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The Gnostic: A Person Controlled by His Left Hemisphere, Plus a Cause

Merely being controlled by the left hemisphere doesn't make a person a gnostic. He also needs a cause.

Not all left-hemispherics are the same.

Broadly speaking, there are two types of left-hemispherics. The gnostic and the non-gnostic. All gnostics are left-hemispheric, but not all left-hemispherics are gnostics. That being said, because the left hemisphere is the psyche of gnostics, any person governed by his left hemisphere is "gnosticish."

I separate today's left-hemispherics into two categories: "political gnostics" and "cultural gnostics." The former were the Puritans and are the Marxists among us, the kind to be resisted with berserker fervor. The latter is our rationalist neighbors and friends, unwitting dupes of the Marxists perhaps, but still our friends, just trying to make it in a world that has fed them a long line of left-hemispheric bulls*** all their lives.

"Political gnostics" are the gnostics that Voegelin analyzed. "Cultural gnostic" is a term I created to distinguish gnostics' fellow travelers who think like them but aren't really gnostics, so in that sense, it's misleading even to refer to something like "cultural gnostics," but it's also helpful because it draws a parallel to their counterpoints in other religions (e.g., "cultural Catholics" who aren't really Catholic).

And why aren't cultural gnostics really gnostics?

Because they lack a cause.

To be a gnostic, a person must be governed by his left hemisphere (with the inherent demand for certainty) PLUS he needs a cause.

The cause could be political (Fascism) or it could be religious (like it was with the ancient gnostics) or a blend (Puritans) or something else.

And what triggers a person to embrace a cause?

I don't know.

It appears people who had troubled childhoods do. That, anyway, is suggested by the troubles that wrack Portland, Oregon.

But in general, I suspect that people who feel the tension of living in the metaxy are most inclined to embrace causes. The metaxic tension is unpleasant: it stretches a person between transcendence and immanence. A person naturally wants to eliminate it. One way to eliminate it (the improper way) is to lop off one of the poles and focus (live in) just one half of existence (the immanent or transcendent). Then a person is no longer stretched.

And if the person is also left-hemispheric, he can then direct his energies entirely to that pole and feel like he's gaining (or can gain) a measure of control over it, which leads to salvation.

The Metaxy: A Primer
Christianity says life is hard because of Original Sin. Eric Voegelin would say it’s hard because we live in the metaxy. METAXY: The permanent in-between structure of existence. Sometimes referred to as the between or in-between, meaning that humans live in a structure of reality that is between the poles

Side note: I believe a person can lop off one pole of existence without being a left-hemispheric. I think these people tend to be drunks or an addict of some sort: a person who has given up on ever gaining any measure of success ("control") over his existence. More on that some other time.