Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Velvet Fascism (8.1): Death Hippies and the Mud-People

How we view the nature of history defines our lives and how we live them. If we think of history as linear, as progressive, as a moving toward some great goodness of Man transformed, then we might easily find ourselves thinking that we as Modernists have the ability through Will to move history by our own actions and insights. If we have no such hubristic conception of the nature of history we might still feel that we can move history forward to a conclusion by virtue of inciting the gods to act on our behalf to do what we feel they would care to, by making conditions on Earth such that we move the gods to act as we would have them. If, for example, we have a cargo cult view of history, we might create Heaven on Earth to coax the gods to return to us with presents. If we build this temple or make that devotion or sing and dance in such an appealing way, then the gods will return to us and cement our gains. In either case we need an eschatological view of history, that there is an end of history, and that we can make it come about by our actions. To confuse our volition with the idea of the practical petitioning of the gods on our behalf is not a matter of Modernism, it is the old magic of superstitions. To assume power to affect social change is to a degree a matter of Modernism but to assume power to affect the course of the works of the gods is to go beyond the right course of Man. If one sees an end of history, then there might well be a way of creating it now or soon. It requires a dedication to the idea that one knows the meaning of history and of life not simply for oneself but for Humanity in toto. If we think we know the reason for living that all must have to live authentically, then we must ask how we know. If we feel that we know the reason and the true course of history, then we must ask how we know it to be true. It is therein that one risks the dangers of gnosticism. How does one know the mind of the gods? How does one know that this is the right course of Mankind? Who can claim such an insight? If we feel that there is an end to history, and if we think it within the means of Man to grasp that end, then we find that men will attempt to make the end of history come about. To have such an insight into the mind of the gods and to know the plan of Man's history is to have a special knowledge that others do not share, a higher awareness closed to the average person, it is to be gnostic.

To expect that there is a final settlement of history is to close off alternatives. To claim knowledge of the end of history is to claim for oneself an insight into the nature of things that no other in history has managed. To claim omniscience is to deny the valid rights of others their places in the history of ideas. It is to take the place of the gods themselves. It is to elevate oneself to the position of the gods as ones ideas become the gods one worships. To be a determinist of this sort is to worship oneself. And it is to despise the validity of the rest of Humanity. It is thus that one must be suspicious of social engineering, of those who would create conditions in society that the social engineer assumes will create Heaven on Earth. When the end is known, then all aims outside the end are a distraction and a destruction of the pursuit of the perfect. It is then the social engineer can and often does resort to murder. To remove the obstacles to the perfect society the social engineer would create is to remove those people who are obstructive. If the end is known, then one must move events and conditions to ensure its fulfillment. Millions murdered is a small price to pay for the permanent perfection to come. There is no right alternative to perfection. for those who know the perfect end of history, any who confound its attainment must be stopped if the world and its people are to become what they should be. The gnostic knows the end of history.

The Gnostic, like Plato's Philosopher Kings, has a secret knowledge of the true reality beyond the understanding of the lower people. It is the duty of the moral Philosopher King to rule on the behalf of the stupid and unenlightened. We see this mind at work in the povertarians, those who would return Man to the farm-animal existence of the Middle ages. Ours is a time of fascism, this time the fascism of the Left, not different from the fascism of the Right. It is a binding of the people to the obligation obey the commands of the ruler, the Great Man who is the genius of the age and the place. It is gnostic. To know about Gnosticism is to know more about the nature of our own politic and publicity.

Today, Gnosticism is political. It is also a heretical form of Christianity. In showing briefly the historical aspects of Gnosticism we will see how it informs Left dhimmi fascism today. Below is some short introduction to Gnosticism as it relates to our time.

Yahweh the demiurge is a creator demigod. He lives in ignorance and hubris, thinking that he creates something of his own making and that the creation is good. He doesn't realise there are dimensions beyond him more powerful, and that ultimately there is the 'real god' who doesn't 'make' anything at all but who 'emanates.' The thoughts of the real god sort of move, (there is no such thing as space in this concept so I fake a term,) toward the outer limits of the all till they reach Yahweh; and by then, (there is no time,) Yahweh finds what is the biological equivalent to digested matter, which he uses to form organic life. Yahweh forms figures of people and demands that they worship him. Some have divine sparks that have shed from the thought of God, and the sparks are embedded in the souls of the things Yahweh has created. The sparks, being the tiniest parts of God's emanations, long to return to the purity of the source; hence they long to escape the rule of Yahweh. Those sparks are the gnosis one has that create the longing to escape the material universe. There are few sparks in the world of man. Only a few are so blessed with them, and those few are tormented by the awareness that they are trapped in the material universe of a fool. It is to the benefit of the few to have as little to do with the hateful and false material universe as possible so that they are unencumbered by it as they seek to regain affinity with the God of all.

