Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Demiurge... Black Hat or White Hat?

The “Architect” from the Matrix franchise. 
Over the last several decades… all things Gnostic have enjoyed an extraordinary renaissance. Triggered by a series of Archaeological discoveries in the 1940s, inspired by the works of Dr. Carl G Jung and popularized by such disparate figures as Philip K Dick, Lana & Andy Wachowski and even the incomparable underground cartoonist, R Crumb… Gnosticism has captivated an increasingly significant segment of public awareness. It appears that our modern, technologically connected… post-religious world is pre-disposed for the cosmological and philosophic sensibilities of Gnosticism. 

Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός gnostikos, "learned", from γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) is a contemporary term used to describe numerous Biblical era mystery schools and/or religious orders’ cosmological understandings. Most of what we know today about Gnosticism was uncovered in the waning years of World War II, in a collection of papyrus codices, known as the Nag Hammadi library. This collection of Gnostic texts was discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi, by a local farmer named Muhammed al-Samman, in 1945.

Contemporary Gnostic Bishop, Stephan A. Hoeller (Tau Stephanus) succinctly defined Gnosticism as a teaching based on Gnosis, the knowledge of transcendence arrived at by way of interior, intuitive means.

Rising on the tide of public interest, Gnostic philosophic ideas have increasingly infected contemporary pop media. In the 1999 film “The Matrix” by the Wachowskis, a black-clad computer hacker known as Neo falls asleep in front of his computer. As Neo stirs from his slumber, a mysterious message appears on the screen: "Wake up, Neo." This succinct phrase encapsulates the plot of the film… Neo struggles with the problem of being imprisoned in a "material world" …that is actually a computer simulation program created in the distant future by an omnipresent Artificial Intelligence (read: Demiurge). Within a martial arts/action genre, the film brilliantly depicts the Gnostic perspective that the fundamental problem which humanity faces is ignorance... and the solution is knowledge or awakening.

The ancient Gnostics of biblical times held certain “novel” and unorthodox religious beliefs that set them heretically apart from the early Church…

Unlike most early Christian sects, which taught that humanity, via “original sin” was essentially flawed and responsible for human suffering… the Gnostics maintained that the material world was flawed specifically because it was created by a flawed creator deity. “God be Crazy.” Thereby the Gnostics placed responsibility for all the horror and suffering of the material world, squarely on the shoulders of the creator God of the Old Testament, Jehovah. Humans were not only innocent of the corrupt nature of the world… not only free of original sin… they held within them, a divine spark of the true, transcendent, unknowable Godhead… which really ticked Jehovah off! 

Gnostics referred to Jehovah as the flawed creator deity: The Demiurge. The word “demiurge” is an English word from a Latinized form of the Greek δημιουργός, dēmiourgos, literally “public worker” and which was originally a common noun meaning “craftsman” or “artisan.” The Gnostic Demiurge is by no means exclusively good… but is rather portrayed as a bungling and incompetent cosmic fool that creates the world as a spiritual prison. Gnosticism also maintains a distinction between the highest, unknowable "Godhead" and the subordinate “creator” of the material world… the Demiurge. In fact, some systems of Gnostic thought present the Demiurge as antagonistic to the will of the Supreme unknowable Godhead… this sort of Demiurge focus' solely on material reality and on the “sensuous soul.”

Within certain Gnostic systems, the Demiurge is a mythological way to understand the problem of evil, differing sharply from Christianity, which sees Creation as originally good, but corrupted by subsequently created malevolent beings (such as the alleged Devil). In the Apocryphon of John (from the Nag Hammadi library), the Demiurge is given the name "Yaldabaoth". Through arrogance born of stupidity, he proclaims himself as God:

“Now the archon who is weak has three names. The first name is Yaldabaoth, the second is Saklas, and the third is Samael. 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.”

