This is a transcription of an audio lecture from Fundamentals of Gnosticism, originally given live at the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
Gnosticism, in its pristine form, has been studied in accordance with four pillars, as we have been discussing throughout this course. As a tradition, it is founded upon the teachings and studies of science, mysticism, art and philosophy. With this lecture, we are going to conclude this series, by explaining the fundamentals of Gnostic philosophy.
It is important to look at the state of our humanity, the state of our planet, with all of its chaos, its afflictions and its great turmoil. It is this state that many types of politics, politicians, systems, codes of conduct are propitiated, are taught as a means of trying to contain and control the tremendous afflictions that humanity is enduring, its death throes.
We have to understand what is it that perpetuates suffering, conflict, disorder. For this, we have no other solution than to return to the ancient sciences, the ancient modes of spirituality, of conduct, or self-reflection. As Immanuel Kant, the great philosopher of Königsberg, stated, "The exterior is merely the reflection of the interior." So, the conflicts that we see in humanity, are precisely that which we carry inside; in our mind, in our heart, and which we act out in our body, to the detriment or benefit of others.
It is precisely this study of self, which is the core of the Gnostics, their endeavor, their philosophy. And, if we look at the original word "philos-sophia" in Greek, we understand that it means, "love of wisdom." It does not mean academic study, intellectualism, scholasticism, something to debate for or against, a means of belittling another person, in terms of pontificating academic vocabulary, a system of the intellect used to subjugate others, a way of thinking; it does not mean that. And, as we explain in etymological terms, science is genuine knowledge: scientia. Mysticism is when we close our eyes to illusion, "myein" in Greek, which is where we get the word mystikos, initiate, someone initiated into a superior way of being. And art, from "artus," and many other words, signifying to join, an expression of consciousness, which is the definition of art. So, philos-sophia is the same meaning as religion; the Latin "religare," which means to re-unite with the divine. We do that precisely by loving divinity. And, as Jesus stated, "love thy neighbour as thyself; first, love thy God above all things." Have philos for your own inner wisdom (sophia).
Sadly, people think that philosophy is a means of caging the intellect—which is what it does—of knowing the truth, of explaining the many diverse phenomena which we encounter; whether it be in politics, natural law, etc. But real philosophy is when we, as a soul, experience the truth, and that love that is born spontaneously from the heart, of recognizing that divinity for ourselves, a humility, that faith. This is the definition of philos-sophia; it is not a system to cage the mind, something to believe in, something to battle in a debate against an opponent, in terms of intellectual concepts, intellectual arsenal, we could say.
Our problems with our humanity will be resolved, easily, if each individual takes it upon him or herself, to rectify his or her own behavior; his mind, his heart, his behavior, his habits. As Buddha said, "We become what we think; mind precedes phenomena. " If our mind is full of degeneration, of desire, of passion and lust, of fear and anger, we are worshipping that which is impure. This prevents us from accessing love of wisdom, love of truth, the experience of the truth.
Genuine spirituality is real philosophy; it is not separate. As we have been emphasizing in this course, the four pillars of Gnosticism are integral, they are not separate. We must look at philosophy as something psychological and scientific, as something methodical, experiential and experimental. We have to look at philosophy and psychology as science, as a mysticism; as a way of closing our eyes to ignorance and illusion, in order to perceive with our own spiritual sight, the truths that are contained within religion. All of that is, of course, expressed and demonstrated in art. Many great mistikos, initiates of past times, conveyed to humanity the very keys of how to change for the better, how to transform the mind.
As you see in this opening image, we have the academy, with the great philosophers Aristotle and Plato in the very center, and in the image, we have many of the great thinkers and luminaries of humanity, which existed in Greece. In this school, we emphasize these core issues, that real knowledge is spiritual, conscious; real philosophy is conscious, what we have verified, what we know for ourselves. And that, when we possess this knowledge from experience, we are able to look at any work of art, as we were talking about previously, and interpret the symbolism, the instructions, the keys that will teach us how to transform our suffering into peace and harmony.
Genuine philosophy is the key; Gnostic philosophy is the essence of how we are going to change who we are, and how we are going to make the changes that we want for humanity. In this next graphic, we have the oracle at the Temple of Delphi, who famously stated, "Homo Nosce Te Ipsum," "Man know thyself (and you can know the universe and its Gods.)" This philosophy, this knowing, this love of truth, comes when we know ourselves.
We have to ask the question, do we know who we are, fundamentally? When we observe our psyche, when we learn to self-observe as Samael Aun Weor stated in his Revolutionary Psychology we begin to see with a new sense that thoughts, feelings, impulses, will, desires, these things are separate from the observer; they are a conglomeration of different factors, which are distinct and yet work together, through mechanical association, through our physical habits. We have to see that these elements, and their chaos, constitute our suffering, the causes of our pain. We call these different elements, defects, memories, thoughts, desires, "egos" which we have created. As much as we can discuss and point out the faults of American politics and all of the chaos that humanity has endured, for millennia, we have to see that, while that type of analysis bears merit, we have to see how we contribute to that chaos, that conflict. As Kant said, "We are the exterior, the exterior world is inside." So, it is better to not point the finger, but to look at ourselves; as the Temple of Delphi, the Oracle stated, "Know thyself, and you will know the universe and its Gods." By knowing our defects, our faults and errors, and by transforming them through the esoteric science of mysticism, of meditation, we in turn gain conscious knowledge of ourselves, of who we are, and where we need to go.
Spiritual Sight and the Repented Soul
Another word that relates to philosophy is the Sanskrit word, दर्शन "Darshan." In Hinduism, it means, "auspicious sight." It means to see directly, from the root word, "drs" meaning "to see." We included this image of Jesus before Mary Magdalene, after his resurrection, to demonstrate the relationship between philos and sophia, and also the nature of auspicious sight. What does it mean to be auspicious? To be in awe, to be filled with... even terror, before that which is divine. Not out of a sense of egotism, of insecurity, but to be overwhelmed by the immense power of the divine, and that beauty that is so penetrative that it transforms everything.
