Another Volley--Mani Myths...
- Yet another example of how Manichean soteriology is not based in the
gut, except perhaps the gut vibe of Gnostic intuition, is the
Manichean experience of being saved.
As you are no doubt aware PMCV, Manicheans described this experience
as being "called" by a Father of Light. But where is this literal
father? Is he found in one's vegetables? The remains thereof?
Yes, in the sense that divinity is trapped in matter (a notion which
makes them not different from Aany other Gnostics), as told in the
Manichean pre-cosmic myth which informs so much of their system?
And yet, where does the call come from? Decidedly NOT one's
vegetables, though one would think it would, given your supposition
of Manicheans notions of a gut-wrenchingly literal divinity.
Could it be they thought of the father mythically, while not denying
a literal truth in the sense of imminent actuality?
In short, there's no evidence whatsoever that the Father of Light is
rumbling in their tummies as he makes his call.
Rather, there is every reason he is beyond, which means that saving
knowledge comes from beyond, even while it may reside within us
(though we are ignorant of it) just as it may be present within
organic or inorganic matter of any kind.
Manicheans like other Gnostics were none other panentheists, holding
that God is imminent and transcendent. As such, to suppose they
engaged in an exlusively literal interpretation of myth is erroneous,
as it would be foreign to the Manichean mind.
Or would you go so far as to reject the notion that Manicheans
believed in trascendent divinity? Their notion of time alone clearly
demonstrates such transcendence, for such a God must exist beyond our
time, including the things we eat. Nonethelss, such a God also has
the most intimate and meaningful relationship with existence through
For Manicheans, of course the awakening or enLIGHTenment must come
from beyond., even if it is the beyond within. After all, if it came
from within without benefit of the spark of any additional force and
was therefore sufficient to awaken itself, then why hasn't it?
And if it was sufficient at one time, then why has it fallen into
ignorance of its own nature and power?
This conundrum is the same for all Gnostics, and at this level, it
can only be answered by myth, which is a connection of meaning to the
beyond, yet a link to the immiment as well.
None of this preclues myth from being brought back down to earth,
including through earthly practices and process, such as diet. In
fact, one might suppose it obligates one to such action.
It diposes one to compassion in the fullest senst, which is why we're
supposed to save the vegetables NOT the other way around. But first
we're saved with divine consciousness, as the call from the father
implies. And this is where Manicheans derive their disposition to the
world--from a source beyond, yet also within.
Once again we see that it's a both/and proposition.