Kimetikos II: Theory (Premiseless Imperative)

Previously: Kimetikos I: Foundations

As illustrated by the preceding myth, Kimetikos is based on the understanding that the essential core of the human, our Nous or Intelligence, is the conscious experiencer within each of us. As an aspect of the Pleromic realms which exist in the Macrocosm, the Nous, activated by Sophia and the Logos, should reside within the human Spirit. Due, however, to the inherently imperfect nature of the World of Forms, the Nous has become bogged down within Destiny, and occluded by various aspects of the Soul and Body. Proper alignment– or redemption– of the different aspects of the Soul and Body allow one to overcome Destiny and bring the Nous back into the seat of Spirit. This process results from, and results in, gnosis.

Kimetikos works under the assumption that the Macrocosm and Microcosm are self-similar, after the fashion of the fractal in Chaos Mathematics[1]. Through coming to an understanding of the myth of creation, and by ritually interfacing with the information contained therein, the practitioner seeks the redemption not only of the Self, but of the entirety of creation. The imperfect nature of the Kosmos, in which the Nous finds itself trapped, is necessary for this redemption as a requisite aspect of the Monad. As the Monad extends to fill all possibilities, one of those possibilities must be the realm of imperfection.

In our system, the human construction is subject to Destiny within the World of Forms because the Soul and Body are modeled on the emanations of the Demiurge and influenced by the Zodiac and the Planets. This is in no way an original idea; the ancient Platonist-derived Mysteries were obsessed with the influences of the Planetary Spheres and the Fixed Signs of the Zodiac on the human. Each Sphere influences the human in particular ways depending upon that human’s Destiny (Heimarmene), and after death the soul of the human ascends through the Planetary Spheres, shedding the negative qualities associated with each. In Book Ten of his Republic, Plato breaks philosophical ground on this concept with the “Myth of Er,” which is also found in such diverse works as Cicero’s “Dream of Scipio” and the Hermetic Literature, particularly Book I of the Corpus Hermetica (the “Poimandres”). Within the Hellenistic world, astrological determinism was taken as a given, and the individual initiated into the mysteries could come to an understanding of their destiny by symbolically or ritually ascending through these Spheres.

Kimetikos, however, is a Gnostic practice, and as such relies upon a Gnostic view that Heimarmene is not something to be learned about or embraced; rather, Destiny is the result of the rule of the Archons and the Demiurge, and is something to be escaped or overcome. Ample evidence exists for this point of view in Gnostic literature. In the Books of the Saviour (Pistis Sophia), we find entire passages which discuss the Christos’ ascent through the Planetary Spheres, during which he “changes the direction” of the Spheres, thereby ruining the ability of astrologers to divine:

…[T]hou hast taken their power from them and from their horoscope-casters and their consulters and from those who declare to the men in the world all things which shall come to pass, in order that they should no more from this hour know how to declare unto them any thing at all which will come to pass.[2]

At a later point in the codice, in a different book in the same collection, the soul of the Gnostic, ascending through these Spheres, delivers a resounding denial to the Rulers of Fate who would subject it to Destiny:

Take your destiny! I come not to your regions from this moment onwards. I have become a stranger unto you for ever, being about to go unto the region of my inheritance.[3]

Another, similar account in which the Spheres are disturbed, thereby eliminating Fate can be found in the text “Trimorphic Protennoia”:

And the lots of Fate and those who apportion the domiciles were greatly disturbed over a great thunder. And the thrones of the Powers were disturbed, since they were overturned, and their King was afraid. And those who pursue Fate paid their allotment of visits to the path, and they said to the Powers, “What is this disturbance and this shaking that has come upon us through a Voice <belonging> to the exalted Speech? And our entire habitation has been shaken, and the entire circuit of the path of ascent has met with destruction, and the path upon which we go, which takes us up to the Archgenitor of our birth, has ceased to be established for us.”[4]

That Gnostic sacramental practice could unloose the bonds of Fate is attested to in the Excerpts of Theodotus, a collection of Valentinian sayings recorded by Clement of Alexandria:

78. Until baptism, they say, Fate is effective, but after it the astrologers no longer speak the truth. It is not the bath alone that makes us free, but also the knowledge: who were we? what have we become? where were we? into what place have we been cast? whither are we hastening? from what are we delivered? what is birth? what is rebirth?[5]

Again and again we find this concept in the Gnostic literature. The human is trapped within the World of Forms, under the subject of the Archons, who rule the Zodiac and the Planetary Spheres. This lack of control over one’s own set of circumstances leads to what we refer to in This Way as the aforementioned “Kenomic Worldview.” Let’s go over it in a little more detail.

