by Larry Fyffe
Though there be confusing and paradoxical interpretations abounding here, there, and everywhere, the cosmologies of Gnostic and related Cabbalism, some forms of which are thought knowlegable only to a special elite, can be said to differ from the orthodox Abrahamic religions in that the actions of humans, including the overt display of joy, have an impact on the traditionally aloof, all-powerful ‘God’ – the anthropomorphic ‘masculine’ giant in the sky replaced by linguistic correspondences and metaphors for a universe that is mysterious and infinite.
That is, through the gathering and expanding of knowledge obtained from the proto-science of alchemy that focuses on the basic elements (earth, water, wind, fire), and by acting in good faith for the benefit of one’s fellow man, good works undertaken by enlightened individuals light up the conditions for all in an evolving material world that’s traditionally depicted as dark. According to modern Romantically-inclined mystics, the big problem, rooted in the ancient mystical view, is that ‘sparks’ emanating from the caring homemaker ‘feminine’ side of the Godhead have all but been extinguished; Adam becomes the big boss, necessitating a rebalancing of the cosmological order.
The narrator in the song lyrics below by singer/songwriter/musician Bob Dylan warn of destructive ‘demonic’ forces afoot in the cosmos:
The engines they exploded Propellers failed to start The boilers overloaded The ship's bow split apart
(Bob Dylan: Tempest)
Though the songwriter grows up in the heyday of of Western movies, most of which feature dominant men and submissive women, the lyrics below suggest an equitable and harmonious partnership will once again exist between the sexes:
Searchin' for the truth the way God planned it But the truth is I might drown before I find it .... Yeah, I need a woman, oh, don't I Need a woman, bring it home safe at last .... Been watchin' you in the sunshine Walkin' with you in the dark And I want you to be that woman - treat me right Be that woman every night
(Ry Cooder: Need A Woman ~ Dylan/Cooder)
At other times, song lyrics envision the sexes trapped in a dark, materialistic world of stupidity devoid of loving spirituality:
Idiot wind Blowin' through the buttons of our coat Blowin' through the letters that we wrote Idiot wind Blowin' through the dust upon our shelves We're idiots, babe It's a wonder we can even feed ourselves
(Bob Dylan: Idiot Wind)
Under such circumstances, fleeing from an Eden that is burning, rather than seeking a union with the Infinite ‘God’, appears to be the rational way out:
"There must be some way out of here" Said the joker to the thief "There's too much confusion I can't get no relief Businessmen, they drink my wine Ploughmen dig my earth None of them along the line Know what any of it is worth"
(Bob Dylan: All Along The Watchtower)
Before he experimented with Christianity, Bob Dylan displays an interest in Gnostic/Cabbalistic thoughts:
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves Let me forget about today until tomorrow
(Bob Dylan: Mr. Tambourine Man)
Even more so thereafter, but much darker:
She wrote me a letter, and she wrote it so kind She put down in writin' what was in her mind I don't see why I should even care It's not dark yet, but it's getting there
(Bob Dylan: Not Dark Yet)
In the Lurianic Universe, there are demons everywhere a-floatin’:
Broken lines, broken strings Broken threads, broken springs Broken idols, broken heads People sleeping in broken beds Ain't no use jiving Ain't no use joking Everything is broken
(Bob Dylan: Everything Is Broken)