Denying Reality: The Gnostic Left

From Fay Voshell at

A Hebrew prophet once asked a rhetorical question: “Can a leopard change his spots or the Ethiopian his skin?” Much later, another prophet asked, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?”

The idea was that there are certain realities that humans cannot change by a mere exercise of will. Even the beasts instinctively accept how they are made.

But the prophets’ common sense observations about the unchanging nature of material realities has in our day been thrown aside in exchange for a fantasy philosophy that is akin to alchemists’ dream that if we only had secret means to do so, we could change lead into gold.

The fantasy philosophy that insists human will combined with spiritual power can defy and change material reality is called Gnosticism. Gnosticism is basically a pessimistic belief, as it tries to repudiate the existence of the whole universe, which is seen as irretrievably corrupt. Devotees of Gnosticism crave being free from the curse of all things material and believe they may be released from the curse of this wretched world by a secret, inner spiritual knowledge accessible only by themselves.

Even Christianity, which celebrates the material world as still good, though fallen, has through syncretistic thinking been afflicted with the idea that the human spirit can by a sheer act of will overcome material reality, including the built in limitations of the human body and its sensual desires.

For instance, Catholic tradition has it that St. Therese Neumann lived eating only a daily Eucharistic wafer for fleshly sustenance. Catherine of Sienna outdid her, supposedly subsisting on only one wafer a week. Eating only the Host was seen as an exercise in achieving a pure spirituality that eliminated or at least utterly transcended the fleshly appetites, including sensuality. Spirit over matter was to prevail. By an act of will, one could overcome the reality of the sinful body.

The ancient Gnostic idea that one can by an act of will repudiate material realities has been resurrected time and again, resurfacing to be part of the current liberal political ethos.

Such is the state of affairs in Gnostic leftist political thought that it is believed quite possible to declare one’s self by fiat to be sex opposite to the one you were born as. If you are a man who feels like a woman, all you have to do is to declare yourself to be a woman.

This denial of a reality that is foundational to all civilizations is being made into law in Europe and in America, with the deleterious consequences still to be completely realized.

As George Weigel notes in his recent National Affairs article entitled “Reality and Public Policy,” in 2007, Spain’s Zapatero government enacted legislation allowing men to change themselves into women and women into men by simply declaring one’s newly recognized sex, with or without surgical alterations. The new man or woman could then be issued new national identity card reflecting the gender of choice. Weigel concludes, “It is hard to imagine a more explicit expression of personal willfulness overpowering natural givenness.”

In other words, reality be damned. The purely good will and spirit within the individual is to prevail over common sense and human tradition since time immemorial. I may look like a woman and actually be a biological woman, but if I decide I’m a man, who are you to question my inner light? Who are you to resist my truth about myself? As millions of American children are taught every day, “You can be anything you choose to be.”

As Weigel notes:

[…]within a very short span of time, less than two generations, two aspects of the human condition that had been understood for millennia to be the very quintessence of givenness — maleness and femaleness — were no longer taken to be given at all. “Male” and “female” were not The Way Things Are. “Male” and “female” were “cultural constructs,” usually manipulated by those in power for purposes of domination (Gnosticism thus adding a soupçon of Marxism to its ideology of plasticity).

Gnostic anthropology — the Gnostic view of the human person and the human condition — is the antithesis of the Biblical view of men and women and their possibilities, which has long been one of the foundation stones of the Western civilizational project.

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