The Kenoma, or “Emptiness,” is where we reside, that place apparently outside of the perception of the Monad into which Pistis Sophia projected the Demiurge. The Kenomic Worldview is marked by a deeply embedded sense of this emptiness— as existential ennui, manifested especially as a sense of purposelessness. The emptiness which contrasts with the fullness of the Pleromic Worldview resides under layers of what Philip Dick referred to as “kipple”– meaningless content– but is not always completely manifested (for the manifestation of utter emptiness would annihilate an individual). Rather, it appears like something submerged off the shore of a great lake of extraneous stuff, visible when the tide recedes and vanishing when the tide increases, but always there below the surface.

The problem with approaches to the Kenomic Worldview in many circles is its equation to emotions or thoughts, the false heart/brain dichotomy. One equates the Kenomic Worldview with sadness, or dissatisfaction, or depression, or with entrapment by material distractions. This approach confuses the kipple with the Worldview itself. One can be perfectly happy or in love or extremely wealthy and still dwell within the Kenoma. One can also be melancholy or sad or angry or poor and still dwell within the Pleroma.

If you live in the Kenomic World, you have no idea what you are doing here. You may have a relatively happy life by your culture’s standards. Nonetheless, the basic routines of life seem meaningless and trite. You likely get up each morning, eat breakfast, drink some coffee, take out the dog, take a shower and head to work. You do your job, perhaps happily– it may even be a job you enjoy very much! You go home to your family, with whom you are deeply in love, watch some television and hit the hay. Or, perhaps you wake up in the morning, do some Yoga, go for a quick jog and shower, eat a healthy breakfast. Then you go to your job at an eco-friendly Ad firm that caters to progressive political causes. You head home, read for a while and meditate, do some gardening and then hit the hay. Nonetheless, in any or all of these cases, a feeling of emptiness and purposelessness abides.

In the Kenoma, you are subject to heimarmene. You convince yourself that you have to do what you are doing because of the influence of external powers (the need for food, shelter, etc.). Horoscopes work for you, as do other divinatory systems like weathermen or work schedules, all of which predict possible futures only inasmuch as you provide them with import. You do what you do because you have to do it, whether that thing is going to your job at a corporation or chanting to the Buddha of Compassion or praying the Rosary. You are fated to do these things, and stuck in a situation from which you can’t escape.

You may try to suppress the emptiness with externalities, purchases, mind-altering substances or abstract busy-ness. Conversely, you may try to fill the emptiness with good works and “positive” thoughts, with Spiritual Practice or Love, with meditation or Prayer. You will find, however, again and again, that none of these approaches work to finally rid yourself of the empty feeling from which the Kenomic Worldview develops.

Why does the Kenomic Worldview develop in so many? It is because, macrocosmically, those of us who dwell in the Kenoma were born into the World of Forms, under the control of the Demiurge and the Archons. As Jesus says in the “Gospel of Thomas,” a little child seven days old is closer to the Kingdom of Heaven than an old man. As we grow older within a milieu in which we are taught that we have very little control of the external world, the Archons work to cover us in layers and layers of kipple. This goes beyond the usual platitudes about social “conformity” and politics and the value of public education; these are all externalities which, though they may be important, must take a back seat if one is working to move from the Kenomic World to the Pleromic.

The Kenomic individual all too frequently points the finger outside of him/herself when addressing the hollowness inside. This is the individual who risks falling into the Anarchonic Fallacy, the erroneous trope that salvation comes through rebellion. This condition maintains that the emptiness develops as a result of the “Church” or “Science” or “Politics.” Although the Kenoma is reflected and contained within each of these things to the extent that it is reflected and contained within individuals, railing against them is in and of itself an Archonic act, an error of collectivist irrationality, judging an entire body of persons based upon what may be a single aspect of a single individual one has encountered. Transcending the Kenoma does not entail becoming a “nonconformist” or fighting against perceived “injustices” or religio-political organizations or any other external thing. Working to fight against social injustices is always a good thing, but one can do so and still dwell within the Kenoma.