Religion precedes politics. Affairs of the polis only come about with the advent of the city, a late development in human affairs. With the polis comes the religion (qua religion) of the past. As people live in cities and remove themselves from the state of Nature they occupied formerly, they "individuate" further from the animal affinities of hunter/gatherer and nomad living. With the surplus that allows for the rise of cities there also comes the spare time live without physical toil, time to think about the nature of things. If we aren't the animals we thought ourselves previously, then we must be different in some meaningful way. And if many people still seem to be like animals, those who toil like beasts in the fields while the thinkers don't, then the thinkers must be of a higher sort of being, perhaps able to leap far beyond the world of toil altogether. If the priest class has a religion for the masses, then the priest class should have a comparatively higher religion for themselves to distinguish themselves from the lower orders. If tillers and toilers work the muck and the mire, and if the thinkers struggle with mighty visions of the aether, then the god of the toilers and the diggers must be a soiled god, and the god of the aethereal must not be. I speculate.

Many years ago in my early travels I met a defrocked priest who took me into his confidence telling me: "It's not what we do that makes us special in our own view, it's what we don't do. We don't do THAT. They do, but we are far beyond such things and find doing THAT to be repulsive and disgusting and immoral." Of course he hit on me moments later.

To deny oneself something desirable is to sort oneself out from the masses. That is sometimes good, sometimes not. To deny oneself of something in a "state of humility" is something quite different from the missionary jihad of Islam and the fascistic Gnosticism of Left dhimmi fascism. To reject the world of material in favor of asceticism, an asceticism based on elitist Gnosticism and primitive tribal hubris as we find in the Left dhimmi fascist and in Islam, living in a state of povertarianism, 'hobby poverty' in the case of the former, and dire poverty in the case of the latter, is to deny humility in favor of hubris based on ones own requirements rather than those of ones Gods. The denial of favors is the fruit of the denial, the denial itself becomes the god one worships, the utopia of the mind's eye is ones own god. One becomes a gnostic prophet worshipping oneself. The greater the denial of the material world, the more removed from the world of Reason, the more fulfilled in phantasy becomes the Gnostic. The more he denies himself, the more contempt he has for those who do not deny themselves. Those who cling to the material world become corrupt beyond measure, stuck in and of material of the demiurge, literally Shit People. Rather than reject the material world, they wallow in it, getting more and more, and in so doing becoming filthier. The rich, therefore, are the worst of the lot, the most evil of all people. The poor, by contrast, are the best. Povertarianism. Philobarbarism. Sentimentality. Infantalisation.

Below are some brief excerpts regarding Gnosticism. Islam is not a gnostic variant, it's synthetic, mostly Mithraic variant. Left dhimmi fascism is Gnostic. So is National Socialism. Fascism is Gnostic; Gnosticism is not necessarily a real fascism though it is fascistic in some aspects. One might well be a gnostic and never venture further beyond it that delving into the drawing room to commune with the spirits. When Gnosticism becomes politicised and spreads through a culture as a pillar of state, then the state becomes sinister and fascistic. It takes more than Gnosticism to create a fascist state. It takes many elements of fascism to create a truly fascist state. Islam is fascistic, but it is not Gnostic. To argue that the Left is not gnostic because they don't believe in archons and demiugres is as narrow and wrong as to deny that the Left is fascist because fascism died with Mussolini in 1945.

To summarize the main point: In the beginning of Human life as we know it, the evil fool who thinks himself god made a ball of shit and called it Earth. He made Mud-People and called them Human. In the war in Heaven, some angels were condemned to live in the bodies of the Mud-People. Their punishment was to live a physical life. Some Mud-People but no many were then "aware." The spark of recognition moves through the generations. Those I refer to as the Death Hippies think of themselves, though not in these terms, as enlightened or spiritual or cognizant of.... The rest of us are Mud-People with no divine spark from the aether. Variations abound throughout history. to deny the commonality of contemporary gnosticism with that of Plato is to have missed an essential point. It is the essence if not the details that makes one Gnostic the same as another, regardless of the changing nonsense of time and terms.

