I’ve talked about how I’ve been trying to trace the roots or the energetic current of Organic Gnosticism, which is a method of developing the soul based on love relationships between men and women. It seemed to have disappeared around the first millennium because of persecution. It went deep into hiding. Or so I thought.
In thinking about it a little bit more, I remembered a passage that Hanns Heinz Ewers wrote about intoxication and the creation of works of art and I think that passage says a lot and is in fact the missing key that I was looking for.
Basically what they’re talking about is that when the physical body generates excessive energies the soul is created. So the trick is to live life in an excessive way as opposed to living in a denial of life. What’s not really understood is that if you deny yourself all of life’s pleasures and sorrows the stresses on the body are still generating energy. If you inflict pain upon yourself, your body is generating the energy of pain which is then used to create the soul body. If you experience passion and ecstasy the physical body is doing the same thing but with a different kind of energy.
Here is a small quote from Ewers:
“Can the intoxication induced by a narcotic help contribute to the creation of a work of art. I will answer that question. Here it is not only capable of it, but can even under certain conditions spawn completely new works of art. I will prove that it is capable, that it is the law of the artist that the alcohol question only points out.
It is a lot like all the other customs and laws that govern the artist in general. It is certain that an individual’s intelligence determines what he is able to accomplish in the state of ecstasy. It is precisely this state of ecstasy that is important, not whether it is achieved naturally or through the use of narcotics.
If the creator of a magnificent work of art uses natural means to achieve ecstasy, so much the better. But the grandeur of his work is no less if that is not the case. This remains true of most artistic creations. The causes that bring about suitable conditions for artistic ecstasy are not as common as blackberries. The ecstatic inner experiences of every living person come less frequently as the person ages.
The mature person is less capable of inducing an artistic ecstasy through natural means. The youth swims in ecstasy and passion but doesn’t know what to do with it. The mature person knows what to do, but the ecstasy and passion may stay away for months and years at a time. That is the truth behind these old phrases, “The passion of youth, the tranquility of age”; “The average life of the talented artist in youth is passion without skill and in old age, skill without passion and never a completed work of art.”
However, if the intoxication produced by a narcotic is capable of producing a suitable state of ecstasy under certain conditions, why not use it. Because it is not natural? Ice machines produce ice that is just as cold as the ice on frozen ponds.
The value of a great work of art is completely independent of whether it was created out of the ecstasy of a great love, or that of a wine bottle. The real issue is whether this ecstasy remains unconscious or can be brought into consciousness and worked with. Not if it was brought about naturally or artificially.
A creation through intoxication is as difficult to put into words as a creation through the emotions of heartbreak and misery, but both intoxication and strong emotions are capable of vibrating the strings of the artist and perhaps occasionally producing a state of ecstasy. This creation of a state of artistic ecstasy is always accompanied by a physical, thoroughly sober mental state.
The most beautiful state of intoxication is not capable of bringing art out of a person who has none inside to begin with. You can take any person off the street and put him into the most beautiful hashish delirium, and it will never result in the creation of a work of art unless they are painters, sculptors, poets or musicians in the first place.
Such experiments with intoxication will be completely futile. In any case, the habitual use of any narcotic over a long period of time is to be avoided. In most cases, the habitual user finds it increasingly more difficult to achieve the needed condition of ecstasy. This includes the habitual drinker, smoker, morphine user, cocaine user, and hashish user.
Opium alone appears to consistently lead to ecstasy. It is also the only narcotic not intended for artistic creation. Such use leads to only random and unpredictable results, making it the narcotic of choice for pleasure.
Instead, the artistic process of working through intoxication and bringing art into conscious awareness is gained only later, after both the intoxication and the emotions are gone. Short sentences, words and symbols written down while intoxicated are often enough to call up, even years later, the entire sequence of memories and images of the original experience. That is the moment when it can be fashioned into a work of art.
In general, immense treasure lies concealed within the narcotic for the artist. It is an almost untouched land of gold from which the wise and lucky finder can again and again fashion new works of art if they desire.
Admittedly, the resources of intoxication in no way facilitates or helps the conscious work of artistic creation. On the contrary, the subsequent work of the artist is generally much more difficult. Often extremely difficult. In conclusion, the average writer or painter would not be able to fashion these bits and pieces of captured phrases and words into works of art. They would remain cryptic nonsense. The man on the street says art is not work. It is a pleasure. This is the most belittling lie ever invented by the rich, the experts and the great masses who thoughtlessly chatter about it without ever having experienced even a tinge of ecstasy, let alone created a work of art.
This ecstasy is always in agony of suffering, even when in rare cases, the basis of its production was a pleasure. Intoxication is not some miraculous method that will allow anyone to quickly paint, compose or write magnificent works of art. On the contrary, bringing material out from the subconscious into consciousness and fashioning it into art is something that only a person of high intelligence combined with strong talent is capable of.”
Suddenly, it all makes sense. We are talking about excess and if you remember, Aleister Crowley said, “Nothing succeeds like excess!” But there’s an added ingredient here. The added ingredient is a high degree of intelligence and a high degree of natural ability and talent.
Those are not available to a lot of people, but those people who can open their hearts can find it because it’s not that far away. Just open your heart to the joys and the energies and experiences that life has to offer.
Now that is a description of Organic Gnosticism! I think this really summarizes not only the secret of artistic creation but also the secret of the left-hand path, which is to immerse the physical body and to stress the physical body to its limits in order to achieve the development of the soul and its powers.
As opposed to the spiritual right-hand path which is to deny the physical body; to deny everything and dissolve awareness into the void of nothingness. These are two totally different paths.
PS: I’ve started a Facebook discussion group called Organic Gnosticism. Feel free to join if you are interested.