Thursday, October 20, 2011
AstroGnostic: On the Earth, Not of this Earth
"In the world, not of it" is a sturdy Christian mantra that seems to have been derived from Paul's letter to the Roman Church but is in fact a very Gnostic idea. Believing that the world was a counterfeit creation built to enslave the souls of living beings in base matter, the Gnostics were known to go to extreme lengths to separate themselves from it.
Literal alienation has been explored in-depth on this blog, specifically in regards to how it manifests itself in science fiction (which in its purest form is a inherently Gnostic art form). The idea of a race of literal aliens who are "asleep"-- which is to say unaware of their true nature-- and have fallen into a lower world (usually ours) may not be one of the most dominant tropes out there but variations on it have informed popcult hits such as Heroes and The Matrix (as well as Jack Kirby's Silver Star and Neil Gaiman's take on Kirby's Eternals).
Whatever the literal truth may be, the idea of alienation remains powerful exactly because the world is so alienating to those of a sensitive or insightful nature.
Anti-intellectualism-- and its enabler, pseudo-intellectualism-- have been dominant in culture and politics for most of my life, and has been reliably used time and again to bully and silence people. And reductionism-- which boils down to the hyperaggressive drive to deny and denigrate the deeper experiences of sensitives and those who are able to make connections that many left-brained types are totally incapable of-- has been the concurrent response of the "left" to the anti-intellectual religious reductionism of the "right."
You see this all of the type with the so-called skeptics-- if they don't understand something- or most commonly, if their programming prevents them from even perceiving something-- they have to smash it. Exactly because it poses such a mortal threat to their extremely fragile sense of self, which is determined by their institutional programming.
Which makes it all the more ironic-- and telling-- that the same people who march under the Amazing Randi's banner-- a moldy, maggot-eaten banner that will soon be in ruins along with the Foundation that bears his name-- gravitate towards these kinds of stories, all of which trace their roots to mystical traditions.
But the fact of the matter is that that movement is as emotion-based and reactionary as the Fundamentalist movement it so desperately depends on to define itself against. People like Randi have made themselves rich by painting their opponents as grown-up versions of the bullies that tormented their followers in school.
When you scrape away all of the rhetoric, that's what it all boils down to.
It's the same in other political movements across the board. They all go for the emotional jugular for their own power's sake. Fundamentalism and its endless offshoots (many of which are more potent than the waning movement from which it sprang) go straight for the emotions- fear and resentment, most of all.
Is it any wonder why so many people feel alienated, seeing how sick, corrupt and exploitative all of these movements are?
I can't help but wonder. In the riotously controversial book by Philip Corso called The Day After Roswell, the argument was made that recovered technology from "flying saucer" crashes revolutionized our level of technology, essentially creating all of the digital wonders we take for granted today (which we touched on here). Of course, the power structure has used this technology for nefarious reasons ever since, but at the same time other people are empowering themselves with it.
Some of those people are the ones who don't seem to fit into any of the cubbyholes that have been built for us. Some of those have used the technology to find others like them. I can't help but wonder if Corso's arguments are true-- and mind you, that's the mother of all if's-- that maybe these crashes weren't crashes at all.
Maybe they were staged to kickstart humanity's stagnant communications technology in order to wake up some of those sleeping Neo's out there and get them ready for some pivotal event in our near future.
In that light, here's a story written by the late, great Archie Goodwin, who definitely sprang from the old school ethos of sci-fi and genre fiction. This all feels like a lost Twilight Zone episode in the best way. It also reminds me of the great Outer Limits AstroGnostic narrative "The Children of Spider County," which we looked at earlier in the year.
Click images to enlarge.
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