). He certainly believed that the only sure way to knowledge and salvation was “disobedience”—disobedience, that is, to the ruler of this world of civility and church. This sense of fear and forbidden knowledge, of course, was already encoded in his science fiction before he came around to a conscious gnostic worldview. Science fiction, for Dick, was a kind of natural Gnosticism without revelation, which we might frame for our own purposes in its simplest terms as a refusal to yield to the social reality in which one happens to find oneself...

...In the pink light of Valis, he also came to see that many of his earlier sci-fi novels, and especially Ubik, encoded the later revelation. He came to see that these earlier novels were, in effect, messages from the future.26 They thus “have a strange ring of (revealed) truth about them.” This leads him to ask a question. Is “something writing through us?" '
-Jeffrey J. Kripal. “Mutants and Mystics : Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal


 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#42
Dick also did not hesitate to employ the Hindu philosophical concepts of Atman and Brahman, the immortal witness Self (atman) and universal ground of Being, Consciousness, and Bliss that are identical or “nondual.” Thus he compares the godlike Logos of his novel Ubik to the Atman. And he compares Valis to the Brahman, which hides itself in and as the trash of the material world and the kitsch of pop culture—“Zebra,” as Dick liked to call this Being, with the suggestion that we are being deceived by a higher power, just as animals are deceived by mimicry and deception in the animal kingdom. “Zebra, if it can be said to resemble the contents of any religion,” Dick wrote, “resembles the Hindu concept of Brahman.”

God, it turns out, shows stripes in the high grass not to help us, but to hide from us and to trick us. Or to eat us, for tigers have stripes too.
-Jeffrey J. Kripal. “Mutants and Mystics : Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal.


=-=-=

Dick’s Gnosticism, like his vision of time, was fundamentally Two. In some of his novels, it is also the case that there are two gods. There is a lower sinister or stupid creator-god, who has trapped us in matter and is worshipped by the orthodox systems through the sacraments; this is “the arrogant one, the Blind God (i.e. the artifact) which supposes itself to be the one true God,” as Dick glossed his own character of Palmer Eldritch. And there is the transcendent Godhead, Yahweh, Ubik, or Yah (in The Divine Invasion), whose absolute nature we share by virtue of our deepest divine spirit, the “wise, benign, powerful true God from ‘outside,’” who has “invaded our spurious reality & is transforming it ontologically into the good and real,” as he hides in the trash of pop culture (PV 70, 193).
-Jeffrey J. Kripal. “Mutants and Mystics : Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal.”
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#43
– ‘Monkey robot’? he says.
– Puppets on a string, dangling, jangling, gangling from the ganglions in the head. That’s how they control us. That’s all we are to them, monkey robots – apemen, golems, fucking soldiers of the Empire.
– The Empire?
– Empire never ended. Just hid itself. You can only see it if you close your eyes.
-Vellum (The Book of All Hours)

=-=-=

"...It’s not the man himself, I’m worried about, just the mindworm that he’s carrying in his head, the sordid little dream, the meme, that pulls his strings and pushes his buttons, looking to lay its sick spores in the empty thoughts of all the hate filled whores and motherfuckers too dumb to see what’s happening. Language lives, my friend, information with intent, aware, awake inside us. Call them gods, call them demons, they’re the archons of our world, these fucking mindworms, spawned in speeches, nurtured in newspapers, feeding on our fears and desires. Ideas are not just born, my friend. They breed. And behind every good demagogue is a bad idea. I should know; I’m a myth myself....
-Duncan, Hal (2011-08-11). Vellum (The Book of All Hours) (p. 325). Macmillan Publishers UK. Kindle Edition.


=-=-=

– You’ve been living in the Empire so long you don’t even see it, working lurking, in the background, in the shadows and reflections. Do you know who your masters are? Dreams aren’t real? I say they walk among us, whispering in our ears all their sweet promises and threats, carried in our heads, mindworms, maggots eating at our dead souls. Dreams, memes, gods and monsters, creatures of the id. If they aren’t real then what the hell am I?
– You’re a very disturbed young man, Jack. You’re ill.
– I’m awake!
-Duncan, Hal (2011-08-11). Vellum (The Book of All Hours) (p. 379). Macmillan Publishers UK. Kindle Edition.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#44
"I am a fictionalizing philosopher, not a novelist; my novel & story-writing ability is employed as a means to formulate my perception. The core of my writing is not art but truth. Thus what I tell is the truth, yet I can do nothing to alleviate it, either by deed or explanation. Yet this seems somehow to help a certain kind of sensitive troubled person, for whom I speak.

