Are You a Gnostic?

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8 Responses

  1. Bill Valles says:

    Hi Miguel,

    First and most of all: Thank you for all that you do, man. Posting and writing these articles, even if you are struggling to do so sometimes, means that hapless nomads like myself can wander in here and get a decent meal and a pull off the jug of living waters every now and again. I used to wonder, and often, if *anyone* else possibly felt like I did about my place in this world (or uncomfortable place in it) and if all of it was just some kind of mental illness I needed to keep quiet about when playing meet ‘n’ greet to those around me stuck on the merry-go-round of this golden ring we collectively refer to as ‘our life’.

    On the journey of understanding what it means to be gnostic or to even know enough about how to use that word, you and me and everyone on this path can certainly do with some encouragement now and again. So, I appreciate you and if you can, please keep doing what you do, okay? You clearly have the focus and the vision to put this thing together enough to form this little oasis out amongst the internets where the hating angels of Gee(whiz)Ho-Hovah try to be the fishers of men and women for their little fighting beta-fish bowls of amusement.

    Admittedly, I do feel pretty guilty some mornings driving on my 2 hour, one-way commute to work listening to your wonderful and insightful podcasts that I have downloaded from iTunes knowing that I have not tossed a gilder in the bucket for you, even though I do hear you ringin that bell, my man. But, I will remedy this when I can and try to help you keep on keepin on in some small way — when I can. Times now– (sigh)–they are tough and it’s a chore for most of us to try and keep body and soul together one more week and I know that a pat on the back does not help keep the lights on so—I get it, I do.

    So, am I a gnostic? Hell, I dunno. Maybe. Maybe not? I’d like to think that I fit in somewhere and if I have to give it a name then, sure…let’s call it ‘gnostic’ then. What I am is a dude who is **tired** of fighting through the B.S. that is the glue that holds this reality together. I don’t understand the game and don’t see the point of it and I feel like some guy in a Cormac McCarthy novel about to flip a coin and catch a pin to the head from an air driven cattle gun or about to get trampled by a pretty horsey for no reason except I was here when the coin got here with the horse. I have a pretty good meter for BS, so when I hear what I think is the truth, it has a certain ring to it. I rarely hear a big ding, though. Mostly lots of little teeny dings. But, the BS was going off so much in the past I had to install a filter, you know? Yeah, you know…

    Thanks for the dingalings, Miguel, and I look forward to whatever you can continue to do and I will try and help you as I can.

    Very best—Bill V.

  2. baf43 says:

    Love your intros Miguel! I just love curling up with a glass of wine and listening to poetry from the pleroma. You got my support. Just for that puff of gnosis every week that lets me know, indeed, there are others out there somewhere–just not around here (heckles).

    I’ve been listening to several episodes with Nathaniel Merritt and especially his experiences as a Je-hova witness. Now, my experiences with the Je-hova witnesses is a complete 180 from what Nathaniel describes. In fact, looking back on the time I’ve spent with them, especially, with the insights I have now is very interesting. At least, I found it interesting, to you it may be worth a chuckle. But it tells a completely different story. I haven’t thought about it much, until recently. All these memories started coming back to me as I was listening to these episodes and I started putting the pieces together. But listening to Nathaniel, man, I also realized what a ‘bubble’ I must live in. I don’t know anything about what people are talking about when they talk about, what seems to me, as this seedy underbelly of religion and spirituality. To me it sounds like complete ‘looney toons’ stuff. I mean, I’ve heard that some Christian denominations down south were just bat-shit crazy–but I’ve never seen anything like that up here in the north. Like Nathaniel I was raised as a ‘Jehovah’ witness and stayed with them for about 10 years–but they just sent a couple members of the congregation over to my house once a week and we talked–what I perceived–as just talks about life. Very philosophical and I now perceive as being somewhat ‘esoteric’ in nature, in that, it was different somehow from the main-stream. But I found them to be some of the best people I’ve ever met. I realize now, they must have been very ‘progressive,’ I guess you might say. They always talked about how their congregation was different or better–in some sense higher than some of the other congregations in the area. They really ‘divided’ Jehova’s witnesses into different branches, you could say.

    Now, their interpretation was different from what Nathaniel described–it was very ‘loose’ and very figurative–whenever I raised something that contradicted science–they always sided with science on the matter. Whenever I mistook something as being ‘literal’ they always corrected me, in fact, they frowned upon literalism. Often pointing out inconsistencies in the translation with new interpretations from the dead sea scrolls. Contradictory to what Nathaniel described, they were very Jesus oriented–I mean, most of what we discussed centered on the life and times and the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, I always had this picture of Jesus as being analogous to the legendary King Arthur and we were, in fact, waiting for the return of the once and future king. I never once got the impression that they were trying to ‘sucker’ people into becoming a witness or keep them in the congregation against their will and when I left it was like taking the pebble from their hand. When I brought up the subject of leaving they said; when you feel you are ready you can just walk away. They always made it a point that it was their duty as a ‘witness’ to give their teachings away as an act of pure kindness–in following the example of Jesus. In those 10 years, I really felt that they had taught me all they could teach me and it was time for me to go out into the world and apply what they had taught me, the best I could, to my life.

