Gnosticism As an Existential Methodology, the Strategy of Continuous Metaphysical Revolt, and Occult Politology
Dr. Nicolas Laos
Philosopher – Noopolitcs Consultant, Author
Founder and Grand Master of the
Scholarly and Political Order of the Ur-Illuminati (SPOUI)
What is a Gnostic? This is a loaded question. To try to answer it would be to invoke the wrath of Gnostics whose views are not included in the reply. There is no one answer, because there are different schools of Gnosticism, and this system of spirituality speaks to different people in different ways, as arguably it should. As the Gnostic researcher and podcaster Miguel Conner pointedly argued in the Introduction to his book Voices of Gnosticism (Dublin: Bardic Press, 2010), “Gnostics never possessed a unified monolithic theology. They had an underlying structure of themes, but these were just a bedrock to build cities of theosophical inquiry without much legalistic zoning.” One can find Gnostics who have reconciled Gnosticism with Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, etc. Already in the second century A.D., there were different schools of Gnosticism (see for instance: Aldo Magris, “Gnosticism: Gnosticism from Its Origins to the Middle Ages,” in Encyclopedia of Religion, second edition, edited by Lindsay Jones, Detroit: Macmillan, 2005). However, following Miguel Conner’s research legacy, I believe that the question deserves more respect than the usual generic answer according to which Gnosticism, being derived from the Greek word “gnosis” (knowledge), refers to a specialized knowledge of the way things really are and the means by which humans can extricate themselves from their captivity to a fallen material world.
Speaking from a rigidly doctrinal and formalistic perspective does not do much for the elucidation of Gnosticism either, because it contradicts and undermines some of the spiritually most fruitful attributes of Gnosticism, namely the following: (i) the indeterminacy of meaning (the signified), which is an attribute not only of the most inspiring Gnostic texts but also of the most inspiring creations of the human spirit in general, thus underpinning their allure independently of space-time constraints; (ii) the use of a language that helps people to communicate with each other regarding that which transcends words and concepts by using symbols and allegories; (iii) the development of a poetic, as opposed to a technocratic, approach to the transcendent; and (iv) the endorsement of an attitude toward religion whose purpose is the spiritualization of the material world rather than the formalization of spirituality. The four aforementioned attributes of Gnosticism are, in my opinion, necessary components of every spiritually fruitful approach to Gnosticism, because, in this way, Gnosticism remains spiritually relevant and useful in different segments of historical space-time and to different cultural communities. Therefore, I construe and propose Gnosticism as a set of questions and spiritual quests and as a peculiar way of posing questions and inspiring spiritual quests rather than as a set of particular answers and formalistic cultural recipes.
Furthermore, in the present essay, I propose a synthesis between Gnosticism (construed on the basis of its four aforementioned attributes) and the philosophy of existence, thus giving rise to a particular variety of “existential Gnosticism.” In general “existential Gnosticism” was originally placed in a conceptually rigorous setting by the existentialist philosopher and Gnostic researcher Hans Jonas. Finally, I delineate the application of my variety of existential Gnosticism to politology, and I undertake to lay the foundations of an area of study that I call “occult politology.”
Image from the book Duodecim specula deum aliquando videre desideranti concinnata (ca. 1610) by Théodore Galle and Jan David.
Key Notions of the Philosophy of Existence
Consciousness is not merely a framework within which the accumulation of experiences takes place, but it is a living and structured presence that has all the attributes of a being—namely, substance, structure, temporal and spatial activity—and it is continuously restructured, determining the laws of its activity, its intentionality and its integration in the world. Thus, consciousness is the fullest expression of the reality of the human being.
The philosophy of existence, known also as “existentialism,” highlights the distinction between the essence of being and the presence of being. The philosophy of existence has its roots in the works of Augustine of Hippo and Blaise Pascal, but its founders were Søren A. Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Hans Jonas (see for instance: Steven Earnshaw, Existentialism: A Guide for the Perplexed, London: Continuum, 2006; Thomas Flynn, Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006; Robert Solomon, ed., Existentialism, New York: Random House, 1974). Whereas Aristotle’s philosophy assigns primary significance to the essence of things (namely, to the attribute or set of attributes that makes an object what it fundamentally is, and which an object has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity), the philosophers of existence are primarily concerned with the presence of being, namely, with its existence. In other words, existentialists are primarily concerned with the very fact that a being exists and is present, in one way or another (ether in front of someone or independently of one’s consciousness), and/or with the manner in which one can identify a being. Thus, from the perspective of existentialism, ontology is centered on the following two issues: (i) the fact that one is conscious of that which exists outside oneself and (ii) the fact that one is conscious of one’s own existence. In particular, J.-P. Sartre argued that the objects of one’s consciousness (namely, one’s conscious contents and everything that one is aware of) exist not only “in themselves” but also “for oneself,” and the same holds for one’s own existence, too (see: Thomas Busch, The Power of Consciousness and the Force of Circumstances in Sartre’s Philosophy, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990).
The argument that the concepts of “essence” and “presence” should not be identified with each other follows logically from the fact that essence can be conceived as independent of its reality. For instance, I accept that Chimera is an imaginary creature that is not real in the external animal kingdom, but I can define Chimera by specifying its qualities (namely, its essence): a monstrous fire-breathing female creature born by Typhon and Echidna, and composed of the parts of multiple animals: upon the body of a lioness with a tail that ended in a snake’s head, the head of a goat arose on her back at the center of her spine. By thus defining Chimera, I specify its essence, but I do not argue for its existence. In the context of human consciousness, “essence” and “presence” are not identical to each other.
At the level of the divine Being, essence is identified with presence as, for instance, we read in the Bible, where one of God’s names is “I am that I am” (Exodus, 3:14), but, at the level of consciousness, existence is prior to essence, not so much in the sense of chronological order but of significance. In other words, from the perspective of existentialism, consciousness assigns primary significance to the emergence of existence out of non-existence, and, thus, ontology reduces to a “genealogy” of existence. From the aforementioned perspective, the first priority of the philosophers of existence consists in the following dual task: firstly, they have to explain the manner in which human existence and human knowledge progress from one level of being and one level of knowledge to another; secondly, they have to explain the manner in which consciousness evolves gradually by confronting its own antinomies, thus progressing from an immediate and unformed state to a condition of inner unity and integral self-experience. In particular, Karl Jaspers, ascribed central status to “limit situations” (Grenzsituationen), which are moments, usually accompanied by experiences of dread, guilt or acute anxiety, in which the human mind confronts the restrictions and pathological narrowness of its existing forms, and allows itself to abandon the security of its limitedness and so to enter a new realm of self-consciousness (see: Paul A. Schilpp, ed., The Philosophy of Karl Jaspers, New York: Tudor Publishing Company, 1957). Additionally, Jaspers developed a theory of the “unconditioned” (das Unbedingte), arguing that human limitations are neither absolute nor fixed, and, in general, human life is basically about growing and outgrowing our old, immature and less perfect ways.
