The Gnostic Angels

The Gnostic Angels


1024 words by Leo Rivers



This is our situation. The universe is infinite avalanche of the consequences of previous actions. It has no center nor end nor motive nor awareness of its own fate or the fate of any of the little creatures within it. It is a great ceaselessly ongoing machinery like a locomotive ghost train rushing forward on the railroad tracks with no one in the engine or in any of the cars. It appears over the horizon when you wake up at birth and it disappears into the darkness of the other horizon at death.


Human beings are of Three Families or lineages in this universe - an I will borrow vocabulary from the Greek Gnostics for them.


  1. Hylic:         Of the Earth or “Worldly”, 
  2. Psychic:       Of the Heavens or “Religious”, 
  3. and Pneumatic: Of Transcendence, or “Un-Worldly”.


The way in which people traditionally have related to this impersonal universe is to harmonize their personal lives with the impersonal cosmos by making up stories based on their relationships to their parents and their cultural community and imposing these stories as frameowks of interpretation between themselves and the universe.  These Storys serve to to both explain what seems random or unjust and mediate their own feelings about these like a lawyer representing them in a Court in which they are a plaintiff and the Cosmos the defendant. The universe of course does not respond but, (any more than a huge multi-national corporation to a ting lawsuit brought against one of its subsideries in a small town).But it is invaulable to Human self-esteem that this dramatic conceit creates a map which locates both the impersonal universe and the individual person in the same Court of Law.


Some people do not question the map that they inherit. Nor do they question the right of the universe to be a runaway train. They seek only to use what understandings they have of the Wayas of the World to get ahead for advancing their own fictional drama with themselves as the Hero. These are the Hylic or material people. They actually live in a kind of liberation because they do not aggrevate the stress between an impersonal universe andsome fantasy where they matter to others. They take it as it comes. They can be very easy going, and enjoy life naturally. But they can also become amoral gangsters. They are the man-animals.


Now the next kind of people are the Psychics. They do believe in "Right and Wrong" and their right to enforce their schedule of Good anmd Evil on Others. They are capable of true Self-Sacrifice and works of great Good.  


They are Tribal. And they are patriotically committed to that Map they have inherited as their Birth Rite. 

In other words, they see good and evil, not in terms of their own satisfactions, they are not using the map just to get ahead themselves, but they see good and bad as being characteristic quantifiable units of measure and scale. Their notions of good and evil apply to a World bigger than their passions - or so they think/

Within the context of their belief in this map, they follow good and they strive for something higher than themselves. Yet in the imposing a system of good and bad on all people Psychics become Humanity's Despots. They are not gangsters at heart, but they can end up being gangsters for the sake of Good.

There is a 3rd kind of person. Such a person understands that the map is just a map, and is made up by men and women just as themselves, and such a map is a fiction that we use like a tool. 

These are the Pneumatics. They share with the Psychics the virtue of not being intentionally self-centered about using the map. 

They too want their imposed notion of good and bad to include all people equally. 

But they are different than the Psychics in that they know the map is fictional yet this knowledge does not defeat them. 

In practice this means that Pneumatics, in knowing that the Self is itself fictitious, (just a part of the larger fictitious map), know that there is no real advantage to becoming gangsters. 

Pneumatics, in knowing that the map nevertheless makes an equality in justice for all people in equalness, struggle to use that map, (even though they they know it is a fiction), as a tool to benefit beings. They do not become despots because they know it is a fictitious map, and they can live within the limitationsand limits of that knowing. In other words, Pneumatics are sensitive to knowing when not to push the map out of the territory of being a tool and into the territory of being a bludgeon.

All religious or ideological landscapes are Maps in this sense, and the people that follow them are generally Psychics. And of course amoral Hylics often choose to pretend to believe in the map so they can exploit religion and ideology the same way gangsters run confidence schemes and  pyramid schemes and blackmail in the economic world.


It is the most difficult thing to do, to be a Pneumatic. One is constantly struggling not to lose heart because, in your heart, you do not live sheltered inside a naïve belief in the map you follow. 

You know things don't have to turn out good in the end. 

You know the universe doesn't know about you.


But within the Pneumatics realm a mad idea takes place birth.


This is the idea that good and evil are not about calling one side the “good guys” and the other side “the bad guys”. The notion of good and evil detaches from the notion of tribalism and tribes in competition for resources and status.

There is no economic or social or egotistic payoff for this Pneumatics global notion of good for goods sake. It is irrational compared to all the previous kinds of map of the universe. But it is as beautiful as it is mad!


It is this mad notion of global good that makes the life of a person living on the Pneumatic level of gnosis bearable. It is the polestar that the Pneumatic has as their reward. If you can make "being good for goodness's sake", knowing that there is no self in person or in entity in this universe, a universe that is empty of seam or boundary, work for you - then you have obtained liberation. You are a Buddha. Or at least you have little dust remaining in your eyes.


This is The Path. To fully become a Human.




Leo Rivers, the garage house, Cottage Grove Oregon,Wednesday, October 31, 2012 7:27:01 AM




 © Leo Rivers 2013