Thankfully, we each have a spark of the Pleromic World within us. Clement ofAlexandria quotes the “Prophetic Scriptures” as saying, “As to gnosis, some elements of it we already possess; others, by what we do possess, we firmly hope to attain.  For neither have we attained all, nor do we lack all.”  In essence, gnosis exists to allow an individual to create a teleology, to defend their own self-worth, to uncover a reason for being. The achievement of gnosis via the Logos and Sophia enables one to perceive the Pleromic purpose, or reason for being. Although this will not completely eliminate the Kenomic Condition, it will at least provide blueprints with which the Gnostic can begin constructing a ladder to the Pleromic realms.

Not everyone needs to know their reason for being, and this is fine. Only those who do, who are driven to seek the Pleroma by the Premiseless Imperative, are invited to leave the Kenomic World, to accept the outstretched hands of the Logos and Sophia and rise above the bottomless pit of the Kenoma. When, however, one “shakes the foundations” of the Spheres through Gnostic practice, be it sacrament or contemplative prayer or– in our case– Kimetikos,  one is free from the Archons and is instead part of the Family of Aeons who reside in the Pleroma.[6]

The idea that the Gnostic could ritually ascend through the Spheres in order to overcome fate was likely influenced by both Platonic and Jewish Mystical practices common to the Hellenistic world.[7]  In our method, it is this Prayer of Ascent which especially serves to redeem the Soul, which confronts the Archons as it ascends, shows each its name and seal– thus proving its power over them– and passes into the next sphere, shedding negative psychological qualities attributed on the way.[8]  The Spirit, then, is redeemed through a similar ascent sequence, but instead of confronting the Archons it glorifies and meditates on the Aeons in the Pleroma, incorporating their positive qualities.

In the Kimetikos Worldview, the Demiurge represents the lower reflection of the Piger-Adamas, or Ideal Human.  If, microcosmically, the Archons are psychological qualities to be shed, the Demiurge might be considered the Ego of the individual prior to its redemption, which operates not under self-knowledge but instead on a solipsistic dependence upon, and devotion to, the images it creates. Traditionally, this is the “I,” the Self, the individual interface with reality. It is this “portion” of the living thing that translates perception into individual experience and creates the sense of distinction between the Self and the Other. In mainstream Buddhism (and certain other more esoteric religious traditions), the complete elimination or sublimation of the Ego is desired, that one may experience the inexpressible Oneness. This is not, however, the case in the practice of Kimetikos, in which the Ego is something to be redeemed, not destroyed. This idea is important enough to discuss at some length.

The Gnostic presentation of the Ego or Self seems to provide a kind of happy medium between individuation and union with the Pleroma. The complete elimination of the Ego is not something found in Gnostic thought– at least, not something one attains while trapped in the World of Forms. As mentioned previously, the Gnostic Demiurge character represents the Ego and its trappings. “I am the only true God; there is no God other than me,” “I AM THAT I AM”– these statements made by the Demiurge are qualitative indicators that this is an individual personality which stands between the human and the true experience of divinity.

One might suggest that throwing off the shackles of the Archons and the Demiurge would result in the elimination of Self. In Gnostic myth, however, it is important to note that there are indications that the Archons will not be eliminated, but will instead be redeemed. In “The Reality of the Rulers,” for instance, we learn that it is possible for this redemptive process to occur, as one of the Archons, Sabaoth, repents of his actions:

Now when his offspring Sabaoth saw the force of that angel, he repented and condemned his father and his mother, matter. He loathed her, but he sang songs of praise up to Sophia and her daughter Zoe. And Sophia and Zoe caught him up and gave him charge of the seventh heaven, below the veil between above and below. And he is called ‘God of the forces, Sabaoth’, since he is up above the forces of chaos, for Sophia established him.[9]

Whether or not it applies to the Demiurge himself is a matter of speculation, but in Kimetikos we speculate that this redemptive process would extend from the qualities of the Ego (the Archons) to the Ego itself. In other words, the Ego is not eliminated when its qualities are redeemed, it becomes somehow perfected or redeemed. This is still within the realm of Modern Gnostic speculation, but the very nature of gnosis  bears this out.

