An article by Sha'Tara, local writer and friend.
Life and Gnosis
[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha'Tara]
I did promise, (or threaten!) that I would return to the concept of Life as I continue to seek my own understanding of it. Over this last year, month by month, I've come to see Life as something different than I used to think of it. I want to explore, in writing, that new understanding. Perhaps it will fit in with some others' understanding also; this peephole of personal understanding could be of some value to them.
I remember a slogan, often seen as a bumper sticker on vehicles of thrill seekers that went thus: "Life, be in it." I used to think that was ignorant to the nth degree. As if anyone had a choice to be in it or not. Of course I know what those Yuppies meant: make your life fun to the extreme. And so they did and sometimes I wonder where some of those who didn't die in their expensive and often illegal escapades, are holed up today.
But this last year I came to understand that slogan from another perspective. While most people go through the motions of being alive, of keeping a physical body more or less fit or functioning, that is not being in life. Not by a long shot. Nor is being involved in thrills and spills. Nor becoming famous, popular or rich (or both!). Not is it snagging that elusive lover long enough to get him to the sacrificial altar. So OK, there are a lot of ways to describe what seems to be life but isn't.
Life, I've come to realize, is an endless quest for knowledge. That's right. The entire cosmos and beyond; all that isn't somehow compromised to the Powers and their time-bound limiting Systems, is on a wild quest for self-understanding, the which cannot happen without an equal hunger for knowledge.
To make the point clearer here, I will dare use the word "Gnosis" interchangeably with knowledge because I am not speaking of ordinary knowledge. I'm not writing about so-called education or accumulation of facts and data from which to draw limited and limiting conclusions. Nothing wrong with that, of course, if used properly, but it's not knowledge, never has been.
I realize that by introducing the word "Gnosis" some readers may instinctively put their backs up, or refuse to read further. There has probably never been a group, or sect, of people the early Church was more determined to wipe out than the Gnostics, or questers for knowledge. There are very good political reasons for that: the idea was very powerful in its heydays and borrowed many of its ideas from sources as varied as mythology, Greek philosophy, ancient religions and Christianity. An eclectic and powerful religion; a serious challenge to the emerging patriarchal imperialist Christian Church. Wisely, that worldly Church allied itself with the political powers of the day and the Gnostics were wiped out. Well that's the history.
Like all organized religions, the Gnostics made a classic error in their understanding of their so-called "gnosis". Webster's dictionary says: gnosis is knowledge of spiritual things, esp. a secret and superior knowledge limited to an elite few, such as the Gnostics claimed to have.
What drives some people to believe they can discover, hold and control "superior" knowledge to give them power over others? Bottom line? Sociopathic types. The need to control knowledge is the greatest sin of the Time Lords (which the Gnostics referred to as the Archons) and in time spells their certain defeat and descent into an abyss formed from their own pride. The Gnostics, being human, easily fell into that same trap. Now you had elite versus elite: Gnostics versus Imperial Christianity.
None of that makes knowledge or gnosis a bad thing. What makes a thing bad is misuse and misunderstanding. On this world we are programmed to "understand" that those with "knowledge" automatically rise above the rest and rule them. Of course much of that so-called knowledge isn't true knowledge at all, but made up fantasies, theories about forces and events they have no more control over than do their slaves. And how well we see this of our "glocal" (Earthian) powers that be today! All knowledge used to gain personal power over others becomes an error, without exception.
In its infinite hunger for self-understanding through self-expression Life seeks pure knowledge or true gnosis. There is no agenda here, hidden or otherwise. Life and gnosis become intertwined, lovers moving through and beyond the cosmos, inseparable, inviolable, unchallengeable. The wise who in turn grasp this truth about Life, or aspects of Life, join themselves unreservedly to this holistic, holy dance through all of time, space and beyond also. They in turn become Life, welcoming every change, every "death" and re-birth or new beginning as an expansion of an earlier adventure. So it is that one becomes an Avatar.
Life: The game's afoot, eh Watson!