This series will cover materials from 5 main books: The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution, Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology, The Great Rebellion, In Search of the Miraculous, and The Revolution of the Dialectic.
The Purpose of Gnosis
Gnosis is a cosmic teaching that seeks to restore within each one of us the capacity to live consciously and intelligently. Gnosis means knowledge/wisdom and is usually interpreted as an absolute and liberating knowledge. Gnosis is a true scientific school of initiation into life, that pursues a transformation of the human being, claiming that each human must change their basic principles and customs in order to become a true human being. Gnosis has a mystical philosophy as its lifestyle, and is based upon a rational and scientific conception of the universe.
In antiquity it was said, “Man, know yourself and you will know the universe”, and this is the synthesis of all transcendental wisdom: it is superior knowledge. The transcendental science of Gnosis has this ancient motto as its fundamental cornerstone: “Know yourself”. This principle demands that a person who wants to know himself:
1. should understand what this means (this knowledge of self),
2. with what it is connected,
3. and what it necessarily depends upon.
Psychology and the Knowledge of Self
The human being in his present state is very far from self-knowledge. And therefore our first aim cannot be defined as self-knowledge, instead it should be self-study. It is very significant when the human being understands that they must study themselves.
It must be the human being’s aim to begin to study himself, to know himself, in the right way. Self-study is the work or the way which leads to self-knowledge. But in order to study oneself one must first learn:
1. how to study,
2. where to begin, and
3. what methods to use.
This is because it is only with this self-knowledge that the human being can transform himself. This knowledge of self is acquired through what we call Gnostic Psychology. The word Psychology comes from 2 Greek words:
1. Psyche (ψυχή, psukhē, meaning “breath”, “spirit”, or “soul”)
2. and Logia (-λέγω, legō, translated as “study of” or “research”).
So Psychology literally means, “the study of the soul”. In the Ancient Mysteries, Psychology was that part of philosophy which deals with the faculties of the soul and its operations. Therefore, we could say that it is also the science of soul.
The study of the soul is the first step of that immense ladder which we must necessarily climb in order to comprehend truth. And in order to arrive at the truth it is necessary (from the beginning) for the human being to be free from scientific and religious prejudices.
Science and Religion
Science and Religion are two fields of study which we are often are opposed, but in reality they are intimately related. In 1861, Eliphas Levi said:
“Now more than ever do science and religion, as well as authority and liberty, seem to deliver themselves over to a bitter war and swear an irreconcilable hatred for each other. Nonetheless, don’t believe in this war: they are on the verge of uniting themselves and of embracing each other for ever.
The discovery of the great secrets of religion and of the science of the Magi, will annihilate fanaticism by giving the reason for miracles, and by revealing the unity of the universal doctrine.
The truth is higher than all opinions and all parties. The truth is like the sun; blind is he who doesn’t see it.”
-paraphrase from The Reconciliation of Science and Religion by Eliphas Levi
The best way to understand this concept is this statement:
Religion is reasonable, and Science is sacred.
We don’t find Religion reasonable because very few know how to use it for its true purpose and we lack the Faith necessary to effectively apply it to our lives. Most so-called religious persons prefer blind belief to authentic faith and do not love their religion with disinterest (ie they are biased about their religious affiliation).
We don’t find Science sacred because we only use our subjective reasoning to draw conclusions (our 5 senses, our feelings, our thoughts, etc.) and most people lack the Love necessary to use it properly. In general Scientists are only interested in using science to dominate the material world, and therefore neglect the inherent connection between Spirit and Matter.
This is why Eliphas Levi says:
“Love will regenerate the sciences, and reason will justify faith.”
-paraphrase from The Reconciliation of Science and Religion by Eliphas Levi
The Origin and Purpose of Psychology
“Psychology is sometimes called a new science, but this is not true: psychology is, perhaps, the oldest science there is and has its origins in the ancient Schools of Mysteries. Unfortunately, the so-called modern psychology has lost contact with its true origin and because of this, it is almost impossible to accurately define the term “Psychology”, or to know its fundamental subjects.
In order to understand how psychology can be defined, it is necessary to realize that psychology has never existed under its own name except in modern times. For thousands of years psychology existed throughout the world under the name of philosophy. Parallel with its existence under the name of philosophy, psychology existed even longer connected with one or another religion.
There is no doubt that every known legitimate religion developed one or another kind of psychological teaching often connected with a certain practice, so that the study of religion included (in itself) the study of psychology. This can be found if we do a comparative study of religions. If we analyze orthodox religious writings (from different countries and time periods), then we will find in them pure psychological science.
Psychology has also existed in the form of Art: Poetry, Drama, Sculpture, Dancing, even Architecture, were means for transmitting psychological knowledge. For instance, the Gothic cathedrals were in their chief meaning: works on psychology. In the ancient times Psychology existed in the form of Mysteries.
In the ancient Mystery Schools of Greece, Egypt, Rome, India, Persia, China, Mexico, Peru, Assyria, Chaldea, etc., Psychology has always been related to Philosophy, to real objective Art, to Science, and to Religion. In those times, Psychology was intelligently hidden behind the graceful forms of Sacred Dancers, or behind the enigma of strange Hieroglyphs, or beautiful sculptures, poetry, tragedy, and even behind the delicious music of temples. Before Science, Philosophy, Art and Religion parted to live independent lives, Psychology reigned supreme in all ancient Schools of Mysteries.
Later, after the disappearance of the Mysteries, Psychology existed in the form of Symbolical Teachings which were sometimes connected with the religion of the period and other times not connected, but manifested in other forms, such as Astrology, Alchemy, Magic, and the more modern forms like Masonry, Occultism, and Theosophy. Here it is necessary to note that all psychological systems and doctrines, those that exist or existed openly and those that were hidden or disguised, can be divided into two chief categories.
1. First: systems which study human beings as they find them, or as they suppose or imagine human beings to be; so-called Modern psychology belongs to this category.
2. Second: systems which study human beings not from the point of view of what they are, or what they seem to be, but from the point of view of what they may become; that is, from the point of view of the human being’s possible development.
These second systems are in reality the original ones, the most ancient, and only they can explain the forgotten origin and the meaning of Psychology. This is what we call Gnostic Psychology.
When we understand the importance of the study of the human being from the point of view of his possible development, then we will understand that true purpose of Psychology is the study of the principles, laws and facts which are intimately related to the radical and definitive transformation of the individual.”
-paraphrase from Lecture 1, Section 1 of The Psychology of Man’s Possible Evolution and Ch.31 of Fundamental Education
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