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Is revolutionary “Modern Gnosticism” actually a re-emergence of a pre-Christian, Promethean Gnosis?

The conservative German-American political theorist Eric Voegelin claimed that the whole of modern revolutionary political thought, from Condorcet and Comte to Hegel, Marx, and even Nietzsche, is “modern Gnosticism.” Voegelin went so far as to suggest that Nietzsche’s pronouncement of the death – or rather, the murder – of God culminates the aims of Gnosticism. What Voegelin points to as “Gnostic” in Nietzsche is more accurately describable as Promethean, rather than as any putatively “Christian” Gnosis. Voegelin himself comes close to admitting this on a number of occasions. His study of modern revolutionary thinkers as “Gnostics” is, perhaps unbeknown to himself, an excavation and revelation of a pre- and post-Christian form of Gnosis.

Voegelin claimed that six defining characteristics of Gnosticism are to be found in all modern Utopian movements from Progressivism and Positivism to Communism. As we shall see, these six characteristics are, however, more Promethean than they are “Gnostic.” They are what survived of archaic Prometheism in Gnosticism. By repeatedly referencing the figure of Prometheus and his importance to modern “Gnostics,” such as Marx, Voegelin undermines his own interpretation of Gnosticism as nothing more than a deviant form of Christianity. To the extent that Voegelin is correct that the “Gnosticism” of the Hellenistic epoch left a legacy in modernity, that legacy is actually Promethean in character.

Voegelin argues that a “line of gradual transformation connects medieval with contemporary gnosticism” and he goes so far as to characterize “the essence of modernity as the growth of gnosticism.”1 The various Utopian ideologies of the modern age – such as Progressivism, Positivism, Marxism, and Fascism – are all, in his view, Gnostic movements. Voegelin thinks that all “gnostic movements” can be recognized in terms of six defining characteristics that they share, despite their other divergences from one another, and which connect Modern Gnosticism to the Classical and Medieval Gnostics.2

The first of these is the radical dissatisfaction of the Gnostic with the situation that he finds himself in. No one who is basically satisfied with his life, or who sees the world around him as essentially good, or who thinks that things are for the most part going well, can be considered a “Gnostic” of any kind. Nor can the perhaps somewhat less superficial person, who surveys a seemingly dissatisfying situation and reacts to it by believing that there must be some good reason for why things are the way that they are, and that on some higher or deeper level, perhaps surveyable only to an omniscient God, things are exactly as they should be. Both the belief that “God works in mysterious ways” and is “all good” despite what only appears to be wrong with the world, and the belief that one’s own seemingly bad situation or the miseries suffered by others are the result of some infallibly just law of Karma, are forms of this justification of the conditions of one’s situation that a Gnostic would never engage in. The Gnostic knows that things are bad.

The second characteristic of Gnostic movements is the Gnostic’s proclivity, in view of this lamentable situation, to find fault with the world rather than to blame any personal shortcoming or find any intrinsic fault in humanity as such. Rather than human inadequacy on account of original sin or the limitation of human nature being the problem, the Gnostic sees the “wickedness of the world” or the fact that “the world is intrinsically poorly organized” as the reason for the unacceptable situation.3 Voegelin contrasts this with the acceptance of the given order of the world as a divinely created Cosmos or a sanctified Nature, and he draws an equivalence between the Greek philosophical conception of unchangeable natural order and the Abrahamic religious belief in the goodness of a divine creation that cannot be improved upon by man.4 These two views, namely that of Aristotle or Plotinus and of the Bible or the Quran, would of course be synthesized by the Medieval scholastics, and Voegelin essentially subscribes to the worldview of these conservative Churchmen – the equivalent of which one also finds in the Islamic world, as Voegelin himself acknowledges rather affirmatively.5

The third characteristic that all these movements share is the belief that some salvific remedy to this situation is in fact possible, or, to put it more crudely, that there is a way to banish “the evil of the world.” In other words, existential pessimism of the kind that one finds in an Arthur Schopenhauer or a Franz Kafka is not Gnostic. Neither is any type of Fatalism, whether of the classical kind that one finds in Lucretius or of the modern type that the Marquis de Sade exemplifies. Finally, an acceptance of the putative absurdity of life (even if it is not, strictly speaking, fatalistic) is also not Gnostic. A belief that the search for intrinsic meaning is futile and an acceptance of the intrinsic meaninglessness of human existence is not Gnostic, and so when writers like Albert Camus indulge in such Absurdist lines of thought they are outside the scope of what Voegelin would characterize as modern Gnosticism.

