THE FOG – Tea and Toast
Some things naturally go well together. Things like tea and toast or wine and cheese. Likewise some people just pleasantly fit together, like they were made for each other. Similarly, this is how Stoicism and Gnosticism embrace one another. Both have had major influences on contemporary society. Stoic Gnosticism is a syncretic philosophy which combines the Socratic wisdom of Stoicism and Gnosticism. This is why their union is so significant for the human race and why the transparent gods of the day are envious.
Stoics are drawn to the perennial wisdom of philosophy which is composed of universal truth. The following quote is from the Stoic Epictetus. This is followed by the Serenity Prayer attributed to Theologian-Philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr. After reflecting on the two quotations see if you can identify the similarities.
“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions-in short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing.”
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and he wisdom to know the difference’
Both Epictetus and Reinhold tell us that some things we can and cannot control. Other things are simply indifferent. So we should not worry about what is beyond our control and be happy for the things we can control. The things which are indifferent are neither good nor bad. They just exist as a choice. Through indifference we can learn detachment.
Gnostics are drawn to gnosis and the direct experience of the One which eliminates the need for the intermediary of organized religion. The following quote is from the Gospel of Thomas and basks in the perennial philosophy of the interior movements of wisdom.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is in you, what is within you will destroy you”
Gospel of Thomas
The marriage of these two perennial philosophies has given birth to a new renaissance of the soul. Speaking alchemically, when Stoicism and Gnosticism are merged as one, a transformation occurs which transcends the human intellect. This becomes the sublime experience of “AWE” in our lives, when the proverbial light of the soul enlightens our mind. This is the soul passing through the cloud of unknowing to a new insight and self-awareness. It is the alcoholic breaking through the curtain of denial or the child seeing a snow fall for the first time. It is a blessing to behold and to hold onto. For the world is full of distractions and seductions which want to rob the spirit of its moment of Awe.
Stoic Gnosticism is a practical philosophy based on the universal principles of peace, tranquility, liberty and freedom. It does not reinforce the sanctimonious observances of dogmatic religiosity. As a practical philosophy it maintains that every individual has been gifted with reasoned principles and spiritual aptitudes to obtain the good life.
Integration of Stoicism and Gnosticism
The central definitions of Stoicism and Gnosticism are as follows:
The Stoics differentiated between ‘good’, ‘bad’, and ‘indifferent’ things. The good things include the cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice, courage, and self-discipline. The bad things include the opposites of these virtues, namely the four vices of folly, injustice, cowardice, and indulgence. Some things are within our control while other things are not within our control. Things which are indifferent are simply impermanent or neutral. Stoicism emphasizes that virtue is sufficient for happiness and connects us to the One and universal truth.
The term Gnosticism comes from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis, referring to consciousness, which is claimed by Gnostics to be the key to unlocking transcendent understanding of the One and the self-realization, and union of universal truth.
Gnosis refers to knowledge based on personal experience or perception. In a religious context, gnosis is mystical or esoteric knowledge based on direct participation with the divine. In most Gnostic systems, the sufficient cause of salvation is this “knowledge “of the divine which is achieved through living a virtuous life.
“It is an extraordinary blindness to live without investigating who we are.Withdraw into yourself and look”
We can synthesize Stoicism and Gnosticism in a common credo, “know thy self”. The following are five concepts of Stoic Gnosticism.
- We can experience the transcendent directly
- The transcendent is rooted in the natural order
- Happiness is our natural state of being and can be obtained by living a virtuous life
- Through virtue we come to realize what is and what is not within our control
- The minds ability to reason helps us to choose our attitudinal responses to life
The term “Modern Stoic Gnosticism” is useful in identifying the blending of Stoic and Gnostic philosophies. This will help clarify efforts to adjust ancient Stoic and Gnostic concepts in our modern world. Stoic Gnosticism can be regarded as a psycho-social-spiritual effort to revive ancient wisdoms so it is relatable in a modern world.
The world is increasingly becoming more consumed with mental health issues of depression, anxiety and obsession. This is because happiness is bad for the economy. After all, if we were happy we would not need something more. In other words, to be happy with who you are would not be good for business. This is why the financial elites are continuously looking for more exotic ways to seduce humanity. They are the “drug pushers” of our modern world. They push fear to make us buy into violence. They push technology to make us feel like we belong. They push capitalism to make us feel powerful. They push outdated political systems to make us feel free. Finally, they distract us by pushing socially engineered associations to satisfy our need for excitement.
The main areas which embody the human hierarchy of needs are, the need to survive, the need for power, the need for freedom, and the need for fun. All of which are being manipulated through social engineering’s ability to make us feel like we belong to something greater than ourselves. To be truly happy therefore becomes a revolutionary act. To be content with what you have without the need for an upgrade would be good for us but bad for business.
To live a life of simplicity is a great skill which is being lost. Just like the skill to live in balance with nature or to live off the land are skills which are becoming extinct for the so called advanced countries of the world. To live a life of simplicity has always been a sign of contentment. This loss of contentment can clearly be seen as humanity becomes more and more obsessed with the next shiny thing. The mind of modern society seems to be atrophying within the cultural engine of social thought reform. If we are not learning how to grow our own food and care for our own families, we will always be dependent on huge governments and corporations. If we are not listening to the inner voice of freedom then we are probably being indoctrinated by the outer voices of fanaticism.
“I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interactions.
Then the world will have a generation of idiots”
Stoic Gnosticism is not meant to be the next shinny thing or the next hip cultural in thing. It is something perennial and real which has always existed no matter what name you give it. It is not a buried treasure. It is simply life starring back at us until we wake up to the sense of being stared at.
You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so injured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.