One such Roman era Gnostic sect, named after the biblical Noah’s third son, Seth… have been referred to as “Sethians.” The Sethian mythology portrayed the Demiurge as an ignorant bumbling creator at best. In the Sethian school, the Demiurge is a hostile demonic force who creates the material world in order to trap the spiritual elements. The Sethian cosmology emphasized the dualistic relationship between the individual human spirit and the unknowable Godhead. Their redemptive path to reunification with Godhead was by means of gnosis or knowledge, bypassing the Demiurgic manifested world. From Giovanni Filoramo 1990:

“The image of Demiurge usually portrayed in the Sethian texts is negative. Apart from anti-Jewish and anti-Christian polemic there are some internal reasons for this, specifically the function of the psychic (soul) element represented by the Demiurge. This element is not, as for Valentinians and other Christian Gnostics, the seat of free will, but a moment (that of animation) in the hylic (material) dimension and, like it, destined to perdition. This is the radical difference from the Valentinian Demiurge, the latter being a representative of the psychic element that is also called upon to participate in the work of salvation. Devoid of scarifying characteristics, Ptolemy's Demiurge is simply the Creator of the Seven Heavens, who lives above them.”

However, the Demiurge in the Valentinian school, is quite different in character from the hostile creator figure familiar from other schools of Gnosticism. In contrast, Valentinians “show a relatively positive attitude towards the craftsman of the world or god of Israel” (Layton 1987). Valentinians insisted that while the Demiurge may be a bit confused or foolish, he certainly could not be considered evil. Instead, he has a role to play in the process of redemption.

“Unlike the Sethians who taught a dualism between matter and spirit, the Valentinians taught that the structure of the universe is tripartite. In their view, the cosmos consists of three distinct components: spirit (pneuma), soul (psyche) and matter (hyle). This tripartite division is also applied to human beings. Every human being is said to consist of three components: a material body, an animating soul, and a spirit. According to the Valentinian creation myth, this tripartite structure has its origins in the fall and redemption of the divine emanation (Aeon) Sophia or "Wisdom". They told a myth of her (Sophia's) fall and redemption which has three distinct phases or stages. In each stage of the myth, one of the three primary substances was created.” 

- David Brons (from www.gnosis.org)

So it is that various schools of Gnostic thought viewed the Demiurge very differently. Some sects… such as the Sethians, viewed the Demiurge with contempt… as a blind, hostile and jealous god that was intrinsically evil. Sethians relied on personal experience and inquisitive inquiry into the nature of man and religion, rather than fate and mysterious ways. While other sects, such as the Valentinians, saw the Demiurge as inherently good. Like Plato, the Valentinians thought that the term Demiurge implied a demigod with a blind but benevolent urge to bring the unmanifest into manifestation… a creative intermediary between the material world and Godhead, or "that which shall remain nameless." 

The question becomes… is the mythic creator, the Demiurge… intrinsically good or inherently evil? Is the “Architect” of the material world to be considered a good guy or a bad guy? Is one Gnostic interpretation correct and the other not? Is one truth and the other delusion? Is the dualistic Demiurgic mythology, as outlined above, to be compared to the Yin/Yang system of the East? …to the binary on/off system of the West? Like the modern computer hacker mythology, does the Demiurge wear a black hat… or a white hat? Since so little is known of the ancient Gnostic teachings, the incomplete texts that are available to us do not make a definitive or even clear distinction.

What is clear… is that a mythology of a confused, or worse, deranged creator God… is quite unsettling. Perhaps it is meant to be. Perhaps the dichotomy is intended. Perhaps the seeds of doubt are deliberately sown within Gnostic teachings to underscore the role of humanity’s free will to choose… for the road always forks, it seems.

It is said that there comes a time in the spiritual development of every student of the inner mysteries, where he or she is faced with a catastrophic moment of doubt. This crisis of faith has been referred to as “the dark night of the soul.” It has also been infamously typified as entering “Chapel Perilous” by uncle Bob Wilson, et al. The ancient Gnostics referred to this psychologically traumatic terrain as: The Valley of the Shadow.


Within the Guru/disciple relationship, this agonizing moment comes when the student increasingly doubts the teacher’s intentions. During their discipleship, the Guru has been a trusted pillar of light, instructing the disciple in their spiritual tradition. Suddenly, the teachings take a turn in a certain way as to cause distrust and distress in the mind of the student. Is the beloved and trusted Guru, in fact a maniacal, diabolical tyrant? Have years of devotion and faith been devastatingly misplaced?