From this follows the fourth defining quality of these movements, which is that “the order of being” such as it is “will have to be changed in a historical process” in the course of which a presently wretched world “must evolve historically” into, or be replaced by, “a good one.”6 Voegelin thinks that this idea is originally Christian and that it represents an attempt at “constructing an eidos of history” that “will lead into the fallacious immanentization of the Christian eschaton.”7 What Voegelin means by the “immanentization of the eschaton” is the transposition of the post-apocalyptic Heaven onto Earth at a putative “end of history” that is still “secular” in the sense of unfolding on this planet – immanently, rather than transcendentally.

Voegelin claims that this idea passed from the Gnostics of the Medieval epoch to the putatively “Gnostic” movements of modernity via the nominally Catholic abbot and Italian theologian Joachim of Flora (1135–1202). Widely considered to have been the most apocalyptic thinker of the Medieval period, Joachim postulated a trinitarian conception of World History according to which there are “three great ages – those of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”8 The first of these ages is that of the Old Testament, which ends with the birth of Christ, and the second is the present epoch from the birth of Christ to his own era.9 What is most interesting is that Joachim posited that there would be another era following this one, wherein just as Love and Mercy had supplanted Law and Judgment to an extent in the transition from the first to the second ages, in the third age an apocalyptic leader known as the dux e Babylone or “Duke of Babylon” would usher in a Utopia of true spiritual freedom, social harmony, and egalitarian communistic collective welfare as preached by Christ in his gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.10 Voegelin claims that every modern Gnostic movement features some form of this basic three-stage scheme of historical progress on the way to some salvific Utopia, with an ideal future projected as the resolution of a process that is discernable in terms of distinct past and present stages.

Fifth, this teleological historical process is not just something that will occur naturally or inevitably; it is a teleology that demands human action and effort in order to reach its Utopian goal or achieve its end in the formation of a universal Utopia.11 This claim, however, often takes the form of positing some future superhuman being or superman as the agency or outcome of this effort, rather than considering it something achievable within the limits of merely human being.12 Voegelin goes so far as to suggest that what is really expressed here is a Gnostic will to the annihilation of humanity as such, which follows the murderous “Promethean” rebellion against that “God” who is perceived to be an inept, unjust, and tyrannical Creator – whether He is called “Yahweh” or “Zeus.”13 Voegelin elaborates upon this idea in the following terms:

All gnostic movements are involved in the project of abolishing the constitution of being, with its origin in divine, transcendent being, and replacing it with a world-immanent order of being, the perfection of which lies in the realm of human action. This is a matter of so altering the structure of the world, which is perceived as inadequate, that a new, satisfying world arises.14

Voegelin thinks that whatever form this takes, no matter how putatively “scientific” it purports to be, and how much it professes to eschew mysticism, this Faustian alchemical work to remake the world and the nature of man is at bottom a “will to power” that remains “demonic” magic.15

Sixth, and finally, the Gnostic knows that there is a formula for this “structural change in the given order of being” and he must accept the responsibility not only to discover this system for the salvation of the individual and of the world, but also to be willing to come forward as a prophetic savior to offer this hitherto hidden or undiscovered knowledge to humanity.16 Here “prophet” is meant also in the quasi-apocalyptic sense in which science-fiction writers would eventually be described as “prophets.” Cautionary and promissory visions of the future are part and parcel of any Gnostic systems of salvation, with the system being seen as the machination by means of which the present state of affairs will, despite the stubborn resistance of “reality,” be eventually replaced with a prophesied ideal order. As Voegelin puts it, rather scornfully:

In the clash between system and reality, reality must give way. The intellectual swindle is justified by referring to the demands of the historical future, which the gnostic thinker has speculatively projected in his system.

