I have studied the Gnostic Movement intensely for a number of years. Their “heretical” views twisted and reversed much of the narratives promulgated by the Christianity Movement during Christianity’s formative years, and thus, has fascinated me for many years. Bernard has said that the gnostic movement is a case of “systems turning on systems.” This is easy to understand. Systems being hacked by systems is analogous of “good” software being hacked by “evil software.” But this always seem to end in a perpetual stalemate as we all know. A clear winner never seems to emerge. Virus vs. anti-virus is a never-ending war.
There were many branches of gnosticism, and the Persian system, Manicheanism, was named after it’s original creator, Mani.
Mani’s theology taught that there were two opposing principles that had existed from the beginning. Of course, these principles are the Light and the Dark. This universe is a system of Light where the Great Father of Light resides, that has been attacked by the chaotic forces of the King of Darkness. Well, the Father of Light takes matters into his own hands and rushes in to fight the armies of Chaos himself. War in Heaven! After a protracted battle, Mani claims that two children of Darkness copulate and produce Adam and Eve. Wait! It gets better!
The Father of Light eventually sends down the Cosmic Jesus of Light who goes to Adam and teaches him of the Kingdom of Light from whence he came. Adam has many particles of light inside him, which symbolizes the light “imprisoned” by evil matter. And the Cosmic Jesus tells Adam to stand and eat the fruit of the Tree of Life.
After this awakening act of attaining self-knowledge, “Adam then looked around and wept. He mightily lifted up his voice as a roaring lion. He tore his hair and struck his breast and said, “Cursed be the creator of my body and he who bound my soul and they who have made me their slave.” [Theodore bar Konai, LLber Scholiorum (ed. Scher) 317-18:]
So the deal for the Manicheans was that Humans are to keep the body “pure” through denying the self. At the End of History, all of the Light Particles will be freed and harvested and we will all “return to Source” and live happily ever after.
Now this conception of particles of light being trapped by evil matter is a strong feature in most gnostic cosmologies, as well as the belief that humans were trapped on the Wheel of Life through endless cycles of reincarnation, which has come down to us today in the Western Tradition through various Theosophical, New Thought and New Age alternate religious ideas. According to New Age cosmology,”lightworkers” have been sent to teach others about the Kingdom of Light so we can manifest a Great Awakening for humanity and thereby “Ascending” through the layers of reality back to Source, where we are to be joined as One with “God” and live happily forever more. Or do we?
Recently, I have been reading the writings of the late French postmodernist, Jean Buadrillard. As a social critic, Baudrillard does not see the world through rose-colored glasses. Baudrillard is a big fan of Manicheanism, just as I am. This is what he has to say about their cosmological world view.
“What the heretics posited was that the very creation of the world, hence the reality of the world, was the result of the existence of the evil demon. The function of God, then, was really to try to repudiate this evil phantom – that was the real reason why God had to exist at all. So in this situation it is no longer a question of doubt or non-doubt, of whether one should exercise this doubt or whether this doubt could lead us to confirm or deny the existence of the world. Rather, it is once again the principle of seduction that needs to be invoked in this situation: according to Manicheanism the reality of the world is a total illusion; it is something which has been tainted from the very beginning; it is something which has been seduced by a sort of irreal principle since time immemorial…“[Jean Baudrillard. The Evil Demon of Images. Translated by Paul Patton, Paul Foss and Philippe Tanguy. Sydney: Power Publications, 1987:44-46]
Baudrillard’s insights are perceptive, surprising and provocative. As a philosopher, Baudrillard is known and unknown. In the movie, “The Matrix,” Neo is seen producing his contraband from a hollowed-out book – which happens to be that of Baudrillard’s, Simulacra and Simulation. It is the page of the chapter, On Nihilism, that we see Neo retrieve his pirated software. Clever use of foreshadowing by the directors. Because in this particular book, Baudrillard contends that our perceived reality has become a simulation of reality. The simulation has occurred through the symbols and signs created by the mind and has replaced it’s own version of reality. As Baudrillard says in this book that Neo chooses to keep his hidden software, “The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth–it is the truth which conceals that there is none.”
Of course, those of you whole are regulars on the Desteni boards will recognize that this simulated reality is the manifestation of the Unified Consciousness Field. A holographic prison that is maintained and broadcasted by human thought from within the region of the unconscious mind. The Desteni Group are big fans of “The Matrix.” The parallels between the simulated reality of the movie and the holographic structure of our collective thoughts as composed as the Unified Field are obvious.
In the end of most eschatologies in the Western Religious Tradition, the narrative calls for the forces of Good overcoming the forces of Evil. The grinding poles of duality comes to a halt, and complete Metaphysical Order comes to existence at last! But this cannot be! For the polarity that says, “this is good and that is evil” is only a process of our minds. The Ultimate Reality stands outside of the Unified Field of Consciousness. And Baudrillard seems to agree as well. In dealing with the so-called “War On Terror” which commenced apparently after the 9-11 attacks upon the World Trade Center, he asks us to step outside the accepted consensus reality that defines and “Good and Evil” in such Manichean terms so that we may gain another perspective.
“Terrorism is immoral. The World Trade Centre event, that symbolic challenge, is immoral, and it is a response to a globalization which is itself immoral. So, let us be immoral; and if we want to have some understanding of all this, let us go and take a little look beyond Good and Evil. When, for once, we have an event that defies not just morality, but any form of interpretation, let us try to approach it with an understanding of Evil. This is precisely where the crucial point lies – in the total misunderstanding on the part of Western philosophy, on the part of the Enlightenment, of the relation between Good and Evil. We believe naively that the progress of Good, its advance in all fields (the sciences, technology, democracy, human rights), corresponds to a defeat of Evil. No one seems to have understood that Good and Evil advance together, as part of the same movement. The triumph of the one does not eclipse the other – far from it. In metaphysical terms, Evil is regarded as an accidental mishap, but this axiom, from which all the Manichean forms of the struggle of Good against Evil derive, is illusory. Good does not conquer Evil, nor indeed does the reverse happen: they are at once both irreducible to each other, and inextricably interrelated.“[The Spirit of Terrorism and Requiem for the Twin Towers. Translated by Chris Turner. London: Verso, 2002:13.]
We have been discussing this aspect of polarity in the Desteni forums of how the relational poles of duality are linked together as one. It is time to understand the illusory nature of and release all illusory forms of dualism, for in the friction generated from the grinding of the opposing poles in the Unified Field, creates and maintains our holographic jail, where we languish as the Living Words, forced to serve out a holographic sentence.
Baudrillard quotes taken from the website:
The Journal of Baudrillard Studies