The Conscious Ape

Man’s Search for Metagnosis

 I do not believe in God, and I am not an atheist. – Albert Camus. 

The abstract and uncertain:

For years I was an ardent atheist. Full of certainty in my beliefs that there are no gods/God. At every turn, I fought to justify my lack of belief. Pain, suffering, death, chaos, how could there be a god if he allows these things to occur, the classic arguments for atheism. And of course, there are classic counterarguments by the faithful; the existence of free will, the existence of good vs evil battle for the human soul, God is an absent clockmaker that does not meddle in human affairs and so on. None of this on both sides come to actually give any meaning or explanation. Both sides lay on the same hollow ground of belief and mean absolutely nothing. The abstract experience of human life and uncertainty that rule us are beyond what we humans can conceive with our tiny, overwhelmed brains; the stories we tell ourselves to make this life more bearable are just that, stories, fabrications. What we need is the search, search for something higher, for the Absolute. And both atheism and religion stand in the way of finding the Absolute.

Agnosticism vs Metagnosticism:

Building on top of what came before, one will find agnosticism. The doctrine that certainty about primary fundamentals or absolute truth is unobtainable and that only perceptual phenomena are objects of veracious knowledge, or in a more religious sense; the belief that the existence or nonexistence of a deity or deities cannot be known with any kind of certainty. The etymology of the term agnostic comes from ancient Greek; ἀ- (a-) ‘without’, and γνῶσις (gnōsis) ‘knowledge’, literally meaning without knowledge. A far more sensible system to be a part of than the absolute denial of everything in an atheistic manner. After reading this and again the opening quote by Camus, one could deduce that Camus himself was an agnostic (meaning nothing, just an interesting detail relating to Camus’s somewhat cryptic take on deity’s). On the other side of agnosticism, there is metagnosticism. In succinct terms, metagnosticism is the doctrine that knowledge of the Absolute is within human reach but through a higher religious consciousness rather than by logical processes. The etymology of the term metagnostic comes in part from ancient Greek; μετα- (meta-), from μετά (metá), from Mycenaean Greek (me-ta), possibly from Proto-Indo-European *meth (“in the middle”) and in part from French gnostique, from Ancient Greek γνωστικός (gnōstikós, “relating to knowledge”), from γνωστός (gnōstós, “known”), from γιγνώσκω (gignṓskō, “I know”). These two are diametrically opposed; agnosticism is certain that there is no possibility of grasping the Absolute while the metagnosticism is, at face value, just a different take on the religious deity, that being the Absolute. If I had to choose without any other possibility, I would say that I am agnostic, but I would also say that I tether on the edge of metagnostic beliefs. If for nothing else, that is for the appeal of the freedom and unexplored depth of what lies in it. Because what is supposed to be this “higher religious consciousness”? We do not even know what our consciousness is, so who is to say that we cannot attain Metagnosis through ourselves, and why wouldn’t this also at the same time be logical? We are aware of the existence of our consciousness; one could at least admit to the possibility of there being something else, something Absolute. And this is why I found the atheist framework to be so limiting and, in the end, even the agnostic one.

Grasping the Absolute:

How would we grasp the Absolute? I do not know. Until our consciousness lies under the lock and key that is darkness and lack of knowledge that we are shrouded in, I see no chance of making a conclusive step towards the Metagnosis. However, there are methods of accessing some higher part of consciousness through earthly means. Firstly there are those that, in essence, come from us; meditation and deep introspection, and secondly, use of psychedelic drugs like mushrooms, LSD and DMT. One could lay criticism at these aforementioned examples of reaching a higher state of mind as being nothing else but hallucinations from too much airflow to the brain or attributing it to a chemical reaction in the said brain, but all of that doesn’t change the fact that our consciousness in some way or other changed, and reached a different plane of existence. It’s all in our head, as far as we know when it comes to consciousness, so we cannot dismiss the practice of meditation or usage of psychedelic drugs to potentially reach the Absolute; if anything, they seem like possible bridges through uncharted lands towards an obscured goal that is the Metagnosis.