I think I understand the common ingredient in those whom my writing helps: they cannot or will not blunt their own intimations about the irrational, mysterious nature of reality, & for them, my corpus of writing is one long ratiocination regarding this inexplicable reality, an investigation & presentation, analysis & response & personal history.

My audience will always be limited to those people."

-Philip K. Dick
 
#46
JKMac's thread on the arguable futility of not recalling past lives got me thinking about one of my favorite subjects - Gnosticsm. This ties back to Manjit's Speculation About Reality thread as well.

Basically AFAICTell in Gnosticism the universe is a prison and/or a school, and we are supposed to escape it, or transcend it, or possibly just learn from our limited lives within its confines.

Let's assume acceptance of the varied realities/beings/etc discussed in the varied podcasts. Seems like if you took NDEs, reincarnation, Vallee's UFO hypothesis, cosmology from Theosophy/Dante's Comedy/Hinduism/Shamanism/etc, and even some of the info from mediums you could (easily?) piece together a puzzle whose final image was very much akin to the Gnostic model.

Now whether its Positive Gnosticism* or Negative Gnosticism is an open question. Does this reality seem more like a prison or a school to you?

*"The gnostic error is to hate the material world; ... The material world is the part of heaven we can touch."
- Grant Morrison, The Invisibles


p.s. Thanks to Smashing Pumpkins for help with the thread title:

I actually have thought about this too. Nice post. Maybe this is both a prison and school at the same time. Maybe you go into prison with the objective of breaking out. I have also thought about unseen forces interacting with our reality and the fact that our eyes only take in a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. That is a-lot of stuff that you are missing. I do agree that if you piece in many paranormal topics you can conjure up world that is under the influence of some other otherworldly predatory influence. I am sure you heard of the archons in Gnosis. Back then are ancestors were ignorant and thought that everything psychological was the product of some unseen force product... now it is the exact opposite... people want to explain everything with pyschology. Maybe its somewhere in the middle.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#47
I actually have thought about this too. Nice post. Maybe this is both a prison and school at the same time. Maybe you go into prison with the objective of breaking out. I have also thought about unseen forces interacting with our reality and the fact that our eyes only take in a fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum. That is a-lot of stuff that you are missing. I do agree that if you piece in many paranormal topics you can conjure up world that is under the influence of some other otherworldly predatory influence. I am sure you heard of the archons in Gnosis. Back then are ancestors were ignorant and thought that everything psychological was the product of some unseen force product... now it is the exact opposite... people want to explain everything with pyschology. Maybe its somewhere in the middle.
Just to be clear, I'm not advocating negative Gnosticism as definitive. I simply think it's an important idea to keep in mind lest we go too far into thinking that any faith is definitive true or that the paranormal can be trusted to such an extent we use it to supplant our natural human instincts.

Additionally, by keeping this dark possibility in mind we can also be more wary of coupling paranormal experiences with certain truths. Example of this would suicide bombers, but also the supposed revelations of yoga-"science" that suggest no free will and a rejection of this world for whatever Nirvana is supposed to be. While materialism should be rejected given how weak and haphazard its arguments are we shouldn't abandon legitimate skepticism. And even that last statement has caveats, after all you are going to express truths you live by in your daily actions, and so long as one realizes there's a limit to impinging on others I'd say it's good to bank of a universal, loving God/Goddess/gods + free will + objective morality....though for that last one we should accept that we might be wrong about certain moral proscriptions especially as they concern consenting adults around us.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#48
"But once one finds oneself in the cavern, escape is only viable if one accepts that, whilst in it, one must act by the rules of the cavern; by the terms of Urizen, the guarding demiurge, for as long as he calls the shots and is looking; for ignoring the reality of the cavern's dominance only ensures that one remains locked in it forever, banging one's heads against the rocks. The path to breaking the incantation -- to Blake's freedom -- entails a form of sincere cooperation that precedes the final betrayal; the betrayal that brings meaning back to absurdity. But since Urizen polices from within, one's left hand must not know what one's right hand is doing, and one must sincerely feel loyalty towards the demiurge."