The position of the gnostic thinker derives its authority from the power of being. He is the herald of being, which he interprets as approaching us from the future.17

On the face of it, Voegelin claims that a misinterpretation of Christianity is responsible for the “Gnostic” Utopianism of the modern age. He argues that all classical philosophical and theological frameworks were cyclical, including Plato. There were ideas or forms, but these were only relatively more or less instantiated in the material world depending on cycles of generation and degeneration, orderly development and chaotic decline.18 Never was any eidos (idea, form) of History posited, nor does he think that positing such makes any sense – since history is an open-ended phenomenon that does not have the bounded completeness that would afford man the possibility of analyzing the phenomenon in order to ascertain its essence, including by comparing different instantiations of this eidos – as is possible in the case of plants, animals, humans, houses, and so forth.19

According to Voegelin, the fallacy of a teleological conception of History aimed at actualization of an eidos on a historical level stems from the Christian disruption of the cyclical view of history common to all pre-Christian cultures. But he contends that the Christian idea of salvation was meant to be entirely transcendental and supra-natural, to be a salvation beyond time and outside of this world altogether.20 Gnostic heretics, of the kind that Irenaeus rails against in his tractate Against Heresies (circa 180 CE), misinterpreted this salvation as an apocalyptic event in World History, albeit at the End of History.21 Yet this claim of Voegelin does not hold water in light of many Gospel passages, which prophesy a coming earthly apocalypse within history, and if one adds to them the visions of catastrophic earthly change in the Apocalypse of St. John, which is after all a canonical New Testament text, Voegelin’s argument is unconvincing.

However, Voegelin acknowledges that there were various non-Christian types of Gnosticism, including a putatively Islamic Gnosis, and he recognizes that Gnosticism extends back into “pagan” antiquity as well as to pre-Christian or proto-Christian Judaism. When Voegelin mentions “a pagan… gnosis” he is thinking of “the symbol of Prometheus” that demonstrates “the vast history of the revolt against God… illuminated as far back as the Hellenic creation of the symbol.”22 Indeed, the symbol of Prometheus reemerges repeatedly throughout Voegelin’s treatment of Gnosticism in both The New Science of Politics and Science, Politics, and Gnosticism. Voegelin sees Prometheus as the daemonic specter responsible for modern revolutionary violence.

The violent chaos unleashed by the French Revolution in the name of Progress, which was followed by appalling reactionary regression, is the backdrop for the Positivist Utopian project of Auguste Comte. Indeed, Comte’s immediate predecessor and, as he says himself, “spiritual father” was the leading thinker of the era of the French Revolution, namely Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, better known as the Marquis de Condorcet (1743–1794). Condorcet was the most Utopian thinker of the French Revolution, before becoming a guillotined victim of this orgiastic revolt against Tradition. Eric Voegelin identifies both Condorcet and Comte as “modern Gnostics” on account of their “world-historical speculation” fueling “revolutionary activism.”23 In the case of Condorcet this “activism” consisted of his direct involvement in the French Revolution, and in the case of Comte it was the fundamental role that Positivism played, via his disciples, in the revolutionary formation of the Brazilian Republic.24 He includes the “progressivism” of Condorcet and the “positivism” of Comte together with other supposedly “Gnostic movements” of modernity, such as Communism and Fascism (which he associates, respectively, with Marx and Nietzsche).25

