How To Extract Your Friends and Family From the Woke Cult, According to James Lindsay





Understanding that wokeism is a cult, as James Lindsay has previously discussed with Liz, the next step is to understand what that cult is. Today, the pair breaks down how Marxism and communism aren’t actually just political or economic philosophies, but are rather part of the religion of the Left. How does that shed light on all of the radical Left’s actions and sinister players? This is The Liz Wheeler Show.

Show Transcript

This transcript was generated automatically and may contain typos, mistakes, and/or incomplete information.


Hey guys, welcome to the Liz Wheeler Show. I have a great episode for you today. I got to tell you, when I talk to James Lindsay about the really nerdy, the really intellectual stuff, I feel extremely energized about your fight and my fight for this country. What do I always say? I say, if we refuse to recognize, if we don’t acknowledge the reality of the political enemy we’re facing, then we won’t fight well against that enemy. If we don’t fight well, we won’t win. I want to win. So part of that is diagnosing the problem, diagnosing what it is that we’re facing. So we all generally know, well, what we’re facing from the left right now is wokeness. We’re facing cancel culture, we’re facing DEI, we’re facing critical race theory. We’re facing queer theory. And the last time, I think this was two weeks ago, three weeks ago, when I talked to Dr. James Lindsay, we talked about the definition of wokeness. What does the word woke mean? What is it when it’s placed in action? Because we, as conservatives use it as this general definition of all things radical leftist ideology. And he gave a great, a great definition of woke. And it described to us, explained to us that wokism is not an abstract concept. Woke is actually a cult structure. 

 If you miss that episode, highly recommend that you go back and listen to that, because it’s very clarifying to be able to look at what the left is doing and thoroughly understand exactly how their tactics, their strategies, their mechanisms work. Because if we understand that, we can unravel that and unroll that. So today is part two of that conversation. We’re going to build on the definition of woke, and we’re going to build on the reality that woke is structured exactly like a cult. 

And we’re going to talk about what that cult is, how Marxism and socialism and communism aren’t actually just political or economic philosophies and ideologies, that they are a religion, which, once you hear this explanation from Dr. James Lindsay, you will understand every single thing that the radical left does, every single policy that otherwise seemed insane or inexplicable. And you’ll understand how the players on the left, whether this is the teachers in schools that are trying to trans children, whether this is the Imex Kennedy, these, these racialized Marxists, whether it’s the George Soros and the World Economic Forum, all of these people and the parts that they play in this woke cult, that’s actually not a political movement, it’s a religious movement, how this works. So without further ado, let’s get to it. 

Okay, with me now is Dr. James Lindsay, friend of the show, friend of the Conservative Movement. He is the host of the New Discourses podcast. If you want to watch a, a 3, 4, 5 hour explanation of this stuff, you can add over to his podcast. He also makes a short version for, you know, if you’re on the go, if you’re on a run, you can get a little condensed, 15 minute bullets is what he calls it, his bullets version. So James, the last time you were on the show, we talked about woke or wokeness because there was this narrative that was going around on Twitter that it was from the left, and it was accusing people on the right. When the, when we used the word woke to describe what the left is doing, their radical leftist ideology, it was accusing us of defining woke as anti-black. 

Like the left is saying, oh, she’s saying woke, but what she means is anti-black. And I ask you, how would you define the word woke? Because it is a big bucket term. It’s, it’s a new term that we’ve brought into the public consciousness, if you will. And we talked about that the last time. Anyone could go listen to that episode for a longer explanation. But I do want to hear your definition, and I want people who might not have heard that episode to hear your definition before we get into the solution. The solution to woke here in this country and sort of the ideological great, great grandparents of woke. What is woke? 

James Lindsay: 

I mean, so I actually slightly disagree. I don’t think it’s a very big topic at all. It’s actually got a lot of content that can go into it. But my definition of woke, I mean obviously it means awakened in sort of a slang way of saying that, but like woke up or whatever. But it, what it means is that you have adopted a particular consciousness about the way the world works. It means that you have been awakened to the fact of the structural nature of our reality. In other words, that people construct reality in order to benefit those in power. And that carries with it certain what they call, well, not they, let me just name names. What Paulo Freire, who describes what I think is now called woke under the term conscientization to be conscientized or made conscious. He says that it, it, it reveals that there are certain dehumanizing forms that contour our lives. 

Whether those are colonialism for him or economic disparity, kind of like the Marxist would look at, because that’s what he was, was post colonialist and Marxist. but also systemic racism, systemic sexism, transphobia, et cetera, homophobia, all of these things that we hear kind of constantly from the left. So you’re aware that there’s these dehumanizing forms that contour our reality in a structural way, but there are also domesticating modes of communication behavior. So in other words, the very terms that society is written on domesticate people to accept the prevailing system. And so being woke means not just being aware of that, having been made conscious of that, but simultaneously realizing that you are a historical player who can transform that to something else. In other words, you become a Marxist activist. In other words, woke means being a neo Maoist. It means being a Maoist with American characteristics is what it boils down to. It’s extremely simple. It’s not actually a complicated term. It doesn’t require complicated definitions, it means having awakened to a cult consciousness of the way the world works. That just so happens to be very Maoist in its nature. 


