The Liminalist # 157: Gnosticism Diagnosed (with Simon Strauch)

Talking with clinical psychologist Simon Strauch on how behaviorism has supplanted psychology, approaching orthodoxy, a reductionist mindset, studying occultism, a thirst for transcendence, horizontal & vertical axes, the gravitational pull of the wound, surrendering to reality, In Treatment, holding a liminal space, giving into urges, changing our predetermined path for another, a clockwork therapist, a culture of permissiveness, Havelock Ellis % the celebration of perversity, psychology erasing morality, affect & trauma, when the psyche lands, soul & psyche, relation between body & soul, a theory of schizophrenia, psychic fragmentation, demons, voices, chemical imbalances, personal evil, ancestral fragments, a pathology that transcends death. A Gnostic metaphysic, spiritually incorrect scripture, the fearsome face of God, Gnosticism diagnosed, God’s favor can’t be curried, the ego configured for gain, the spiritual seeker’s point system, Jordan Peterson’s mindset, human engineering, what the soul requires, why Peterson preaches the hero’s journey, Peterson’s spiritual pragmatism.

Songs: “I’m Going Insane” by Lee Maddeford; “Show Your Face Toothface” by We Is Shore Dedicated; “Pingpong Voodoo” by Narcotic Syntax.


8 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 157: Gnosticism Diagnosed (with Simon Strauch)”

  1. One can hardly fail to notice that you seem to be a big fan of the song ” I’m going insane ” by Lee Maddeford. If I had to pick just one song to accompany me to desert island, it would almost certainly be ” witchcraft ” by Frank Sinatra. ( Big Fan ).

    Although if I had to bring it more up to date, I guess I would have to pick the song
    ” she’ll be dead soon ” By Horseface.

  2. Wonderful conversation. Exactly the sort of issues I am muddling through myself. Very much enjoyed your discussion of soul being unable to enter the body and fragmentation. Something I have intimate experience with. Thanks!

  3. I liked the conversation, but I have a problem. Since you brought it up in the title I might as well address it. I keep hearing you and your guests talking about something called Gnosticism which seems more like the mythical subject of the herisiologists than the historical movement as reflected in the Nag Hammadi texts.

    You mentioned that you thought of the Old Testament God as a neurotic projection of a messed up population. Historically, Gnosticism seems to me to be precisely the emergence of a critique of that neurotic vision of deity. Jesus is the central figure in this critique and points to a deeper reality which underlies and precedes the messed-up, brutal human world, and reassures his audience that they are from that deeper reality, and their creator has not forgotten them. He calls out the god who likes the smell of burning flesh as false, and brings a new law based on lived contact with the true Creator.

    Your most pointed critique of Gnostcism was that the view that the material world is inherently evil is anti-embodiment. I say the view that the material world is inherently evil is an interpretation of the herisioligists. The Gnostic texts are critiquing the theological support for political structures (aeons) and not life, which they embody as Zoe, the daughter of Sophia. The Demiurge is, to oversimplify, what you would call the Ego.

    When you say that the current political order benefits a shadowy elite that foists false values on humanity, that is precisely Gnostic in the sense that I mean it. And I can cite you chapter and verse in Nag Hammadi that substantiates this view. But I see that in popular parlance the word Gnostic has come to mean, basically, this kind of Singularity-Transhumanist-making Humans God movement. I wonder if those people even think of themselves as Gnostics, though.

    Why do I care? Using Gnostic this way allows them to tar the critique of ruling structures as anti-life. I suppose if you’re fully anti-Gnostic you would have to say that the current order must be good. In this sense I would say Peterson is an anti-Gnostic, a real Protestant in fact.

    • It took me a while to get to this because it’s such a difficult question. I had to look up herisiologists tho now I have, it’s self-explanatory, as in study of heresy. I wouldn’t say it’s either/or though. I used to believe, and wrote in Lucid View, that the Gnostics were the true Christians and that was partially, or even largely, because of the central tenet of discovering the God within (gnosis) without need of priestly intermediaries, that and the view of the demiurge Jehovah as a bad dude, which seemed more in line with the OT as read through these postmodernist eyes.

      I am still on the fence about Yahweh as to whether he/it represents a tribal god who empowered a particular sect to define the One-God (and Yeshua came to to cancel that contract) or whether it represents an aspect of the One God, one face, as it were, reflecting the chosen people who, as some believe, more or less, the time-clock for the divine Apocalypse plan. I lean towards the latter now as it’s non-dualistic whereas Gnosticism seems close to Manicheanism in its fundamental dualism and its many correlations with occultism and magic(k), i.e, use of will to attain freedom and the pitting against a (false) deity and against Nature. That makes it compatible with, if not generative of, the mainstream-ing postmodern fallacies of transhumanism, Crowleyanity, etc, tho an argument can be made that they are a revolt against the (apparent) dualism of Judeo-Christianity.

      At risk of over-simplification, I’d say conventional (cultural) Christianity is Matrix 1, Gnosticism corresponds with Matrix 2, the apparent “heresy” that appears to point towards the “real” “truth” (the secret wisdom) and provide the tools for ascension/salvation, etc, but is just a trap for the wanna-be-elect that even the dumbest Christians know not to fall for (tho not through any real discernment).

      Gnosticism seems to me to be for the Christ-oriented who are too sophisticated to stomach (fall for) mainstream Christianity.

      To me Peterson is more Gnostic in methods and mood, tho again it doesnt have to be either/or (Protestant Gnostic?).

      He calls out the god who likes the smell of burning flesh as false, and brings a new law based on lived contact with the true Creator.

      But what if it wasn’t false, so much as a necessary reflection of the human psyche at that time? what if all that blood-stuff and circumcision was part of a religious weaning process to entrain humans to stop kill and eating their children?

      The NT Yeshua doesn’t come to destroy the law (.ie., expose it as false) but to fulfill it.

      It’s possible that Gnosticism has been co-opted and deemed useful to the elite as a social control ideology, just as Christianity was.

  4. Great conversation.
    listening to your description of the self not incarnating to the trauma body had a great deal of resonance for me, perhaps I felt it more than reading about it fro your blogs.
    I haven’t got to part 2 yet and I feel i should listen again and transcribe for my own notes some of those pearls of wisdom.

    If there is no self in the body does that mean the rest of the “persona” is detached from it’s soul?

    • I don’t know. Funny what a difference a little rephrasing makes. Also, the difference between a conversation in flow and a text-based Q & A.

      I do have an image from way back of a fragment-persona floating outside the body like a kabuki kite, pulling it along.

  5. interesting – were you aware of Kabuki kites before this – so you subconscious could refer to them?
    certainly has a dissociation theme about it.

    If the Kabuki kite was my Self then for me it’s always been floating around outside of me. It’s only recently after much inner work I have felt the inner affect of Self, I can even feel a shift in the focus of my eyes from the usual outside looking in (or down on me) to inside the body looking out.

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