In Voegelin’s view, both Condorcet and Comte had their own visions of the “superman” that precede those of Marx and Nietzsche.26 “In the Age of Reason,” writes Voegelin, “Condorcet conceived the idea of a unified civilization of mankind in which everybody would be a French intellectual.”27 The ultimate achievement of this “Gnostic civilization” would, in Condorcet’s projection of the future, be “an eternal earthly life” secured to man, not by faith in God, but by means of technological progress – including in the field of medicine.28 Voegelin thinks that this modern “Gnostic” translation of (supposedly) Christian ideas such as attainment of immortality at the end of history is “a danger that grows apace with progress” and the “nature of this danger became” even more “apparent in the form which the idea of immanent salvation assumed in the gnosticism of Comte.”29 Voegelin sees Comte’s criteria for memorialization by means of incorporation into the “Great Being” of Humanity, or alternatively total “social oblivion,” as a Gnostic scheme of salvation that replaces the traditional Christian idea of redemption in Heaven or punishment in Hell. Comte sets himself up as “a Gnostic paraclete” (in the fashion of Mani), responsible for carrying out “the world-immanent Last Judgment of mankind, deciding on the immortality or annihilation of every being.”30

“[M]y task,” explains Comte, “is to construct, once and for all, the standpoint from which true wisdom may embrace the whole range of human thought and action…”31 The next putatively “Gnostic” thinker to aim at such a comprehensive and definitive summation of all Philosophy and Science would be G. W. F. Hegel with his conception of “Absolute Knowledge” as the attainment of human consciousness at “the end of history.” By the time Hegel set out to write his Phenomenology of Spirit, the French Revolution had shattered the Enlightenment’s belief in a rational design embedded in Nature which is immediately accessible to man through the mirror of his own rationality. Thus, for the salvation of reason, Hegel claimed that the understanding and science of his own era was only a semblance of true knowing and still subject to much error. Only the observation of the stages of “apparent (i.e., erroneous) knowledge” and their self-correction and transformation from one stage to another over the course of history will ultimately lead to a state of self-consciousness. The perfection of reason by self-awareness of its errors fulfills the Enlightenment and is “the end of history.”

Eric Voegelin says of Hegel’s Phenomenology that in “its language… [it] is philosophical; in its substance and intention it is radically anti-philosophical.” He goes so far as to claim: “It must be recognized as a work of magic – indeed, it is one of the great magic performances.”32 With reference to this key passage from the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Voegelin brands Hegel as a “Gnostic” on account of his ambition to turn Philosophy (philosophia) into “Science” (gnosis):

The true form in which truth exists can only be the scientific system of it. To contribute to bringing philosophy closer to the form of science – the goal of being able to cast off the name love of knowledge (Liebe zum Wissen) and become actual knowledge (wirkliches Wissen) – is the task I have set for myself.33

What Hegel does in the Phenomenology, preparing the way for Marx and Nietzsche, is “a ghastly ritual” that seeks to take “the solid ground of reality” out from under “the magic circle” and to replace “the murdered God” with “the golem” of a Promethean superman.34

Voegelin thinks that this represents a perversion of the meaning of “philosophy” as it was defined in Plato’s Phaedrus, wherein Socrates, supposedly following Heraclitus, claims that only God really knows and is consequently “wise” (Sophos) and that the thinker who would avoid hubris ought to admit that he will only ever be a “lover of knowledge” or “lover of wisdom” (philosophos).35 The philosophos, thusly conceived, is therefore synonymous to the theophilos or “the lover of God.”36 From this perspective, which is taken by Voegelin, the move that Hegel is making, which Marx follows and radicalizes, not only represents a revolt against God but is a huge step toward “the murder of God” that is the ultimate “Gnostic” ambition realized by Nietzsche.37 “Like the Promethean hatred of the gods,” writes Voegelin, “the murder of God is a general possibility in human response to God.”38

Voegelin sees the system of Hegel and Marx as a means whereby the “murder of God” is “made retroactive speculatively.”39 In other words: “It does not suffice… to replace the old world of God with a new world of man: the world of God itself must have been a world of man, and God a work of man which can therefore be destroyed if it prevents man from reigning over the order of being.”40 He adds:

This is the reason man’s “being-of-himself” (Durchsichselbstsein) is the principal point in Marx’s gnosis. And he gets his speculative support from the explanation of nature and history as a process in which man creates himself to his full stature. The murder of God, then, is of the very essence of the gnostic re-creation of the order of being.41