Gnosticism As an Existential Methodology and the Strategy of Continuous Metaphysical Revolt
The prominent existentialist philosopher and Gnostic researcher Hans Jonas, who taught philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York City from 1955 to 1976, articulated an existentialist interpretation of Gnosticism by arguing that Gnosticism can be construed as an existential methodology that provides humanity with a peculiar way of understanding:
- the meaning of Being (emphasizing personal relationship and experience),
- the situation of humanity,
- the structure and the importance of selfhood, and
- the struggle for the salvation (perfection) of selfhood and for the protection of selfhood from the powers of alienation that impinge on humanity.
Hence, Jonas maintains that the fundamental questions that guided and inspired the Gnostics are summarized by the following fragment ascribed to Theodotos, a proponent of the Valentinian school of Gnosticism: “what makes us free is the knowledge [gnosis] of who we were, what we have become; where we were, wherein we have been thrown; whereto we speed, wherefrom we are redeemed; what is birth and what rebirth” (Hans Jonas, The Gnostic Religion: The Message of the Alien God and the Beginnings of Christianity, third edition, Boston: Beacon Press, 2001, p. 334).
From the aforementioned perspective, gnosis, namely, the peculiar kind of knowledge pursued by the Gnostics, can be interpreted as the mystical, psychically purifying and existentially liberating kind of knowledge pursued by the Ancient Mysteries, Plato (Republic, 560e, 580d; Phaedo, 65e–66a, 67e, 74a–c, 114c; Cratylus, 396c, 405a–b), Hermeticism, the various “schools” of the Kabbalah, Alchemy, and the various Christian mystics (including the Rosicrucians and the Byzantine hesychasts). In particular, the aforementioned “Jonasian” approach to Gnosticism implies that, by fusing existentialism and Gnosticism, the Gnostics’ critique of the world—far from being a spiritually sterile and psychologically flawed, world-negating attitude—implies a process of “demundanization” (Entweltlichung), in the context of which the human being renounces “worldliness” (rather than the “world” itself) and follows an actively emancipatory spiritual journey. By using Jonas’s existentialism as an interpretive framework in order to understand the relationship between the “Gnostic mind” and the external world, we realize that the “Gnostic mind” does not (necessarily) renounce the world itself, but it definitely strives, firstly, to transcend the level of consciousness that is determined by the logic of the established world order and, secondly, to create better existential conditions under which one will affirm one’s own existence. This is the meaning of renouncing “worldliness” rather than the “world” itself. By renouncing worldliness, the Gnostic reinforces one’s self-directedness vis-à-vis the world and, particularly, wrestles “against the authorities, against the powers, against the world-ruling forces of the darkness of this Aeon, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12; I translate from the original ancient Greek text). Therefore, by fusing the philosophy of existence, Gnostic mysticism, and the Gnostics’ renouncing of worldliness, we come up with a philosophy of existential emancipation and continuous metaphysical revolt, since the human being’s innermost self, one’s spirit (namely, that part of our being which transcends pure biology), takes pride in a transcendent, supramundane origin, namely, in “this region beyond the skies,” which is “the abode of the reality with which true knowledge is concerned, a reality without color or shape, intangible,” as Plato put it in his Phaedrus (247c–e).
As a result, Gnosticism’s attitude toward the world should not be considered exclusively rejectionist, since, from the perspective of existential Gnosticism, Gnosticism’s negative attitude toward the world expresses a psychically grown up person’s attempt to proclaim and manifest one’s individuation (vis-à-vis the world order) and impose one’s intentionality on the world (hence, create an autonomous civilization), and it is matched and underpinned by a vision of the human being as a god-in-the-making (a potential deity). The archaic type of psyche, in general, and those interpretations of Gnosticism that assign a passive role to the human psyche (under the influence of archaic and/or oriental mentalities), in particular, aim to impose an order on the movements of the human psyche by harmonizing the human psyche with the universal rhythm or the universal order, and, therefore, they tend to privilege negative concepts, such as ancient Greeks’ fear of hubris and certain ancient Gnostics’ sense of alienation and dependence on a cosmic dialectic. On the other hand, a psyche that has achieved the goal of individuation (and, hence, is grown up), in general, and the aforementioned existentialist approach to Gnosticism, which assigns an active role to the human psyche, in particular, aim to impose an order on the movements of the human psyche through humanity’s inner, mystical communion with the ultimate source of the significance of the beings and things that exist in the world, thus internalizing the deity instead of being externally determined by and/or harmonized with the logic of a given world order. The aforementioned existentialist approach to Gnosticism is a striving for humanity’s authentic mode of being and freedom, and it expresses humanity’s intention to restructure the reality of the world according to the intentionality of human consciousness, whenever humanity experiences the world as a place of isolation and exile. Hence, I maintain that the Gnostic struggle can be considered in this sense to be a strategy of continuous metaphysical revolt.
The ingenious and highly literally cultivated occultist Aleister Crowley put it succinctly and aptly in his essay The Soldier and the Hunchback: ! And ? (Liber CLVIII, 1909): “My message is then twofold; to the greasy ‘bourgeois’ I preach discontent; I shock him, I stagger him, I cut away earth from under his feet, I turn him upside down, I give him hashish and make him run amok, I twitch his buttocks with the red-hot tongs of my Sadistic fancy—until he feels uncomfortable. But to the man who is already as uneasy as St. Lawrence on his silver grill, who feels the spirit stir in him, even as a woman feels, and sickens at, the first leap of the babe in her womb, to him I bring the splendid vision, the perfume and the glory, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. And to whosoever hath attained that height will I put a further Question, announce a further Glory.”