Mary Magdalene was seeing before her the physical Jesus, raised from the dead; the great Master Aberamentho, the head of the Gnostic Church. She wanted to approach him—she representing sophia, the fallen Sophia of the Coptic text Pistis Sophia, who, as a repented prostitute, seeks to unite with the truth, but recognizes the impurity of her psyche... which is us. And so, Jesus steps back and says, "You cannot touch me yet, for my hour has not yet come; you are not allowed to approach me with your degeneration, with your evil psychology," in other words, you have to transform that. Mary Magdalene is a soul that has prostituted itself, has created all of these discursive elements that we call ego: fear, anger, lust, etc. And yet, she recognizes her perversity, how she herself has been indoctrinated with systems and concepts and philosophies that have taught her how to ignore her divine nature. But, she needs to approach him, and she, out of divine love, approaches the Christ—which is a representation of our inner divinity. In this manner, she has a love of truth, because she has experienced it, and she recognizes her own perversity, and repents. Of course, Mary Magdalene became the great saint, canonized by the church, and who is the most beloved disciple of Jesus, amongst the Gnostics. When we genuinely see the truth for ourselves, we are filled with awe. We are filled with a recognition of our own faults, and what we must do to change them.
The Esoteric Philosophy in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
So, speaking on this concept of genuine philosophy, this love of wisdom, we have included an image, sketched by the initiate Jan Saenredam, but it has some Latin inscriptions, which emphasize the points we have made previously about Mary Magdalene: Lux Venit In Mundun Et Dilexerunt Homines Magis Tenebras Quam Lucem. This inscription states, "The light shineth in the darkness, but the darkness comprehended it not." And, "the light has shone in the world, but men have rejected the light because their ways are evil." This is from the book of John. But we have included this image explaining the Allegory of the Cave of Plato, to emphasize what is the nature of genuine philosophy, what does it mean to have love of wisdom, and what is the process that leads us to that recognition for ourselves. In the famous Allegory of the Cave by Plato, who was a Gnostic master, he explains a very famous process of obtaining knowledge and truth for oneself, which is very well documented and studied in universities, but I am going to be explaining the esoteric meaning of this, not the academic presentation.
In this myth, like Mary Magdalene, she is in darkness. We see a group of men who are in prison, in the far right corner, enchained. And, in Socrates narration in the text of The Republic, their necks, hands and arms are chained to the back of this wall, which we see. They do not see anything; they are in darkness, they are in ignorance. Ignorance does not mean to lack a university degree, or some form of education, but to not know the causes of suffering in ourselves. In that definition, all of us are ignorant; we ignore how we perpetuate our own pain. These men who are in darkness live in the shadows their entire life. But, there are some who happen to see shadows projected onto the wall before them, because there is a fire behind this wall onto which they are enchained, and people pass to and fro with objects, pottery, images, etc., on their heads or their hands, that, through the light of the fire in this cave, project onto the wall before these men, these prisoners. Sometimes, they see darkness, sometimes they may see images, shadows on the wall, illusions.
This is, of course, a representation of all the different theories, beliefs, ideas, idols that people worship, images that people have in their minds, systems, dogmas, that they project onto the screen of their existence, which is a very shallow, narrow cave in which they are imprisoned. That cave is a symbol of the mind, the intellect, which keeps us enchained, through its beliefs, ideations, etc.
One either sees nothing, a complete state of ignorance and sleep of the consciousness, or one see images; these are states of consciousness, we could say. We say that the first state of consciousness is the darkness of the cave, it is complete annihilation of awareness of self. This constitutes, in itself, a state of complete barbarity; all of the states of war, of persecution, torture, violence, hatred, etc., is the profound state of sleep. It is people who live in darkness, psychologically. But there are those who have images in their minds, idols in the minds, concepts and beliefs that they worship in their intellects. These could be Christianity, Judaism, Islam, metaphysics, occultism... many ideas in the intellect that have no verification within the psyche. These are dreams, these are illusions that people see in the projection from their mind, which is caused by all the statues, images, etc., in the background. These are all the different beliefs that people have formulated, that they study, adhere to and worship, as if they were God, as if they were the divine, ignoring that these are just projections, concepts, toys of the intellect. These are not conscious, experiential wisdom or knowledge.
Unfortunately, it is perhaps only one or two prisoners that might be released from their prison, their chains, taken by a Master, a guru, a Mahatma, an angelic being, who, out of sacrifice, goes into those hell regions, the darkness of that cave, to release prisoners. A prisoner who is released, is forced to look straight at the fire of this cave for the first time; that fire is blinding, dazzling. For, when one awakens consciousness, they perceive in a completely new way; that fire is the light of intelligence, the light of conscious perception of the truth. It is awakened knowledge. It means, to perceive the fire for the first time, and to make the analysis, to understand that all those images that we are seeing on the shadows of the wall are illusions, and that they have their source from this fire. Likewise, when we observe our mind, and see that we are not our thoughts; we are not our moods, our feelings, our sentiments; we are not our impulses; we are something else; we are something more intelligent; dynamic, conscious knowledge, conscious perception is born in us. We learn to revise our way of thinking, to understand that what we believed about ourselves, what we think about ourselves, was an illusion, a mistake. And yet, born from the experience, is developed real courage to change.
But this is not the end of the myth. For, the Guru, the master takes this proselyte, this disciple, who has seen the fire for the first time, and has pulled, dragged them out of this cave; out of the long tunnel that we see in the top left of this image, where that person is brought before genuine daylight. Actually in The Republic, it states that he sees, for the first time, the stars, and even the stars are blinding, because his entire existence has been in shadows, in psychological sleep. But, when the Sun rises for the first time, this prisoner is in awe. The sun is a representation of the Platonic Logos, the Christ in Gnostic terms, which is an intelligence, power, which permeates all of nature.
So, when we see the sun for the first time, it is a symbol of perceiving the divine for ourselves; whether it be in meditation, or when our physical body is asleep, when we as a soul exit out of our cave, this body that we have in which we are trapped. We go out, into the internal dimensions, up that magical Tree of Life, which we have discussed in lectures on Kabbalah, and we experience divinity; we talk face to face, for ourselves, with the truth. Of course, being in front of the presence of the sun is powerful. One feels oneself humbled and annihilated before the light, like Moses on Mount Sinai, saying to the Lord, "Show me your true form." And the Lord replies, "If I show you My true form, you will die." Meaning, not merely to die physically, but psychologically: "In order to see Me, you must be purified," he says.
