In his introduction to Science, Politics, and Gnosticism, Ellis Sandoz writes that Voegelin's new science of politics -- that's right, science -- "can be used to diagnose maladies of contemporary political existence and offer remedies within the modest limits of reason and science" (emphases mine). Or in other words, it deals with the cause and cure of various political sicknesses and pathologies.
Consider the analogy to medicine. In the West, we have settled on allopathic medicine as the most useful approach to the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. But there are also other systems: homeopathic, osteopathic, ayurvedic, humorism, traditional Chinese medicine. Each of these posits a different etiological, classificatory, and therapeutic system for physical illness.
Since the mind is obviously more ambiguous than the body, there are even more treatment approaches to the psyche, veering from the completely biological to the completely psychological, from the collective to the individual, and from theories that consider everyone neurotic to crazy psychiatrists who conveniently consider abnormality normal.
Body. Mind. What about spiritual disorders? First of all, you can disabuse yourself of the notion that there is "no such thing," because each religion -- like the different schools of medicine -- provides a kind of diagnosis and cure for man's spiritual condition. Sometimes these are presented in mytho-speculative language, but they are no less penetrating for it.
Consider, for example, the Bhagavad Gita, which is none other than a dialogue between the troubled patient, Arjuna, and the spiritual doctor, Krishna. Likewise, the Buddha clearly diagnoses mankind (the four noble truths) before offering the cure (the eight-fold path). In the Yoga Sutras Patanjali does the same, and Jesus frankly compares himself to a physician.
In short, all religions recognize that there is something fundamentally wrong with man. And in our view, one of the things that is fundamentally wrong with man is his tendency to become a closed system. Please note that this is true of every level of existence, the material, psychic, and pneumatic.
Of Voegelin, Sandoz writes that he "evokes the philosopher as physician of the soul." This is not philosophy as practiced by the tenured rabble, i.e., mental masturbation on a grandiose scale, but rather, a way of life; for it is "the love of being through love of divine Being as the source of its order" (Voegelin).
In this context, Sandoz notes that "protecting philosophy against perversion is vital to the larger task of protecting human existence itself against perversion and tyranny."
Especially in a free society such as ours, right thinking is our main line of defense against tyranny, which is precisely why it is attacked and undermined by the irrational and dis-ordered forces of the left. The left imposes a system in which lies either become compulsory, or in which the proper conclusions cannot be drawn from the allowable data.
The essence of modern tyranny involves prohibiting questions that might undermine the credibility of the system, which is why there is no place in America where speech is less free than on a college campus. No surprise there. [Update from seven years hence: the tech giants have surpassed even academia in their repressive intolerance of dissent.]
In the book, Voegelin outlines "three major types for whom a human inquiry has become a practical impossibility," including "socialist man," "positivist [e.g., scientistic, Darwinistic, reductionistic] man," and "national-socialist man."
Now, as there is philosophy (in Voegelin's sense), there is anti-philosophy. Political Gnosticism is an instance of the latter, which Voegelin defines as a perverse desire for "dominion over being; in order to seize control of being the gnostic constructs a system."
Thus, instead of a spiritually open engagement with reality and truth -- which is philo-sophy, or love of wisdom -- the Gnostic shuts himself off from this ground and constructs a closed system based upon the Answer known only to elites such as himself, quintessential examples being Marxism on the political plane or metaphysical Darwinism on the biological plane (and this is the kind of perverse and simplistic science -- i.e., scientism -- preferred by the left in order to bolster its enfeebled image of man).
Each of these denies transcendence up front, which has the practical effect of murdering man (and eventually men). As Sandoz explains, modern forms of Gnosticism are characterized by their "renunciation of 'vertical' or otherworldly transcendence and [their] proclamation of a 'horizontal' transcendence or futuristic parousia of Being -- that is, intramundane or worldly" salvation. In short, a dreamworld of hope and change.
But in imposing this absurd doctrine of worldly salvation, the parousia must be perpetually postponed. For the gnostic, it is always right around the corner, the endless Recovery Summer. The War on Poverty is not a Keynesian quackmire, but actually winnable with one last surge of obscenely profligate spending on our pet projects and political allies!
Thus, in their Gnostic lust for power, each of the 20 dwarves insists that we ignore what has actually happened to the economy and country over the last four years. Rather, look ahead, to the glorious future that is promised by... well, by Marianne Williamson, for example:
What we most need now is a political visionary -- someone with a deep understanding of where we have been and where we need to be going....
My campaign provides the American people with the option of choosing another way -- not just a better version of same old, same old politics, but a genuine pattern disruption that allows for breakthroughs and possibilities that will not otherwise occur.
We need to address the deep emotional and psychological dynamics within the average citizen that have led to the erosion of our political system. In order to have a moral and spiritual awakening in America, we need a leader who is a moral and spiritual awakener.
I believe I am that person.
As a psychologist, I am intimately familiar with narcissistic grandiosity. But Voegelin understood that the grandiosity of the left is on another plane altogether, and requires a deeper explanation.