Friday, June 29, 2007

The Chat Website that Saved the World

It really is amazing how easy it seems to be to think what you have set out to do is actually being accomplished, if only someone else agrees. If a dozen people agree, then you have ultimate confirmation—you are saving the world by chatting on the Internet. Who you are chatting with is those dozen other people who agree with you. And how you are saving the world is by chatting with the same dozen people and the occasional interloper, who generally either needs to be asked to leave, or leaves of their own accord shortly thereafter.

The stuff of fantasy? Of course. But I would hate to try to guess how many places on this world wide web are following this pattern today.

It is easy to fool yourself, and some situations make it easier than others. We often ask our friends about what we are doing. Some people actually use the phrase that they are making “a reality check” in doing so. By this we hope to get another perspective, one more objective about ourselves than we can be by ourself. Real friends help each other, caution against destructive unconscious behaviors, deflate egos, put things in perspective, and so on. They often risk the friendship by doing so with things we are not willing to see. Their ability to do so comes from their knowing us—this is the type of knowing that in Greek is gnosis.

What happens when you only know someone through their self-representations? For one thing, you probably won't be able to help them see what they are unable to see for themselves. You probably will not see it, because you only have a self-representation to go on. Or, if you do see it, there is no other knowledge about them that you might use to help them come to the realization for themselves. Simply telling someone that they seem to have a major problem with an inferiority complex, is generally not beneficial. If you know more about them (gnosis again) you might be able to help them to see a pattern in behavior that may lead them to learn about themselves (gain self-gnosis).

What is generally missing in the vast array of connections on the Internet is gnosis. And in the absence of gnosis we don't generally assume that we don't know, we generally construct a fantasy in which we do know. This can be seen in the image we construct of others that is never even close to the real person. We automatically construct an image, for example, with people whose work we read, or whose voice we hear. It requires conscious effort to try not to mistake this imagination for knowledge.

Therefore, you have the situation first described above. Interaction with a few others who agree that what we are doing is not only terribly important, but is changing the world. When you check your circle of friends about what you are doing, those are the circle of friends and they are people you “know” and who “know” you without much if any gnosis, and who already agree with you. You can then construct your own social (un)reality and support each other in your mutual importance, regardless of the lack of facts or facts to the contrary. You will, of course, check with each other over such things as facts or results and reinforce your current situation. It is an almost perfect closed system.

The reason for the “almost” is gnosis. Gnosis provides the means to escape from any false cosmos. That is what our ancient ancestors in Gnosis knew and practiced. They stress the urgency to seek self-gnosis, to wake up from both dreams and nightmares. If we seek real liberation, then it isn't to be found in creating a false cosmos within the larger cosmos and fooling ourselves that we are accomplishing something there. Such a path leads to ego inflation, or respite from feelings of inferiority or inadequacy, but it isn't a path to liberation.

We must seek not to fool ourselves either individually or in groups, but seek the Gnosis that liberates us, that frees us to truly act, that enables us to really change the world to some extent through being free and awake in it.

No comments: