revealing knowledge

Gnosis ch. 1 the problem



   Gnosis: Knowledge; to know.  Gnosis is sophisticated and profound knowledge of spiritual subjects, especially those subjects that are esoteric, secret, hidden, or difficult to comprehend.  Gnosis is a special revealing knowledge intended only for the competent few or an inner group capable of understanding abstract or complicated concepts. Gnosis is a superior understanding that transcends even the most developed rational capacity, and is accessible only through individual illumination.

    Deep within the conscious being of every individual there is an insatiable longing to know, to discover (or perhaps to rediscover) the unknown, to excavate the depths of memory and the subconscious with the hope that hidden therein may lie the forgotten knowledge concerning existence and destiny.  If this kind of knowledge was obtainable, then more competence and skill could be developed for the pursuit of a richer life and a better destiny. Throughout known human history this insatiable longing has motivated all serious investigations concerned with the perennial questions of philosophy and science, and the often obsessive entanglement with the ideas of religions.

    If we are to consider ourselves as credible persons, we cannot create or re-create any humbug of a “spiritual philosophy” or theoretical ideology. That destroys the creativity of the “spirit”.  We must go forth to penetrate the total individual and collective psyche; to create and sustain a freedom of enquiry toward the ultimate that a human being can possibly achieve — enlightenment. We cannot justifiably pursue a motivation to confine anyone’s intelligence in a format of dogma or theory; we must free our intelligence from all such imprisonments.  We must free our consciousness, first at the individual level and then move to help other sentient beings to desire and accomplish this freedom.

   This is a difficult task awaiting anyone who may be in the pursuit of a better existence and destiny. There must be found an answer to the “purpose of life”, what this purpose really is, or even if there is a purpose.  If there is a definite purpose then anyone who comes into harmony with the general purpose of existence will automatically transcend most of what is unwanted in life or hard to deal with.   How to think and how to act in harmony with existential purpose is knowing what to do and avoid doing.  It is impossible for anyone to proclaim truly that they know what they are doing unless they understand the purpose of existence.  Most people think they know what they are doing, but it is only a surface recognition, not any sort of insight into the reality of things.  What is really relevant is knowing what to do and avoid doing in a context of harmonious accord with the real purpose of Being itself.  To be out of harmony with what’s really going on is to invite discord which will result in turmoil and conflict.   Perhaps these kinds of problems are needed in order to activate the motivation for development of reason in the individual’s thinking.  The existence of the universe apparently provides for this, and we will explore this further on.

   The operations of the phenomenal realm of nature, when these structures and patterns are conscientiously investigated, indicate an inherent intelligence within the order of things and events we observe.  Data from both past and present science, philosophy, and religion seem to wantonly bypass or ignore the implications of pattern and the indications of intelligent order and operation in nature. Such data in its partiality supports commonly held theories, beliefs, and dogmas which tend to disregard the crucial importance of finding true and complete answers to the most important questions.   Because of the persistent hard fact that humankind still has no definitive, conclusive answers to these questions of origin, existence, or purpose, it must be admitted that the human race is yet encumbered with ignorance.  It is ignorance that inevitably results in all problems, afflictions, and conflicts of life, and the honest recognition of ignorance is the central valid basis from which a potentially productive search must proceed. The acknowledgment of ignorance is the first evidence of possible emergence from it and from its effects.

    We know about the many characteristics of things and their many details, but we, as conditioned selves identified as body-mind objects perceiving other objects, cannot sensually experience any thing or know just what any thing is really, or what any event is really — in itself. Through the dialectical consideration of our lack of total knowledge of any one thing, we can know one thing — ignorance. Ignorance is an absence of knowledge and not something we can actually think about clearly.  But we can know what ignorance is, directly and intuitively, as that which is prior to knowledge.  We cannot seek to know or to inspect existence or Being in the conventional way of getting knowledge because existence cannot be inspected from a viewpoint outside of existence. Likewise, consciousness cannot be inspected from a prior or separate position.  Consideration and contemplation of such things helps to relax the aberrant mind from its chronic dualistic conceptualizations and enables us to bypass dualistic thinking for just an instant, so to get a glimpse of another way of “seeing”.