I can't rightly summarize in a page what others have taken over 2,500 years to develop. Below one should find enough to make sense of the argument: that beyond metaphor, the Left is Gnostic, whether aware of their precedents or not. The Death hippies are Gnostics; and whether they admit it, whether you think they like you, whether you like yourself or others, Gnostics feel that you in particular are a piece of literal shit.

In a created world, one physical rather than ideal, there is imperfection, and one might go so far as Gnostics in claiming there is evil at the source of the creation. The Gnostic of classical times and into the period of Hus and the Cathars, restricted themselves to local issues, though they did all attempt to transform their immediate worlds in conformity with their visions of supra-reality. It can hardly be otherwise. They were not, as orthodox Christians and Muslims, generally missionary. The Gnostics had there local movements and groups, and they lived and died in sects. The leader of the sect was often seen as a being of greater knowledge and mystical insight. Gnostics of old considered Jesus to be an emissary from the realm beyond the physical, a messenger sent to bring word of the possible gnosis man requires to transcend the immediate physical plane. Jesus was seen as an avatara.


"A person whose soul or mind is specially formed by descending into humanity from the spiritual regions beyond human life. The belief is that avatras occur in world history when the cyclical course of events requires a change. This change the avatara is instrumental in producing." 1.

We can see this kind of thought-process at work in many aspects of our lives today, ranging from Muslims awaiting the Madhi, some anti-jihadis awaiting the return of the avatar of Churchill, and so on. Missing from this form of thinking is volition. It is a passivist approach to personal and private life that is elementally at odds with Modernity, and is in essence a gnostic view, though one hardly important outside the lack of quality in the life of the individual. It is important only in light of the popular idea of the avatara as Romantic Genius, to which we must return.

An avatar is the incarnation of a higher being.

In Hindu philosophy, avatar, avatara or avataram (Sanskrit: अवतार, IAST: avatāra), most commonly refers to the incarnation (bodily manifestation) of a higher being (deva), or the Supreme Being (God) onto planet Earth. The Sanskrit word avatāra- literally means "descent" (avatarati) and usually implies a deliberate descent into lower realms of existence for special purposes. The term is used primarily in Hinduism, for incarnations of Vishnu whom many Hindus worship as God. Shiva and Ganesha are also described as descending in the form of avatars, with the Ganesha Purana and the Mudgala Purana detailing Ganesha's avatars specifically.

The word has also been used by extension to refer to the incarnations of God in other religions, especially by adherents to dharmic traditions when explaining figures such as Jesus.



Below is one trivial example of avatarism:


The avatar concept was adapted by orientalising Western occultism, specifically Theosophy and Neo-Theosophy. In a series of four lectures delivered at the Theosophical Society at Adyar, Madras, in December 1899, Annie Besant, the president of the society, combines Theosophical concepts with classic Vaishvanite ideas. A decade later, her co-worker the clairvoyant Charles Webster Leadbeater would claim that his young protege Jiddu Krishnamurti was actually the avatar of a Cosmic Christ-like being called the Maitreya. The resulting Star of the East debacle almost destroyed the Theosophical Society.


And more here:

The New Age

Many New Age teachings have been strongly influenced by Neo-Theosophical ideas (primarily through Alice Bailey), and feature a celestial hierarchy of ascended masters. At the head of the hierarchy is the same being, the Maitreya, that Leadbeater claimed to see in Krishnamurti. Some New Age teachings speak of the coming return of Christ, or the coming of the Maitreya, which will usher in a new cosmic Era.

Gnosticism in personal living is not significantly important to discuss. Gnosticism as cultural motif is oft times not merely deadly but geonocidal. It is at the cultural level that we must fear and root out Gnosticism if we can rightly claim to have humanitarian concerns.

Below we see what at first glance is the ravings of an indisciplined pot-smoking stoner:

The problem is that these deadly, nefarious Saivo(s) or Inorganic Beings, these Mud Shadows or "Flyers" that keep the average human being in a flat and boring state of unmagical and robotic, dull and violent normalcy are completely real, though invisible. Real Shamans who can see can see those nefarious entities [...] do something about it, but most people remain blind, driven automatons as described by G.I.Gurdjieff, the Armenian Non-Muslim Sarmoun Sufi in P.D.Ouspensky's book, In Search of The Miraculous, where Gurdjieff reveals,

"The evolution of large masses of humanity is opposed to nature's purposes. The evolution of a certain small percentage may be in accord with nature's purposes. Man contains within him the possibility of evolution. But the evolution of humanity as a whole, that is, the development of these possibilities in all men, or in most of them, or even in a large number of them, is not necessary for the purposes of the Earth or of the planetary world in general, and it might, in fact, be injurious or fatal. There exist, therefore, special forces (of a planetary character) which oppose the evolution of large masses of humanity and keep it at the level it ought to be…. The forces which oppose the evolution of large masses of humanity also oppose the evolution of individual men. A man must outwit them. And one man can outwit them, humanity cannot."