Nowhere in Gnostic literature do we see the elimination of Self or Ego indicated. Indeed, it almost seems like the complete opposite. Without delving too far into Cartesian Metaphysics, in order for gnosis to be experienced– in order that something can be known– there must be something to do the experiencing. In Kimetikos, this “thing that experiences” is the Nous, the essential core which contains the Divine Spark. What gnosis is for, we find, is to raise the individual into a perpetual state of modified perception, a literal phenomenological phase change in which the perfection contained within, the spark and the Pleroma, become perceivable. This is the resurrection that happens while one is still alive. Without the Self, this would not be possible. Eliminating the Ego is counterproductive because one is still in the World of Forms. Far better to redeem it so that you can continue to make your way through the World of Forms. After all, the elimination of Ego discussed in Illuminist religions is impossible to maintain except, perhaps, in the most rigorously ascetic practice. Eventually one has to “come out of it,” to do things like eat or sleep or poop, at which point the Ego is there in full glory.

The elimination of the Ego would also be counterproductive because it would eliminate the Essence That Experiences. This extends to the individual personality; without the amalgam of stuff that we have built up around the self as the personality, the experience of gnosis would not be a unique experience, and since the entirety needs to experience every single unique portion of itself in order to become complete– for the universe to acheive its own gnosis– then the Archons and the Demiurge are a necessary part of the process. Eliminating them serves no real purpose within Kimetikos; redeeming them, on the other hand, would make far more sense in this context. So, although we could couch the idea of the redemption of the Ego in terms of death, it’s important to proceed through this ego-death to ego-resurrection. This is encoded in the message of the story of the phantom spirit found in the Pistis Sophia (the speaker is Mary, Jesus’s mother):

When you were little, before the spirit had come upon you, while you were in a vineyard with Joseph, the spirit came out of the height and came to me in my house, looking just like you; and I didn’t know it was him, but I thought that it was you. And the spirit said to me: Where is Jesus, my brother, so I can meet with him?’ And when he said this to me, I was at a loss and thought it was a spirit coming to test me. So I seized him and bound him to the foot of the bed, and I went to find you and Joseph in the field, and I found you on the vineyard, Joseph propping up the vineyard. When you heard me tell this to Joseph, that you understood, were joyful and said: ‘Where is he, that I can see him; or should I wait for him here?’ When Joseph heard you say these words, he was startled. So we went down together, entered the house and found the spirit bound to the bed. And we looked on you and him and found you just like him. And he who was bound to the bed was unloosed; he took you in his arms and kissed you, and you also kissed him. You became one.[10]

In Gnostic descriptions of the Aeons and the realms of perfection, we very often find the term “Autogenes,” which means “self-generated.” Many of the characters found within the Pleroma “generated” themselves. It follows that these beings were understood as having Selfness, whether literally or otherwise, which gives credence to the idea that the act of emanation from the Oneness resulted in its desire to know itself. The emanations are “Selfs” that interact with other segments of the Unknowable Wholeness; by knowing the sum of all of its parts, the Unknowable Wholeness can come to know itself.

The greatest amount of material in the practice of Kimetikos is devoted to preparation for the redemptions of the Soul and Spirit via the redemption of the Body itself. Until one has credible self-knowledge of the various parts of one’s body– the tool with which we interface with the Kosmos– it is exceptionally difficult to have credible self-knowledge of the Soul or Spirit. The Buddhist contemplative practices which developed into “mindfulness,” Taoist alchemical practice and Tai Chi, Yoga– all of these practices attest to an inherent knowledge within certain spiritual paths that body knowledge is essential to spiritual practice. The Archons in the “Secret Book of John”, restated above in our Hermetic dialogue, may well illustrate that at least one group of so-called Gnostics had similar ideas.