-Bernardo Kastrup
 
#49
About The Book: This intriguing, informative, fully illustrated volume serves up a tantalizing trove of facts and lore on the philosophy and practice of evil down through the ages and around the world.

Excerpt
“The dualistic conception of nature has been a necessary phase in the evolution of human thought. We find the same views of good and evil spirits prevailing among all the peoples of the earth at the very beginning of that stage of their development which, in the phraseology of Tylor, is commonly called Animism. But the principle of unity dominates the development of thought. Man tries to unify his conceptions in a consistent and harmonious Monism. Accordingly, while the belief in good spirits tended towards the formation of the doctrine of Monotheism, the belief in evil spirits led naturally to the acceptance of a single supreme evil deity, conceived as embodying all that is bad, destructive, and immoral.”
http://www.globalgrey.co.uk/history-of-the-devil/

An excellent introductory book (with a few errors, though) to the history of the concept of the devil. Would give a great perspective to a lot of what is discussed on this thread! Plenty of free downloads available by search, above is the first result
 
#50
Žižek’s name for what Buddhists call “no self” isparallax. We literally see from two slightly different places, as well as always interpreting the world within rival incommensurable symbolic frameworks. For Žižek, though, the sense of stable reality is not something undercut by parallax, but actually created by it. The Real is an “optical illusion” created by a constant alternation between slightly divergent vantage points.

Recent neuropsychological research has revealed how parallax may work to create the illusion of Time: The sense of the now as having a duration arises from a resonance between slightly temporally offset “functional moments”; the resulting mini-Now or “experienced moment” (lasting 2-3 seconds) along with the slightly longer-duration function of working memory is what enables us to understand language and experience music, for example: building up “chords” of meaning from sequential sounds, perceptions, and thoughts that the brain binds together and unifies into a coherent whole. The ongoing juxtaposition of temporally offset experiences creates the illusion of Time as a dimension having its own volume or extension.

Right, I have no idea where to place this brilliant blog piece, so I'll chuck it in here. I didn't even have a clue which part of this single blog entry to quote, as it covers so many areas discussed on this forum. Fantastic blog in general, imo:

http://thenightshirt.com/?p=2090
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#51
"The path to immortality is hard, and only a few find it. The rest await the Great Day when the wheels of the universe shall be stopped and the immortal sparks shall escape from the sheaths of substance. Woe unto those who wait, for they must return again, unconscious and unknowing, to the seed-ground of stars, and await a new beginning...”
― Thoth Hermes Trismegistus

The Hermetists shared with the Gnostics the idea that they had fallen from an original spiritual state into a world of brute and oblivious matter, but their response to this situation was different. For one thing, the Hermetists did not see the world as evil, nor did they believe it was a product of a usurper god. Another difference is that while the Gnostics worked within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Hermetists’ milieu was Egyptian, although some interpreters have seen their teachings as a kind of “pre-Christian Christianity.” Both, however, saw gnosis as the answer. But while the Gnostics sought gnosis as a way of escaping from a false world, the Hermetists saw gnosis as a way of recovering their spiritual state within the world. And for them, this ultimately meant a way of transforming the world, of redeeming it and themselves from their fallen state.

At the risk of overgeneralizing, we can say that if for the Gnostics the world was a prison they wished to escape, for the Hermetists it was one they wished to transform into a cathedral. Just as the Gnostics believed that the way back to their source, the true God beyond the cosmos, led through the gauntlet of the archons, the Hermetists believed that the way to regain their true spiritual state led via a “journey through the planets,” a return trip back to Nous. During this voyage they would either divest themselves of the dense, planetary characteristics they had acquired on their descent, or transform them into positive values. This “ascent through the spheres” was not accomplished via a rocket ship but through an inner voyage, the kind of “journey into the interior” that would become a mainstay of the esoteric tradition. Fundamentally, this was a meditative and contemplative practice aimed at transforming consciousness, much as the “practice of dying while still alive” and the initiation into the Mysteries were. The Hermetists knew that their origin and goal lay “beyond the cosmos,” but they knew this “beyond” was not some far-off destination in the depths of space, but a “beyond” outside of space, that metaphorically “interior” realm we call “the mind.” The “progress through the Hebdomad,” as Stephan Hoeller calls the journey through the seven planets, took place inwardly, and its stages were marked by an increase in consciousness. As Hoeller writes, “as the initiate’s interior powers increase, the stranglehold of the cosmos and the planets decreases.”


