This Dwarf Planet Life: Act III; Who’s Afraid of a Little Space Gnosis?

First contact with aliens could be deadly or it could just be a lot of bureaucracy.  However, many thinkers take a third view, it could be salvific.

This takes us to act three of this blog post: Who’s Afraid of a Little Space Gnosis?

Space gnosis is a topic I’ll return to frequently on Everything is Dianetics.  If I say something that peaks your interest here, but then move on quickly, take heart; I’m sure to revisit it in greater detail in a later post.

As near as I can tell (through a cursory google search) I’m the only person who has thought to put the words “space” and “gnosis” together.[1]  What I mean by that term is quite simple.  A belief in space gnosis is a belief that somehow journeying into space imbues a person or all humanity with a transformative knowledge.[2]  It’s a fairly common theme in Sci Fi, showing up in different ways in different canons.

Gene Rodenberry Believed in it:

united federation of planets

Arthur C. Clarke and Stanly Kubrick believed in it:

starchild

The Band Magma believes in it:

kobaia

The writers and Directors of A Trip to Mars (Himmelskibit) believed in it:

a-trip-to-mars

Warp speed is invented, catching the attention of the Vulcans, and suddenly there’s no more war and no more capitalism.  Dave is lead through wormhole by aliens and comes out as the “Star child.”  A group of humans leave for KobaÏa and come back as enlightened prophets.  Explorers leave for Mars and embrace nonviolence through a Martian self-realization practice.  All these people gained gnosis in and from space (3/4 from aliens).

Science fiction isn’t alone in this enterprise.  Scientists are on board too.  Carl Sagan looks to the heavens and comes back with profound insights.  Keep in mind this gem, Pale Blue Dot:

The takeaway from that video: The universe is infinitely large, the earth a tiny dot in its eternal expanse.  Why are we fighting each other?  All that inspiration, a new knowledge of how insignificant man is, came from a picture of earth taken in space.  That’s space gnosis.

Of course this isn’t really a new thing.  Yes, “space opera” as a genre is only about 100 years old, and that pale blue dot picture is only 24. However, ascending into the heavens for enlightenment, that’s millennia old.

Before we knew of “outer space” the cosmos was conceived by much of the Middle East and the Mediterranean world as looking something like this:

macrocosmica

Heaven was a literal place that was literally above the earth in different layers.

We have stories of Enoch and Ezekiel ascending through the layers of heaven to see and be transformed by their God.  The Gnostics (with a capital G) had manuals on how to ascend through the heavens to attain special knowledge.  We also have stories in the reverse.  Sophia (the embodiment of wisdom) and a Christ-like character’s descent are described in this literature.  In these stories heavenly beings bring their message to earth.  I’d dare say space gnosis is more similar than dissimilar to the gnosis of antiquity.

As we look into space now, less and less of humanity (or at least less and less of “the West”) is looking towards God’s throne.  Some people naively take this as a sign of secularization. And yet, there’s still awe and wonder to be found above.  Inspiration continues to be derived from the heavens.  This isn’t a secular world view, only differently religious.

peace_on_earth

[1] Also true of “Planet State” from Act II

[2] Gnosis is the Greek word by which we get knowledge, and is usually used to denote a sort of divine knowledge.  You might use this word more than you think. Agnostic= A (without) gnostic (knowing).

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One thought on “This Dwarf Planet Life: Act III; Who’s Afraid of a Little Space Gnosis?

  1. The Universal Century continuity in the Gundam universe plays with this idea by calling it the Newtype phenomenon. Some of the older shows are cheesy but I enjoyed the novels and later series like 08th MS Team, War in the Pocket, and Gundam Unicorn.

    I also poke fun at this concept in the story mentioned in This Dwarf Planet Life Part I.

    Like

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