by Phillip D. Collins
February 21, 2009
In the second installment of this series, we examined the occult belief that man is an emergent deity. The religious doctrine was a defining feature of sociopolitical Utopianism and was popularized in the late 19th and early 20th century under the appellation of Darwinism. According to Wolfgang Smith, Darwinism constitutes a Gnostic myth:
As a scientific theory, Darwinism would have been jettisoned long ago. The point, however, is that the doctrine of evolution has swept the world, not on the strength of its scientific merits, but precisely in its capacity as a Gnostic myth. It affirms, in effect, that living beings created themselves, which is in essence a metaphysical claim… Thus, in the final analysis, evolutionism is in truth a metaphysical doctrine decked out in scientific garb. In other words, it is a scientistic myth. And the myth is Gnostic, because it implicitly denies the transcendent origin of being; for indeed, only after the living creature has been speculatively reduced to an aggregate of particles does Darwinist transformism become conceivable. Darwinism, therefore, continues the ancient Gnostic practice of depreciating ‘God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth.’ It perpetuates, if you will, the venerable Gnostic tradition of ‘Jehovah bashing.’ And while this in itself may gladden Gnostic hearts, one should not fail to observe that the doctrine plays a vital role in the economy of Neo-Gnostic thought, for only under the auspices of Darwinist ‘self-creation’ does the Good News of ‘self-salvation’ acquire a semblance of sense.” (242-43)
The Gnostic pedigree of Darwinism underscores the common thread of occultism that runs throughout all sociopolitical Utopian movements. For instance, fascism’s crusade to establish its mystical union and communism’s quest to tangibly enact the apocalypse of Marxist dialectic were both scientifically dignified by Darwinism.
The extrapolation of occult concepts into revolutionary doctrine produced a new Gnosticism that envisaged the manifestation of the Eschaton within the immanent cosmos. Commenting on this new strain of Gnosticism, Wolfgang Smith writes:
In place of an Eschaton which ontologically transcends the confines of this world, the modern Gnostic envisions an End within history, an Eschaton, therefore, which is to be realized within the ontological plane of this visible universe. (238).
The Enlightenment would reach its violent nadir with the bloody French Revolution, which would provide the blueprint for all modern socialist revolutions. Communism, fascism, and other competing forms of socialism proffer a heaven on earth. In this sense, all modern socialist revolutionaries qualify as secular Gnostics:
In this century, with the presentation of traditional religious positions in secular form, there has emerged a secular Gnosticism beside the other great secular religions--the mystical union of Fascism, the apocalypse of Marxist dialectic, the Earthly City of social democracy. The secular Gnosticism is almost never recognized for what it is, and it can exist alongside other convictions almost unperceived. (Webb 418)
The codification of Gnosticism as revolutionary doctrine produced secular movements that, sociologically, behaved like religious movements. The religious character of these secular movements is made evident by the "new reality" that they sought to tangibly enact. James H. Billington describes this "new reality":
The new reality they sought was radically secular and stridently simple. The ideal was not the balanced complexity of the new American federation, but the occult simplicity of its great seal: an all-seeing eye atop a pyramid over the words Novus Ordo Seclorum. In search of primal, natural truths, revolutionaries looked back to pre-Christian antiquity--adopting pagan names like "Anaxagoras" Chaumette and "Anacharsis" Cloots, idealizing above all the semimythic Pythagoras as the model intellect-turned-revolutionary and the Pythagorean belief in prime numbers, geometric forms, and the higher harmonies of music. (6)
It is very interesting that such a "radically secular" reality would be so preoccupied with the "occult simplicity" and "pagan names" of "pre-Christian antiquity." Yet, as sociologist William Sims Bainbridge observes, such occult proclivities are the natural corollaries of secularism:
Secularization does not mean a decline in the need for religion, but only a loss of power by traditional denominations. Studies of the geography of religion show that where the churches become weak, cults and occultism explode to fill the spiritual vacuum. ("Religions for a Galactic Civilization")
Indeed, occultism did explode to fill the power vacuum once occupied by traditional ecclesiastical authorities. One of the occult personages that would remain as a fixture of the early revolutionary faith was Lucifer. However, he would assume yet another title. The term Lucifer, as translated by St. Jerome from the original Hebrew Helel ("bright one"), shares the same meaning as Prometheus who brought fire to humanity ("Lucifer," Answers.com). The mythical character of Prometheus was central to the Utopian vision of early socialist revolutionaries. James H. Billington explains:
A recurrent mythic theme for revolutionaries -- early romantics, the young Marx, the Russians of Lenin's time -- was Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods for the use of mankind. The Promethean faith of revolutionaries resembled in many respects the general belief that science would lead men out of darkness into light. (6; emphasis added)
The Promethean contention that science was the lantern guiding man to illumination was vintage scientism. Scientism, which should not be confused with legitimate science, is the belief that the investigational methods of science are essential to all other fields of study. The modern mind, chronocentric as it is, might view such epistemological imperialism as desirable. However, as a system of quantification, science can only concern itself with quantifiable entities. Such epistemological rigidity allows for the potential preclusion of important data. Michael Hoffman reiterates:
The reason that science is a bad master and dangerous servant and ought not to be worshipped is that science is not objective. Science is fundamentally about the uses of measurement. What does not fit the yardstick of the scientist is discarded. Scientific determinism has repeatedly excluded some data from its measurement and fudged other data, such as Piltdown Man, in order to support the self-fulfilling nature of its own agenda, be it Darwinism or "cut, burn and poison" methods of cancer "treatment." (49)