This moment is inevitable… often orchestrated by the very Guru… for there comes a time when each of us must take responsibility for our own spiritual development. Every student must graduate from their tutelage. No one understands the need to wean dependence better than the true Guru. Carl Jung called this process “individuation” wherein innate elements of personality, the components of the immature psyche, and the experiences of the person's life become integrated over time into a well-functioning whole.

So it is that we moderns have reached a point in our collective spiritual development where we must wean ourselves from the tutelage of antiquated religious frameworks. Blind faith in religious, pie in the sky, bye and bye, institutions no longer serve us well. The revelations and accusations of priest pedophiles, over the last 50 years, is but one horrific example of the Church’s moral and spiritual failure. In this regard, the resurgence of Gnosticism is no coincidence. 

It is ironic that an ancient religious structure such as Gnosticism becomes instrumental in our collective individuation process… in our weaning of religious institution. Gnosticism is arguably the progenitor of the early Christian Church. How appropriate that such a radical cosmology… one that was hounded out of the early church as heretical… returns in the modern era to reveal the modern church’s corruption.

And so in asking the big question… by what means did universe come into existence? ...we approach the Gnostic mythology. Does the Gnostic metaphor for the power that gave rise to the material universe… the Demiurge… represent malevolence or benevolence? Is our universe a soulless, uncaring mechanical clockwork? Or is there an inherent emanation of love flowing and permeating universe, from that which shall remain nameless?

At times, it certainly feels like our material world is a cold, heartless place. Don’t turn on the evening news, or this suspicion might be reinforced if not verified. Perhaps this is the Chapel Perilous moment facing humanity. Perhaps we must choose a mythology wherein Demiurge wears either a white hat or a black hat. Perhaps we must decide the mythology, good or ill, we choose to pursue, thereby overcoming our doubt. Just as we choose our understanding of the Demiurge (as above), we too (so below) must choose to wear the white hat or the black hat… for our path is fashioned in the choosing. As each of our souls are that divine spark, our decided mythology will co-create universe… in the choosing.

In the end, all becomes one and there is no differentiation. But out here on the perimeter… out here on the road less traveled… our choice is important. Our free will is that divine spark, emanating from the Gnostic Godhead. Our free will is the conscious connection between us and the supreme, unknowable Deity of the Gnostics. In so choosing, we become part of the creative process. Universe unfolds by virtue of the co-creative conspiracy between us and that which shall remain nameless.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Chimps & Macaques Enter the Stone Age.


In the rainforests of West Africa, the woodlands of Brazil and the beaches of Thailand, archaeologists have unearthed some truly remarkable stone tools. It's not the workmanship that makes them special. If anything, a casual observer might struggle to even identify them as ancient tools. 


What makes these tools noteworthy is that the hands that held them weren't human. These stone tools were wielded by chimpanzees, capuchins and macaques. The sites where they have been unearthed are the basis of a brand new field of science: primate archaeology.

The tools are crude. A chimpanzee or monkey stone hammer is hardly a work of art to rival the beauty of an ancient human hand axe. But that's not the point. These primates have developed a culture that makes routine use of a stone-based technology. That means they have entered the Stone Age.


Chimpanzees of West Africa do seem to have managed to pass their stone-based technology… which they use to crack open nuts… down many generations. We know this because of a landmark study in primate archaeology that was published in 2007.

Chimpanzees are our closest living relative. The fact that they, like us, can use stone tools might imply that the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans was the first to develop a stone based technology.

It's possible that chimpanzees… and macaques and capuchins… haven't yet reached the limits of their technological capabilities. But it's not clear whether they will have the opportunity to advance their Stone Age technology. We are shrinking their populations dramatically through habitat destruction and hunting. Smaller populations cannot spread and sustain complex technologies as well as larger groups.

In other words, chimps and monkeys might have the capacity to make much more sophisticated stone tools, but they may never get the chance to achieve that potential: all because of another group of primates that became master stone tool manufacturers.

The above excerpts were taken from the work presented by Colin Barras, for the British Broadcasting Corporation. Full Article here.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Gunung Padang – Sacred Mountain.