Eucliotic teleology.

"And one man can outwit them, humanity cannot."

Cairo is a city of an unofficial population of 25 million people, believably if one ventures across the city by taxi, which is likely to run in the darkness without headlamps, veering regardless of lane markers, and with the wires undone from the steering console, allowing the horn to activate by the movement of the driver's thigh, beeping at random, beeping when the driver bounces his leg to touch the horn wires together. Even in a city of 25 million people everyone want to be noticed, recognised as an individual, hopeless as, foolish as that is likely to be. For many it is a simple matter of honking ones car horn in traffic. To be One Man.

How does one achieve acclaim? In primitive cultures one is not an individual being first, one is rather a member of the family, of the clan, the tribe, the "nation." Ones identity and status derives from those powers. If one has no power, one has no status and one is reduced to the anonymity of being ones group. If ones group is insignificant then one might become significant in terms of denial of the Other, of not doing what they do.

The least powerful and most insignificant must turn for protection of life and limb to a protector, in turn becoming a slave of some sort. The least of the least tend to die out, while the equipped tend to strive. It is the well-off who seem to abandon the fruits of success and power for those qualities they find of even higher value, perhaps in many cases the mystic realms of Gnostic awareness. If the material world provides enough and more, the next step in recognition is to be recognised as superior in terms of spirit. To reject all that the material world offers in favor of the mystical, one "doesn't do what they do" to an extent extreme and noticeable. To be special, to have a special awareness of the higher realms, it is not possible even for the elect, being reserved for the elect of the elect. Only the fewest of the special can be, in terms of Cathars, "Perfects." To utterly renounce the material world is a display of holiness profound.

"The forces which oppose the evolution of large masses of humanity also oppose the evolution of individual men."

Over and again we have treated the themes of elites and the masses here. We see now the avatara genius. Those who are not in any way "special" perhaps tend toward the longing, and in that they find or create the genius of the group, a "Perfect," a fuhrer, a prophet Mohammad. As Hegel so nicely points out, the master must also recognise the slave to be known as the master. Modesty, in this case, is unbecoming. For the masochistic slave, the master must know of the slave's masochism, must recognise it, must be dependent upon it. For the slave to derive an identity beyond the mass he must have a worthy master, one above the mass of masters. That ultimate master must be the genius of the mass. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Allah. Whoever the genius is, he is the highest possible, beyond the mundane, unworldly, and aethereal. To be his slave frees the slave from the mediocrity of living. It accords the mediocrity his vicarious identity and power within the mass. To be beyond the material is to transcend the mediocre, to achieve identity in the eyes of the masses. To transcend the mass one might go so far as to elevate oneself beyond the material altogether, leaving behind the occluded visions of the orthodox in favor of the borrowed higher insights of the Genius. And to find one to blame for the inability of the mediocrity himself to transcend the mundane and to reach perfection, one might find a Genius to attach oneself to while at the same time finding another to assign the sins of ones failures to, some scapegoat, the capitalist system or the Jooos, or so on. To stand out from the crowd. To be known. To be special. to be anything but one of the Mud People.

To be of the elect within the cathlocity of the communion is obviously dissatisfying to the Gnostic. Husitism makes perfect sense, even without the confines of Church corruption, being the first steps toward Protestant individualism and Modernity. To be rational within the communion of souls is Rational. It is when the man becomes supra-rational that one becomes Irrationalist. It is at that point one finds oneself in the "Husk of Protestantism," as John Truepeers points out, Protestantism as failed, Irrationalist Gnosticism. We find within the 'Husk of Protestantism as failed Gnosticism' our current Presbyterians, our dhimmi Anglican/Episcopalian, our frenzied pentacostalists, and those without, as Charles Henry has written of as well, "humility." The search for identity and specialness within the Communion leads to exceptionalism and to further problems, such as the search for Genius. In the end, if it is the end, we arrive with the Gnostics through the gates of Anenerbe at ground of Auschwitz.

