George Wood is a Gnostic and teaches Religious Education in London and has led classes in Gnostic Christianity for the Theosophical Society in England for several years. George was a National Lecturer for the Theosophical Society in England.
Since the release of Marylyn Ferguson’s famous book The Aquarius Conspiracy almost 40 years ago, the basic values of the astrological era of Aquarius have been diluted under the influence of an aggressive economic culture. Nothing much has been realised of the flower power impulse of the sixties and seventies, for this impulse could not be commercialised. On the contrary, values such as these are more likely to turn into their opposites in this dialectical world. Ferguson’s aim to make a contribution to ‘personal and societal transformation in the 80s’ failed during that decade, a decade which was critical to social transformation potential.|
On the contrary, the 80s saw the beginning of a strengthened and deepened free market economy following a neo-liberal discipline (Reagan-Thatcher) that did not show the least Aquarian element. Thereby, socially, “the dawning of the Age of Aquarius” was darkened and eventually evaporated. At the same time, the subject of conspiracies and their likelihood has had the same fate as the idealistic Aquarius values, especially from a cultural-social-philosophical perspective.
It has become socially unacceptable to ‘believe’ in conspiracies. It is seen as a sign of “immaturity” to see reality from the perspective of a conspiracy, even though the evidence may be found all around us. This is because the foundation of it is seen as a craving for a simplistic and straightforward explanatory model of reality, which stems from fear. It contains a black and white thinking about forces and powers that are experienced in reality.
Another reason is that the ultimate fuel for conspiracy theories, the dichotomy of the cold war, has dried up since around 1989. An important reason - currently in fashion - to ignore conspiracy theories, stems from the mathematical field of science, which rejects proof by contradiction: you could try to fit signs and situations from reality into your own theoretical model, but, it is explained, this can very easily lead to self-deception.
Proof by contradiction goes against ‘common sense’, especially when it comes to conspiracy theories about the unseen powers, which are theories that talk about forces from the non-material world as a single strong cause for ‘dystopia’. These are all factors that have had an immunizing effect on ‘reality’ and on social-economical processes and actualities during the last few decades: social reality has been made immune to conspiracy theories, which have always been refuted by the media, by prevalent social-economic theories and ‘sophisticated’ forums.
‘I do not really believe in conspiracy theories’ is a widely heard and socially acceptable statement. With the connotation of: ‘You are naive and do not use your common sense if you do believe in them’.
Ridiculing and denying the existence of conspiracies – including the denigration of all thoughts in that direction – can lead to a closed-mind that increasingly limits someone’s ability to perceive (another) reality. However the past ages have made this much clear to us: conspiracies have always existed. In a time of globalisation, the free-market, free trade agreements etc., you definitely cannot exclude conspiracy theories when considering the principle of freedom for all and human rights. On the contrary, especially in this era, the evidence for conspiracy theories abounds, for example, about multinationals or cartel arrangements.
The idea that companies, religious organisations, security services, nationalistic institutes and power conglomerates are innocent until a possible negative role played by them is proven, gives no fair opportunity to unmask coherent networks or potential complots - because of the manipulative involvement of the media against this sort of argument. Examples are the crash of airplane Flight MH17, the tobacco-lobby, Trumpism, weapon trade, the pharmaceutical industry and organ trade. And these are only ‘material’ examples.
It might look like the publication of hundreds of millions of emails (e.g. the Panama-papers or WikiLeaks) can reveal links of fraudulent practices and conspiracy tendencies, but the counter-measures carried out by states, companies and institutions, supported by powerful politicians, is not to be taken lightly. Conspiracy theories that discuss invisible or non-material powers (for example the angels in the air mentioned by Paul in the Bible) have no plausibility in the face of the materialist paradigm, which dismisses anything that cannot be seen with the physical senses.
Sometimes a prohibition on conspiracy thinking cannot hide the facts. What happens then? Hella S. Haasse, the Dutch novelist, has shown what could happen in her book ‘De Meester van de Neerdaling’ (The Master of the Descent): ....the facts shared by the person who unmasks the truth are not only denied, but the person is also ridiculed and finally even declared insane with the help of the Church.
And this is not fiction, but it is a classical phenomenon that repeats itself time and time again. It is an almost universal pattern: ignore, impeach, ridicule. It is shown today through open opposition through the media, the use of fake news, and even the elimination of the whistle blower. It will not be a surprise that the Cathars as well as the Manichaeans met with such a fatal, physical ending.
In the Hermetic texts this process is described in the following way: ‘That is why they who possess the Gnosis are not popular with the masses, and vice versa. Mass opinion would have the possessors of the Gnosis stigmatized as crazy, and laughed at. They are hated and despised, and perhaps even killed. The fact is, evil necessarily needs to dwell here on earth, because this is evil’s domain. The adversary’s domain is the earth, not the cosmos, as some will blasphemously argue’(Corpus Hermeticum IX).
If anything is an unmasking force, it is the light of the Gnosis. This means that the light of the Gnosis is inseparably bound to the appearance of those not-light forces which collaborate together against the eternal forces of fullness. What, then, does this era do with the ‘signs’ and ‘evidence’ that clearly points to a complot, in a world where it becomes more and more clear that there are organized power complexes that steer and control our ways?
This talk will investigate this question fully from a Gnostic viewpoint.