Back in 2012… we did a series of posts concerning what is known within “Pop Culture” as: Ancient Astronaut Theory (AAT).  The most common and intellectually accessible understanding of ATT involves the notion that highly advanced extraterrestrial beings had visited Earth in its antiquity and made “first contact” with our distant ancestors. According to archaeological conventional wisdom, mankind developed cultural and technological sophistication within the last 10,000 years. According to ATT, this “explosion in intelligence was triggered by this first contact.  Here is an excerpt from part one of that series…

“According to ancient astronaut theory, the apparently miraculous achievements of antiquity… such as the construction of the great pyramids in Egypt and Central America, the Moai stone heads of Easter Island and the Nazca lines of Peru… are remnant examples of this ancient intervention. Per this theory, all prehistoric knowledge, religion, and culture either came directly from extraterrestrial visitors, or were developed as a result of the influence of a cultural incubator or “mother culture" of extra-terrestrial origin.”

Part One: ATT: Are the World’s Religions Cargo Cults?

Part Two: ATT: Deeper… Weirder.

Part Three: ATT: Fungus Amongus.


In part two of the series, we explored a more intriguing concept, of what can be referred to as Ultra-Terrestrial Theory (UTT). Unlike ATT, wherein humanity is visited and assisted by off-world ancient aliens, the explosion of cultural intelligence and development was triggered by a much more ancient, preexisting terrestrial “mother culture.” From part two…

“The idea of a pan-global, millennia old, technologically advanced (earthling) civilization that has for reasons of their own remained hidden from most, if not all of humanity, seems unlikely at first glance. But in comparison to AAT considered in part one, UTT would answer or “fit” all of the same criteria concerning humanity’s amazing feats of antiquity and mythological similarity, as well as solve the insurmountable challenges of  physical inter-stellar space travel. UFOs of earthly, ultra-terrestrial origin would not have to contend with the unfathomable distances between star systems.”


Recent archaeological excavations on the Island of Java, in Indonesia… have called into question the conventional 10,000 year theory, for the rise of humanity. The controversial findings of this most recent study, pushes humanity’s reign back an additional 15,000 years. Findings such as these shed new light on the ultra-terrestrial theory.

The object of archaeological scrutiny is the sacred mountain, Gunung Padang. As we shall see, this sacred mountain may prove to not be a mountain at all… 

“The geophysical evidence is unambiguous… Gunung Padang is not a natural hill but a man-made pyramid and the origins of construction here go back long before the end of the last Ice Age. Since the work is massive even at the deepest levels, and bears witness to the kinds of sophisticated construction skills that were deployed to build the pyramids of Egypt or the largest megalithic sites of Europe, I can only conclude that we’re looking at the work of a lost civilization and a fairly advanced one.”
- Dr D. H. Natawidjaja

Gunung Padang is a megalithic site located in Karyamukti village, in the West Java Province of Indonesia, 30 miles southwest of the city of Cianjur and 55 miles from the capital Jakarta. It has been called the largest megalithic site in all of Southeastern Asia, and has produced carbon dating results which, if confirmed, suggest it is extraordinarily old.


Since its first exploration by archaeologists in 1914 the site was thought to be a natural hill with 2,500 year-old megalithic structures on top of it. But in 2010 geologist Dr Danny Hilman Natawidjaja (who earned his doctorate at Cal Tech) recognized this “hill” as a possible man-made pyramid and began to explore it using ground penetrating radar, seismic tomography, resistivity survey and other remote sensing techniques, as well as some direct excavations and deep core drilling.

The results were immediately intriguing… producing evidence of deeply buried man-made chambers and yielding carbon dates going back as far as 26,000 years. This was the last Ice Age when our ancestors are supposed (according to the orthodox archaeological model) to be have been nothing more than primitive hunter gatherers incapable of large-scale construction and engineering feats. Was it possible that geologist Natawidjaja was unearthing the proof of a lost advanced civilization of prehistoric antiquity?


Excavations have produced results that prove beyond doubt that Gunung Padang in indeed a man-made pyramid of great antiquity as Dr Natawidjaja had long ago proposed. Even the relatively young layer so far excavated (the second artificial columnar rock-layer beneath the megalithic site visible on the surface) has yielded dates of 5200 BC (nearly 3000 years older than the orthodox dating for the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt) and there are firm indications from the original remote sensing and core drilling work of much older layers below. In short, it is now evident to all that the site is vastly older than the 2500 years that archaeologists had insisted upon for decades. Even the most hostile amongst them are therefore now reframing their assessment of the site and referring to it as “a gigantic terraced tomb, which was part of the biggest megalithic culture in the archipelago.”