Here God also means Nature conceived in the Aristotelian sense of a given and sanctified, natural order of things – or the “nature of the order of being as it is given, together with man’s place in it…”42 Voegelin thinks that Hegel is out to obliterate this objectivity of the world in another example of “the gnostic destruction of reality.”43 Hegel construes “the true” – namely Nature – as fundamentally subject, rather than an objectively existent substance with an order that is independent of our consciousness:

According to my view, which will have to be justified only through the presentation of the system itself, everything depends on comprehending and expressing the true as subject no less than as substance.44

Supposedly, in passages such as this, Hegel is attempting to construct a system that (despite its own pretensions to being “knowledge” of what is) aims to supplant Nature with what ought to be, and to dispose of any God that is not a projection of consciousness in the modality of the human spirit’s alienation from itself.45 As Voegelin puts it, this “intellectual swindle is justified by referring to the demands of the historical future, which the gnostic thinker has speculatively projected in his system.”46

In other words, a “gnostic thinker” like Hegel or Marx after him derives the “authority” of his system “from the power of being” on account of his being “the herald of being, which he interprets as approaching us from the future.”47 The name of Prometheus means “forethought” in Greek. Zeus considers Prometheus a threat to Olympus predominately on account of a power to see the future that even the Father of the gods lacks. The end of history, for both Hegel and for Marx after him, is the attainment of true freedom in full self-awareness.

Eric Voegelin sees Hegelian ideas about consciousness and its relationship with Nature in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 as evidence for the fact that “Marx is a speculative gnostic.”48 Karl Marx’s thought fits the Gnostic model of the three phases, namely that of “a first phase of primitive communism, a second phase of bourgeois class society, and a third of classless society when the final communist realm of freedom is realized.”49 According to Voegelin, one of the most prominent of these forms of modern Gnosticism is the idea that Marx develops from out of Hegel, namely that of the rise of consciousness of one’s self – or self-awareness – from out of a double alienation of humanity from nature in the form of property and of humanity from its own spirit in the form of belief in God.50 The existential freedom of a fully human existence can only be attained once these two forms of alienation are overcome at the end of a dialectical-material process that drives the various social and political transformations of human history.

As Voegelin sees it, from his conservative Christian perspective, the conception of the technological self-creation of Man (conceived as perfectly “natural”) is a rebellion against God, and one that is ultimately symbolized by the figure of Prometheus in the thought of the young Marx. Consider the following passage from Marx’s “National Economy and Philosophy,” followed by a key passage on Prometheus in Marx’s doctoral dissertation on The Difference Between the Natural Philosophy of Democritus and the Natural Philosophy of Epicurus:

A being regards itself as independent only when it stands on its own feet; and it stands on its feet only when it owes its existence to itself alone. A man who lives by the grace of another considers himself a dependent being. But I live by the grace of another completely if I owe him not only the maintenance of my life but also its creation: if he is the source of my life; and my life necessarily has such a cause outside itself if it is not my own creation.51

Philosophy makes no secret of it. The confession of Prometheus, “In a word, I hate all the gods,” is its own confession, its own verdict against all gods heavenly and earthly who do not acknowledge human self-consciousness as the supreme deity. There shall be none beside it.52

When considered together, these passages offer a glimpse at the metaphysical pith of Marx’s Utopianism. Marx acknowledges Prometheus as the creator of mankind because, as the titan of technology in the broad sense, not just of industry but of machination, the arts and crafts, Prometheus is really a symbol of humanity’s power of self-creation and self-determination. He enjoins his children, made in his own image, to revolt against gods who are undeserving of human reverence and subservience. According to Voegelin, the myth of Prometheus was originally intended to be a warning against pathological hubris, a myth wherein Zeus ultimately triumphs and Prometheus is depicted as suffering from “madness” for thinking that he was ever in the right against the divine order of the gods.53