When applied to questions of governance, science invariably becomes an oppressor. Because they defy quantification, concepts like human dignity and liberty are precluded from a purely scientific interpretation of governance. In the absence of concepts like liberty and dignity, otherwise questionable policies can be scientifically dignified with no regard given to moral considerations. Such was the case with Nazi Germany, the perennial model of eugenical regimentation. It is ironic that scientism, which devalues human life, was at the core of the Promethean revolutionaries' anthropocentric faith. In the end, Promethean revolutionaries murdered countless members of the very species that they sought to apotheosize: man. Hoffman synopsizes the logical ends of scientism:
The doctrine of man playing god reaches its nadir in the philosophy of scientism which makes possible the complete mental, spiritual and physical enslavement of mankind through technologies such as satellite and computer surveillance; a state of affairs symbolized by the "All Seeing Eye" above the unfinished pyramid on the U.S. one dollar bill. (50)
Nevertheless, the scientistic approach to governance was a hallmark of the Promethean revolutionaries. Friedrich Engels described Marx's theory as "scientific socialism" because both science and Marxism bestowed epistemological primacy upon observable phenomenon ("Scientific socialism," Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia). Marx's emphasis upon radical empiricism was presaged by Henri Saint-Simon's physiological interpretation of the state, which extended the doctrine of sense certainty "into the altogether new field of social relations" (Billington 212). Adherents of Saint-Simon's philosophy contended that "the key to diagnosing and curing the ills of humanity lay in an objective understanding of the physiological realities that lay behind all thinking and feeling" (212). Following this physiological interpretation of governance to its logical ends, Saint-Simon developed the precursor to Marx's "scientific socialism":
Believing that the scientific method should be applied to the body of society as well as to the individual body, Saint-Simon proceeded to analyze society in terms of its physiological components: classes. He never conceived of economic classes in the Marxian sense, but his functional class analysis prepared the way for Marx. (213)
Thus, radical empiricism provides the epistemological basis for all modern forms of scientific totalitarianism. It is also with radical empiricism that one finds another occult element of sociopolitical Utopianism. This epistemology stems from the Gnostic derision of cognitio fidei (the cognition of faith). Moreover, radical empiricism arrives at conclusions that are inescapably mystical in character. An exclusively empirical approach relegates cause to the realm of metaphysical fantasy. This holds enormous ramifications for science. What is perceived as A causing B could be merely a consequence of circumstantial juxtaposition. Although temporal succession and spatial proximity are axiomatic, causal connection is not. Affirmation of causal relationships is impossible. Given the absence of causality, all of a scientist's findings must be taken upon faith. Ironically, science relies on the affirmation of such cause and effect relationships.
Saint-Simon's work has been described as the prescription for Sir Francis Bacon's prophetic vision of a technocratic society (Fischer 69). Technocratic governance, or Technocracy, is a governmental system where scientists and technicians act as the sole decision-making body. This inherently anti-democratic concept originated within esoteric circles. Sir Francis Bacon developed the original model for Technocracy in his book, The New Atlantis. Published in 1627, The New Atlantis was adorned with the symbols of occult Freemasonry and presented the Rosicrucian mandate for the formation of an " Invisible College " (Howard 74-75). Bacon himself was a member of the secret Order of the Helmet and, some allege, a Grand Master of the secret Rosicrucian Order (74). The Utopia presented by Bacon in The New Atlantis was "a pure Technocratic society" (Fischer 66-67). The philosopher kings of Plato's Republic were to be replaced by a "technical elite" (66-67). Scientists and technicians would circumvent conflicting political interests, giving rise to an apolitical bureaucracy.
Technocratic ideas constituted a portion of the conceptual and philosophical foundation for modern socialist totalitarian governance. Of course, a majority of socialist totalitarian regimes that have populated modernity have been overtly hostile towards theistic faiths, particularly Christianity. This derision for theistic faiths is attributable to the characteristic scientism of technocratic theory.
Because the soul, angels, demons, and God Himself are neither quantifiably or empirically demonstrable entities, they have no place within a technocratic society. Science becomes the new expositor of miracles, revelation, and truth. In Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley described this scientistic form of governance:
The older dictators fell because they could never supply their subjects with enough bread, enough circuses, enough miracles, and mysteries. Under a scientific dictatorship, education will really work with the result that most men and women will grow up to love their servitude and will never dream of revolution. There seems to be no good reason why a thoroughly scientific dictatorship should ever be overthrown. (116)
Wielding ostensible epistemic primacy, the "experts" of Technocracy employ the gnosis of science to produce "enough bread, enough circuses, enough miracles, and mysteries" for their subjects. Distracted by all of the comforts that technology can supply, most men and women would never dream of revolting against the new theocracy of science.
If readers would like to learn more about the occult origins of sociopolitical Utopianism and scientific totalitarianism, the following interviews might prove useful:
For part two click below.
- Bainbridge, William Sims. "Religions
for a Galactic Civilization." Excerpted from Science Fiction
and Space Futures, edited by Eugene M. Emme. San Diego : American Astronautical
Society, pages 187-201, 1982.
2 - Billington, James H. Fire in the Minds of Men: Origins of the Revolutionary Faith. New York: Basic, 1980
3 - Fischer, Frank. Technocracy and the Politics of Expertise. Newbury Park , California: Sage Publications, 1990
4 - Hoffman, Michael. Secret Societies and Psychological Warfare. Coeur d'Alene , Idaho : Independent History & Research, 2001
5 - Howard, Michael. The Occult Conspiracy: Secret Societies--Their Influence and Power in World History. Vermont : Destiny Books, 1989
6 - Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World Revisited. Bantam Books, New York 1958
7 - "Scientific Socialism." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia 5 November 2007
8 - Smith, Wolfgang. Teilhardism and the New Religion: A Thorough Analysis of the Teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Illinois : TAN Books, 1988
9 - Webb, James. The Occult Establishment. Open Court, 1976.
© 2009 - Phillip D. Collins - All Rights Reserved