    The wall of ignorance is not insurmountable, and once beyond it we will enter into the light of Gnosis. Ignorance obscures the perception of the reality of things and situations just like a wall is impossible to see through.  Even if a small hole is put in the wall, vision will be severely restricted and most of what is on the other side will still remain hidden and unknown. When ignorance remains in the mind, then everything associated with ignorance can be expected to arise.   What we don’t know can hurt us, but when ignorance is absent the potential for what is hurtful is also absent and herein lies the beginning of intelligent search for real answers to meaningful questions.   But almost everyone already realizes this, more or less, so what we need to investigate into is just what it is that keeps us in our ignorance, and this is not generally realized.

  Human perceptual capacities are obviously inefficient and lacking clarity. Problems which perpetually remain unsolved are the unceasing evidence of undeveloped and deficient reason and clear thinking.   Unclear thinking based on incomplete or partial data produces only speculation and conjecture, and all such theoretical presumptions are in some degree faulty, making them sometimes worse than useless.  Speculation based on incomplete or errant evidence always clouds judgement and reason.  Since our physical senses are limited to the observation of the phenomenal realm of objectivity, any attempt to rely on the limited arena of the physical senses for conducting a complete investigation of the inner realms of mind and life will prove to be folly. Scientific evidence that has resulted from intelligent and detailed research and analysis can be useful, but only if well-scrutinized and properly regarded.

   Reason is a necessity in the analytical integration of facts and evidence when engaging in a determined search for truth, so superior knowledge will be attained only by those who have transcended the effects of ignorance and developed good reasoning abilities, thus overcoming the defects of sense-perception and intelligence. Problems within conditioned life experience emerge as the results of undeveloped thinking capacity and can never be solved or eradicated until the faults in thinking and reasoning are recognized and corrected. It’s a paradoxical situation: ignorance is incapable of recognizing ignorance.  The great majority of people are functioning not only under the limitations of underdeveloped and immature perceptual faculties, but also under the effects of some degree of mental aberration such as wrong knowledge, superstition, anxiety, the ego-notion, and a host of inadequacies and accumulated negative tendencies that inevitably create the discomforts and stresses of physical, emotional, and mental afflictions and conflicts.

    As human beings we are compelled to live our lives in a procession of an almost endless series of experiences. Usually we do not have a very developed understanding of how each experience is connected with the previous conditions that create the flow of situations and events.  Whatever we can conjure up in our minds about what these experiences really mean in the context of our definable state of being is of little worth unless it is based in fact instead of wishful thinking. Wishful thinking usually conforms to fixed formulations of ideas handed down from generation to generation and from culture to culture. It is just these fixed forms that we have to learn to avoid when we process new information; our tendency is to add new facts or ideas onto an already well-structured dogma or theory.  This has been going on for ages with little or no progress toward answering ultimate questions, and the consequence is that people are still uncomfortable, incomplete, and still longing to know that unknown something that might give them ultimate fulfillment.

  One may seek for some sort of fundamental happiness, contentment, or satisfaction in life, but not finding this object of the search, one then realizes only the perpetual dissatisfaction and subconscious anxieties that are the substratum of most motives. There is an absence of knowledge in the faith-based religions and an absence of analysis of the dilemma people seem to be always entangled within.  Most religions are concerned with the promulgation of their particular dogmas and not with analysis and discovery of what is at the root of dilemma and anxiety. People congregate around the axis of a dogmatic belief; the wheel of the congregation becomes a feedback loop of escapisms — subhuman games promoted by a church or organization which appeal to a neurotic and naive majority. This majority, the congregation, then becomes more and more enmeshed in group-actuated feelings of hope and certainty to escape from fear and uncertainty — and death.  The followers exorcize themselves from the development and use of their rational powers, and thus the religion becomes a diluted and childish pursuit of imbalanced action and thought — an irresponsible cult of superstition and self-interests.

