Friday, January 20, 2006

"And now for something completely different"-Eric Voegelin

This man saved my sanity (and so did Edmund Burke)! I first read his essays (compiled in book form titled Science, Politics and Gnosticism) as a first year M.A. student at CSULA. I came to understand how radical politics and the revolutionary impulse, beginning with the French Revolution, has within it this Gnostic drive to "immanentize the Christian eschaton," i.e. bring down the transcendent kingdom of God by transcending human nature and consciousness. Voegelin sums it up this way: "The gnostic's soul (psyche) belongs to the order of the world. His spirit (pneuma) impels him toward deliverance. The task, pursued in many different ways, is the destruction of the old world (which means dissolving the soul) and passage to the new world (which requires strengthening the powers of the spirit). The instrument of salvation is knowledge (gnosis) by which the soul is disentangled from the world."

Here is a great and useful outline from the book Science, Politics and Gnosticism. Hopefully it will whet your appetite:


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