This has been a symbol for academia, of how the individual person acquires some type of intellectual knowledge, or study, and becomes sophisticated, or knowing the truth in terms of concept. But that is not the real meaning: this pertains to how we, as a soul, escape the conditions of the psyche, and experience Christ, the light, fully in ourselves. That objective consciousness, or supra-consciousness, is beyond the limits of our physical senses. We learn to activate that, through the sciences of meditation and dream yoga, which we will be giving courses on in the near future.
Philosophy in the Ancient Mystery Schools
That is real philosophy, experience, love of truth, love of wisdom. In order to elaborate on these points, we are going to talk about how the ancients studied and knew this teaching. People look at the ancient schools of mysteries as somehow being unnecessary, simplistic; a concept that the ancient schools of mysteries in Greece, Egypt, Rome, Carthage, etc., were idolaters, or that they were superstitious. As we explained in the lecture on Gnostic mysticism, we talked about how the ancient mystery schools knew this knowledge directly from conscious experience; they verified what they had seen for themselves.
We have to take the same type of scrutiny, in relation to what we perceive, the same type of analysis. We don't doubt, we don't justify what we perceive; we discriminate, we look for facts. That is how the individual in the cave is looking at the fire and discriminating that the images that were projected on the wall are just pottery—concepts, intellect, ideas—they don't really constitute any substantial reality, in the most objective sense.
These ancient schools were very pure in the past. But, of course, they lost their essence, as they were exposed to more persecution, and were shut down. But these ancient schools were integrated into science, art, philosophy and mysticism. They had a love of wisdom that pertained to scientific knowledge, the study of botany, many types of studies, such as physics, chemistry, etc., and they expressed their knowledge in a mystical way through art.
Let us talk about how philosophy, in its genuine, most intrinsic sense, used to be integrated with these different pillars, for as Samael Aun Weor, the founder of the modern Gnostic tradition, states in his book, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education:
"Thus, since ancient times, on the different scenarios of the theaters of life, psychology has always played its role by being intelligently disguised with the costumes of philosophy.
"Since the terrifying night of all times, on the banks of the Ganges in the sacred India of the Vedas, there have existed many forms of Yoga, which in their depth are pure, higher experimental psychology. The seven types of Yoga have always been described as methods, procedures, or philosophical systems.
"In the Arab world, the sacred, partly metaphysical, and partly religious teachings of the Sufis have indeed a purely psychological character.
"In old Europe (which is rotten to its very bone morrow because of so many wars, racial, religious, and political prejudices, etc.,) right up to the end of the nineteen century, psychology was disguised with the costumes of philosophy in order to pass unnoticed." —Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
We only have to look at the writings of Dostoevsky, for that example, who, embedded his characters, his literary forms, with psychological knowledge. You can even look back to the book Crime and Punishment with the Russian student, Raskolnikov, who was, in Russian, a split being. "Raskolv" means split, fractured, divided. He is a student who decides to commit a murder, of an old pawnbroker, a woman, because he wants to assert his superiority as a superman, to use Nietzsche’s term.
Of course, this refers to any of us who have killed, psychologically, our own potential to know the truth. The rest of that novel is about how this student comes to remorse and repentance. There are many symbols in that text, but Raskolnikov represents us; we are split between the sense of right and wrong. Meaning, we are wanting to enter spirituality, but we have committed many errors, whether we have murdered in past existences, or what not... and so, Dostoevsky, and many other writers, were philosophers and psychologists, and this is very well accepted, even in academia. But we find that these traditions are very rich. Philosophy and psychology were integrated.
"So, notwithstanding all the divisions and subdivisions of philosophy—such as logic, the theory of knowledge, ethics, aesthetics, etc.—nonetheless, psychology is undoubtedly in itself: evident self-reflection, mystical cognition of the Being (of the divine), a fundamental cognition of an awakened consciousness (as represented by the allegory of the cave). The error of many philosophical schools consists in having considered psychology as something inferior to philosophy, as something related only to the lowest and even trivial aspects of the human nature." –Samael Aun Weor, Fundamentals of Gnostic Education
Descartes, the Mind and Consciousness
We are going to talk about some of these different schools of thought and philosophy, in order to extract the best, and to disregard what is useless. We talked about the Gnostic teaching of knowing oneself, of transcending the intellect. Rene Descartes explained in his treatises, the very famous concept, "I think therefore I am." This statement is incorrect. But, many Western thinkers, people who identified with the demonic qualities of the intellect, fascinated with their shadows on the wall, approach Descartes like a God, as an idol.
"The concept of Descartes, “I think, therefore I am,” is completely false," as Samael Aun Weor states in Igneous Rose, "because the true Man is the Innermost, and the Innermost does not think, because He knows."
Of course, in relation to the allegory of the cave, the Innermost is represented by the sun, the Solar Logos; the Spirit, as an expression of that light, of that truth. God does not think, he is omniscient; meaning, he sees and perceives, beyond thought, will, sensation... he is knowledge of a supra-conscious state.
"The mind thinks, not the Innermost.
"In its current state of evolution, the human mind is the animal that we carry within. The Innermost does not need to think because He is omniscient." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
We included this image of Jesus, riding upon the donkey, into the city of Jerusalem. That donkey is a representation of the mind, or as we say in Kabbalah, Netzach, the intellect. So, Christ, Jesus, representing the Inner Platonic Logos, within us, is that light, force, energy that must learn to control this donkey of a mind that we have, to train it. But, sadly, in most people, the donkey is riding us; as we can see with our present-day humanity.
This is emphasized by Rumi, the great Sufi poet, who said that Jesus needs to ride the donkey into the city, but most people have their donkey riding their Jesus, from a Sufi poem that he wrote.
This concept that, "I think therefore I am," is wrong. To think is not to be present, to be conscious; thinking is a very inferior way of being, of existing. We can only know this if we have escaped from that cave. If we escape the intellect, even if only for a few moments, we see that we are not the mind, that the mind is a machine, a tool; it can process information, useful for storing information, memorizing things, forming concepts, but that is all it does. The mind cannot know God. It cannot know the truth.