The above was taken in part from an article appearing at the “Mysterious Universe” website.

…and the work of Andrew Collins & Graham Hancock.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Your Democracy Has Been Hacked (updated)


Folklorists, cultural anthropologists and others who study such things, have found the belief that good (or bad) things come in threes… is an ancient superstition. They further suggest that the “Rule of Threes” remains a potent modern belief.

My most recent experience of the rule of threes began with a morning television newscast. In a breaking newsflash, the anchor reported that United Airlines had grounded all flights, world-wide. This event, no doubt caused considerable bother for passengers around the world. United issued a statement saying it suffered from "a network connectivity issue" and apologized to customers for any inconvenience. It said that 4,900 flights were impacted by the problem worldwide.

This had gotten me thinking about computer network vulnerabilities, and how disruptive they can be when they, for whatever reason, go off line.

Hours later, the second event was triggered when trading on the New York Stock Exchange was halted for over three hours. The Exchange halted trading at 11:32 a.m. ET, leaving investors unable to buy and sell securities. The New York Stock Exchange said its floor trading resumed just after 3:10 p.m. Consequently, the Dow Jones Industrial Average took a “triple” digit hit and closed down 261 points.

Exchange officials blamed the shutdown on a "configuration issue" with their systems, according to a statement, and not a "cyber breach," according to a NYSE tweet. The configuration issue pertained to how the exchange's systems interact with one another, a source said.

At this point, suspicion crept into my mind. I mean, what are the odds that two major network systems could go down… hours apart?

Later that day, Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson assured the public that United's outage was not connected to a computer problem that disrupted trading at the New York Stock Exchange. The airline official also said "there was no hacking whatsoever" in the United outage. "I have spoken to the CEO of United myself," he said, "and it appears that the malfunctions from United and New York Stock Exchange were not the result of any nefarious actor."

Yeah, right… it seems that everyone from Homeland (in)Security to mainstream media outlets, such as CNN were all too quick to proclaim that this was not… repeat… NOT! HACKER RELATED. In the words of that famous bard, Will Shakespeare:  “Me thinks thou dost protest too much.”

Synchronicity is, by its very nature, a personal thing. For me, the third event… the synthesizing event… the event that tied these seemingly unrelated events together, into a triad of personal significance… of synchronistic meaning… came that evening, when I tuned in to an interesting, albeit quirky summer season television series, titled… Mr. Robot.

 Mr. Robot is an American cyberpunk/thriller television series on USA Network, artfully created by Sam Esmail. The series follows one Elliot Alderson… a young cyber-security engineer living the dream in New York City. Elliot meets a mysterious social-anarchist known as "Mr. Robot" who recruits Elliot to join his team of hackers, known as: "F-society." The show follows Mr. Robot's attempts to engage Elliot in his mission to destroy the all-pervasive conglomerate… E (Evil) Corp… the very corporation Elliot is paid to protect. Conflicted by his personal beliefs, Elliot struggles to resist the chance to take down the multinational CEOs that are running (and ruining) the world.

Mr. Robot nails the portrayal of a particular breed of hacker who hacks to make sense of the modern world. The Elliot character is pretty tweeked… displaying Asperger-like symptoms such as avoiding eye contact, not liking to be touched… “Never show them my source code,” he says in voiceover. These peculiarities are simply interpersonal flaws… weaknesses of the meat. Hacking is his primary mode for controlling a world that he feels otherwise powerless to control. Hacking is the tool of choice for making connections in a world in which he feels alone… alienated…

Discerning readers of this blog can easily appreciate the ramifications of this third, coalescing “cosmic trigger.” It is in this TV show… this simple fiction… that the truths beneath the United Airlines and the NYSE stories are revealed.

We are living in the dystopian, cyberpunk world that we dismissed as science fiction just a couple of decades ago. We now experience daily, the alienation, confusion and surrealism we once only read about in the works of William Burroughs and William Gibson. The major themes of the cyberpunk genre, such as advanced information technologies and artificial intelligence, juxtaposed with a breakdown or radical change in the social order is the world we live in… is here now.