By construing Gnosticism as a strategy of continuous metaphysical revolt, and by endorsing a vision of the human being as a potential god according to the aforementioned existentialist approach to Gnosticism, we realize and highlight the submissiveness of history to the intentionality of human consciousness. This rationale lies in the philosophy of history that is part of my research program of “Ur-Illuminism.” I have coined the term “Ur-Illuminati,” and I have used the German prefix “Ur,” which denotes that something/someone embodies the basic or essentially deepest qualities of a particular class or type, in order to emphasize and privilege that kind of illumination which enables the human being to actualize humanity’s divine potential and to treat history as an expression of humanity’s potential. According to my research program of “Ur-Illuminism” and my Scholarly and Political Order of the Ur-Illuminati, which are underpinned and inspired by the aforementioned variety of existential Gnosticism and radical metaphysics, humanity strives to intensify the affirmation of its presence in the world by becoming increasingly aware of its presence in the world and by ascending to higher levels of consciousness. Those who are truly initiated in my research program of “Ur-Illuminism” and are truly trained in my Scholarly and Political Order of the Ur-Illuminati, having reached the depths of their being, having purified their will, and having attained self-mastery, are willing to take the responsibility for doing their Will (Thelema), as Crowley would say. Rationality, then, far from being merely a mechanism of adaptation to the reality of the world, is the capacity to cause discontinuity through the intervention of consciousness in the world without, however, falling into the abyss of chaos. From the perspective of my research program of “Ur-Illuminism,” the term “Ur-Illuminati” refers to a level of spiritual development that enables one to handle the forces of order and chaos in such a masterly and wise manner that the continuity of the historical becoming is restructured by the imposition of the intentionality of consciousness on time. As a conclusion, instead of being defeated in their struggle against a necessary historical becoming, the Ur-Illuminati, as I have defined them, overcome physical/historical necessities due to their freedom, which enables them to restructure the world and transcend themselves. The Ur-Illuminati’s freedom is expressed through religion (perceived as spirituality), art, philosophy, science, and technology.
Icon of Sophia, the Wisdom of God (Kiev), based on Solomon’s Proverbs: “Wisdom has built a house for herself, and has set up seven pillars” (9:1); these words refer to the divine Logos, who in the Epistles of Paul is called “Wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:30), and the word “house” refers to the womb of Virgin Mary, the rose of the Rosicrucians, the mystic rose in Dante’s Paradiso, the Purified Matter. This icon is very popular among Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Christians. In India, the symbolic equivalent of the rose is the lotus-flower (padma), which is interpreted by Tantrists as the womb, and there are numerous pictures of the Buddha (and other Indian deities) in the lotus-flower. In ancient Egypt, the Horus-child was likewise depicted sitting in the lotus.
The Archontic Forces
The traditional Gnostic texts are very rich in symbolism, allegorical narratives, and poetry. In the context of Gnostic literature, the term “Archon” (which is a Greek word literally meaning “ruler”) refers to demonic rulers of the material world, usually considered to be demonic entities subordinate to the embodiment of evil. For instance, in Manichaeism, the Archons are the rulers of a realm within the “Kingdom of Darkness” who together make up the Prince of Darkness. However, according to the second-century A.D. Gnostic master Basilides, there existed a “Great Archon” called Abraxas, who presided over 365 Archons. Moreover, in the Apocryphon of John (a second-century A.D. Sethian Gnostic Christian text of secret teachings), we read the following: “Now the Archon [ruler], who is weak, has three names. The first name is Yaldabaoth [the “Lion-faced,” the deity of control], the second is Saklas [the “Fool,” the deity of ignorance and intellectual darkness], and the third is Samael [the “Venom of God,” the deity of seduction and destruction]. And he is impious in his arrogance, which is in him. For he said, ‘I am God, and there is no other God beside me,’ for he is ignorant of his strength, the place from which he had come.”
From the perspective of existential Gnosticism, which I delineate and propose in this essay, the concept of “Archon” or “Archontic force/entity” refers to any historical, psychological, and/or spiritual force/entity that has the following three goals: firstly, to deprive the human being of the awareness of humanity’s divine potential and to make humans think of God as a judgmental and despotic spiritual overlord and not as the Archetype of the Human Being; secondly, to prevent humanity from manifesting its free will and from acting according to the intentionality of one’s enlightened consciousness; and, thirdly, to narrow and manipulate humanity’s intellectual and, generally, existential horizons by subjugating humans to existential conditions and ways of thinking that are deemed objectively necessary and rational whereas, in essence, they are institutions created by the Archons themselves. Hence, as we read in Matthew 23:13, the Archontic forces (such as “the teachers of the law and Pharisees”) “shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces,” and, because the Archons themselves do not enter the realm of pure Gnosis (namely, the divine mode of being), they do not permit others to enter when they try.
If we study the Bible carefully, we realize that the experience of God’s way of life and especially of Christ’s victory over death cannot be attained by the human being through moral rationalism or through political institutions, since, according to the Bible, the pioneers and “doctors” of this mystical experience, which is the essence of the Church qua Mystery, were thieves, prostitutes, and prodigals. Jesus said to the crossed thief who experienced a deep change of mind about what is really worthwhile and about the real truth and sought the Logos of the world: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43); this thief was neither baptized nor did he partake of the Lord’s Supper. When Jesus was at the house of a Pharisee, he said to a prostitute: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus contrasted rational thinking in terms of law, merit, and reward with God’s love and graciousness, and he emphasized that, when the prodigal son returned to his father, the latter treated him with a generosity far more than the prodigal son had a right to expect (Luke 15:11–32). Therefore, the experience of God’s way of life and especially of Christ’s victory over death can be attained by the human being through the mystery of humanity’s spiritual transformation (metanoia), which makes everything new. This is the essence of the knowledge that saves, namely, of the holy Gnosis, as opposed to the knowledge that merely satisfies intellectual curiosities.
Many people tend to think that several ideas and pursuits, such as freedom, equality, justice, and truth, are somehow self-evident, and that, in every historical segment of space-time, the human being promoted and investigated them. This is a historical illusion. For the most part, the hitherto known human societies existed under conditions where humans accepted, without question, those ideas, values, ruling norms, and ways of life which the institutionalized tradition of the corresponding society had imposed on them and had raised them with. For instance, for a “classical” Hebrew, namely, for a Hebrew of the time described by the Old Testament (or the Torah), the question of whether a law is fair or not and even the investigation of the historical context and the teleology of a law cannot be raised, they do not make sense, because all laws (“mitzvot”) are given by God himself, namely, by Jehovah, to Moses, who wrote them on tablets according to the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Hence, Jehova has been used by particular law teachers, Pharisees, right-wing Zionists, and Evangelical Christians in order to create and impose Archontic structures. It goes without saying that a similar mentality applies to all traditional Asian societies, aboriginal American and Australian societies, the primitive societies with which we are familiar, and even traditional European medieval societies.