    The average individual cannot relax, cannot enter into a personal quietude. He is almost constantly distracted in some degree, and obsessively entangled in daydream.   Seeking some form of contentment or happiness through collecting possessions is the most prominent materialistic expression of goal-seeking. But the contentment or happiness people presume themselves to be seeking is usually always diminished, negated, or destroyed by the consequent cares and worries that accompany the search.  The ceaseless craving to attain more and more possessions supposedly necessary for being happy is the very poison that pollutes the possibility for happiness.   Some people do become clever enough to gain possession of some of the (presumed) needed items that must be gained to achieve the (presumed) goal such as money, a great name, power, fame, prestige, but their happiness and contentment are marred or cancelled out by the fear of losing these possessions and the exhausting struggle to maintain them.

   Most people cannot relax because their discomfort is too prominent; they are ill at ease and unfulfilled, perhaps even with a subtle sense of impending doom — or at least some little perplexing trouble or anxiety about something not quite right.   There is a lack of knowledge about what it is that may be wrong or what it is that is in the background creating dis-ease, an unidentified psychological complaint perhaps, or a feeling of insecurity or vulnerability.  In order to escape from this type of feeling, people are motivated to pursue some form of distraction away from it, usually in the common manner of entertainment or absorption in trivial activities. Some seek the escape from the feelings of insecurity by adopting the tenets and beliefs of some form of religion.  Through the dogmatic belief systems of theistic religions designed for mass consumption people seek to free themselves from the pernicious feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and frustration. It is usually not the “morality of righteousness” that is motivating such seekers, but the feelings of relief they sometimes experience when accepting some concept of “salvation”. Everyone knows they will die, lose everything they have accumulated, and end a state of life, the only state they have real experience in, and enter into a questionable state of which they have no experience or real knowledge — death — a completely helpless state.

   This kind of anxiety makes the daily situations of life sometimes nearly unendurable, and without entertainments and distractions life can become full of suppressed fearfulness.  The power of most faith-based religion depends on this kind of psychological fear for the promulgation and survival of the dogma it presents as a solution to counter the fear and anxiety of the faith-holders. Thus, a hope/fear psychological neurosis becomes the playing field upon which the dramas of hive-mentality are enacted by the deluded majority of unquestioning people. Most people live in a mode of tolerance, a tolerance of suppressed anxieties.  Supposing that most of the other people they know, or know of, actually know what they are doing, understand reality, and are acting accordingly, most individuals automatically follow along with the collective social, political, or religious paradigm, struggling always to fit in, to conform, and to reap the benefits of so doing. Everything seems good enough as long as the unanswered questions and the fears remain suppressed, so there gets to be a heavy investment in the continual distractions and pseudo-security the social and religio-political systems seem to offer. People get to be like the proverbial ostrich with its head buried in the sand. But from time to time events occur which expose pent-up anxieties; friends become enemies, loved ones become hated ones, and everybody ends up getting old and dying. The collections of possessions finally obsess and then possess their possessor. Everything is always disappearing, changing, changing. The search for security, consolation, and contentment though is endless; from the womb until the tomb uncertainty reigns.   The unreal becomes dominant in the minds of the unwary, and they succumb to its influence in the refusal of the real.

   The never-ending search for stimulation and entertainment is an escapist tactic which can become an obsessive habitual attempt to suppress the oppressiveness of the trivialities of a bewildered life. External excitation becomes the formula for dealing with the lack of richness in inner life, but these sorts of compensation formulas are always only a temporary diversion and self-defeating in the long term. The average person can then become functionally disordered in some degree and subservient to subconscious feelings of fear and hope, the two great destroyers of reason. The cumulative effects of the tension and frustrations of a hedonistic attitude give rise to the motivation for escape from the afflicted state of mind the average person finds himself in. This motivation then becomes the root of the desire to seek and enter into alternative states of existence or into altered states of mind.

