Transplanted from my main blog:
So, I've been playing around on MySpace lately, and I've come across a group of Gnostics. I've been enjoying some good conversation with them, and I've had several opportunities to impart my wisdom.
In one particular exchange, the question was asked, "Are we really all connected?"
The immediate answer, of course, was, "Yes, we are all connected. See how wise we are!" (Okay, I'm paraphrasing. But I was having a serious flashback to the scene in The Life of Brian when the gigantic crowd is chanting "YES! WE ARE ALL INDIVIDUALS!")
I posted that we are NOT connected ("I'm not!" cries the lone voice from the crowd). Connection demands separation--for you to be connected to me, you and I have to be different things. We are, in fact, all part of a single, undivided whole.
"NO!" came the soon-to-be-paraphrased war cry. "Supraconsciousness! Quarks! The balance of light and darkness! We are WISE, dammit!"
And so, after ruminating for a time, I presented the following analogy:
"Let us imagine that we are both apples, on the same branch of an apple tree. You see that I am an apple HERE, and you are an apple THERE. Then, one day, you look around and discover the tree.
'AHA!' you say,'we are all CONNECTED. See there, you and I are both attached to the limb of this tree. We both draw our nourishment from the same roots; our energy from the same leaves. A blight on that limb way over there will surely affect us as well. I am wise; I have achieved the true Gnosis.'
Well, you haven't.
The tree, in this analogy, represents the physical universe. Humans are connected to each other in the universe in many ways: by quanta, by gravity, by society, by genetics. For the Gnostic, however, the physical universe is kenoma: it is illusion, a falsity. The true reality is the Pleroma: the truth over which the veil of kenoma has been drawn. The Pleroma is the realm of God, where all exists as undifferentiated spirit.
'So where then,' you might well ask, 'IS the Pleroma in your story, if it is not the tree which connects us?'
The Pleroma is the seed from which the apple tree sprouted. To achieve Gnosis, you must return to the original seed. Now, ponder: when we were POTENTIAL apples, before the seed ever sprouted--were we connected, or were we part of an undifferentiated unity?