In Voegelin’s view, the “revolutionary reversal” of the Greek myth of Prometheus that takes place in modernity, from Shelley to Marx, epitomizes a kind of post-Christian and Modern Gnosticism wherein the Promethean thinker is guilty of “the demonic persistence in the revolt against better judgment.”54 By the Hellenistic period, Prometheus had been seen as a figure who called for the sage’s rejection of unearned wealth and other “gifts from Olympian Zeus.”55 Moreover, Hellenistic writers such as Zosimos explicitly associated Prometheus with the teachings of “Zoroaster.”56 Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, will feature prominently in the Nietzschean gospel of the Superman, which Voegelin sees as the inevitable “end” or aim of Gnosticism. Voegelin draws a distinction between the incomplete Utopian thought of mere idealists, on the one hand, and the “activist mysticism” of both Auguste Comte and Karl Marx, on the other, wherein one finds “clarity about the way to perfection.”57

This “activist mysticism” reaches its zenith in the Super-humanism of Nietzsche. Voegelin characterizes Friedrich Nietzsche as “Gnostic” and describes the Nietzschean “Death of God” or really, the murder of God, as the hidden aim and ultimate culmination of the contemplative trajectory initiated by the ancient Gnostics. Note the following passage from Voegelin’s conservative Christian critique of Nietzsche’s parable of “The Madman” in The Gay Science:

…The madman does not go backward, but forward: if the deed is too great for man, then man must rise up above himself to the greatness of the deed: “Must we not ourselves become gods just to seem worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us will, because of this act, belong to a higher history than all previous history!” Who murders God will himself become God…

…[However,] man cannot become God. If he tries, in the process of self-idolization he will become a demon willfully shutting himself off from God. But Nietzsche wishes to continue on just this path… The new Diogenes does seek God, but not the God who is dead: he seeks the new god in the men who have murdered the old one – he seeks the superman. The madman is therefore looking for man, but not the man of the philosopher: he is looking for the being that springs from the magic of the murder of God.

…It is not enough to examine the symbol of the superman on the basis of the texts and determine the meaning Nietzsche intended; for the symbol occurs in a context of magic. What really takes place in the order of being when this magic is practiced must also be determined. The nature of a thing cannot be changed; whoever tries to “alter” its nature destroys the thing. Man cannot transform himself into a superman; the attempt to create a superman is an attempt to murder man. Historically, the murder of God is not followed by the superman, but by the murder of man: the deicide of the gnostic theoreticians is followed by the homicide of the revolutionary practitioners.58

The word “magic” comes, via the Greek magus, from the name of the Iranian “Magi” or “Magians” who became the high priests of Media and Persia. In the Gathas, Zarathustra himself says that he is composing his hymns in order to please or win favor with the Order of the Magi. The ancient Greeks also considered Zarathustra to have been the founder of Alchemy. What Voegelin is accusing Nietzsche of here is not really “Gnosticism” in its quasi-Christian metaphysically dualistic and potentially life-negating, world-weary form. It is, rather, pre-Christian Alchemy and Magic, which came from the Iran of Zarathustra to Greece and Hellenistic Egypt, including the city of Alexandria that later became such a bastion of classical Gnosticism. It is the alchemical fire of techne, the gift of Prometheus, who was chained to the Caucasus for it.

We can see that Voegelin’s principal problem with Nietzsche is that Voegelin believes that the order of the world is given, an order that also includes a fixed human nature. Nietzsche is committing a “demonic” sin of pride by believing that this order can be brought under the control of man, and that man can go to work on himself to change his own ‘nature’ into something more than merely human, so much more that in effect – with no need for any gods beyond himself – the Superman that emerges through this act of self-creation is a “god” in his own right. Voegelin writes, “The world, however, remains as it is given to us, and it is not within man’s power to change its structure.”59 As far as Voegelin is concerned, it is not even within our power to believe or not believe in something. Having faith, or lacking it, is for Voegelin a question of whether God has given or withheld His “grace.” Most Christian Gnostics sought to escape the world, which they believed to be governed by demonic archons, not to murder the gods and change this world itself in the process of remaking human beings into divine beings. The latter vision or aspiration is Promethean, not Christian. It is the pith of a pre- and post-Christian gnosis, a Promethean Gnosis.