To make this a little clearer, let us discuss the Buddhist idea of the five Skandhas, or aggregates. According to Buddhist phenomenology, the “self” as a unique entity does not exist. Instead, what humans percieve as “selfness” is actually the five skandhas: form (rupa), sensation (vedana), perception (sanna), mental formations (sankhara) and consciousness (vinanna).  Coming to the realization that all of these skandhas are essentially ephemeral and changing is a key facet of Gautama’s original teaching. Confusing one’s “Self” with any one of the skandhas, or any combination thereof, is the root cause of desire and suffering in the world. At the same time, consciously and mindfully focusing upon and contemplating the impermanence of the skandhas can bring the practitioner to the experience of Nirvana through the elimination of self-ness:

Put another way, if we were to self-identify with an aggregate then we would cling (upadana)[23] to such; and, given that all aggregates are impermanent (anicca), it would then be likely that at some level we would experience agitation (paritassati) or loss or grief or stress or suffering (see dukkha). Therefore, if we want to be free of suffering, it is wise to experience the aggregates clearly, without clinging or craving (tanha), as apart from any notion of self (anatta).[11]

Remarkably, the source documents also list five “powers” that govern the interaction of the human with the Kosmos:

The one who governs the perception of things is named Archendekta, who is enthroned with Hotness. The one who governs the reception of things is named Deitharbathas, who is enthroned with Cold. The one who governs the imagination of things is Oummaa, who is enthroned with Dryness. The one who governs the integration of things is Aachiaram, who is enthroned with Wetness. The one who governs all of the impulses is Riaramnacho, who is enthroned with Matter.

The skandhas and the governors of perception have an almost one-to-one correspondence, though presented in a different order:

Form: Rupa:: All of the Impulses: Riaramnacho

Sensation: Vedana:: Reception: Deitharbathas

Perception: Sanna:: Perception: Archendekta

Mental Formations: Sankhara:: Imagination of Things: Oumma

Consciousness: Vinanna:: Integration of Things: Aachiaram

Since the source documents for Kimetikos are so patently works of phenomenology, and as the Buddhist skandhas are an aggregation of various experiences as perceived by humans through the senses but are not essentially real, so the Gnostic Archons also represent unreal experiences within the World of Forms which lead the human into pleasure, desire, grief and fear.

Interactions with the Kosmos require the presence of the Seven Senses, whose ruler is Esthesis-Zouch-Epi-Ptoe, and the Material Soul, whose ruler is Anayo. The presence of these powers invites the influences of the powers who rule over the passions, who are four in number. Their names are:

Ephememphi, associated with pleasure, who rules over lust, unmerited pride, and evil.

Yoko, associated with desire, who rules over anger, fury, bitterness, outrage and dissatisfaction.

Nenentophni, associated with distress, who rules over envy, jealousy, grief, vexation, discord, cruelty, worry and mourning.

Blaomen, associated with fear, who rules over horror, flattery, suffering and shame.

As mentioned in our discussion on the Ego, there is no indication within Gnostic thought that the Self does not exist. Indeed, the Archons involved in the creation and perception of the ephemeral world serve to occlude the Self at their center. This does not mean that invisible aliens are crawling all over your soul; these are not “Body thetans.” They are, instead, the impermanent things that impede one’s ability to experience the psychospiritual state we call “dwelling in gnosis.” They are the roadblock on the path to self-knowledge, and through mindful contemplation on them, one doesn’t discover that there is no self, but instead discovers that essential spark of the Universal Self that exists under the surface of the World of Forms.

In short, Kimetikos is a procedure for what online philosopher and bon vivant Tim Boucher once described as “proprioception”: an intimate and intensive course of action and contemplation that the Gnostic might use to come to a deeper understanding of one’s Self:

So if you applied this understanding to Gnosticism, it begins right at the source. That is, you. Your body. You may or may not be the source of the universe, but the thing to understand is that your body is the source of all of your perceptions of the universe. I like to think of perceptions as the reflection not the illusion of the universe reflected into your nervous system. Which is exactly where proprioception lies: at the root where perception has its conception: the point of deception. The point where your brain stops saying to itself, “I am collecting sensory data reflected onto my nervous system from the exterior world” and starts saying the shortcut, “I perceive existance directly.” It’s almost like the difference in role playing games between saying, “My character does such and such,” and “I do such and such.”

