Wednesday, 9 March 2011
Pathology of the Soul - or, 'A Realm of Imaginary Light'
Not wanting to be a cheerleader for victimhood, I appreciate that certain Gnostic concepts can seem simply too awful to contemplate with any seriousness or sobriety. It’s a tough thing to seriously speculate that we might be trapped in a prison of near-unfathomable design. The idea that what many think of as God is in fact a trickster demiurge (a sinister force, for want of a better term) that is utterly ruthless in its desire for full-spectrum domination – this idea is practically unpalatable due to the various horrors it implies. I can understand the urge to balk at such an idea, and even to vilify its messengers – even if such an idea is presented as pure speculation, as it is here.
The idea of an Archon, or sinister gatekeeper to our apparent reality, is both frightening and alluring – in the sense that through such an image we can investigate our own darkest associations, with the potential to emerge as more compassionate, perceptive individuals. But such shadow-projections do not necessarily invalidate the literal possibility of the Archon image. The rational mind might dismiss the Archon image as the symbolic embodiment of various fears and natural forces. But, as in the microcosm world of insects and micro-organisms – our human intervention, manipulation and control would appear to them as the chaos of natural forces. This is an important correlation to consider, I feel.
The idea of a predator that we cannot see, or even prove exists, is very, very frightening. However, we shouldn’t let this sway us from intelligent speculation.
On Chris Knowles’ recent AstroGnostic Memento-Mirror-Matrix blog post over on the Secret Sun I left the following comment with regards to these themes, and I reference the movies 'Dark City' and 'The Matrix' (covered in previous posts here at Amid Night Suns). Here is a slight abbreviation of my comment:
These last few posts have felt extremely powerful for me personally, and touched upon the core of my interests in a very synchronistic way.
I just wanted to say that I think these myths about ancient fairy-tale predators are deeply intertwined with our psyches.
I often compare and contrast horror or dark fantasy fiction with studies in abnormal psychology, because I think the insights gained are interesting.
I suspect that these fairytale predator stories are more than just our survival anxieties, or monstrous metaphors that encapsulate our basest fears - though this is definitely part of the phenomenon. But there's something frighteningly literal here, IMHO.
I'm not sure if it's wise to make such a bold claim, especially since I think Psyche and its interconnectivity underpins all manifest experience. However, these tales of Strangers, Archons, Agents, etc all seems to have an odd thematic consistency that feels weirdly significant to me.
I'm really not a good judge of these things though, since every damn thing feels weird to me. But these sinister gatekeeper characters are lurking in various forms of fiction - but fiction is often the best place to tell an unbelievable truth.
With such an arena as a comfort-zone, perhaps the collective/creative mind can be a bit more honest or vivid in its output.
It's a tricky thing I'm trying to describe here. You would probably agree that if genetic or collective memory exists, it might find arenas of fiction the most appropriate place to express its content. Especially if there is some trauma or distortion connected to it.
What I'm saying here is that I think there's an inherent paradox - these Stranger-Agent-Archons are fiction, but it's almost like we have to tell little untruths to reconnect with the powerful significance of such a memory/myth.
We have to dress it with our own scary outfits so that the details build up enough for us to recognise the soul of the thing - the memory allows us to remember the trauma but at a distance and with certain artistic licence.
Why does the soul of this thing have such power, even if it's purely symbolic? You follow me? Others have probably said this idea way better, and with fewer words, but I hope I'm understood.
I mean, let's not fuck around here - these archons and strangers and agent characters are rapists, right? They're ALL about control. Not only are they often physically defiling their prey, but their main goal/method of control is spiritual rape on a scale that is practically beyond our comprehension.
If there is any truth to Gnostic interpretations, literally or symbolically, then perhaps the boogieman in all his fictional incarnations is the closest that our collective memory will let us get to the actual rape that began our pathology. And humanity has become a race of broken, pathological creatures. All the violence and exploitation around us cannot imply otherwise.
Here's the crux of the matter though; in world of deep, deep interconnections, did we simply rape ourselves? My careful answer would be, "Not at first." With this as my honest opinion, I'm totally willing to consider a whole host of projection/metaphor/fantasy intricacies intertwined with such archon/predator characters - and am open-minded about the subtleties of their ontology.
The memory allows us to remember the trauma but at a distance and with certain artistic licence.
I think this artistic licence is not a place of hopelessness; it’s a place of power. It means that even though there are distortions and horrors involved in truly understanding such a potent myth, these things can, through a strange circularity, eventually allow a fuller recognition of the thing. I would suggest it is akin to catching a glimpse of something real behind a stylised depiction, remembering something once seen in a realm of imaginary light – some important, painful truth that we have carried with us in our private, psychic spaces for a very long time.
If such an interpretation has some truth to it, then this suggests that our art is our salvation. Our art is our collection of elegant, truth-telling lies, misunderstandings and distortions – offered out to each other as authentic experiences of ourselves and our uncertainties. A myth does not have to be real to be powerful. But also, a myth does not have to be unreal to be powerful. I suspect that humanity is both these things, both real and unreal – and we are very, very powerful.