download Gnostic Wars: The Cold War in the Context of a History of Western SpiritualityAuthor Stefan Rossbach –

In This Unique Exposition Of Important And Yet Often Neglected Developments In The History Of Western Spirituality, Stefan Rossbach Reminds Us Of The Philosophical And Spiritual Underpinnings Of The Cold War Era, Drawing On The Traditions Of Apocalypticism, Millenarianism And Gnostic Spirituality Beginning With The Gnostic Systems Of Late Antiquity, The Analysis Follows Lines Of Meaning Which Extend Through The Late Middle Ages And The Renaissance, Right Up To The Present From The Long Term Perspective Which Is Thereby Established, The Spectre Of A Man Made Nuclear Apocalypse Appears As The Latest And Most Dramatic Expression Of An Outlook On The Human Condition Which Refuses To Accept Limits In The Imposition Of Human Designs On The World The Paradoxical Continuities That Underlie The Sense Of Epoch Evoked By The End Of The Cold War Highlight This Work S Profound Implications For Our Understanding Of Contemporary International Politics The book s introduction promises a focus on the cold war , but the text immediately dives into a Neo Platonic argument about the reality of forms and light as in truth and goodness The reader is challenged to take it on faith that an author enthusiastically retelling Plato s myth of the cave might eventually say something germaine to the cold war I wonder how many will perservere.The introduction is probably the weakest section It seems the author hasn t really come to terms with the sources of his insights The book relies upon Neo Platonic vocabulary, but that very vocabulary is used to argue against the validity of Neo Platonic dialectic Specifically, Rossbach argues that gnostic or elitist religions are self contradictory This is proved using Neo Platonic distinctions between reality and forms which is itself entirely gnostic elitist in orientation.Putting these somewhat painful pages aside, we find Rossbach making a variety of weak arguments asserting a continuity between an exceptionally obscure late classical religious sect, the gnostics and later Manichaeism and Marcionism Again, the Neo Platonic logical structure gets in the way, since Rossbach argues for the vacuous nature of these creeds, but uses their vocabulary and epistemological distinctions to construct his text For example, he proves the absurdity of various millenarian thinkers by walking us through failed end time predictions, but then he recounts the passage of self proclaimed divine illumination from generation to generation as if these illuminations had reality than their end time predictions A bizarrely contorted web emerges as the primary message It shows the flow of gnostic knowledge from Plato to Mani to Franciscan monks to Renaissance philosophers and eventually Hegel, Marx and Lenin Simultaneously, this web is shown to be specious and without foundation The book concludes with by elevating an ambassador to Russia, George Keenan, to modern philosopher king.While one can enjoy the frequently iconoclastic critiques of obscure historical individuals, the web itself is entirely unbelievable Rossbach never advances any notion of self realization or natural law , but entirely relies on a gnostic notion of elite capture of knowledge which is then passed on to the masses For an alternative to this naive view of innovation, see something like Paper before Print , by Bloom. This is an unique exposition of important but neglected developments in Western history Rossbach focusses on the philosophical and spiritual underpinnings of the Cold War, and shows how the main protagonists in the conflict, who represented themselves as the Third Rome and the New World, drew on traditions of apocalypticism, millennarianism, and gnostic spirituality to articulate their self understanding as THE providential movers of world history, and how both sides consequently had to externalize radically the evil of the other side Rossbach s analysis follows what he calls the lines of meaning that extend through the millennarianism of the Late Middle Ages and the Hermeticism and Christian Cabala of the Renaissance, right up to the present The spectre of a man made nuclear apocalypse, from this long term perspective, looms as the most dramatic expression of an outlook on the human condition that by its nature refuses to live within human limits This work not only succeeds to present an unusually profound understanding of the roots of Cold War ideology, but also succeeds in making this rich material available in the analysis of contemporary international politics.