Hylics, Psychics and Pneumatics

A reader named Joseph Moore comments:

“Hegel’s Enlightenment became Marx’s rise of proletarian consciousness, today dumbed down all the way to wokeness. The critical thread running through all three: you either get it or you don’t. You’re either enlightened, possessed of true consciousness, or woke, or you are unenlightened, laboring under false consciousness, or unwoke”

All this talk of woke and unwoke sounds very familiar to me.

You may not be aware of the First Century Christian Heresy, which has, yes, endured to this day, called Gnosticism, but I have always been fascinated by it, but not in a good way. It is like staring at a dead body when you’ve never seen one before, but this one sits up, and begins to speak impious blasphemies. It is hard to look away.

It was founded by that same Simon the Magician who appears in the book of Acts and tries to buy the Holy Spirit. It is, in fact, the first known heresy of all heresies.

I submit it has cropped up in this generation in a new form: a secular version.

There are countless local variations, but most or all have some core concepts in common.

It is a Christian heresy, so there is some overlap with the Orthodox worldview. The basic differences are that, in Catholicism, no man is beyond salvation, and no salvation is achieved by your own, unaided merit. In Gnosticism, only the enlightened are saved, and they are saved by their own inner esoteric perfection, and God is a hindrance, not a necessity to achieve that perfection.

I am a science fiction guy, so my first intro to this heresy was through science fiction. I had read Arthur C. Clarke’s CHILDHOOD’S END and David Lindsay’s VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS as well as A.E. Van Vogt’s UNIVERSE MAKER and Robert Heinlein’s STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND and John Crowley’s AEGYPT and seen movies like THE MATRIX and DARK CITY.

Speaking of woke and unwoke, this is a Gnostic concept. It might sound Calvinist at first, parallel to the elect and the reprobate, but the differences outweigh the similarities.

In Gnostic terms, there were three kinds of people: those ruled entirely by desires of the flesh (hylics) those ruled by the mind (psychics) who are confused but questioning, and finally those ruled by the spirit (pneumatics) who have achieved enlightenment.

You would think psychics were people with Way Cool brain powers, and Pneumatics were people with air-inflated body parts, but no. These are Greek words for the soul or mind (psyche) and for air or spirit (pneuma).

The enlightenment of the pneumatic is always esoteric, a thing that is a part of inexpressible reality. Any attempt to put it into words or to reduce to a series of rules and regulations kills the spirit of the thing, and misleads rather than enlightens.

The core of enlightenment is the realization that God is the devil, and that YOU are real god (“Thou art God”), merely trapped and deceived. The world, and all the rules of the world, are illusions meant to snare you. As your own self-aware god, you theologically are immune from all rules of morality, save those you select for yourself.

The core idea of Gnosticism is that all are trapped in a deceptive universe created by a malign illusion-maker or Demiurge. Another recurring theme is the idea that all souls are divided into three groups:

The animal-instinct driven Floaters in UNIVERSE MAKER are the humans in CHILDHOOD’S END are the normies in THE MATRIX. That is why shooting innocent normie guards in the final scene of the movie is never mentioned as morally troubling: to a Gnostic, the deaths of hylics (animal people) is not.

In STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND the hylics are the chumps. It is briefly mentioned in Mike the Martian’s last dialog with Jubal Hershaw, whom evolution would have otherwise culled: the weak and stupid, here, specifically depicted as Christian zealots.

The half-awake people who are struggling to reach enlightenment, but are still confused in the meshes of illusion are the Tweeners in UNIVERSE MAKER, the Overlords in CHILDHOODS END, the L33t Haxxors in THE MATRIX.

In STRANGER, the half-awakes are the members of the communal orgie -cum- Church of Nine Worlds who are learning the Martian language and the practice of cannibalism.

The enlightened are the Shadows in UNIVERSE MAKER, who can die and resurrect themselves; the children of men who unify with the Overmind in CHILDHOOD, who can shed their material bodies, that is, die without dying; and Neo at the end of THE MATRIX, who overcomes the illusion of death, so he can resurrect himself by himself. The enlightened in STRANGER are the Martians, including Mike, who merely shed their bodies upon death, but are otherwise unperturbed.

Note that the Shadows can walk through walls and walk without touching the floor, the children of men from CHILDHOOD can use telekinesis to levitate (at least in the TV mini-series), and Neo can overcomes the illusion of gravity, so he can fly like superman.

Note that all the enlightened are free from normal moral restrictions. Neo and his gun-gal can gun down innocent guards and bystanders with no consequences. The Children of Men can blow up the whole Earth. Mike the Martian can violate the covenant of marriage at will, with no repercussions; but also kill prisoners held in jail if he deems them unworthy of life (including, or so one supposes, prisoners with but three weeks to go to serve their sentence). Likewise, he can free what prisoners he wills, since his super-duper enlightenment allows him to overrides the human laws that deem incarceration more humane than whipping, branding, or maiming.