Again and again we see these furtive steps and the dark cloaks of Gnosticism in the dim light of history. But it is clear as day that all this Gnosticism leads to Hell on Earth. Hus is clearly a superior actor on the world's historical stage; but following is not one path but numerous, some of which lead wrongly. The Rational individual is clearly not the supra-rational Gnostic. Husitism is potentially catholic, Gnosticism is universally exceptionalist. We must grasp the distinction between the individual in a process of individuation and the Gnostic in a process of Reactionary sadism. It is the latter who becomes a Left dhimmi fascist.

At an institutional level it is the institution that is more likely to become gnostic than the individual. The Grand Inquisitor is more likely to arise within the institution than from the ground of Reason. Within the heterodox Christianity the Gnostic is entirely irrelevant. It is only within the scope of Modernity that the Gnostic is now truly cancerous. It is when the Grand Inquisitor is secular that we as Modernists must live in fear. It is when the masses become gnostic masochists in thrall of the Grand Inquisitor that we find our Modernity a frightening Gnostic nightmare. The institutional Grand Inquisitor is irrelevant to the masses in a heterodox Christianity; it is now that we face him as secular avatara that we must fear him. Within the husk of Protestantism is the growing worm of the avatara.

For those whom life has cheated there is Reaction. For them is the lure of supra-rationalism. I'll return with more on Gnosticism.

In the Gnostic view, there is a true, ultimate and transcendent God, who is beyond all created universes and who never created anything in the sense in which the word "create" is ordinarily understood. While this True God did not fashion or create anything, He (or, It) "emanated" or brought forth from within Himself the substance of all there is in all the worlds, visible and invisible. In a certain sense, it may therefore be true to say that all is God, for all consists of the substance of God. By the same token, it must also be recognized that many portions of the original divine essence have been projected so far from their source that they underwent unwholesome changes in the process. To worship the cosmos, or nature, or embodied creatures is thus tantamount to worshipping alienated and corrupt portions of the emanated divine essence.

The basic Gnostic myth has many variations, but all of these refer to Aeons, intermediate deific beings who exist between the ultimate, True God and ourselves. They, together with the True God, comprise the realm of Fullness (Pleroma) wherein the potency of divinity operates fully. The Fullness stands in contrast to our existential state, which in comparison may be called emptiness.

One of the aeonial beings who bears the name Sophia ("Wisdom") is of great importance to the Gnostic world view. In the course of her journeyings, Sophia came to emanate from her own being a flawed consciousness, a being who became the creator of the material and psychic cosmos, all of which he created in the image of his own flaw. This being, unaware of his origins, imagined himself to be the ultimate and absolute God. Since he took the already existing divine essence and fashioned it into various forms, he is also called the Demiurgos or "half-maker" There is an authentic half, a true deific component within creation, but it is not recognized by the half-maker and by his cosmic minions, the Archons or "rulers".

Human nature mirrors the duality found in the world: in part it was made by the false creator God and in part it consists of the light of the True God. Humankind contains a perishable physical and psychic component, as well as a spiritual component which is a fragment of the divine essence. This latter part is often symbolically referred to as the "divine spark". The recognition of this dual nature of the world and of the human being has earned the Gnostic tradition the epithet of "dualist".

Humans are generally ignorant of the divine spark resident within them. This ignorance is fostered in human nature by the influence of the false creator and his Archons, who together are intent upon keeping men and women ignorant of their true nature and destiny. Anything that causes us to remain attached to earthly things serves to keep us in enslavement to these lower cosmic rulers. Death releases the divine spark from its lowly prison, but if there has not been a substantial work of Gnosis undertaken by the soul prior to death, it becomes likely that the divine spark will be hurled back into, and then re-embodied within, the pangs and slavery of the physical world.

Not all humans are spiritual (pneumatics) and thus ready for Gnosis and liberation. Some are earthbound and materialistic beings (hyletics), who recognize only the physical reality. Others live largely in their psyche (psychics). Such people usually mistake the Demiurge for the True God and have little or no awareness of the spiritual world beyond matter and mind.

In the course of history, humans progress from materialistic sensate slavery, by way of ethical religiosity, to spiritual freedom and liberating Gnosis. As the scholar G. Quispel wrote: "The world-spirit in exile must go through the Inferno of matter and the Purgatory of morals to arrive at the spiritual Paradise." This kind of evolution of consciousness was envisioned by the Gnostics, long before the concept of evolution was known.

Evolutionary forces alone are insufficient, however, to bring about spiritual freedom. Humans are caught in a predicament consisting of physical existence combined with ignorance of their true origins, their essential nature and their ultimate destiny. To be liberated from this predicament, human beings require help, although they must also contribute their own efforts.