    An individual desires to attain an altered state of mind because such a state offers an alternative to remaining in the usual unsatisfactory state of mind. The desire to be free from the discontent of oppressing conditions of the mind and feelings is at the root of escapist behaviors like the need for constant entertainment, busy-work or play, captivating distractions of all sorts, social chattering, daydream fantasies, television addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction, and many more. Individuals develop phobias, or fears, of being alone, sitting still, being silent, and they get absorbed throughout each day in these obsessive behaviors and are motivated primarily by the stress of a restless mind.   Even when filling the waking hours with multiple and continual escapisms, the phobic individual still feels unsatisfied, incomplete, or at least bored. There always seems to be yet something unfulfilled or incomplete. And these are feelings of stress and subconscious anxiety, so the individual keeps on seeking alternative states to counter the usual feelings generated by neurosis, psychosis, boredom, lethargy, sorrow, despair, grief, fear, hope, and all the rest of the unwanted experiences and states of mind which permeate life in some degree, from slight to overwhelming. These are the circumstances and conditions that create gloom, and everyone seeks to be free from this.

    It is entirely futile to pursue the final overthrow of an unwanted aspect of existence in favor of its opposite. Evil cannot be overthrown by the domination of good; pain cannot be overthrown by the domination of pleasure.   But the turmoil and the struggle persist, seemingly without any end or finality.   If any end to the struggle is possible then it will not come as a result of incorporating a strategy concerning a warfare between the opposites with the intent that the good and pleasurable should finally dominate or destroy the evil and the painful.   All the turmoil and warfare will end only when the apparent phenomenal conditions are understood as-they-really-are.   Then the presumed dilemmas will also be known as-they-really-are and then transcendence can occur.   All conditions will be seen as dependent upon other conditions, an infinite flux of event-conditions.  But when any supposedly single condition is thought to be an independent entity unto itself, then it becomes desirable or undesirable and preference and prejudice then create the warfare.

     What is generally not understood clearly is that no desire can be fulfilled because of the temporality of all phenomenal aspects of existence. What is objectively obtained will again be lost.   Distracted and ignorant, the common man is aroused to seek fulfillment in the temporary, becoming distracted and obsessed, motivated to the commitment to false views concerning the world and existence in it.  Not finding the presumed satisfaction, he maintains a constancy of bewilderment, fear, and delusion, locked into a cul-de-sac of turmoil, forever seeking strategies to escape therefrom.   But no strategy will work so long as the problem is not clearly understood.  If one has really understood the true condition as-it-really-is then one may cease to support the illusions and thereby cease to be affected by them.  Nescient persons will continue to support and generate illusion and misunderstanding, increasing and sustaining the turmoils and torments. Only one who awakens can transcend the effects of the turmoil.

   What is that something remaining unfulfilled or incomplete that motivates the search for ways to escape from the unsatisfactory conditions and situations?   It is the only thing of real importance and if it is obtained the search for alternative states and other temporary gratifications would cease. The unceasing search itself is the constant evidence and reminder of dis-ease and unfulfillment, but most people have not discovered or realized what exactly is subconsciously felt to be missing in life.  That which is at the root of escapist tactics is the anxiety which is an effect created by stultified individual evolutionary progress.   When any individual, for any reason, is not motivated to strive toward his next stage of evolutionary progress, whatever stage that may be, he will feel the gloom generated by his own conscience, his personal indicator of something wrong, something out of order.  Conscience is the silent voice which warns of disharmony in any moral context, and the prime moral agenda of all individuals is to progress to the next level or stage of their evolution.   When this is not being done, the feeling of gloom becomes so uncomfortable that any distraction away from it becomes desirable.  Then the individual seeks escape and relief by becoming absorbed in those activities which eventually only complicate the original root problem. Thus, the motivation at the root of the desire to enter into altered states is to escape from or suppress the feelings of gloom produced by not heeding conscience when it warns of avoidance of evolutionary responsibility.


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