I have been watching John Vervaeke and his series Awakening From the Meaning Crisis. I have mulled over writing this post for a couple of days, not that I will have much to say…just an observation.
This is from Episode 18, Plotinus and Neoplatonism; the specific topic for this post is Gnosticism. After describing the positive side of Gnosticism, Vervaeke describes the dark side (starting around the 30-minute mark):
The dark side of the Gnostic vision can – it doesn’t have to – do this. It is ultimately a conspiracy theory – a grand conspiracy theory. Behind all of the evil chaos and suffering, there actually is an evil overlord.
One of the things that would make evil more tractable for us is if it was ensconced within an individual. But this is the ultimate conspiracy theory. There is a whole system that is keeping you from realizing the truth and who you really are…
You mockingly say, “oh, come on with your conspiracy theory.” [Banging the table] Stop and think. This evil overlord…some of them say – not all of them – that this is the God of the Old Testament.
Why does he pick this “evil overlord,” the one that only “some of them say”? Well, there are a couple of places that this could lead….
Who were the people that worshipped the God of the Old Testament? The Jews. Here is an idea that is now being sown into Western culture: the Jews are part of a conspiracy to keep us from realizing our true heritage. And that is going to turn out to be an extraordinary dangerous and bloodthirsty idea.
He then points to Nazism as a twisted response to the meaning crisis that at the time occurred in Germany. He further offers: how can we salvage the good from Gnosticism – the Gnosis from Gnosticism, just as we salvage the agape from Christianity?
Consider this, and set aside whatever you believe about Jews, the Holocaust, etc.: the dark side of Gnosticism is seen in the biggest bogeyman of the woke elite, and this is compared to the supposed dark side of Christianity.
But this is really a minor point, as I understand the worldview of the lecturer and I know what I am getting into if I want to glean the wheat from the chaff of his lectures. He continues:
Can we salvage Gnosis from Gnosticism and at the same time avoid the conspiratorial way of thinking that can be so damaging and has been?
You see, one of the things that Gnosticism can quickly align into is utopian – they’re so enticing, right? – those utopian ideologies that give you the great conspiracy theory and tell you that you belong to the chosen few, the chosen race or the chosen class, and that violence is acceptable because the system is evil and must be destroyed.
So, the dark side of Gnosticism can lead one to conspiracy theories, leading to utopian ideologies that are dangerous – Nazism, for example, is one of these. Holders of such dangerous utopian ideologies consider themselves as belonging to the “chosen race.”
Blindness or subtle jab? You tell me.