From Pages 197-198: “Have you ever heard of gnosticism?” Gordon asks Jimmy.
“Isn’t that the religion for those guys who smoke all the pot down in Jamaica?”
“No. That’s something else. Gnosticism is… well, it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s a religion that believes we can get to heaven by acquiring knowledge, through intuition and experience. The gnostics think this world was created by a bad god—a demiurge—who wandered too far from the True God and somehow got perverted. The demiurge acts like Jehovah in the Old Testament and believes he’s the only God, but he’s not. He’s still carrying around half the True God’s essence, but he’s forgotten about that part of himself. The demiurge made this world with his other, less divine half. That’s why things are so screwed up, why the world is full of pain and suffering. The demiurge rules this world through beings called archons, which are kind of like evil genies that enslave mankind, either by giving people what they want or by fucking them over in the worst ways possible. Archons can be good or bad, like the Overlords in Childhood’s End, but mostly they’re bad, because they’ve forgotten they’re part of the True God, too. The True God is also part of us. In us it’s called the Divine Spark. Like Jesus said, ‘The Kingdom of God is within.’ It’s our job, through gnosis, to liberate our Divine Spark from the trap of the material world and rejoin our Angelic Twin in heaven. But before we can do that, we have to go through a series of freaky dreams and mystical experiences that modify our astral and physical bodies.”
There’s more, of course—the role of Sophia (Wisdom) in creating the world and the demiurge; the recent English translation of the Nag Hammadi Library (which contains gnostic papyrus books dating back to the third- and fourth-centuries); Mary Magdalene as Jesus’s earthly consort, or maybe even his wife—but Gordon is feeling far too sick to get into it at the moment and Jimmy, frankly, doesn’t seem all that interested.
A hint of malice glints in Jimmy’s eye as he says, “That’s the biggest load of bullshit I ever heard.”
“Glad you liked it.”
“The only thing I liked was that part about the archons. If they’re really like genies, could you say some magic words and get them to do stuff for you?”
“Only if you promised to help them mess up the world even more….”