However, throughout history, there has been a special, illumined minority of people who raise the aforementioned subject-matters and ideas, create movements for the amelioration and spiritual evolution of humanity by means of conquering error and aiding humans in their efforts of attaining the power of knowing the truth, and even cause social and political revolutions. This illumined minority consists of highly initiated mystics, philosophers, scientists, artists, social scholars, and political revolutionaries. Moreover, there have been a few societies and historical moments in which the aforementioned subject-matters and ideas were raised by many people and in which there emerged a social/political movement involving almost the entire population, at least potentially, and people started massively to question the traditional views of the world, the traditional ideas concerning what is worthwhile and what is not, what is fair and what is not, and to reflect on key philosophical and political questions such as the following: “How should society be instituted?”, “What is justice?” “How are we to think?”, “What is good life?”, “What is truth?”, “What is one’s real interest?”, etc. For instance, this occurred in ancient Greek societies from the eighth century B.C. until the end of the fifth century B.C. and in several Western European societies after the end of the Middle Ages.
In general, every society institutes itself, that is, it creates its own institutions on the basis of a system of fundamental significations that orientate and guide the values and the activity of the people in a society. This system of fundamental significations is the constitutive myth, that is, the spiritual core, of the corresponding society. Such fundamental significations can be neither rationally confirmed nor rationally refuted. Hence, they belong to the sphere of the myth. For instance, the existence of Jehovah or the Christian God cannot be rationally proven, and, for similar reasons, any attempt to rationally refute His existence is cognitively insignificant. Furthermore, the capitalist society sets as its major fundamental signification the accumulation of capital and the “homo economicus” (a model for human behavior characterized by selfishness and the unlimited expansion of a rationalized domination over nature and over humans themselves), and it presents this as a rational pursuit, whereas this pursuit, which is a key underpinning of the capitalist society, is essentially non-rational and originates from the realm of mythology, since it reflects a particular type of human being (a particular “ideal”). Why should rationality consist in the capitalists’ own idea of an endless expansion of domination, and what does domination really mean? Should the idea of domination also refer to domination over passions and illusions, or should it only refer to one’s domination over external conditions and other humans? From a strictly logical perspective, the capitalists’ own idea of an endless expansion of domination is as non-rational as the idea of Jehovah or the Christian God. In general, the most important issues, ultimately, depend on myth rather than logic. This is the reason why, ultimately, the most important truths do not carry unshakable certainties around with them, but they are burning, since they require (and emerge from) existentially crucial decisions by human consciousness.
According to existential Gnosticism and the strategy of continuous metaphysical revolt, which I delineate and propose in this essay as a general way of thinking about spirituality and politology (prior to and independently of committing oneself to a particular religious, intellectual, and/or political group), our existential conditions are not primarily determined by things themselves or by imperishable necessities, but they are primarily determined by the way in which we give meaning to things and to our existence itself and by the freedom of the spirit. In order to avoid being trapped in an Archontic system, we must have a vigilant mind capable of analyzing and evaluating the fundamental significations on which every grand narrative and, in general, every argument are based, and we must be fully aware of the source of the significance of the beings and things that exist in the world.
A really free and creative person is aware that the most important decision in one’s life is not one’s rationalized adaptation to an established system, but the conscious choice of a vital myth, namely, of a system of fundamental significations that will make one’s life meaningful and will guide one’s conduct and historical action. In other words, the most important decision in one’s life is the development of a conscious personal relationship with God, since, by the term “God,” I mean the positive void, the transcendent Source, from which the significance of the beings and things derive. The way in which one perceives God and one’s relationship with God determines one’s world-conception, self-conception, and way of life. In John 10:34, we read that humans are potentially gods, but the Archons’ power is determined by the extent to which they convince people to treat Archons as self-subsistent real “gods,” or as natural/historical necessities, and to forget that the human being is a potential god. An Archon (or a group of Archons) creates a system and tries to convince the people that live in the given Archontic system that it is an imperishable necessity dictated by the intrinsic logic of nature and/or history, whereas, in reality, it is a creation of a particular Archon (or of a particular group of Archons). Hence, my conception of continuous metaphysical revolt consists in the willingness and the ability to revolt against any force that aims to deprive humans of their divine potential, to make them oblivious of their free will, creativity, and divine potential, and to subjugate them to the logic of a supposedly all-powerful, redoubtable material system.
© An emblem of the Scholarly and Political Order of the Ur-Illuminati (SPOUI), founded and administered by the author.
The Mythological Underpinnings of Politology and the Freedom of the Human Being
Inherent in the term “state” are two mutually interconnected conceptions: One refers to any politically organized society with its own distinct government; and it is this particular conception of the state that underpins and cultivates people’s feeling of identification with the state. The other conception of the state refers to the political energy center, the apparatus that exercises power; this mechanism constitutes a specialized organization that is called “command” and refers to every political order, every law, every legislative act, and every regulatory act of public administration. The members of the mechanism of state power exercise power to different degrees.
In general, the power of the state constitutes a distinct kind of power, because it is considered legitimate. Additionally, the commandments of the state are based on coercion. Coercion is a necessary component and attribute of the power of the state. However, even though a criminal gang may also exercise coercion and impose its will, it cannot claim to be considered a state. Apart from coercion, another necessary component and attribute of the power of the state is legitimacy, specifically, the citizen’s belief in the legitimacy of the commandments of the state. Furthermore, the concept of the modern nation-state is inextricably linked to the belief in the benevolent character of the state, particularly, in the importance and the superiority of the goals pursued by the state (vis-à-vis the human individual). The aforementioned belief in the benevolent function of the state underpins the citizen’s identification with the state, and this fact in conjunction with the belief in the legitimacy of the commandments of the state and with the awareness that the state is capable of imposing its will give rise to and underpin obedience, specifically, the citizen’s obedience to the state.
Between the aforementioned three motives that determine the citizen’s obedience to the commandments of the state, the belief in the legitimacy of the commandments of the state interconnects the field of politology with the realms of metaphysics and myth. I have analyzed the meanings of the terms “metaphysics,” “myth” (as opposed to a “tale”), “logos,” “culture,” and “civilization” in my article “The Meaning of Esotericism: A Theme in Need of a Focus” (Esoteric Quarterly, Volume 15, number 3, Spring 2020, pp. 45–53), which is available online, at the following link:
Following the terminology that I used in my aforementioned article published in the Esoteric Quarterly, it is important to realize that the belief in the legitimacy of the commandments of an institution requires, firstly, metaphysics, particularly, a philosophy dealing with the first principles (and the ultimate criteria) of right, and, secondly, a fundamental constitutive myth (namely, a symbolic system that will spiritually-psychically connect the members of an institution with the commandments of the corresponding institution’s administrative apparatus and will mobilize the members of the corresponding institution accordingly).