Even Christ, through Jesus, said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the father, but by me." —John 14:6
So, the cosmic truth said through Jesus, "I Am." This "I Am" is the Being; it is presence, cognizance, free of default, of affliction, of conditioning. Only the Being can say, "I Am" because he is the presence of life within every galaxy, atom, cosmos. He is present within every being, and yet, not all beings know Him.
God does not think. This "I Am," the Christ, does not conceptualize; he knows, therefore, he does not have to think. The intellect is useful, but it should not be our sole preoccupation, or what we identify ourselves with. Jesus did not disregard the donkey altogether, rather, he controlled it; he used it in order for it to be of service to humanity, represented by his entrance into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas
Philosophy, in modern times, is very much dedicated to this concept of fortifying the intellect. But, the ancient Gnostic gospel of Thomas, teaches us that real philosophy is psychological and spiritual. It is not based upon the limitations of the mind; it goes beyond it. For, as this gospel states, with Jesus narrating mystical teachings to his disciples:
"And he said, Whoever discovers what these sayings mean will not taste death." —Gospel of Thomas
This does not necessarily mean physical death, but spiritual, in which the soul, when released from its body, is sent into the inferior dimensions, in order to be cleansed of its defects, faults. We could say that hell, the inferior dimensions, is a recycling plant. If that soul does not willingly choose to destroy those errors, and ascend that Tree of Life, instead that soul enters into those inferior regions (hell, Avitchi, Averno, etc.), and devolves.
So, "Whosover discovers what these sayings mean" will escape that process of cleansing of the psyche within those dimensions those realms.
"Yeshua said, Seek and do not stop seeking until you find. When you find, you will be troubled. When you are troubled, you will marvel and rule over all." —Gospel of Thomas
This is real philosophy; to seek, and not stop seeking. To have inspiration to want to know the truth, and to not want to rest until we find it. And, when we find it, like the allegory of the cave states, we go back into the cave, to teach those who are less fortunate, who have not experienced what we have experienced, in order to help raise their level of being; to instruct them, teach them, to help them, in accordance with our talents, our dispositions, our skills. So, do not stop seeking until you find. Then, when you do find, "you will be troubled," because when we recognize that we are the cause of our own suffering, everything changes. We no longer blame others so easily, we don't accuse others so easily. We recognize that the faults we see in our neighbor, are what we possess in abundance, therefore we do not need to judge, as Christ taught.
"When you are troubled, you will marvel and rule over all," meaning, by entering that spiritual path out of the cave, that straight and narrow way that leadeth unto life, to freedom of the soul and to God, which few find. By following that path, and accomplishing the completion of this work, this path of initiation, as Samael Aun Weor states in The Perfect Matrimony, "We will marvel and rule over all, we will conquer ourselves."
"Yeshua said, Know what is in front of your face and what is hidden from you will be disclosed. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed." —Gospel of Thomas
What is hidden from us are those truths contained within religion, that seem obscure and abstract, which we seek to experiment and to verify, as represented by doubting Thomas. Thomas was told by the apostles that Jesus had arisen from the dead, and yet, he would not believe them. He said, "I will only believe that this is true, when I have seen it for myself. I will not accept your testimony as fact." And so, the apostles brought Thomas to Jesus, and even then, in front of Jesus, he did not accept that he was the risen Christ yet. Jesus told him to approach, and to place his finger into the wound in his side where he was pierced by the lance of Longinus. And there, Thomas, with his finger in the wound—as we see in this image—stepped back and realized that, yes, he was Jesus, he was Christ.
People look at this historically as an account of how Thomas, as an apostle, was skeptical, and that he was not as good a believer as the others. This is not the point of this symbol. This symbol of how we as a consciousness must learn to discriminate fact from fiction, truth from falsehood. When anyone tells us anything, we say, "Well, it sounds plausible, but I really do not know. While I am not going to reject what you say, I am not going to affirm what you say; instead, I am going to test it." Then, in meditation, we as a soul go into our internal planes, and we speak face-to-face with Christ. We can speak to the Master Jesus outside of us, but we can also speak to our own Inner Christ, and recognize that we have that divine presence within us.
This reminds me of an experience I had in the astral plane, many years ago, in which I invoked Jesus. I was in the presence of my house, outside of my property, in the astral plane, I looked to the sky and invoked Jesus: "In the name of Christ, by the power of Christ, for the majesty of Christ, Aberamentho!" He came, and he was a being of such luminosity that I was terrified; I did not know how to approach him. I was afraid that I might be misled. But he then showed me something symbolic in that dream state, which I won't narrate in full, but he gave me a teaching that made me realize that yes, this is Aberamentho, teaching me. He came to my property from the heavens, to instruct me. It was like me being Thomas, putting my finger in his wound—not literally, but questioning him, asking him with my heart, to instruct me, to guide me, with certain problems I was having at that time. He gave me a teaching that was beautiful, very hard to grasp, since he is a very high master, very elevated.
I was like Thomas, testing him, inquiring, and of course, Jesus did not get upset. He accepted my poverty, my state of being, being inferior; he was there to teach me. It was not because I am special, but because, as Jesus said, "I have not come to teach the righteous, but the sinners." But he also said, "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. He who is greatest in heaven will be your servant." So, I suggest that, if you learn dream yoga, you can invoke him, and acquire that knowledge, that truth for yourself, directly.
The Aquarian Age and Immanuel Kant’s Philosophy
There are eras and epochs in nature, in thought, in history, in politics and philosophy. Samael Aun Weor stated:
"The Age of Reason was initiated by Aristotle. It reached its culmination with Emmanuel Kant and ends now with the birth of the new Era of Aquarius." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
In astrology, we previously were in the era of Pisces, until the 1960s, approximately. Pisces, as an astrological influence, relates to how certain initiatic schools conserved a teaching or knowledge without disclosing it to the public. Pisces was an era of conservatism, of hiding; of teaching and instructing the truth, the higher levels of religion and mysticism, from mouth to ear. But the Aquarian era is very different; it is revolutionary.
