Hence this post.
It’s never been necessary to put any restrictions on discussion, but that doesn’t mean we should tolerate everything.
Of course we don’t tolerate narrow-minded bigotry like racism, but it’s never been necessary to explicitly mention that (though I think there’s a standard page with all that included by PHPBB when people sign up).
Other than that, the only restriction would be that people sign up here to discuss gnosis; in particular, gnosis within the context of the Tolkienian mythos.
There has been discussion in the past about the inclination of some people to create a syncretic amalgam by incorporating elements from other traditions like paganism. We’re not opposed to that per se, but still feel that the main focus should be to keep things within the framework of the Legendarium itself.
The problem with borrowing too much from other traditions is that this might limit creativity because other traditions will come with their own historical baggage of do’s and don’ts.
As long as the focus remains achieving gnosis, any effort to find new routes or techniques is encouraged.
Let’s start by defining what Gnosis is and what it isn’t.
- an experience, not a belief. You “experience” gnosis; it’s strictly a DIY spirituality. As soon as the whole thing involves you “believing” anything someone else tells you, it is NOT gnosis;
- strictly individual. Of course it’s possible that your experience is very similar to someone else’s, but it is still *your* experience. As Stephan Hoeller quotes: “the water must be drunk fresh from the source”;
- a verb. Well, by way of speaking. You will not achieve gnosis by just reading a book, but you will need to get up and find the hidden path. And keep at it. Be creative, because there are as many different paths as there are people. But even the most marvellous path will lead you nowhere if you just sit down on it and put your hands over your eyes;
- difficult. You’re basically on your own, finding a road through unknown territory, so don’t expect a clearly signposted route to enlightenment;
- hard work, sometimes tedious. As a quote posted by one of our members says: “Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.” Truer words were never spoken;
- aimed at the Light. The goal of gnosis is transfiguration: to reconnect to your inner divine nature.
Gnosis is not:
- subscribing to any myth someone labels as “Gnostic”. That’s “belief”. Yes, there are a number of central Gnostic myths, and they are called “Gnostic” because they consist of the collective experiences of the people who contributed to them. Don’t just accept a Gnostic myth; go out there and find out if it’s true for you personally. Or better still, roll your own;
- cool and bad-ass. Thanks to some popularisers on the Internet, many people now think that Gnosis is a kind of bad-ass rough-tough spirituality of those lucky selected few insiders who know what’s *really* going on, and who consider everyone else an ignorant numbskull. It’s a crying shame that some people just can’t control their monkey-mind craving popularity contest games, even though it’s the antithesis of gnosis;
- dark. More often than not, those same bad-ass dudes won’t miss a chance to flex their pitch-black worldview and tell everyone that “even the good guys are evil bastards” and that you ain’t seen nothing yet. They’re wrong. Of course evil *exists* - maybe it’s an “adversary” - “spiritual wickedness in high places”, to quote Stephan Hoeller again, but 99.99% of every mishap, unfortunate incident or suffering that dark-mongers gleefully attribute to some malefic external agency is caused by ignorance, stupidity or pure chance. Some people just can’t accept that and want to have someone to blame - more about that below. It’s a big and complex world out there, and sh*t happens. Deal with it like a big boy or gal, and leave wallowing in darkness to adolescents stuck in the gothic phase;
- being into conspiracy theories. It is unfortunate that those bad-ass “goth gnostics” have found such a willing audience in the conspiracy-crowd. They’re really milking it out, giving them exactly the grim-dark baloney they crave to hear.
Gnosticism isn’t about being obsessed with some evil entity-lurking-behind-the-scenes and pulling strings.
Gnosticism is about individuation, about becoming “whole”, about finding your soul again. Gnosticism is about wonder and joy, about finding enchantment in a world oftentimes labelled “disenchanted”.
Gnosticism is about finding meaning and purpose in life, about “magic”- the real stuff.
Conspiracy believing, on the other hand, is fuelled by anxiety, ignorance and plain stupidity. It’s all about darkness and evil intent, about being a victim (some people just love that), about hidden agenda’s, about weaselling out of responsibilities and blaming others - it’s always “the other”, never about what you can do.
It’s never affirming, loving or empowering, but forever denying, fuelling fear and alienation.
Conspiracy believers like to present themselves as victims, as lonely Robin Hoods going against the grain, fighting for their dissident opinions. Some will even point out how dissidents were traditionally victimised by the authorities, and already picture themselves as martyrs for the Truth they defend. How heroic ...
It’s nonsense of the sort that shouldn’t be tossed aside lightly but thrown out with great force.
There is nothing individual or dissident about conspiracy believers. These aren’t modern-day Giordano Bruno’s who die for a truth they believe in; they’re people who have left the path of mental sanity trying to make sense of a huge and complex world; who rather accept the sound and fury of an idiot because they’ve given up trying to think for themselves.
What makes this a real problem is that no scenario is too outlandish or crazy to remedy their feeling of being overwhelmed and lost; for being at the mercy of forces beyond their comprehension.
This leaves them vulnerable to anyone who offers them an easy explanation and someone to blame: “the feds”, reptiles from a different planet, Freemasons - and, of course, it’s only a matter of time before the usual scapegoats will once again be presented: gay people, the political left, and - it’s too sad for words - Jewish people.
We won’t have any of that. There is no redeeming virtue in conspiracy theories: they are not a solution but a problem - a huge one.
- You want to believe that tuning your piano to 440hz is unwholesome, fundamentally dissonant, at odds with “Nature” (whatever) aand was invented by Nazi’s (because, it stands to reason, they loved anything that has a bad influence on people);
- You desperately want a perfectly harmless scientific measuring station to have a dark sinister purpose?
- You prefer to believe that the Apollo Moon landings never happened - even though there’s absolutely no reason to whatsoever?
- You want the Earth to be flat, even though that’s a completely off-the-wall ludicrous piece of nonsense, and that many people have seen with their own eyes that she’s round?
If so, this is not the place for you.