The new gnostics

I went out in the wind and rain early this afternoon, and I did get pretty cold and wet, but it was fun too. (It looks stormier now.) When I got home and got reasonably dry I stood for a while looking out the window at the wind n rain and I guess thinking about weather and climate and the planet and doom, and thought (not for the first time) that it’s bizarre yet not bizarre that now that we know we’ve broken the planet and are pushing it steadily over a cliff is when a surprising number of us start thinking humans can magically change sex. You’d think we’d be intensely focused on the real, the physical, the material, the truth about actions and consequences and outcomes. You’d think we would, but instead lots and lots of us are lost in a dream of magic identity that transcends mere bodies and carries us off into a heaven of…I don’t know, Eddie Izzards and India Willoughbys I guess.

In other words we’re all mind-body split again, including [many of] those of who used to recognize mind-body dualism when we saw it, and reject it with contumely.

So I was happy to see ‘Gender Identity’ Is A New Gnostic Gospel by Matt Osborne.

“Trans women are women, trans men are men” is a gnostic statement. It presupposes a division of the body from the thinking being — the definitive sophistry of esotericism. Like all religious movements in history, “gender identity” is an alchemical pastiche of ideas and borrowed rituals.

Take the mind-body split of Cartesian dualism, add queer theory, and announce your pronouns.

The result, these new gnostics tell us, is literal transmutation of the flesh through magical utterance. “I feel like a woman, therefore I am one.” “Some penises are female, some lesbians have penises.” “I am my true self now.” The phrase “gender euphoria” replaces dysphoria, for they are experiencing hormonal rapture, a transcendence of mere flesh-matter by the divine gender-soul.

And that’s one of the reasons it’s so massively irritating to those of us who don’t believe in magical transcendence of that kind.

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