Lachman, Gary (2015-12-08). The Secret Teachers of the Western World (pp. 135-136). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#52
The Hermetists shared with the Gnostics the idea that they had fallen from an original spiritual state into a world of brute and oblivious matter, but their response to this situation was different. For one thing, the Hermetists did not see the world as evil, nor did they believe it was a product of a usurper god. Another difference is that while the Gnostics worked within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the Hermetists’ milieu was Egyptian, although some interpreters have seen their teachings as a kind of “pre-Christian Christianity.” Both, however, saw gnosis as the answer. But while the Gnostics sought gnosis as a way of escaping from a false world, the Hermetists saw gnosis as a way of recovering their spiritual state within the world. And for them, this ultimately meant a way of transforming the world, of redeeming it and themselves from their fallen state.

At the risk of overgeneralizing, we can say that if for the Gnostics the world was a prison they wished to escape, for the Hermetists it was one they wished to transform into a cathedral. Just as the Gnostics believed that the way back to their source, the true God beyond the cosmos, led through the gauntlet of the archons, the Hermetists believed that the way to regain their true spiritual state led via a “journey through the planets,” a return trip back to Nous. During this voyage they would either divest themselves of the dense, planetary characteristics they had acquired on their descent, or transform them into positive values. This “ascent through the spheres” was not accomplished via a rocket ship but through an inner voyage, the kind of “journey into the interior” that would become a mainstay of the esoteric tradition. Fundamentally, this was a meditative and contemplative practice aimed at transforming consciousness, much as the “practice of dying while still alive” and the initiation into the Mysteries were. The Hermetists knew that their origin and goal lay “beyond the cosmos,” but they knew this “beyond” was not some far-off destination in the depths of space, but a “beyond” outside of space, that metaphorically “interior” realm we call “the mind.” The “progress through the Hebdomad,” as Stephan Hoeller calls the journey through the seven planets, took place inwardly, and its stages were marked by an increase in consciousness. As Hoeller writes, “as the initiate’s interior powers increase, the stranglehold of the cosmos and the planets decreases.”


Lachman, Gary (2015-12-08). The Secret Teachers of the Western World (pp. 135-136). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Apologies this should probably go first:

For “Greek” here we can read “the left brain,” with its meticulous attention to particulars and its tendency— some might say obsession— with prying discreet, individual objects— parts— out of the whole. The whole, the province of the right brain, was what the Hermetists were after, and in his mystical experience of gnosis, this is what Hermes Trismegistus got.

While in a relaxed state, in which his body was calm— a state much like that described by Plato as “practicing dying,” and in which Jeremy Naydler suggests the ancient Egyptian priests could release their ba from the body— Hermes Trismegistus is visited by Nous, or the Divine or Universal Mind. Nous tells Hermes about the creation of the world. Much of the story will be familiar to us. Wanting to create the world, Nous first creates a craftsman, a demiurge, who does the job, much as in the Platonic and Gnostic creation myths, although in the Hermetic account, the craftsman does not go rogue and usurp power from his master. The craftsman creates seven helpers to aid him in his task; these will turn out to be the seven ancient planets, whose crystalline spheres will encircle the Earth. With the job done, Nous decides that he would like to share his creation with another, so he creates Man. (Needless to say, Man here is used in the classical sense of human, meaning men and women.)

Man is quite taken with creation, and wanting a closer look at Earth, he peers through the seven spheres and is immediately smitten with Nature. Nature, too, is smitten with him, and their attraction to each other causes man to fall to Earth, where the two embrace (Nature here, as in all classical accounts, is a woman). Plummeting through the seven spheres, man’s originally wholly spiritual being becomes weighted down with elements of the planets, and he finds himself sunken into brute matter, his inherent spiritual state now obscured by the dense resistance of the physical world. Like the Gnostics, Hermetic Man finds himself trapped, “fallen” into a world that constrains his freedom and denies his spiritual roots. At the very least he has become, as the Hermetic writings have it, a creature of “two worlds,” an earthly being subject to “fate” yet with a memory of and yearning for his spiritual source, however distant and diminished its influence has now become.