    In many ways, I feel right at home with Gnosticism–even the concept of the Demiurge strikes a cord with me, in remembering our discussions. Their belief, as it was told to me, was that we were put on this Earth by ‘Jehovah’ as a test and the ‘test’ is to see whether or not we can overcome our ‘shortcomings’ in order for humanity to be allowed to continue for another several thousand years or so. That if humanity were to fail that test it would bring on the end of the world and at Armageddon Jesus would return with his ‘angelic mafia’ and vanquish Satan into the bottom of an abyss–but Satan, in fact, could not be destroyed–only laid dormant. But until that time, Satan and his fallen angels were given dominion by ‘Jehovah’ to rule over the earth. But none of this was explained to me as any kind of dogma or literal belief system–I was told it was all figurative language. That Armageddon was an analogy for what would be, in our time, World War III–a sort of nuclear holocaust and the ‘witnesses’ would just be the remaining survivors, who would then be faced with rebuilding civilization. And the allegory of ‘Sa-tan’ as the ruler here on earth was used as a paradigm for the corruption of governments and to explain the reality of suffering. Of course, the return of Jesus who would banish Satan was seen as the triumph of good over evil. It’s funny, but I remember them telling me quite often that I had a very good chance of coming to ‘realize’ my place in the ‘new order,’ because I had very few shortcomings or was, otherwise, selfless.

    I didn’t know what this ‘new order’ was, but I always had the feeling it wasn’t an after-life. First off, ‘realizing’ your place in the new order was somehow much more important than actually getting to the new order. I mean, how do you realize your place in the ‘new order’ before you get there? I just found that really bizarre. But they kept saying, one day you’ll be resurrected and you’ll be in the new order–a paradise here on earth. Of course, one can only speculate what the new order is or why it’s even supposed to be a paradise. I mean, what kind of paradise could exist with all the suffering here on earth? Well, it occurs to me now that the only context in which realizing your ‘purpose’ in the new order is somehow more important than ‘getting’ to the new order–is in regards to a metaphorical or otherwise ‘spiritual’ resurrection. In this context, this ‘new order’ is the escape from the matrix or the cave.

    Now they talked about shortcomings and selflessness a lot–that was actually the bulk of our conversations–overcoming our own faults in life. You know, these little obstacles that get in the way from living a good life–and they were always small things–I always found that strange. Things like having to be the one who always wins an argument or how to accept failure and being a good loser. At the time, I just did not understand what they were trying to get at. But I remember several times where they did relate these ‘shortcomings’ to the ego and they said I had very little ego. I find it funny, looking back on these things, because at the time I had no understanding of psychology–but I always had the impression, even at a young age, that religion was related to psychology in some way.

    Of course, it wasn’t until many years later that I began reading Plato out of a kind of sick desperation that I was just missing something out of life and this feeling that life was completely meaningless. I continued reading Plato over a two year period, during which time, I eventually received gnosis. Then in that single transcendental moment, I understood everything.

    • Miguel Conner says:

      Glad you’re enjoying the show and thanks for sharing your journey! Nate explained more about his JW past in his book “I was a teen age JW.” I’m not sure if it’s still circulating, but I remember it being very fascinating. Like you, his experience is a soup and not all of it negative. Our greatest demons are not in some church or institution, but inside of us…in the end.

  3. Lauris Olups says:

    OK, I read the first few paragraphs and was like: this is Bernardo Kastrup’s latest book “More Than Allegory: On Religious Myth, Truth And Belief” in a nutshell!

    Check it out:

  4. Kevin. says:

    A Gnostic will …… ” scissor the veil of illusion that comprised the veil of tears that comprised sensible reality “.
    How to scissor the veil ? Learn to move your centre of perception, outside of your coffin of flesh. Is there a difference between scrying and closed eyes meditation ? Both use a reflective medium of sorts and the question is : which side of the reflective medium are You when the veil parts ?
    The Davies’ quote :
    ” Gnostics know that God is all and that they themselves are God” etc. etc. …… Ah, no ….. they know they are only an individual Spirit, each separate from one another and totally alien to the realm of matter. I do not belong here ; my situation is mutually poisoning, and if I become poisonous enough then I will part company from this agar filled petri dish of a prison that I have been dumped upon ; in more ways than one.
    I sometimes wonder if each person has a Spirit, or are merely body and soul creatures which are no different from the beasts.

    • Daniel says:

      “they know they are only an individual spirit,each seperate from one another” ah no, they know they are only one devine spirit of many devine spirits that have been seperated from the One true God with whom we become one with again once we become aware of thus

      • Kevin. says:

        What a careless one true God you have, to continuously lose so many parts of itself ; 7 billion humans and rising ?
        You emanated from your mother, so does that make you one with your mother, even on the Jungian collective consciousness level ?
        For myself, this becoming One is nonsense ; why fall apart into so many pieces only to coalesce again ? An exercise in futility or in effect, ‘cannibalism’.
        I do know that my spiritual guide is feminine and perhaps, as such, it satisfies my duality of longing to be an androgynous Whole Spirit. Wholeness, not oneness is my preferred translation.
        Perhaps, we are mere spiritual seeds cast abroad and some have found the ideal germination medium helped by Aeon Byte on this pile of earthly manure. A work in progress of becoming fertilized to become ……..
        Good luck Daniel and continue to write your own gospel and live your own myth as Miguel says. Be a rebel and comment here. Keep questioning everything, and thank you for your reply to my comment. You are right from your side, as I am right from mine.

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