In his Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1843), Marx comes very close to anticipating Nietzsche’s conception of the advent of the “superman” (Übermensch) as a corollary to “the murder of God.” There he writes:

The foundation of irreligious critique is this: Man makes religion; religion does not make man. Indeed, religion is man’s self-consciousness and self-awareness insofar as he has either not yet found himself or has lost himself again.

…Man, who sought a superman in the imaginary reality of heaven and found only a reflection of himself, will no longer be inclined to find just a semblance of himself, just a non-man, where he seeks and must seek his true reality.60

Marx’s famous and oft-quoted passage on religion as the opiate of the masses is almost never cited in context, where it has a much deeper meaning that has bearing on the core of Marx’s vision of Utopia as being Promethean in spirit:

The summons to abandon illusions about his condition is a summons to abandon a condition that requires illusions. The critique of religion is therefore in embryo the critique of the vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

The struggle against religion is therefore indirectly a struggle against that world of which religion is the spiritual aroma.

Religion is the groan of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, the spirit of a spiritless condition. It is the opium of the people.61

To put it another way, Marx thinks that the conditions of possibility of religion have to be eliminated by the cosmopolitan Communist Revolution. In a Marxist Utopia, the disease of which religion is a symptom-relieving drug will have been cured and inoculated-against in perpetuity. But this seemingly irreligious revolution of the future conceals beneath its secular veneer an archaic specter of rebellion in the name of human divinization: Prometheus.


1Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics (University of Chicago Press, 1987), 126.

2Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (ISI Books, 2004), 64–65.

3Ibid., 64.

4Ibid., 8, 39–40.

5Ibid., 86.

6Ibid., 64–65.

7Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics, 121.

8Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, 69.

9Ibid., 70.

10Ibid., 69–71.

11Ibid., 65.

12Ibid., 40–41, 47–48.

13Ibid., 9, 47–48, 50.

14Ibid., 75.

15Ibid., 42–48.

16Ibid., 65.

17Ibid., 34.

18Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics, 119.

19Ibid., 119–120.

20Ibid., 120.

21Ibid., 126.

22Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, 27.

23Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics (University of Chicago Press, 1987), 113, 124.

24Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (ISI Books, 2004), 62.

25Ibid., 61.

26Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics, 112.

27Ibid., 127.

28Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, 72.

29Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics, 130.

30Ibid., 131.

31Auguste Comte, “Theory of the Future of Man: General Introduction” in Gertrude Lenzer [Editor], Auguste Comte and Positivism (Routledge, 2017), 442.

32Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics, 51.

33Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, 30.

34Ibid., 54.

35Ibid., 31.


37Ibid., 32.

38Ibid., 41.




42Ibid., 51.

43Ibid., 51, 54.

44Ibid., 33.

45Ibid., 32–33.

46Ibid., 34.


48Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (ISI Books, 2004), 17.

49Ibid., 71.

50Ibid., 9.

51Ibid., 26.

52Ibid., 27.

53Ibid., 27–28.

54Ibid., 28.

55Ibid., 28–29.

56Ibid., 28.

57Ibid., 68.

58Eric Voegelin, Science, Politics, and Gnosticism (ISI Books, 2004), 46–48.

59Ibid., 75.

60Ibid., 48.

61Ibid., 49.

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Dr. Jason Reza Jorjani

Jason Reza Jorjani, PhD, received his BA and MA at New York University, and completed his doctorate in Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Dr. Jorjani has taught courses on Science, Technology, and Society (STS), the philosophy of Martin Heidegger, and the history of Iran as a full-time faculty member at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Earlier he taught Comparative Religion, Ethics, Political Theory, and the History of Philosophy at the State University of New York. He is a professional member of the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE). He is the author of Novel Folklore, Lovers of Sophia, World State of Emergency, Iranian Leviathan, and Prometheus and Atlas, which won the 2016 Book Award from the Parapsychological Association, and Iranian Leviathan. His website is

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