Lachman, Gary (2015-12-08). The Secret Teachers of the Western World (p. 135). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#53
Mystical Experience and the Evolution of Consciousness: A Twenty-first Century Gnosis

McGilchrist argues that throughout history the two brains have been in a kind of rivalry punctuated by brief periods when they worked together. Neither he nor I am saying that we should jettison left brain or ‘survival’ consciousness in favor of the right. Both are necessary and we wouldn’t have them if they weren’t. But he does argue that there has been a gradual shift in emphasis toward valuing the left over the right, and that we are increasingly creating a left-brain dominated culture that is slowly squeezing out the input from the right. The fact that the most respected intelligences of our time – scientists – tell us that the universe is “pointless” seems evidence of this. Breaking down the whole into bits and pieces in order to understand and manipulate it (technology), we lose sight of the connection between things, the implicit meaning that the right brain perceives but which it is unable to communicate to the left, in a language it can understand. Poets, mystics, artists can feel this whole and try to communicate it, but the left brain only acknowledges ‘facts’ and dismisses their entreaties as well-meaning moonshine.

So where does this leave us? For one thing, recognizing that the kind of consciousness associated with mystical experience and gnosis is rooted in our own neurophysiology, and cannot be dismissed as delusion, mere emotion, or madness allows us to approach the question of gnosis in a way that the proponents of episteme cannot ignore, even if they do not agree with it. If, as McGilchrist argues, the right brain holistic perception is fundamental – is, as he calls it, the Master – then we can begin to see how the left brain analytical perception rose out of it, developed as an evolutionary aid to survival. (It is, perhaps, the source of the ‘ancient wisdom’ of the Hermeticists and other mystery traditions.) We can see that our present left-brain oriented consciousness is not, as mentioned earlier, consciousness per se, but has antecedents in earlier forms of consciousness. And if we recognize, as many have, that this utilitarian focused consciousness, while working wonderfully as a tool for survival, has been gradually eliminating the kind of right brain perceptions that give life a sense of meaning, we can see that this imbalance needs to be redressed. McGilchrist points to several periods in history when, as mentioned, the two worked together, with remarkable results: Classical Greece, the Renaissance, the Romantic Movement. And in our own experience, we can find moments when this happens too: moments of insight, ‘peak experiences’, creative moments when the big picture and the detail come together, when the particular seems to express some universal, and when the whole cosmos seems to reside in our own imaginations. (Poets may receive inspiration from the right brain, but they need the left in order to capture that inspiration in words.) McGilchrist argues that the times in western history when a creative union between the two hemispheres of the brain were reached were triggered by the urgent need for them to work together. Crisis, he says, can bring about the completion of our ‘partial mind’, as the poet W.B. Yeats expressed it. We are not, I submit, short of crises. Let us hope McGilchrist is right and that the evolution of consciousness, spurred by the challenges before us, unites our two sides in a creative gnosis for the twenty-first century.
 
#54
Great question (I missed this post somehow until today) and responses.

I have to say I was especially taken by Max_B's comment about the Gospel of Thomas saying: "by not bring anymore children into the world, thus ending the cycle of birth and death, and bringing the whole thing to a close." etc.

I am going to get a copy of the Gospel of Thomas and read the whole thing, but I would love to hear more about this, page references, what made you come to this conclusion, anything basically?

My posts tend to be too long so I won't get into it, but this comment has a very special meaning to me - I independently came to a similar conclusion many many years ago and just about the only rule I have in life is don't have children (so by guilty association, marriage is unlikely as I couldn't expect a partner to not want children). I thought I was pretty much unique in this perspective.....based on my natural proclivity as well as a host of visionary experiences....so was extremely interested by that comment.

