(1788 - 1860)
Someone recently suggested that I am more cynical about society than any other writer in recent history. Even Schopenhauer only observes that people are sadistic in certain ways, and in certain situations. But it appears that some two thousand years ago, somebody may have been comparably cynical about society, and open to the possibility that it is antagonistic to the individual.
In the gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Jesus is credited with the idea that the valuations of society block the individual’s access to psychological advantages. This gives rise to the metaphor of the ‘strong man’, who wishes to deprive the individual of potential advantages. It is only by binding the strong man’s hands (so that he is unable to reward the individual by reinforcing his significance) that the individual is able to enter his house, and gain access to the treasures it contains.
Jesus said: ‘It is not possible for one to enter the house of the strong man and take it by force unless he bind his hands; then will he ransack his house.’ (saying 35)There are other sayings in The Gospel of Thomas which convey the idea of devaluing society, describing it, for example, as a ‘corpse’.
Jesus said: ‘Whoever has known the world has found a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse, of him the world is not worthy.’ (saying 56)Another of my unacceptable ideas also appears to be paralleled in The Gospel of Thomas. Most reactions to feminism argue either that women are inferior, or that they are equal to, but different from, men. When I was at school I could not identify at all with the attitudes of the girls around me, who were interested in marriage and boyfriends, and who were at pains to make themselves more ‘feminine’. I wrote the aphorism, ‘The female sex is a fictional concept’.
It appears that two thousand years ago, somebody had the idea that women had the same potentialities as men, but could only realise them by adopting male psychology.
Simon Peter said to them: ‘Let Mary go out from among us, because women are not worthy of the Life.’I appeal for financial and moral support in improving my position. I need people to provide support both for fund-raising, and as temporary or possibly long-term workers. Those interested should read my post on interns.
Jesus said: ‘See, I shall lead her, so that I will make her male, that she too may become a living spirit, resembling you males. For every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.’ (saying 114)