Note that in none of these science fiction example does anyone learn enlightenment by study or discipline. Neo eats the red pill and wakes up. Literally. He sees the machinery of the illusion trapping him all around him. Cargill has enlightenment imprinted on his brain by hocus pocus.

Mike the Martian seems to be an exception: he actually learned his enlightenment by being raised by Martians, and can teach it to anyone who learns the Martian language. But not so fast! It turns out that sexually liberated people, like the interchangeable busty blonde, busty brunette, and busty redhead characters, can learn Martian. The stupid and undisciplined chumps are expressly said to be irredeemable and their fate is to be condemned by evolution.

Note again that, unlike the Christians, who look forward to glorified bodies in a New Earth beneath a New Heaven, and who live in a material universe created by a Creator-god who declared all He had made to be good, for the Gnostics, everything physical is evil.

In our science fiction versions of the stories, notice how many characters achieve enlightenment by shedding physical bodies: Cargill in UNIVERSE MAKER turns into a literal shadow, a disembodied being; Mike the Martian in STRANGER discorporates, that is, sheds his body like a dirty garment; all the children of men actually obliterate the physical world of Earth to become disembodied minds in the Overmind; in VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS, the hylic man, Maskull, literally dies, and has his soul, Nightspore, standing over him looking down, and the corpse fades into nothing when the light of the true sun of enlightenment, Alppain, strikes it.

That is why being a female trapped in a male body, or a male trapped in a female, is a prime Gnostic conception: the body is an evil deceiver. The biological reality of the body can merely be wished away by the Gnostic enlightenment of the enlightened.

Reality could be wished away, if only, that is, Gnosticism worked.

It does not. All it does is destroy.

Once you see the pattern of esoteric knowledge, a world of illusion as the enemy, and the tripartite division of men into hopeless, hopeful, and perfect, you will recognize Gnosticism wherever it crops up, including in modern politics.

The hopeless hylics in the modern Gnostic system are the Christians, capitalists, conservatives; the hopeful half-woke psychics are “allies” such as male feminists, pro-Palestinian Jews, and the like; and the enlightened pneumatics are the self-anointed utopia-makers, who use human blood for mortar and skulls for bricks when building their fantastic castles in the clouds.

By Gnostic logic, the world system is an illusion. The ancient Gnostics, being religious, held a religious conception, much like a Buddhist, that the material world was a false and seductive dream.

The modern Gnostics, being crass materialists, hold a non-religious conception: human institutions, including the human mind and human rules of logic, morality, and art, are all illusions.

Hence, to them, in America, our Constitution is an illusion that promises equal justice under law, but delivers slavery.

To them, our religion is an illusion that promises love but delivers Christian homophobic islamophobic science-hating bigots.

To them, the free market is an illusion, but all it does is produce income inequality, an entrenched plutocracy class, and the progressive immiseration of the masses (albeit we hear less of the alleged progressive immiseration since Queen Victoria’s time, since the poor in America own cars and cell phones and more suffer from obesity than starvation.)

And so on. Chastity is an illusion; the nuclear family is a trap; masculinity is toxic and femininity is false-consciousness accepting subservience; the business world is a rat-race.

Indeed, ANY system of merit-based rewards, from wages to prizes (from the Hugo awards for SF to the Oscars for films) is a sham, because they claim to be awarded on merit, but never are, as proof of which is offered how  unfairly exclude minorities out of race hatred and misogyny.

My first ever encounter with “wokeness” was a black woman (who, it so happens, had more money and fame and I, and went to a more prestigious law school) accusing me of “white privilege” — a term I had never heard before.

When I asked her to define her terms (a thing every lawyer and every philosopher does in every argument) she reacted with a phony and exaggerated display of contemptuous disbelief, as if I had committed and unforgivable solecism, but was too low and dull to realize what a faux pas I had committed.

My alleged crime was to ask her to clarify her jargon.

Her response was that it was beneath her dignity to explain herself, it was my duty to go on the internet and look it up, and be aware of the rites and rhetoric and rubric of her particular cult.

Well, I recognized the cult right away.

The cult of self esteem, combined with moral relativism, and the idea that one selects one’s own truth for oneself, is merely a non-religious way of saying “Thou art God.”

The knowledge of “woke” is esoteric, and cannot be taught, or put into words; the world is a deception produced by Capitalists or Jews or Whites or Straights or all of the above (depending on the specific brand of modernism); the goal is to break the system by waking the hopeful out of their sheeplike stupor; but the enlightened have no time to waste on the hopeless, because they by definition are reprobate.

These modern Leftists are not liberals. They do not believe in liberty of any kind. None of the buzzwords of liberalism issue from their mouths. None speak of free love: instead they speak of objectification of woman and the horror of the male gaze. None speak of women’s liberation: instead they defend the Muslims with their honor killing of woman and their genital mutilation of woman.

Leftists are a political cult, not a political party. They are the secular version of Gnostics.

Somewhere in hell, Simon the Magician is smiling. He awaits the coming of his children to him.