That my "paranormal" experiences (mainly to do with the "demi-urge") over the last 7 or so years has converged "naturally" with much of the gnostic teachings, I find makes it all the more fascinating. Especially seeing as I was not overly familiar with the gnostic teachings (I had read some, such as the Pistis Sophia and some other scripture quotes, but I was fairly young at the time and I filtered it through my understanding at the time, ie. I didn't really understand the meaning).

Any insights you'd care to share about this aspect would be gratefully received.

NB - I'm starting to really enjoy the modern gnosticism. For example the "Tech-Gnosis" piece Sciborg_S_Patel posted by I believe Erik Davis is one of the best online articles I've read in a long long time! Fantastic stuff!

The gnostic "no children" message jibes very well with much of pessimistic antinatalist philosophy of the 19th and 18th century,specifically Emil Cioran and Arthur Schopenhauer. Cioran said, in one of his works, that the greatest sin in existence is to become a father. That just blew me away. A more recent book is Benatar's Better Not to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence where he effectively says that in life suffering is guaranteed, while happiness is at best a rare, passing thing, making the case for antinatalism.
 
#55
Thanks for the references SciFiFanatic (I'm a bit of a fan too :)

I've never heard of them, may well check it out!

What are you personal thoughts on it? (please ignore if you wish, it is a bit of a miserable subject that I never discuss in public, or anyone at all really! :)

Cheers, Manjit
 
#56
Well my interest in pessimistic philosophy started when I read H. P. Lovecraft in high school, where he espoused in his fiction a philosphy of cosmicism or cosmic indifferentism, where humans were just a passing, insignificant thing in the cosmic drama. His main character was usually an educated, puritanical and curious gentleman who at the end was confronted with forbidden, blasphemous knowledge of enormously powerful extraterrestrial beings who can at any time exterminate the whole of humankind anytime they wished. This knowledge would ultimately drive the main character insane.
From Lovecraft I graduated to Schopenhauer, Cioran and the modern pessimists like Ligotti, who are also antinatalists. I read Ligotti's Conspiracy Against The Human Race, which sent me into a week long depression, something that happened only once in my life. He has many pessimistic points that he raises in his book, his chief message being that the only way to somehow manage to endure life is to completely shatter the ego or self, something that, according to him has been only done by Jiddu Krishnamurti and some Australian guy whose name I don't recall at this time. He also opposes reproduction and recommends that we, as a species should make the rational choice of going extinct, since an unconscious, lifeless universe will never feel pain or deprivation. Obviously, he acknowledges that, being the gene controlled survival machines that we are, we will have a difficult time accepting this state of affairs.
There is also New Age past life regression material where people whose souls that are either extraterrestrial or are reincarnating for the first time, refrain from having children, because that would create a karmic link between them and the Earth plane, something they desperately wish to avoid. In this view, Earth is considered the most brutal boot camp a soul can ever go through.
 
#57
As for my personal opinion, I myself have a horrid gene set that I would not wish upon my unborn children. I believe anyone who has genetic diseases, like hemophilia, diabetes or chromosome X linked diseases should seriously reconsider having offspring. Bringing an innocent child into this world is a great responsibility, but bringing someone who you know has a big chance of having a disease is downright immoral.
I remeber during my pediatrics shift, my group's attendant was talking with a woman who already had a child with a severe genetic blood disorder and was then carrying another child who had a 50/50 chance of inheriting the same disease. I literally seethed with anger at her rationalizations. Such selfish creatures women can be, especially when they are blinded by their biological instincts. Her husband was even more ignorant, of course happy to spread his genes and possibly condemn another soul to a life of suffering.
I'm not against reproduction per say, since the antinatalist view is pretty extreme, and admittedly there are a few pleasurable aspects to life, but more against the type of reproduction outlined above and in other cases where the child will inevitably suffer.
 
#58
Wow, thanks for the informative response SciFiFanatic!

I have also thought things like these, but thought I was pretty much unique or alone in it, which at least in normal everyday life is pretty much the case! I will definitely have to check out Cioran and Ligotti just for intellectual curiosity (even if it is a bid of a moribund subject!).

Where I would disagree is in the value of a "unconscious, lifeless universe"......whilst I think there is, without any doubt, tremendous suffering in THIS world, there is also the potential for great love, joy, happiness, compassion, awe, astonishment etc.

