A Brief Gnostic Critique of Philosophy and Theology

As we segue into more of an “integral” paradigm that incorporates elements from previous ones (shamanic, absolustic-saintly, materialist, sociocentric, etc.) as I believe we are, I think it is appropriate to apply classical Gnostic labels to recent and contemporary philosophical orientations. The Gnostics referred to those inordinately preoccupied with the material realm as those who are “hylics,” and I apply this terminology to those who believe that we live in an essentially dead universe consisting of nothing but transformations of mass and energy in spacetime. Next, the Gnostics described a group known as the “psychics,” whom they saw as consisting of a step above the hylics, but who had not yet reached the final stage of enlightenment or illumination. I group those preoccupied primarily with “experience,” whether the analysis of experience qua experience, as phenomenologists and existentialists tended to emphasize, or structuralists and post-structuralists, who emphasize determination of the historical, social, cultural and linguistic conditions that produce experience.

Against these forms of reductionism I use the Gnostic category of “pneumatic,” those who appreciate and attempt to synthesize both digital and analogue (discrete and continuous) empiricism (which I term Caducean empiricism, after Caduceus, whose twin serpents constitute the mutually reinforcing duality of the digital and the analogue), those who use the scientific method both in its historically normative expression, and who also appreciate that this very methodology has vindicated the fundamental nonlocal nature of reality, the fundamentally intuitive (rather than sensory and analytic or calculative) faculties which it has vindicated, and who understand that both forms of empiricism must be applied to our study of ontology and metaphysics, and that this epistemological method and the ontological and metaphysical realities it examines, reciprocally inform and condition one another, so that neither can ultimately be separated from the other.

Finally, I see Demiurgic worldviews as exemplied in religious fundamentalism, which can be appreciated for their insistence upon the reality of the divine and the transcendent, but which are fundamentally anti-empirical. What we have, therefore, is what I like to think of as Speculative Scientific Spiritualism (SSS, or TS, for Triple-S), and I think that as a research program it will gradually prove to be adequate to the emerging integral paradigm that we are approximating even today. If the scientific method is to be authentically scientific, it must appreciate the reality of the analogue realm of the transcendent to which intuition has access. If the religious and mystical is to have respect for reality, it cannot be authoritarian and insist that the entirety and sum total of truth and knowledge can be found in a single book written by humans. If hermeneutics is to function as fundamental ontology, the goal to which Heidegger aspired, it must appreciate and accept that there is a reality outside of our minds and that, although our access to it is always mediated, this does not mean we cannot speak intelligibly of such a thing. Thus, the simple of Caduceus, associated with “Hermes,” provides us with a hermeneutics that integrates science and its appreciation of the calculative rather than being dismissive of it in favor of only intuition and experience.

Experienced psychology writer and practitioner of psi abilities. Looking forward to contributing to a worldwide awakening to the reality of psi phenomena.