From earliest times Messengers of the Light have come forth from the True God in order to assist humans in their quest for Gnosis. Only a few of these salvific figures are mentioned in Gnostic scripture; some of the most important are Seth (the third Son of Adam), Jesus, and the Prophet Mani. The majority of Gnostics always looked to Jesus as the principal savior figure (the Soter).

Gnosticism is but one aspect of fascism. Fascism is not essential to Gnosticism. Gnosticism is essential to the Left. When fascists are Gnostics, we end up with Hitler and Stalin. We end up with Ahnenerbe, with Auschitz.

1. Harry E. Wedeck and Wade Baskin, Dictionary of Spiritualism.New York: Philosophical Library; 1971, p. 44.

1 comment:

truepeers said...

This is an exciting post, as your vision is becoming whole, catholic, though I imagine newcomers will still need help tying the pieces together. I know I still need time to digest all the ideas here. It's hard to know where to begin with a comment, there's so much.... I think I'm in sympathy with most of what you say. One thing that prodded my critical eye was this:

Variations abound throughout history. to deny the commonality of contemporary gnosticism with that of Plato is to have missed an essential point. It is the essence if not the details that makes one Gnostic the same as another, regardless of the changing nonsense of time and terms.

-but what is this "essence"? I think it is not really some metaphysical quality but rather some kind of experience of existence that, in its basic form, is shared by people across the generations. How do we go about better detailing this experience so that people can grasp Gnosticism at a level more plain than that of its various symbolic gymnastics through time. I move on from this query to question this remark:

Gnosticism in personal living is not significantly important to discuss. Gnosticism as cultural motif is oft times not merely deadly but geonocidal.

-while I obviously share your sense that Gnosticism really becomes most dangerous under modern conditions of "secular" totalitarian ideology, why is the "personal living" not significant to discuss? You are basically saying, I am only going to tackle Gnosticism as a political question and am not going to play the dirty game of making the personal political. OK, but how are you really going to help someone who has - as most Canadians have - a personal spiritual struggle that is wrapped up in Gnostic ideas, and thus help us insure that there will be less support in future for Gnostic politicians? Don't we need to under the basic experience of Gnosticism at a personal level? IN other words, can the solution to the Gnosticism problem be political? Must we not ultimately work at the level of the individual soul in existential and spiritual struggle if we are to get serious about this problem?

Then, moving on to the political (once the spiritual base is sound), must we not find a way of offering our fellow citizens new kinds of experiences in relations with each other? Must we not offer to join with them in covenants and not just in political debate about Gnosticism? Or, does it make more sense to stick with the political, provide each other covenantal experiences at the political level, and hope and expect that people will then work backwards to the spiritual and faith questions on their own? I suppose we need people working both sides of the question.

The comment on Islam being Mithraic came as a bit of a jolt. Is that a common assumption? It's new to me, though I know very little about Mithraism. I tend to think of Islam as a Jewish heresy, less something Persian. Anyway, after denying Islam Gnostic status, you then go on to lump Allah with Hitler and Stalin in terms of the desire for a Genius/Fuhrer figure, which is confusing.

Finally, just a thought on the belief that history is linear. Linear views of history are obviously a product of thinking about the shape of the past, and then wrongly projecting this vision of the past onto the future. IN other words, when we look at the past, we see a series of events that seem to relate one to the other in some kind of logical progression. Sure, according to any measures of ethical progress, we see lots of steps backwards and sideways, and not just forwards, but in the long run there clearly is some kind of development towards greater freedom and complexity in human societies (there is greater ethical or organizational complexity, if not any greater moral knowledge or progress at the individual level - as exemplified by the like of, say, a Joseph Mengele). WHat's more, once something big happens, there is no going back, and everything that comes after is in some sense a reaction to that event, so that the event seems to be a determining, or at least powerful, force shaping what comes after as a series of reactive steps. Of course, the moment before something big happens, none of this is clear and the future is truly unpredictable and awaits the choices of human freedom as to what will happen.

So, the past looks linear and yet the future is truly open-ended, and our position in the present is thus a confusing existence between the linear pressures of the past and the unshaped future, as if we are in the delta of a river opening into a vast ocean with tides and currents pushing back up river. Those who can't stand the existential uncertainty of the tidal delta, want a vision of the river charging right through the ocean to some end point. Hence all the Gnostic fantasies. We need to help people live with the uncertainty of the ocean, even as we learn to understand ourselves by studying the river and all its tributaries.