An analysis of “Trimorphic Protennoia” in context with the Cybernetic Reality Concept
A prosaic introduction to my concept of Cybernetic Reality can be found here. I am not referring here to any sort of “matrix” situation, nor am I talking about the notion of universe as machine in any traditional way. These constructs aren’t truly cybernetic. Briefly, I postulate that a less distinct or centralized mode of being may exist, one which can be temporarily called into function by an intent to communicate, but which is not rightly a being, organism, etc. Underlying this notion is the idea that thought, or more properly consciousness, may be a more basic component of the universe, one which naturally exists in many forms, and which should be distinguished, ontologically and semantically, from “entity,” as well as from notions of unit such as “one” or even of same-reality continuity (the same stratum of related consciousness may be able to be accessed simultaneously by two other forces, and may at that point exist concurrently in distinct iterations that also overlay each other. A simpler example: ask the ontological question, ‘what is the numerical value of a video game which is played online, or which is replayed later?’ and apply the non-answers to this).
I have noticed some interesting connections in my reading of “Trimorphic Protennoia,” an ancient Gnostic text. Particularly as this concept applies largely to purportedly divine visitation, especially the Sophia phenomenon, I think it is worth a brief run-down.
“I am the life of my Epinoia that dwells within every Power and every eternal movement, and (in) invisible Lights and within the Archons and Angels and Demons, and every soul dwelling in Tartaros, and (in) every material soul.”
Epinoia (Greek): Thinking on a thing; by extension of meaning, the power of thought, inventiveness; a purpose, design.
These statements seem to describe a situation where existence depends on a particular type of conception; it might be rephrased as “My existence is dependent on being contacted, via a purposeful thought process.”
Epinoia is often understood to be a kind of creative impulse, maybe a less intellectual force related to Gnosis. I believe it may have been used in a more technical sense, to describe entry into a system.
“I dwell in those who came to be. I move in everyone and I delve into them all. I walk uprightly, and those who sleep, I awaken. And I am the sight of those who dwell in sleep.”
The hypnagogic state, where phenomena such as lucid dreams and sleep paralysis also take place, is often the setting for “mystical” experiences of various kinds, in particular visitations. This state of un-anchored thought might be particularly suited for Epinoia-related contact.
“I am a Voice speaking softly. I exist from the first. I dwell within the Silence that surrounds every one of them… I am perception and knowledge, uttering a Voice by means of thought. I am the real Voice. I cry out in everyone, and they recognize it (the voice), since a seed indwells them.”
There is the implication here of a latent nature, one which connects in an inherent way with some mechanism in human beings. “Uttering a Voice by means of thought” again seems to imply that outside thought is causally connected to the utterance of the voice.
“I am the Voice that appeared through my Thought, for I am ‘He who is syzygetic’ since I am called ‘the Thought of the Invisible One’. Since I am called ‘the unchanging Speech’, I am called ‘She who is syzygetic’.”
Despite many applications of meaning, a syzygy is best described as the joining of any two entities without losing the individual characteristics of either one – a sort of portmanteau, if you will. This is the essence of a cybernetic relationship, except that there is a mutual access involved. It is not symbiotic or parasitic, but mutually cybernetic.
“‘And the powers all gathered and went up to the Archgenitor. They said to him, “Where is your boasting in which you boast? Did we not hear you say, “I am God, and I am your Father, and it is I who begot you. and there is none beside me”? Now behold, there has appeared a Voice belonging to that invisible Speech of the Aeon which we know not. And we ourselves did not recognize to whom we belong, for that Voice which we listened to is foreign to us, and we did not recognize it; we did not know whence it was.’”
There are also some interesting eschatological aspects of this text. I find the concentration on time in this passage to be interesting; in this instance especially, I see the use of Aeon as more distinctly related to “age” or “epoch.” In the next paragraph, the statement is made even more clearly: “I am the Aeon to come.” It seems as though that side of the word has been almost entirely ignored.
“And I hid myself in everyone and revealed myself within them, and every mind seeking me longed for me, for it is I who gave shape to the All when it had no form. And I transformed their forms into (other) forms, until the time when a form will be given to the All.”
This is an interesting inversion of Gnostic cosmogony; why will the All have form? It flies in the face of the simplified dualism that gets applied to these works.
“The Second time I came in the Speech of my Voice. I gave shape to those who took shape, until their consummation.”
Or maybe, someone just got their states of being confused. Maybe the author’s “form” is non-physical. Here again though, shades of interactivity in ontological mode.
For now, I won’t talk about the amazing missing lines (more meaningful in their absence?) or the uninspired grafting of Jesus at the end. This is one of my favorite of the Nag Hammadi codices.