Aquarius—the age in which we are presently—is symbolized by the water carrier, and is the age when knowledge if freely given. This woman carrying these water pails is bringing the truth and instruction to the public, openly, for the first time; particularly through the writings of Samael Aun Weor, who is the avatar of Aquarius. Samael came to teach the knowledge of how to work with those waters, which we carry within our body as the sexual energy, the sexual fluid. Through its transformation, we can learn to become true spiritual revolutionaries; not against other people, but against ourselves, by conquering ourselves.
So, Aristotle initiated the era of reason, and Emmanuel Kant concluded it. It is interesting, if you read the writings of Samael Aun Weor, where he states and emphasizes the teachings of Kant often. It is not that Kant was an initiate, but Kant made some understandings and insights that were very relevant for the Western tradition. What is important to recognize is that, in Kant’s writings he stated that the intellect cannot know the truth. Of course, many philosophers hated him for that, in the West. But, since Aristotle, and until Emmanuel Kant, people in the Western tradition have been fascinated with intellect, with reason. And yet, Emmanuel Kant, his major contribution to philosophy, is the fact that the mind cannot know anything of the truth. He states this in his Critique of Pure Reason, his Critique of Practical Reason, and his Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics, which is a much smaller, and much more approachable text.
The beauty of Kant’s teaching, which many have rejected, is understanding that the intellect, in itself, is just a tool, as we were stating previously. He provided four postulates, known as antinomies of reason. An antinomy is merely a postulation or statement that can go either way: thesis or antithesis, pro and con. An antinomy is basically a contradiction or paradox. Without going into some of the academic explanations of this, in synthesis, he was pointing out how the mind cannot know the truth, and that we can prove this through four antinomies.
Firstly, we have the mathematical antimony, in relation to space and time, atomism. Then, the dynamic or qualitative antinomies, relating to spontaneity and causal determinism, free will or mechanicity, laws of nature, likewise, whether or not there is a necessary being.
So, the philosophical discussions on space and time, which were very popular in the times of Aristotle and Plato, there is a thesis that the world has a beginning in time, likewise, it is also limited regarding space. But, then, there is an antithetical way of thinking, in relation to Aristotle's belief that the Earth was infinite, and eternal: he stated this in his Physics. He said that the world has no beginning, no limits in space; it is infinite regarding both time and space.
The second antinomy is a discussion on whether everything is made up of simple parts, or whether or not everything is complex, in terms of atomism: whether everything is made up of atoms, or compound substances, in large degree.
In relation to spontaneity and causal determinism, he emphasized that there is either complete mechanicity in nature, and that there is no possibility for free will (determinism); or, that there is the ability to have free will in the midst of this. And so there are different arguments, for and against, which many philosophers in the West have battled over in their treatises, for centuries. Likewise, whether there is a necessary Being or not; whether there is a God or not.
These are discussions that people are hypnotized by, to this day. And Kant laid it how very clearly: you can either be in one camp or another; so, what is the point? You can argue for it, or you can argue against it. You can fulfill and propound your own evidence for either case, and be just as right... and yet both are wrong, or right. That is the paradox.
He is emphasizing that the conviction of these philosophers is based upon a form of thinking that is devoid of actual knowing. And, that one can just argue for something, because one has a concept in their mind, and they have a lot of data to support it. Just look at the last presidential debates, in which we see two sides arguing against each other, and many people have in their own beliefs for one candidate or another, regardless of whether it is true or not. This shows a tendency in the mind to want to use data to propose a point, and to support a point. And yet, where is the objectivity in all of that? That is what Kant was teaching, that we are dealing with phenomena, we are not dealing with noumena. Phenomena are appearances, noumena are the things themselves, conscious principles, the truth, relating to the Greek word, "Pneuma" meaning spirit.
The Demonic Mind, Arguments, and Intellectual Liberty
So, all these philosophies are based upon this quality of the intellect and the heart; of wanting to assert an idea and gain dominance upon others. Of course, this is negative. We could also call it black magic or witchcraft: to assert oneself on another person; to control their intellect is sorcery, black magic. We see this dynamic ubiquitously, in every place. I have personally sat in philosophy debates for schools, in which you see these kids taking a position, one way or another, and trying to come up with as many reasons as they can for why they are right. And, while in Buddhism, certain schools have propounded the necessity of being able to argue for something or against it, you see, especially in the West, that this is very degenerated. I have personally seen people get very angry and inflict a lot of harm with their words, in the middle of these so-called debates.
As Samael Aun Weor stated in the Major Mysteries, we must avoid debate, arguments. This is because, in the act of arguing, we are asserting our own will upon another person. We can state our point, but, if they accept it or reject our ideas, that is their business. We have to learn how to speak without asserting ourselves over another person, without anger, without coercion. As Prophet Muhammed, in the doctrine of Islam, in the Qur'an states, "There is no coercion in religion." Religion is about bringing people together, but debates and arguments divide people. Philosophy has degenerated into this farce, this show of trying to dominate with our concepts. This has infected esoteric schools, in abundance: this is a very big problem in spiritual movements. It is enough to look at the Catholic Church, or even the Western Esoteric Tradition; certain individuals and speaks—I won't name them—but we can think of many different examples of people who are fighting in spiritual groups to assert their so-called superiority, upon others... saying, "I am a Master, therefore, if you disagree with me, you are going to hell." That type of nonsense.
"Discussions and polemics have ruined many spiritual schools. When two individuals argue, what they have is pride and arrogance in their mind; both want to demonstrate their boasted superiority to one another, both have Satan enthroned in their mind. We must always respectfully express our concept and allow our listener the freedom to accept or reject our concept. Everybody is free to think as they please and we cannot exercise power over our neighbor’s mind, because that would be black magic. Intellectual discussion is luciferic and demonic." —Samael Aun Weor, The Major Mysteries
It is very hard to achieve, but it can be done. We may be surrounded by people who disagree with us, disagree with Gnosis, esotericism, etc., yet instead of wanting to retaliate against those people, and to justify ourselves with that sense of hurt self-esteem or pride, it doesn't bother us. We learn to receive that impression, that criticism, and to not identify with it. But, of course, it is very obvious that debates totally destroy organizations, groups, etc. And, we should learn to avoid those types of conflicts.