Historically, the two most important types of myth on the basis of which and by means of which the modern state has been instituted are the following: (i) the sovereignty of God or of a divine order, and (ii) the authority of the underlying society itself. In the former case, the state is perceived as an image of a transcendent, supracelestial order; in the latter case, the state is perceived as the authorized representative of the supreme political authority, which is the society (the people). In the former case, the state is bound by rules that stem from tradition and the faith in a sacred system; in the latter case, the state is bound by rules that stem from social dynamics, specifically, from the distribution of power between social actors that prevails in the corresponding segment of historical space-time, and from the fundamental precepts of the formal system of the corresponding legal order.
According to the myth of divine sovereignty, the state must function according to the divine will. Whereas, in principle, the aforementioned myth could endow humanity with a politically significant sacredness, which in turn could safeguard and underpin humanity’s freedom from the logic of physical and historical necessity by elevating humanity to the ontological level of the deity, various religious elites (“priesthoods”) have usurped and selfishly appropriated the privileges and the rights that emanate from the aforementioned myth and belong to the entire humanity. Hence, during the Middle Ages, as the ruling establishment of the Church was degenerating into an Archontic force, specifically, into an institution of spiritual despotism and deep corruption, the Monarchy questioned the authority of the Church, and, in several countries, the Monarchy gradually imposed itself on the Church. However, the Monarchy gradually imitated and reproduced the degenerative course of the Church, since the Monarchy failed to function as the supreme custodian of the historical reflection of a divine order that would endow humanity with sacredness (namely, the Monarchy failed to achieve what the ruling Church authorities had earlier promised and failed to achieve), and, ultimately, the Monarchy degenerated into another Archontic force, specifically, into an institution of political despotism and deep corruption.
As I maintain in my book The Meaning of Being Illuminati (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019), the correct operation and the historical survival of the traditional, vertical hierarchical social organization, which prevailed in the Middle Ages, requires and presupposes that the ruling elites have a very high level of existential heroism and embody an unselfish moral hierarchy of grace. However, it was ultimately degraded into a historically unviable form of authoritarianism, and, therefore, the rising bourgeoisie substituted the vertical hierarchical social system with a horizontal one, which was reflecting and expressing the interests and the ethos of the bourgeoisie. When, for instance, the monarch is not a worthy continuer of the ethos of the legendary King Arthur, when the royal palace does not exude the ethos of the legendary Camelot, when the state’s strategic vision is not to give witness to the legendary Avalon, that is, to constitute a legendary island of goodness in history, when the administrative authorities of the Church do not give witness to the ethos of Joseph of Arimathea, then such Archontic revolutionary forces as Oliver Cromwell and William of Orange, who lurk in the wings of history, hijack power, and, finally, the bourgeois parliamentary system emerges as the best feasible political choice, simply because it is the lesser of two evils. In the modern era, the bourgeois elites did not content themselves with the implementation of a few particular political and institutional changes, but they created a distinct bourgeois civilization, a distinct bourgeois system of values, a distinct bourgeois way of life, and a distinct bourgeois code of behavior. The bourgeois civilization discloses and entails a deep spiritual alienation of the urban subject from traditional metaphysics and, consequently, a transition from “robust” values to values whose ontological content is extremely “thin.” It is within this context that the myth of popular sovereignty emerges and displaces the myth of divine sovereignty.
According to the myth of popular sovereignty, the state must function according to the commandments of people’s representatives, namely, according to the commandments of the Parliament. In this case, too, we realize that there is a conflict between the assignor and the assignee: just as there was a conflict between the Church and the Monarchy in medieval states, which were based on the myth of divine sovereignty, there is a conflict between the executive and the legislature in the modern state, which is based on the myth of popular sovereignty. Just as the Monarchy ultimately managed to impose itself on the Church in the context of the medieval state, the executive ultimately managed to impose itself on the legislature (namely, on the deliberative assembly that represents the people).
Intimately related to secularism is the substitution of the myth of popular sovereignty for the myth of divine sovereignty, thus giving rise to the modern notion of nation (as it has been delineated by modern idealist philosophers such as Johann Herder, Georg Hegel, etc.). This development caused a new alteration of the concept of “sovereignty.” In particular, the creation and the imposition of the nation-state as the predominant model of the political organization of societies in the context of Modernity caused the amalgamation of the concept of “popular sovereignty” and the concept of “national sovereignty.” Consequently, the state became the assignee of the nation, and its benevolent character is judged on the basis of its ability to serve the interests of the nation. In other words, from the perspective of the modern nation-state, the primary criterion by which the benevolent character of the state can and should be judged is neither the divine will, nor any transcendent universal values, nor any particular system of spiritual formation (broad cultural education), nor popular will itself, but the principle of “national interest” (known among international-relations scholars as the “raison d’ état”). The establishment and the proclamation of the “national interest” as the primary and essentially absolute criterion on the basis of which the benevolent character of the state can and should be judged gave rise to the establishment and the proclamation of a privileged minority that, in the context of the modern nation-state, lays claim to the monopoly on the knowledge, the interpretation, and the historical expression of the national interest merely due to the fact that it occupies the highest seat of power. In other words, in the context of the modern nation-state, the supreme principle of the state is the national interest, and the privileged minority of state power is the authentic connoisseur, interpreter, and historical representative of the national interest simply because it wields state power. This pure piece of circular sophistry is the foundation of the political structure of the modern nation-state, and it allows state power to function as a closed, self-referential system, namely, as an Archontic force.
At this point, it is worth mentioning that two of the most enlightened United States Founding Fathers, namely, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, being aware of the Archontic nature of the modern nation-state, attempted to prevent the degeneration of the United States of America into a modern European type of state. Thus, Thomas Jefferson emphasized the use of the terms “people” and “the rights of the people,” instead of the terms “nation” and “nation-state,” in his composition draft of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In the same “anti-Archontic” spirit, Benjamin Franklin attempted to endow political life with a transcendent, suprapolitical principle that would underpin and safeguard the sacredness of the human being, constrain state power and exclude political pharaonism by warning people that “man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants,” and by arguing, in line with Thomas Jefferson, that “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.” Furthermore, foreseeing the dangers that emanate from the development of the modern state’s bureaucracies and military-industrial complex, Benjamin Franklin argued that “they that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.” However, in the twentieth century, the U.S. political system was dominated by a group of intellectuals and politicians who were imbued with the Archontic spirit of the European theories of the nation-state and Realpolitik, such as Hans J. Morgenthau (professor of International Relations and consultant to the U.S. State Department), Henry A. Kissinger (professor of International Relations and the 56th U.S. Secretary of State), and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (political scientist and the 16th U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations), who largely managed to substitute their own Archontic ethos and mentalities for the ethos and the visions of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, thus causing a deep alienation in the collective consciousness of the American political system.