I think there are two sides to all of us. Perhaps that's the point! Who knows?

Thanks for thought provoking and informative post :)
 
#59
Coming into this thread very late, but thanks for everything that's been shared so far, there's been some great stuff.

I'm a big fan of evaluating any metaphysical claim/system by asking "How well supported by evidence is that, what are its implications, and how plausible is it and are its implications?" I'll here focus on the latter (implications).

So, let's say that the world is a prison or a school. OK, so, who built the school/prison, and why? If this is a prison, then what is our crime, or are we falsely imprisoned? Who or what would falsely imprison us, and why? If this is a school, then what is it supposed to teach us, and is this genuinely the best method of teaching? It seems pretty sadistic to me at times. Let's say we are falsely imprisoned; then, is our prison guard evil? If so, then why are we not experiencing more horrors than we are? Is the imprisoning agent restrained from being as cruel as s/he would like to be? Why? And by whom? And why is the restrainer not restraining that agent from falsely imprisoning us in the first place? And if we are justly imprisoned, then why can we not remember why, nor how to make amends?

Or let's say that we are in a school; why do we have to suffer to learn? Who would implement such a system? The suffering in a normal, human, worldly school is minimal - a bit of discipline; some early mornings; some boredom - why would the suffering in a "cosmic" school be so extreme - torturous even at times? What advantage does it have over directly "beaming" information harmlessly into our minds? Why do we even need to incarnate to learn?

What system of Gods and Devils does the school/prison metaphysic truly imply, and is this system plausible? Maybe God wants to teach us and the Devil wants to imprison us and they came to a deal where they'd do both??... Dunno, it all just seems really suspect to me. I'm more in tune with a manichaean system where to incarnate is to do battle.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#60
Coming into this thread very late, but thanks for everything that's been shared so far, there's been some great stuff.

I'm a big fan of evaluating any metaphysical claim/system by asking "How well supported by evidence is that, what are its implications, and how plausible is it and are its implications?" I'll here focus on the latter (implications).

So, let's say that the world is a prison or a school. OK, so, who built the school/prison, and why? If this is a prison, then what is our crime, or are we falsely imprisoned? Who or what would falsely imprison us, and why? If this is a school, then what is it supposed to teach us, and is this genuinely the best method of teaching? It seems pretty sadistic to me at times. Let's say we are falsely imprisoned; then, is our prison guard evil? If so, then why are we not experiencing more horrors than we are? Is the imprisoning agent restrained from being as cruel as s/he would like to be? Why? And by whom? And why is the restrainer not restraining that agent from falsely imprisoning us in the first place? And if we are justly imprisoned, then why can we not remember why, nor how to make amends?

Or let's say that we are in a school; why do we have to suffer to learn? Who would implement such a system? The suffering in a normal, human, worldly school is minimal - a bit of discipline; some early mornings; some boredom - why would the suffering in a "cosmic" school be so extreme - torturous even at times? What advantage does it have over directly "beaming" information harmlessly into our minds? Why do we even need to incarnate to learn?

What system of Gods and Devils does the school/prison metaphysic truly imply, and is this system plausible? Maybe God wants to teach us and the Devil wants to imprison us and they came to a deal where they'd do both??... Dunno, it all just seems really suspect to me. I'm more in tune with a manichaean system where to incarnate is to do battle.
Laird I have to admit the school idea is one I feel rather uncomfortable with. I mean if this life is a kind of simulated training program, do we ever get to a life that actually matters?

OTOH as you note there's a certain dreariness to the Gnostic thought, that makes this world seem more horrible and meaningless than it appears to me.

I guess to me it may be the case the NDE message of nothing ultimately mattering might be true, but this doesn't feel like a reason to rejoice IMO. I can't help but catch the scent of a positive nihilism, where this long life is an incredibly worthless one. Additionally, how far into environmental degradation do we have to sink before this "school" is unsuitable?

Gnosticism, for all its paranoia, does have a certain appeal to me because even when one accepts mind-not-brain the supposed answers seem to indicate either a deep ignorance on the part of entities beyond toward other locations or a purposeful deception.

Or so, at least, it seems to me....but like you I'm a Manichean at heart. :)
 
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