The Three Minds and their Philosophical Movements
People base their entire understanding, or philosophy, in relation to three minds. We have talked a lot about the concept of the intellect, as the mind—the ability to think, rationalize, reason—as a form of mind, as a functionalism of the intellect. In Gnostic psychology, we talk about three minds; three different types or ways of thinking, way of being. These ways can help us to understand the nature of philosophy, the nature of different philosophical schools in this physical world, but also the nature of genuine philosophy in the internal worlds—this genuine love of wisdom born from experience.
We have included three images: we have Jesus before Pilate on the left, with the text stating, "Inner Mind." We have a group of Rabbis in a synagogue, in relation to the Intermediate and Mystical Mind. And, on the right, we have a bacchanalia, an orgy, in relation to the Sensual Mind.
Let us talk about the Sensual Mind first. What does it mean to have a Sensual Mind? A Sensual Mind is a way of conceptualizing oneself, identifying oneself, solely based on evidence from the five senses. We believe that we are a certain way, that the world is a certain way, based on our experience from sight, taste, hearing, touch, smell. There are many doctrines that are focused on merely the five senses, as if the material is all that exists; that material is the limit of all that there is possible to perceive. But, of course, Emmanuel Kant stated that phenomena are just the appearances of things, but that there is something deeper, something spiritual, as we know.
The Sensual Mind is a mind that is basing its theories and concepts on empirical evidence. Likewise, many philosophies, such as Epicureanism, which is propounded by the Scottish philosopher David Hume; you have Hedonism, the belief that one should gratify their senses, as much as possible, before dying and that pleasure is the highest good... according to Epicureans.
We represented this idea with the image of this bacchanalia. People who indulge in orgies, lust and desire, satisfying the pleasures of their senses, thinking that nothing matters and that there is no consequence to their actions. They believe that when one dies physically, one will cease to exist. These people ignore the fundamental law of karma, cause and effect. While a person gratifies their physical senses, the soul or consciousness, embedded in ego, perpetuates throughout time; it does not cease to exist. But people who are sensually indoctrinated think that, because they only see with the five senses—they do not have their spiritual senses developed—when they go to the grave, that nothing will happen, they will cease to exist. This is nihilism, of course. It is a very sad way to think.
The senses are not the limit of all there is to perceive. In fact, consciousness and perception can expand to an infinite degree, as the 14th Dalai Lama stated. But people who are fully indoctrinated by the intellect, the Sensual Mind, they only base themselves on evidence from their physical senses. Such people reject anything related to metaphysics or spirituality.
Of course, there is another degree of mind that is inferior. While, one type of mind, of the senses, is fascinated with impressions of an empirical nature, you have the intermediate or mystical mind, which constitute all the religions of the world today. All the beliefs about God, all the concepts and theologies that the universe is a certain way, because the scriptures state it, because one thinks it is true, therefore it must be true, and that if one believes in it, it must be true—this is the essential nature of the Mystical Mind. That, having this conviction, is based on a type of thinking which is not predicated on experience, not based on facts. So, all the schools of Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, which are founded on scripture and are limited to those scriptures and ways of thinking, the people of these groups live with a Mystical Mind. They have mystical concepts, metaphysics, beliefs, ideas, ways of thinking that they may have in their mind, and yet, they do not have the real experience of it.
But, of course, there is a mind that is superior; the Inner Mind. This is the mind of a being like Jesus, of Buddha, of Krishna, of Moses. An "Inner Mind" is a type of perception relating to awakened consciousness. When we awaken our consciousness, as in the allegory of the cave, we are awakening our own intelligence. Like a fire that we learn to see in the dark, to make our way through the nature of our mind, and to experience the truth.
Jesus fully awakened his consciousness. And, by awakening the consciousness, we have to eliminate the ego. So, when the ego dies, little by little, the consciousness trapped within it awakens; it becomes expansive, more profound. The Inner Mind awakens in accordance with the death of the ego. So, the more consciousness that we liberate, the more our inner faculties will awaken. Like that experience I narrated to you—I was seeing Jesus in the astral plane, I was awakening my Inner Mind, and I could see Jesus of Nazareth, Master Aberamentho, and I talked with him. That is because I had my Inner Mind awakened, to a degree; I am not saying fully awakened, in that state... it was very clear, but, of course, in order for me to be fully awakened, I have to eliminate my defects. But an Inner Mind that is fully expansive, without any type of conditioning, is a being like Moses, who could really talk, completely, with God.
So, in this image, we have Jesus presented before Pilate, in his passion. After he was delivered 5000 lashes of the whip. Pilate is a symbol of the intellect. You can say that he is the Sensual and Intermediate Mind; a mind that is only believing in what the senses teach or instruct, or what the scriptures state, but that has not verified for themselves what the scriptures teach.
Pilate asks Jesus, "What is the truth?" Jesus kept silent; how could he teach the intellect, the mind, what the truth is? That is the beauty of this teaching. Pilate was confused... people think that this is just a historical account of Jesus talking to his persecutors, but Pilate represents our mind: the Sensual and Intermediate Minds, that ask, "What is the truth? How do I know what is real?" And Jesus, the Inner Christic principle, remained silent, because silence is the eloquence of wisdom. Instead of receiving that knowledge intellectually, through a book, lecture of concept, we experience it in the silence of meditation. I remember that experience, in which I was with Jesus, I said that I "talked" with him; I was speaking to him telepathically, with my heart, asking him things, because he could read my mind completely. He instructed me based on what I was asking him in my heart. So, he was teaching me in silence; he did not say anything verbally, but he was showing me through symbols in the astral plane, what I needed to do.
So, Jesus remained silent. And likewise, what Buddha was asked, "What is the truth?" He turned and walked away. Same teaching.
The Inner Mind is the genuine Gnostic philosophy of the great initiates, based on what we perceive, what we verify. The Intermediate Mind is the mind based on beliefs, on metaphysics, theologies; which are not grounded in conscious, experiential knowledge. Likewise, the Sensual Mind is a mind that is based on materialism.