Our post-industrial dystopias are marked by extraordinary cultural ferment and upheaval. The modern “War on Terror” feels like a variation of the plot in the (somewhat cheesy) Arnold Schwarzenegger version of “Total Recall” …only the resistance isn’t on Mars… it’s right where you are sitting now. Gibson’s “Modern Panthers” those shadowy hackers from Neuromancer… have nothing on “Anonymous.”

 Yowzah… the world in which we find ourselves is looking more and more like a surreal Philip K Dick yarn. As we continue to wake up to this reality, we… like those rascally Gnostics of old… feel the alienation setting in. The powers that be… like the Gnostic arch-villain, the Demiurge… seem to be increasingly cruel and unusual. Just as PKD realized and immortalized in the Quote: “The Empire Never Ended” …the ways of the world, persist. The power of the Roman empire that PDK saw in fevered dream… looks suspiciously like our modern Empire… marching into the desert.

The rapid deterioration of cultural constructs… the seemingly purposeful dismantling of society and its infrastructure… lead us to a critical breaking point. However... in times of crisis, there is opportunity. To return to the sayings of folklore…“it is always darkest just before the dawn.”

My preferred belief is that; it is the Empire that is at a breaking point… not humanity. The powers that be… the petro-chemical-arms dominators are just about done. They just don’t know it yet. It is true that the situation is desperate as usual. It is true that these are dangerous, confusing times. But here in the darkness, there resides a glimmer of light.

Again… more of us are waking up. More of are realizing that the Emperor wears no cloths. A single enlightened, compassionate soul is a powerful thing. Imagine what we can do together. Even as the Empire crumbles, the new mythologies… the new cultural foundations are beginning to appear. Be patient… for these things take time. We survived the harmonic convergence... we survived 2012... perhaps, in the words of the afore-mentioned folklorist... Third time's the Charm!


---------------     ---------------     --------------- 

7/17 Update...

Cyberpunks= 1   NYSE= 0

Many articles, from many sources, have appeared across digital media since the double-whammy-woes of United Airlines & NYSE... claiming that the amorphous collective of socio-political, protest-as-theater, hacker-esque cyberpunks... known as "Anonymous" did indeed have everything to do with those (temporary) shutdowns.

The following example of such,  is from Techscruppt... 

Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, Anonymous wished bad luck to befall Wall Street.

When the New York Stock Exchange experienced “technical issues” slightly less than twelve hours later, Anonymous appeared to have received its wish.

Trading abruptly halted at 11:32am on Wednesday morning due to “some technical malfunctions,”explained NYSE director of floor operations, Art Cashin. While U.S. officials claimed there were no signs of a “cyber breach” that would have caused the difficulties, the timing of the Anonymous message is . . . interesting.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Liberty!


Saw a bird with a tear in his eye… Walking to New Orleans, my oh my
Hey, Now, Bird, wouldn't you rather die? than walk this world, when you're born to fly?

If I was the sun, I'd look for shade… If I was a bed, I would stay unmade
If I was a river, I'd run uphill… If you call me, you know I will
If you call me, you know I will

Ooo, freedom… Ooo, liberty! Ooo, leave me alone… to find my own way home…
Find my own way home

Say what I mean and I don't give a damn… I do believe and I am who I am
Hey now Mama come and take my hand… Whole lotta shakin' all over this land

If I was an eagle I'd dress like a duck… crawl like a lizard and honk like a truck
If I get a notion I'll climb this tree… or chop it down and you can't stop me
Chop it down and you can't stop me

Ooo, freedom… Ooo, liberty! Ooo, leave me alone… to find my own way home…
Find my own way home

Went to the well but the water was dry… Dipped my bucket in the clear blue sky
Looked in the bottom and what did I see? The whole damned world looking back at me!

If I was a bottle I'd spill for love… Sake of mercy, I'd kill for love
If I was a liar I'd lie for love… Sake of my baby, I'd die for love
Sake of my baby I'd die for love

Ooo, freedom… Ooo, liberty! Ooo, leave me alone… to find my own way home…
Find my own way home

I'm gonna find my own way home.

- Robert Hunter