A fourth factor that underpins obedience to the modern nation-state is political acculturation, and it has been thoroughly analyzed by the Nobel Prize-winning economist John Kenneth Galbraith in his seminal book The New Industrial State (originally published in 1967; a new revised edition was published in 2007 by Princeton University Press, including a new foreword by James K. Galbraith). In an industrially organized world, John Kenneth Galbraith maintains, a widespread and common way in which the impulse for power is manifested consists in the adaptation to the commandments of the state elites in the hope that, by adapting to the commandments of the state elites and by performing a few tactical manoeuvres (in compliance with the dominant mentalities), one will manage to climb the ladder of the established system of power. This motive is particularly powerful in the case of political opportunism, and it is the essence of a political opportunist’s profession.
In the context of Modernity, an important philosophical underpinning (or rather “fig leaf”) of obedience to national and/or international Archontic systems is pragmatism. For instance, in the 1940s and throughout the Cold War, Western elites systematically invoked pragmatism in order to justify their cooperation with certain Nazi and fascist factions and their decisions to deliberately violate the declared fundamental principles and values of the “Free World” for the sake of “national/international security” and/or “economic efficiency” (in the context of clandestine operations, such Operation Paperclip and Operation Gladio, and in the context of Euroatlantic institutions, such as NATO and the EEC/EU), and, in the post-Cold War era, several autocratic statesmen (such as the Russian President Vladimir Putin), the ruling U.S. political elites, and several nationalist statesmen in Eastern and Western Europe, each in one’s own way, proclaim pragmatism as the major guiding theoretical principle of their policy (see for instance: Daniele Ganser, NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, London: Frank Cass, 2005; Christopher Story, The European Union Collective, London: Edward Harle Limited, 1997; Peter Pomerantsev, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia, New York: Public Affairs, 2014; Anna Politkovskaya, A Russian Diary, London: Vintage Books, 2008; Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017; Jean-Jacques Rosa, Euro Exit: Why (and How) to Get Rid of the Monetary Union, New York: Algora, 2012).
In my book Methexiology: Philosophical Theology and Theological Philosophy for the Deification of Humanity (Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick/Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016), I explain that, according to pragmatism, whose most prominent representative was William James, truth, understood as the agreement between reality and its image that is present in consciousness, is not a static relation but a process that is due to the functions of consciousness, so that reality undergoes changes because of the fact that consciousness refers to reality. The previous thesis is shared by the so-called philosophies of action. However, in this way (that is, by advocating the previous pragmatic thesis), philosophy ceases to be scientific, and, furthermore, it ceases to be a worthy cause, precisely, it becomes contradictory and self-defeating: if we adhere to pragmatism, then no conclusion of any philosophical investigation should be accepted, because, according to pragmatism itself, reality is continually being created due to the functions of consciousness, and, therefore, the conclusions of any philosophical investigation are meaningless.
Pragmatism is based on the philosophies of William James, Charles Pierce, and John Dewey, and it attempts to combine the rationalist thesis that the mind is always active in interpreting experience and observation with the empiricist thesis that revisions in our beliefs are to be made as a result of experience (see for instance: Cheryl J. Misak, ed., Pragmatism, Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 1999). According to pragmatism, theories are underdetermined by the evidence, and, therefore, scientists have to choose among various theories that may all be compatible with the available evidence. Hence, as William James has put it, truth is “only the expedient in the way of belief,” meaning that we need to adjust our ideas as to what is true as experience unfolds. Pragmatism, then, defines what is true as what is most useful in the way of belief (a utilitarian epistemology). However, pragmatism is ultimately self-defeating. Even though pragmatism appears to reflect a dynamic attitude toward reality and epistemology and to be a progressive epistemological stance, it is profoundly narrow-minded and assigns a deeply passive role to the human spirit. By stressing the adaptation of our ideas to an unfolding experience, pragmatists ignore the dynamic continuity between the reality of the historical world and the reality of consciousness, a dynamic continuity that allows conscious beings to impose their intentionality on historical reality, instead of merely adapting to a reality that is external to their consciousness. Conscious beings are not merely obliged to look for methods of adaptation to unfolding historical reality, but they can utilize and restructure historical reality according to their intentionality.
In the context of the present essay, I approach the concept of “political power” in terms of “influence,” according to an approach that was proposed by Joseph S. Nye Jr. (professor of International Relations and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs) in his book The Future of Power (New York: Public Affairs, 2011) as well as according to certain aspects of Antonio Gramsci’s political theory (Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks, New York: Columbia University Press, 2011). In particular, political power consists in the capability and the power of influencing, directly or indirectly, the parliament, the cabinet, and the state bureaucracy. A significant part of this process of influence is covert and, indeed, depends on the absence of transparency and publicity (see for instance: Austin Carson, Secret Wars: Convert Conflict in International Politics, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2018; Peter Dale Scott, “‘Continuity of Government’ Planning: War, Terror and the Supplanting of the U.S. Constitution,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 8, Issue 21, Number 2, 2010, Article ID 3362).
Another important issue that must be seriously considered in order to understand the modern state is the fact that modern societies are deeply pluralistic, in the sense that they consist of various distinct chambers of power, which operate as power oligopolies according to the logic of oligopolistic competition, as the latter is described and analyzed in modern political economy (see for instance: Robert A. Dahl, Who Governs?: Democracy and Power in an American City, second edition, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 2005). Some of the most well-known and most easily identifiable power oligopolies that operate in modern states are big corporations (“big” in relation to the size of the corresponding market), trade unions, think-tanks, lobbies, industrial associations, chambers of commerce, professional associations, activist organizations, cultural institutes, foreign embassies, religious institutions, private exclusive membership clubs, etc.
The author (on the right) with his Professor of International Politics Dr. Rehavia Yakovee (on the left) at the University of La Verne (California), where he studied mathematics and social sciences, and from which he graduated in 1996.