There has always been a conflict between these three minds, in humanity. People who are very materialistic, reject and attack those who are very metaphysical, people who have metaphysical concepts. And, likewise, people who have certain religious beliefs, condemn those who are nihilists or anarchists, or whatever term we want to give to those types of people who follow the Sensual Mind. In the Sensual Mind, we have materialism, Marxism, etc. But the Inner Mind is tranquil; it does not argue. Of course, when Jesus was asked what is the truth, he kept silent—he did not argue, because he knew that he could not convey that truth to Pilate's mind—only the soul can know the truth.
Samael Aun Weor states and synthesizes, this teaching that I have been explaining, in a very profound and simple way, in his Revolution of the Dialectic, in which he talks about these different forms, different schools of thought.
"Matter is nothing but condensed energy. The infinite modifications of energy are absolutely unknown; this is true as much for historic materialism as for dialectic materialism.
"Energy is equal to mass multiplied by the velocity of the light squared. We the Gnostics separate ourselves from the antithetical struggle which exists between metaphysics and dialectical materialism. Those are the two poles of ignorance, the two antitheses of error.
"We walk on another path; we are Gnostics, we consider life as a whole. The object is a point in space which serves as a vehicle to specific sums of values.
"Inspired Knowledge permits us to study the intimate existent relationship between all shapes, all psychological values and nature.
"Dialectic materialism does not know the values." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
Meaning, the consciousness, or even the different values of the ego that we carry within, they ignore that they have ego, or they really do not see the nature of the mind.
"It only studies the object. Metaphysics does not know the values or the object.
"Therefore, we, the Gnostics, withdraw ourselves from these two antitheses of ignorance. We, the Gnostics, study the human being and nature integrally, seeking an integral revolution." —Samael Aun Weor, The Revolution of the Dialectic
So, religious people and atheists arguing against each other—a very typical conversation that is had today—and yet, people do not have real understanding from experience; they have not awakened their Inner Mind. We need to learn to awaken our Inner Mind, which we do through meditation. If our mind is fully immersed in the senses, we fail to see life in its true form.
The Cosmic Christ and the Awakening of Consciousness
I mentioned to you about awakening the Inner Mind, like Moses before the Lord on Mount Sinai. We have included in this final graphic an image of Arjuna, from the Bhagavad Gita (the Song of the Lord, from the Mahabharata.) Arjuna, the great warrior, talking to Krishna, who is Christ, the Lord, the avatar of Vishnu, which is the Cosmic Christ, the Christic principle, that primordial root energy at the heart of every existing thing, that noumena of Kant. Of course, he did not use the term Christ, but that is what Kant was referring to; the truth in the things themselves, as being noumena. But we know in esotericism, the real Pneuma (spirit) is the Lord, the divine, within every atom, every existing cosmic unit.
"For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination as the wind (carries away) a boat on the waters." —Bhagavad-Gita 2:67
And so, as we talked about the nature of the mind, as being preoccupied and distracted with thoughts, memories, ideas, concepts, etc., this type of mind that is attached to the senses, one that is caught in beliefs and ideas, theories, etc., is carried away like a boat on the waters, according to the Bhagavad Gita.
As we emphasized previously, Krishna, the Lord, is speaking to Arjuna, much like Moses was talking to the Lord on Mount Sinai. We too, by awakening our consciousness, our Inner Mind, our spiritual potential, can speak face to face with that divinity, as represented in many religious cosmogonies, many religious scriptures.
So, we must learn to not identify with the intellect, but to learn how to use it for spiritual purposes. It is a tool, a machine, a means by which we can study ourselves, but also learn to interact and relate to the world. So, as we were explaining in this lecture, the intellect in itself is not useless: we need it. But we neither need to be identified or carried away by it. People think, in many spiritual circles, that to be spiritual means to be not focus on the intellect, to be simple, but that is another extreme that we seek to avoid in this type of studies.
We talked about how philosophies in different schools, based on the intellect, may be interesting or compelling, but they are not grounded in the experience of the truth, on direct facts, what we have verified with our consciousness. But this is not to say that the intellect must be disregarded. We saw in the example of Jesus riding into Jerusalem, upon the donkey of the mind—a symbol of the intellect—in order to enter into the heavenly city on Palm Sunday; the symbol of entering into those spiritual states of consciousness that we can access when we learn to control the intellect. It is not as though Jesus just threw away the animal, disregarded it; instead, he used it for God.
Christ, as a principle, is within each of us. Our Inner Christ needs to learn to conquer this intellect that we have, and to use it for the well-being of humanity. Repeating the quote we gave earlier, "For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination as the wind (carries away) a boat on the waters." Our inner divinity must control this intellect that we have. But, of course, we learn to do that by cooperating with that inner presence, inner principle, through practices like meditation.
The Divine Philosophy of the Being
To conclude this lecture, we will talk about a quote given by Samael Aun Weor, in his book, Igneous Rose. In this book, he sums up the essence of this course we have been giving. We have talked about how philosophy is based on the senses, beliefs about who we are, but is not grounded on facts, experience, on the truth. So, we must learn to access that truth within us, by learning to direct our attention, by awakening our potential, our consciousness.
"Our Innermost is yes, yes, yes. The wisdom of our Innermost is yes, yes, yes. The love of our Innermost is yes, yes, yes." ―Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
We have talked about philos-sophia, being "love of wisdom," of God, of the truth. That wisdom and love that we feel in the presence of the divine is born in us when we awaken that within us. The divine is always ready to aid us, in any moment, when we learn to pay attention here and now. It is always an affirmation of, "Yes…" "I will help you, I will aid you, I will not reject you." Like Rumi says in his poems, "Ours is not a caravan of despair. Even if you have broken your vow a thousand times, come, join us. Come."
So, the wisdom of our Innermost, our inner divine Being is like that.
"When we say, ‘I am hungry, I am thirsty,’ etc., we are affirming something absurd, because the Innermost is not hungry, neither thirsty. The one that is hungry and thirsty is the physical body. Therefore the most correct way to say this is, ‘My body is hungry, my body is thirsty.’
"The same happens with the mind when we say, ‘I have a powerful mental force, I have a problem, I have such a conflict, I have such suffering, some thoughts are arising in me,’ etc. We then are affirming very grave errors, because these things are from the mind, not from the Innermost.
