Monday, August 13, 2012
Gnostic demiurge and the 1%
The parallel between the Gnostic demiurge (essentially a selfish, egotistic, senex god) and the late capitalist cultural complex (where a similar “god” reigns) is on my mind. Following Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism), individualism is inherent to the capitalist vision. The elect, chosen, saved, comprise a subset of individuals (a relatively small number, and growing smaller as wealth concentrates). But unlike Weber, late capitalism seems to have given up on the possibility of transcendence even among the elect, and in revenge against an absent god has chosen to take his place, to wall in Eden and indulge in pleasure in order to distract itself from the horror outside the gates. This image is almost identical to the Gnostic demiurge hidden in cloud by his mother Sophia after she recognized the barrenness of her parthenogenic offspring. There sits the false god, unable to see beyond his estate though all powerful within it.