World Order and Globalization
Through Cardinal Richelieu’s policy (in the seventeenth century) and through the French First Republic’s spirit of secularism and statism (1792–1804), France stimulated the emergence of the nation-state as the principal unit of world affairs and gave rise to a new type of human (and, hence, to a new civilization), known as the “homme d’État” (the “human of the State”). Imbued with the myth of state sovereignty and modern rationalism, the “homme d’État” is the believer in and loyal adherent of the “secular religion” of the modern nation-state. In the much more conservative age of the nineteenth century, Great Britain was on top of a global hierarchy of nation-states and substituted British empiricism and a “cold” technocratic balance-of-power arrangement for French rationalism and romantic chauvinism (see for instance: Torbjorn L. Knutsen, A History of International Relations Theory, second edition, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997).
In the eighteenth century, the imitation of the Anglo-French model of the modern nation-state started becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Even the Soviet Union—which was supposedly founded on Marxism, namely, on a cosmopolitan ideology whose ultimate goal is the elimination of the state and the establishment of a communist society—endorsed statism, which resonated with the Russian tradition of autocracy, in general, and with Stalin’s model of state capitalism (or bureaucratic socialism) and totalitarianism, in particular. In fact, the largely international endorsement of statism and of the underlying logic of the established inter-state system underpinned the balance-of-power system that prevailed during the Cold War as well as the mutual influence of the Western Bloc and the Soviet Bloc in terms of their political mentalities and practices. In addition, in the twentieth century, the model of the modern nation-state prevailed in the Muslim world, too, even though it clashes with the traditional ethos of the Islamic “Ummah.”
From the 1960s onward, and especially after the 1980s, the U.S.A. has been propagating, by its own presence in the international system, the emergence of a much more comprehensive and interdependent world order. The U.S. policy for the management of globalization is implemented in a historical context in which, in essence, world politics is increasingly mirrored in U.S. domestic politics, and in which U.S. domestic politics has a decisive impact on the process of globalization. Hence, every politically meaningful and empirically relevant analysis of U.S. domestic politics and globalization must bear in mind that, in the second half of the twentieth century and in the beginning of the twenty-first century, the U.S. political establishment is divided into two major Archontic factions: the internationalist-liberal faction and the nationalist-liberal or conservative faction. The key members of the internationalist-liberal faction of the U.S. political establishment can be sketchily described as a group consisting mainly of bankers-financiers, big corporations that benefit greatly from globalization, the elite of the U.S. State Department, and the internationalist-liberal faction of the U.S. intelligence-services network. The key ideological underpinning of the internationalist-liberal faction of the U.S. political establishment is liberal globalism as, for instance, it was delineated by Francis Fukuyama in his book The End of History and the last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992) and by Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock (New York: Bantam Books, 1990). The key members of the nationalist-liberal or conservative faction of the U.S. political establishment can be sketchily described as a group consisting mainly of the defense industry, major capitalist actors who require the state to actively protect and reinforce the process of capital accumulation through trade, fiscal, and monetary policies, some bankers-financiers, the elite of the U.S. Department of Defense, and the conservative faction of the U.S. intelligence-services network. The key ideological underpinning of the nationalist-liberal or conservative faction of the U.S. political establishment is Neoconservatism as, for instance, it was delineated by Samuel P. Huntington in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order (New York: Touchstone/Rockefeller Center, 1996) and by the Washington D.C.-based neoconservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
Intimately related to the U.S. policy regarding the world order and to the division of the U.S. political establishment into the aforementioned two Archontic factions is the following political paradox or contradiction: On the one hand, in the 1990s, the U.S. emerged as the only state that can be accurately characterized as a global superpower, and, therefore, it imposed itself in the international system as a global superstate according to the terminology and the rationale of traditional European power politics. On the other hand, in the 1990s, the U.S. also started shaping a new pattern of global politics that is characterized by the gradual dilution of the sovereign integrity of the modern nation-state, the reduction of the capacity of a superstate to exercise decisive global power, and the progressive substitution of inherently global institutions and processes for the established inter-state system. Thus, in the beginning of the twenty-first century, and especially after the outbreak of the global financial crisis of 2008, it became amply clear that the U.S. political and economic establishment’s global preeminence reinforces and even generates the conditions that prompt a significant decline in American power, both domestically and globally. Thus, in November 2019, Henry Kissinger, in the context of his speech at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, argued that the U.S. is no longer the world’s indispensable or exceptional country, and that a multipolar world order emerges in which the U.S. should pursue the role of the preeminent great power instead of the role of the global superpower. This historical development explains why Henry Kissinger (who is an admirer of Klemens von Metternich’s Realpolitik, and whose Ph.D. thesis, published in 1957 under the title A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812–1822, covers the latter part of the Napoleonic Wars and the efforts of European statesmen, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, to create and establish a durable international order based on the logic of the “Holy Alliance”), the Russian President Vladimir Putin (a disciple of Henry Kissinger’s political thought and mentality), and the U.S. President Donald Trump (a pragmatist businessman trying to cope with the toils of statesmanship), each pursuing his own political expediencies, envision the establishment of an updated form of the Holy Alliance’s model for the management of the international system. Quite simply, faced with new global challenges and with a global political awakening, they envision and promote the hardening of the established international Archontic regime through statism and through the establishment of an international political directorate modeled on the nineteenth-century Holy Alliance.
However, the Holy Alliance (which was formed by the Austrian Empire, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the Russian Empire in 1815 and became a symbol of political oppression) was challenged and ultimately (after a series of bloody struggles) defeated by new national/socio-political liberation movements (such as the Revolutions of 1848 known as the “Springtime of the Peoples,” the Italian unification movement known as the “Risorgimento,” the revolutionary fraternity of the Carbonari, the Greek Revolution of 1821, etc.). Additionally, the Holy Alliance failed to prevent the Crimean War (1853–56), namely, a major war between the European great powers, and the “Long Depression” (a worldwide price and economic recession that lasted from 1873 to 1896), which put an indelible imprint on the nineteenth century and exerted a substantial impact on the course of the twentieth century. Thus, ultimately, the Holy Alliance proved to be a self-defeating symptom of the ruling Archontic forces’ narrow-mindedness and moral abdication.
Furthermore, history teaches that a great geopolitical power cannot long dominate the international system unless it projects (with an adequate dose of power politics) a message of international relevance, that is, unless it has global appeal. This was the experience of Alexander the Great, of Rome, of France, and of Great Britain. But unless this message is derived from a spiritual system of its own, orientating people toward a shared standard of conduct, national self-righteousness can degenerate into national vanity and an exploitative behavior, such as that of Attila the Hun, and it will be eventually rejected by others, as was the case with the dismantling of the Hunnic Empire. This is why the internal dynamics and the spiritual underpinnings of any great geopolitical power or alliance are so directly relevant to its capacity to influence constructively historical becoming and, in general, to lead. Jimmy Carter, who served as the 39th President of the U.S.A., admitted and highlighted this fact in his book Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005).