"Our disciples must change the process of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension…
"…To reason is a crime of great magnitude against the Innermost." —Samael Aun Weor, Igneous Rose
This does not mean that the intellect is not useful, when it is guided by the spirit. As Samael Aun Weor stated, to reason is a great crime against God; this does not mean that the mind cannot be used in its genuine, original and intended sense. Our intellect, in these times, tends to dominate us. We are filled with thoughts, worries, anxieties, preoccupations, desires, impulses that really charge our life with a lot of negativity. So, that type reasoning is very negative; to be consumed by that type of conditioned mind, a Sensual Mind, which is only preoccupied with material things, and not with the treasuries of God within us. To reason, in that sense, is a crime, because the intellect, which says, "I think, therefore I am," like Descartes stated in his philosophy; this is wrong. Instead, the one who says, "I am here, I am present, I am the Being" is God, because that presence is within us, that truth is in us. The Innermost does not think, as we stated previously. God does not need to rationalize, to come up with a solution with the intellect to a problem. Of course, God is not a person, but an intelligence or force within us, which we have to actualize, to develop; it is in a potential state within us, here and now, but not fully active.
So, we must learn to "change the processes of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension." This is the essence of real philosophy. Real philosophy is not about academics, throwing large words around to sound clever or interesting, to make someone look stupid on the opposing side of the debate... instead, it refers to how we change the way we think. To not be so identified with thinking and rationalizing and worrying, but instead to be present, to be mindful, to be awake, as a spiritual being.
So, we "must change the process of reasoning for the beauty of comprehension." Comprehension is not reasoning. The distinction between Gnostic philosophy and regular philosophy is predicated on this point. Comprehension is when we know the truth for ourselves, when we understand the real solution to an intimate problem; not from having thought about it, by not thinking about it. This is very common in business circles, in which a committee gets together to discuss the solution to a problem, and yet, with all the thinking and rationalizing they do, they cannot find a solution. Instead, they all walk away, they take a break, and in those moments of not thinking about the problem, the insight comes, the realization of what needs to be done comes to the mind.
Comprehension is like when we put our hand on a hot stove, and we burn our hand. We retract our hand in pain, and we realize from the experience that if we put our hand there again, we will get burned. The same thing happens in psychology. When we look at a habit in our psyche, and we see that a certain tendency that we have is harmful, we may comprehend by getting burned in that situation, to not act on that habit, to change it.
But people who are great rationalists don't comprehend the truth behind the problems that they face. We can look at cases of alcoholics. A person who is an alcoholic may intellectually understand, reason that the habit is bad, yet they continue to indulge in the behavior. So, comprehension is realizing that this action is harmful, and that we need to stop, because if we don't, we will die. We have the same distinction in spiritual studies. When we see that certain habits like anger, fear, pride, lust, vanity, defects, etc., cause us to suffer, and make others suffer, we comprehend, and we learn not to behave in those ways any more. That is real, genuine spiritual philosophy. We have a love of wisdom, and we realize more and more how we create our daily suffering, we create our daily problems. If we identify with the mind, we will perpetuate our suffering.
Questions and Answers
Audience: So, the intellect is basically the five senses? And, then you mentioned, intelligence is different, more holistic?
Instructor: We could say that we have six senses, in synthesis: we have sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell, plus the ability to imagine. There is also the sense of intuition too. Intuition is knowing without having to reason. This is exactly the quality of awakening consciousness, in which you do not have to solve a problem with the intellect, instead, you simply know what you must do: that is intuition.
Audience: And that would be more intelligence, as opposed to intellect?
Instructor: Yes. It is intelligence. The intellect is a quality of ego, our defects; I will give a concrete example. Perhaps we have a conflict at work, in which someone says something derogatory towards us, and provokes our self-esteem, our pride, which feels hurt. Then, there is the concepts in those moments where we feel, "I should say this, in order to retaliate, to get retribution for what they said to me." That is a form of mind that is very degenerate, wrong, negative. But, comprehension is when we know that, that type of thinking is wrong. Then, we change, we do not react to life so mechanically; we learn to respond, which is intelligence, intuition, and the capacity to perceive consciously.
Again, consciousness has degrees; there is conditioned consciousness, which is anger, fear, pride, laziness, gluttony, defects—these are conditions of our psyche that make us feel weighted down, and make us suffer, and make others suffer too. But unconditioned consciousness is when we free our psyche from those elements, and we learn to develop peace, serenity, a mind that is perfectly pristine and clear, that can directly reflect like a lake on a mountain, the heavens of Urania.
We talked about the famous allegory of the cave of Plato; how a man or woman escapes the cave, after imprisonment, and sees the stars for the first time, on the mountainside. Escaping that narrow path of the cave, and entering onto the open landscape, is a symbol of spiritual liberation. Seeing the stars for the first time is seeing our inner divinity within us and recognizing that presence directly.
Our mind is like a lake. If we throw stones in it, if we thrash ourselves in those waters, through anger or fear, etc., we disturb the equilibrium of that pond. When the waters are churning, through reason, through intellect, through concepts, desires, we cannot see the reflection that could be naturally present there.
When we learn to still our mind, by comprehending those defects, and not letting the impressions of life enter us mechanically, where we just react constantly to the different stimulus of life, instead learn to receive it with a receptive mind, and we do not identify with these elements, the mind gradually stills, calms. This happens by learning to behave appropriately, learning to respond to life with a sense of dignity and rectitude, of ethics. Every religion has this concept, that, if you want to know God, you must follow certain rules. These are not just a list or memoranda or code of conduct that one thinks about, admires, but does not really follow. Instead, it refers to not killing, not stealing, not doing drugs, not fornicating, not committing adultery... people think that these are just physical laws to help communities stay together, at a physical level. They are that, it is true. But the real meaning is that, when we learn to curtail psychological habits, we look at our mind and see that we have violence, we have fear, we have anger, we have elements that commit adultery and fornicate in the mind, even if we might not physically do so.
As Jesus said, "You have heard it said of old, you should not commit adultery. But, even if you look at a person from the opposite sex out of lust, you have committed adultery in your heart."
First, stop those habits, and the mind begins to settle. Then, psychologically, we begin to enter deeper states of serenity.
The Gnostic Academy of Chicago
Free online courses, lectures, podcasts, and transcriptions.