Gnosticism as critique of Paganism (Snakes & Ladders)
Embedded within gnosticism's almost maniacal hostility to the ecosystem is a beautiful and compelling cry for freedom, a libertarian drive towards unmediated lucidity and intuitive knowledge. Gnosticism were antinomian – against the law. The gnostic distrust of the world was not simply asceticism, nor simply a form of ressentiment… but a particularly intense form of resistance to the powers that bind—in the self, in the body, in politics.
By imagining the world as a trap, gnosticism creates a space to step back and critique the dominant situation, to find the cracks in the apparent surface of reality. It's as if you're walking around a beautiful garden and suddenly you notice that there are surveillance devices hidden in the flowers… That visionary criticism, that drive to break the bubble, characterizes many of the great spiritual figures of the last few centuries… The distrust of nature and the body grows from the distrust of the existing body of perception.