From a genuinely spiritual perspective, “globalism” means rule by universal values and norms, which naturally transcend each and every international-political actor. By contrast, modern superstates, such as the colonial empires of Great Britain and France as well as the post-World War II United States of America and China perceive globalism primarily as a system through which they can globalize their vested interests. Therefore, even the “Pax Americana,” which is widely regarded as the most advanced form of globalization, is not a genuine process of globalization, because it does not give rise to a world society governed by universal values and norms, but it serves the global aspirations of particular American and Euroatlantic interests. Hence, we should clearly distinguish “globalism” as a system of world governance founded on universal values and norms from “imperialism,” which consists in the acquisition of effective global power by a particular international-political actor or by a particular group of international-political actors.
Finally, it is important to notice that, even though the capitalist West’s imperialist dynamic did not characterize Soviet Russia nor is it present in Putin’s post-Soviet Russia, both Soviet Russia and Putin’s post-Soviet Russia are decisively characterized by a bureaucratic-militaristic dynamic. Hence, even though, during both the Soviet and the Putin regimes, Russia lacks an imperialist dynamic emanating from the Russian economic structures, it is characterized by an expansionist dynamic, which expresses the Russian social establishment’s need to stabilize its global position. The teleology of Russia’s policy of stabilizing its global position may differ from Western imperialism, but, during both the Soviet and the Putin regimes, the fundamental mentalities and the practices of the Russian political system are not essentially different from those of Western imperialism. Let us recall an old adage according to which “the best defense is a good offense,” implying that offensive-expansionist tendencies, plans, and intentions may constitute integral parts of a defensive strategy.
The Gnosis that Saves
Modernity and medieval rationalism, which was the womb of Modernity, identify reality with time and call humans to live within the constraints and according to the logic of temporality. Therefore, both medieval scholastics and modern secular elites, somehow, worship history. The worship of history, implying and expressing one’s decision to give primacy to historical becoming over eternity, is usually manifested through pragmatism, through the praise of innovation as an end itself, and through the praise of power independently of its relation to virtue. The worship of history, through pragmatism and through the indiscriminate praise of innovation and power, may, at least for some time, give rise to historically efficient persons and historically efficient institutions, capable of achieving self-actualization and accumulating historical power, but, in essence, it traps and imprisons humanity in a state of barbarism.
By the term “barbarism,” I refer to an existential state in which one’s being and acts are not united with an absolute, transcendent and, hence, ultimate purpose (“end”), nor are they guided by an absolute, transcendent and, hence, ultimate purpose (“end”). In other words, by the term “barbarism,” I refer to the separation between a thing or an act and its ultimate significance. The significance of a thing is something to which the given thing refers, and the significance of a thing transcends the given thing and guides it “from above.” Hence, the transcendent nature of the significance of things (in contradistinction to things themselves) makes things meaningful. Furthermore, if the end of every act were merely a practical goal, then everything in the world would merely be a means to something else, which in turn would merely be a means to something else, etc. If the ultimate purpose of an act is a practical goal, rather than a transcendent goal (the perfection of being), then nihilism and death prevail, and the world becomes essentially insignificant. As a result, the manner in which I have just defined “barbarism” implies that “barbarism” is synonymous with “spiritual insignificance,” namely, with the lack of a transcendent reference or a transcendent purpose. Hence, I oppose pragmatism, which, by the way, is rather the prevailing attitude among modern politicians and gangsters.
From my aforementioned perspective, one may be historically successful (for instance, one may be rich, politically powerful, a Grand Master Mason, or even a bishop, a patriarch, a pope, etc.) and still remain spiritually insignificant, namely, barbarian. Indeed, this existentially crucial yet often elusive variety of barbarism, which lurks in Modernity, is the reason why the civilization of the European Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, with all its magnificent intellectual and material achievements, gave birth to two World Wars, the most extreme phenomena of self-complacent nihilism, the most extreme phenomena of totalitarianism, and the most tragically impressive economic crises and collapses, and it has arrived at the edge of the abyss of Postmodernity.
Being aware of the fact that, in the context of Modernity, many members of the elites have a tendency to replace philosophy with rhetoric and psychological operations, truth is subordinated to the interests of historical actors, freedom degenerates into compliance with instinctual drives and historical necessities, and spiritual communion as an ontological prerequisite for humanity’s personal mode of being is often replaced by social engineering, and having arrived at the conclusion that any attempt to establish a world order without universal values and norms will be stillborn, I formed an alternative research program that I called “Ur-Illuminism” (meaning deep or original enlightenment), and it is based on the theses that I put forward in the present essay. Through my research program of “Ur-illuminism” and through a relevant international network that I called the Scholarly and Political Order of the Ur-Illuminati (SPOUI), I promote a model of metaphysically grounded libertarian globalization. I maintain that the next wave of humanism must have solid metaphysical underpinnings in order to safeguard the sacredness of the human being and to have the power that characterizes every worthwhile religion, namely, the power that stems from a vision of humanity’s ontological perfection. Paraphrasing Charles de Gaulle, politics is too serious a matter to be left, at the strategic level, to the politicians and the modern states.
About the Author
Dr. Nicolas Laos (born in 1974) is a philosopher, religious visionary, mathematician, and noopolitics expert and consultant, he has taught courses in political philosophy and international relations theory at the University of Indianapolis (Dept. of International Relations), and he is a member of the academic faculty of the Academia Teológica de San Andrij (Andrés) of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Mexico (Xalapa, Veracruz). He is also a Freemason (a regularly installed Grand Hierophant–97ο of the Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis–Misraim) and the Founder and Grand Master of the Scholarly and Political Order of the Ur-Illuminati (SPOUI). He is the author of several scholarly books, including The Metaphysics of World Order (Pickwick/Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2015), Methexiology: Philosophical Theology and Theological Philosophy for the Deification of Humanity (Pickwick/Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2016), and The Meaning of Being Illuminati (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019), in which he elucidates his research program of “Ur-Illuminism.” His correspondence address is: Nicolas Laos, P.O. Box 9316, Athens 10032, Greece. He can also be contacted via the following email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
© The Scholarly and Political Order of the Ur-Illuminati (SPOUI) is an international esoteric (Masonic and Illuminist) fraternity, a network of social organizations and a private exclusive intelligence club. The present article is part of a much broader essay written by Dr. Nicolas Laos in order to be used for the training of the members of the SPOUI’s Probationary Degree: Squire Novice.