This post highlights the nature of current Gnostic media and literature commonly found online.
Readership: All; Christians;
Author’s Note: This series received some input from Ed Hurst at Radix Fidem.
Reader’s Note: This post is the seventh in a series on Gnosticism.
Length: 1,200 words
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Gnostic Media Presents a Beau Monde Image
Gnostic media and literature is emotionally cold and removed, pretentiously smug, and most certainly elitist, and it prides itself in having this image. But it should be noted that the aristocratic cultured class image presented by proponents is a whitewashed archetypal image designed to veil the true and appeal to the masses, most of whom can never attain anything close to it.
In reality, the average person who consumes Gnostic media and/or reads online Gnostic literature is young, lower to lower-middle class, disenchanted, and an aspiring, trend-worshipping, social climber – a far cry from the suave, upper-class, dignified, erudite, laid back, professional image presented. However, if one has a genuine talent for intuition (pattern perception), one can easily rise in the ranks of Gnostic sages,* especially if one is educated, upper class, and can present a sophisticated image.
A previous post, 10 Defining Traits of Gnosticism (2021-10-28), describes the general content. In addition to the loose dancing logic, perhaps the most ostentatious characteristic of Gnostic literature is that it emphatically embraces sensual pleasures (anything about sex, traveling, spas, fashion, entertainment, etc.) and social popularity (celebrities, scandals, social media impact, status, image, etc.) as being the central sources of joy and meaning in life. Within the Gnostic world view, having these things marks one as being “successful” in life, and a lack of these things indicates that one is of low social (implied as spiritual) worth. Of course, not every individual advertisement, film, and article addresses these topics head on, but if you read between the lines, this is assumed as part of the glorified lifestyle that everyone who is anyone should have. Thus, it poses a strong appeal to young people whose mental stage of development is on this level.
Topics on practical applications are often deployed to make up the most irresistible of all click bait, but seldom is any real wisdom conveyed. Occasionally, you’ll see a piece that explains how to use Gnostic philosophy to control specific contextual outcomes, other people, and/or social situations (e.g. how to catch a man, how to get a raise, how to lose weight, etc.), but this does not appear very frequently because it implies a promise of certain results that are bound to be elusive to the typical reader, and the resulting frustration would cause disillusionment and kickback. In other words, it is far too practical to be of use towards supporting the Gnostic mythos of the whitewashed elitist image, and in fact, leads to a crisis of faith in which people see through the lies of Gnosticism and realize their mortal nature (which is a step towards Christ). So for this reason, most real world applications are either limited in scope, clouded in abstractions, and/or bowdlerized** with trendy but empty talk.
* Christians should know that these goals represent a frustrating enterprise of futility, and should not aspire to rise in their ranks.
** H/T: Sharkly’s riposte at Laughing at Feminism: Is the Bible Bowdlerized? (2021-09-26).
Current Gnostic Literature
Bustle Digital Group (BDG), is an online publisher that is heavily Gnostic in their philosophy. They claim to be “The largest reach and engagement of any Millennial and Gen Z focused publisher”, and perhaps they are!
If the reader cares to scroll down the linked page at BDG, you’ll find thumbnail images of the leadership team. You’ll notice that they all look fashionably and “sensibly” dressed, and as cool as a cucumber. You won’t find any Gnostic sages with hope in their eyes, true passion, or deep desire (which would be naïve, embarrassing, and ridiculous by their estimations). Underneath the sophistry and class, they’re thoroughly jaded and cynical, and fake smiles abound. This “worldly wise” and “cultured” affect is presented as an aura to be aspired to.
Also note that there are only 8 men on a leadership panel of 31 people! Whatever happened to “Equal Opportunity Employment”?)
The About page reveals an emphasis on “fitting in” to what is presented as an “elite” group of sophisticated social sages, and on “changing the world”.*
“We work with creators to uncover issues and stories that matter through the lens of authenticity, inclusivity, and conversation. An audience-first, personalized approach allows us to speak to the many or the few, united by a boundless curiosity about the changing world and our place in it.”
Despite the claims of “authenticity”, “inclusivity”, and personalized “conversation”, which we know are code words for progressivism, there is a strong undertone of “think like us, be like us, fit into what we deem as the ideal mold for humanity, or else get lost in your own irrelevancy”. This is the defacto Gnostic vision of “changing the world”. There is no room for one to have an individual calling.
As a prime example, Elite Daily is a website under BDG that caters to Feminism, but accentuates the feminist boilerplate with a touch of sophistication and class by adding the low spark of high-heeled Gnostic philosophies.
50 Publishers of Gnostic Prognostications
- Bleacher Report
- Condé Nast
- Condé Nast Traveler
- Elite Daily
- Entertainment Weekly
- Girl’s Life Magazine
- Harper’s Bazaar
- Huffington Post
- Marie Claire
- New Beauty
- New York Magazine
- Paperless Post
- Scary Mommy
- Teen Vogue
- The Dad
- The Knot
- The New Yorker
- The Onion, owned by Fusion Media Group, stakes its claim to notoriety by showcasing the oddities of Gnostic prognostications.
- The Outline
- The Verge
- The Zoe Report
- Time Inc., especially The Foundry
- Vanity Fair
- Vogue (Tailored internationally) and Vogue Magazine
- Vox Media
- W Magazine
- Women’s Health
Of course, this list is far from exhaustive, and only offers the most obvious and egregious media culture prognosticators. I would guess about 70% of all internet content is Gnostic in some shape or form.
One might ask, why are there such a large number of Gnostic online sources? The reason is that they are all intended to target different segments of demographics — people of different backgrounds, races, and socio-economic classes – but not so much towards people of different ages. Note that many of these websites flatly state that their target audience is young people!
Gotta corrupt those young minds with indulgent fantasies while they’re curious, fresh, innocent, and ripe for the spoiling!
- The Orthosphere: Atheism, Agnosticism, and Cultural Low Self-Esteem (2014-05-08)
- Σ Frame: A Brief History of Gnosticism (2021-10-26)
- Σ Frame: The Religion of Gnosticism (2021-10-27)
- Σ Frame: 10 Defining Traits of Gnosticism (2021-10-28)