It has to do with the being at the level of identifying with your shortcut habitual perceptions and reactions to the world. And this is what the ego is constructed out of: once useful logical habits upon which hinge emotional and physical reactions like colors on a painting. And this is the domain of the Demiurge. In more straightforward Christian myth, it is the Devil as the ruler of this world. In the Tarot we see the Lovers chained at the feet of the Devil, like Princess Leia on Jabba’s Pleasure Barge.[12]

This understanding is one facet of gnosis. In his original teachings, Gautama never intended Nirvana to mean a post-mortem state of bliss. It is, in fact, a way of living, a way of experiencing the world of imperfections without needlessly suffering. Gnosis is also a way of living in the imperfect world of forms, and Kimetikos presents one possible way to achieve that state.

Although in no way as strenuous as Yoga or as variegated as Tai Chi, the Body Sequences of Kimetikos utilize visualization, auditory toning and kinetic movements to allow the individual practitioner to become intimate with his or her body. The “barbarous names” of what we term the Nodes and Circuit Points and their Rulers, through which the bai or activating spirit flows thorough the body, act on an energetic level to draw the attention of the Nous to the part of the body on which one focuses. That these specific names are used is a matter of expediency; one could just as readily translate, say, the names of various condiments into a foreign language and intone them and one would achieve a similar result.

A note on all of the names used in the sequences:  Hermes Trismegistus provides the root sounds assigned to each Sphere, Fixed Sign and Element. The enterprising Kimetikon might be able to uncover many additional secrets about the barbarous names and voces magicae using this information.

Next Up: Kimetikos III: Practice!
(Some of this material has been published in various forms on the internet, as well as in The Gnostic: A Journal of Gnosticism, Western Esotericism and SpiritualityNot yet reading The Gnostic? Why not? You would absolutely love it!)

[1] For more similarities between fractal mathematics and gnostic cosmology, see A Gnostic Worldview: Part I.

[2] Mead, G.R.S. trans. Pistis Sophia, or Books of the Saviour, Book 1, Chap. 18.

[3] Ibid. Book 3, Chap. 112.

[4] Turner, John trans. “Trimorphic Protennoia.” The Nag Hammadi Library in English, Robinson, James ed.

[5] Casey, Robert trans. Excerpta Ex Theodoto. http://www.hypotyposeis.org/papers/theodotus.htm

[6] For a fascinating investigation of these ideas, see “Gnostic Liberation from Astrological Determinism: Hipparchan “Trepidation” and the Breaking of Fate,” by Horace Jeffrey Hodges, Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 51, No. 4 (Nov., 1997), pp. 359-373.

[7] See Turner, John, “The Gnostic Threefold Path to Enlightenment: The Ascent of Mind and the Descent of Wisdom.” Novum Testamentum, Vol. 22, Fasc. 4 (Oct., 1980), pp. 324-351.

[8] One might consider the myth of Inanna’s descent to the Underworld a kind of proto-ascent sequence of this kind (in the other direction, of course). In this myth, the Sumerian goddess Inanna must decend into the Underworld to free her lover Tammuz from Death. On the way, she is stopped at seven gates, at each of which she is asked to shed one of her mystical garments.

[9] Layton, Bently trans. “The Hypostasis of the Archons.”  The Nag Hammadi Library in English, Robinson, James ed.

[10] Mead, G.R.S. trans. Pistis Sophia, or Books of the Saviour Book 1, Chap. 61.

Advertisements

10 Comments

Filed under Gnostic Philosophy, Kimetikos, Premiseless Imperative, This Way

10 responses to “Kimetikos II: Theory (Premiseless Imperative)

  1. Dale

    This stuff is so fascinating. I can’t wait to see the practice.thank you.

  2. Pingback: Kimetikos III – Practice (Premiseless Imperative) | This Way

  3. Pingback: Anagoge I – If You Want To Be Saved, Admit That You Are A Sinner | This Way

  4. Pingback: Anagoge II – Achtung, Babies! | This Way

  5. Pingback: “De Untitled Text” « The Lion's Paw Lamp: It's Our Torch

  6. Pingback: Anagogue III – Shooting for the Existential Buzz | This Way

  7. Pingback: Anagogue IV – The Perfect Home In Just An Hour | This Way

  8. Pingback: Anagoge V: Scattered Brains are Better Brains | This Way

  9. Pingback: Anagoge VI: In the Beginning was the Question | This Way

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s