You’re the only person I know that would give that kind of in-depth explanation and then claim that it’s very, very simple and not complex at all. Let me apply this. I want to make sure that I understand what you’re saying and that our audience understands what you’re saying too, in practical terms, not just in philosophical terms. So how this would practically apply to our country. Paulo Freire is a Brazilian Marxist who pioneered the idea of critical consciousness. That’s sort of the, the American English version of what you’re talking about, right? Critical consciousness, meaning that you are awake to this idea that white people are inherently racist based on being on the shoulders of white supremacy, which built our nation, those types of concepts. And Paulo Freire pioneered the idea in Brazil that literacy and education, and I almost want to put this in quotation marks, but he pioneered that education was the primary way to form critical consciousness. And that’s what we’re seeing in our country today. Correct? Like his form of indoctrination. 

James Lindsay: 

Yeah, that’s right. Paulo Freire was hailed as an educator in addition to being a post-colonial Marxist. And so what he saw within education was that for him, primarily early in his career, peasants who were being displaced by colonialism and by capitalism in his estimation peasants weren’t having the opportunity to learn to read or write. And then when they were taught to learn, to read or to write what they were taught as ways to actually start to participate in the existing system or the colonial system, they weren’t being taught to express themselves politically in their own words, in their own context. And so he saw a tremendous opportunity that you take the objects of academic study, whether that’s reading lessons, writing lessons, math lessons, science lessons, whatever. For him it was literacy primarily. But you take the object of an academic course of study and use that as what he called a mediator to political knowledge. 

So education, if it’s true, education becomes political education. And so he revamped education as an excuse to have political radicalization conversations with the students. And he laid out an entire mechanism for how to do this. He wrote it in a bunch of books over and over again. Basically the same thing turns out based on something from our previous conversation that when I just said, this is a cult, and I said, consciousness. And of course we talked about how there agnostic elements of this. in his book, Pedagogy of Freedom, Paulo Freire says seven or eight times that the method he’s describing is in fact, in his own words, a gnostic cycle. So it’s quite literal and quite explicit and quite intentional that, that he’s employing a gnostic approach. So his was to bring learners to secret hidden knowledge about the structural nature of reality, the systemic racism, sexism, and so on, that we’re all familiar with the Marxist analysis of the real concrete conditions of their lives as he would say it. 

And to bring them the secret knowledge that there are oppressive classes who operate in gnostic language like a demiurge that contours the way society’s organized, that everybody has to play by that evil demon’s rules. But in fact, if we gain the secret salvific knowledge, the gnosis of how society really works, and that we’re historical actors, we can band together in solidarity and overthrow the system. So being woke means gaining that secret gnosis that the system is controlled by evil demon classes, and the oppressed classes can get together in solidarity and overthrow them and thus liberate themselves from the oppression that, that the, that the masterclass are visiting upon them. 


This sounds exactly like a conspiracy theory, and I’m totally here for it because it’s exactly what we’re seeing happen in our country. I’m laughing only because so often conspiracy theories turn out to be true here. Before we, I do want to break down exactly what you mean by Gnosticism, because I think that there’s an understanding of Gnosticism as the what is it, second century heresy second century anti-Christian heresy. But it’s been redefined a little bit in modern terms. Before we get to that though, tell me more, or tell me again about the cult aspect of wokeism, because it fits within the Gnosticism aspect of it fits within the cult structure of wokeism in our country. And I think learning about Gnosticism doesn’t make as much sense unless you understand it within that structure of the cult. 

James Lindsay: 

Right? So it is a cult and I’ll talk about the structure in a second, but let me give you a little bit more legs under that. I said a few minutes ago that this is a Maoist project, meaning Mao Zedong the CCP, the originator, the first power holder of the CCP I should say the CCP goes back to the twenties, so it’s older. But Mao Zedong obviously becomes the brutal dictator, the tyrant of CCP China in the 1950s. And then again in the 1960s and seventies, I don’t know, maybe a hundred million people die. Not so good. Mao had a formula that he, I think when you hear this formula for brainwashing or for transforming a population, I think it’s going to feel very familiar to the woke, which was unity, criticism, unity. So it’s a three-part formula. 

So you start by creating a desire for unity. You create a desire to, to, to be a part of what’s happening. In fact, it’s a moral desire. It’s what it means to be a good person. This is just what it’s good means to be good. You want to be in union with your fellow countrymen, with your fellow comrades, I suppose for, for Mao. And you want to be, have unity with your social group, which is headed by a revolutionary cadre in the Maoist circumstance. You want to have unity within that group. So you get create the desire for unity. Now the woke word for that that we use in institutional settings in the United States today is belonging. We just want to create a place where everybody feels like they belong. It’s an inclusive space where everybody feels like they belong. This is what we hear over and over again. 

But then what you enter into is criticism. So what happens in a space where everybody feels like they belong? Well, Mao said criticism. So we begin a process of, what he called democratic persuasion, where you criticize people for failing to live up to what it takes to achieve unity within the cult. The cult is defined for him in terms of socialist values, socialist discipline, and you criticize them. This is the way that you hurt the Chinese people. These are the ways that you’re being an individualist. These are the ways that you’re selfish. This is the way that you paying attention to your family, actually takes away from the greater good, blah, blah, blah. And so you criticize and induce people into a pattern of what he called self-criticism, criticism, and self-criticism through the process of struggle. That’s the way that Mao worded this and phrased it. 

And we’ve all heard of the malice struggle sessions, which were denunciations, just like Paulo Freire says, is the point of being conscientized is to denounce the existing world and all of its dehumanizing forms and domesticating modes. So you enter into these denunciation sessions, these humiliation sessions, to criticize and induce self-criticism so that you’ll want to join further. And then when you finally start to understand it, you get to study, we say do the work. Maybe your DEI session starts with you having to confess to your racism. Everybody has to confess to the racism and the place where everybody feels like they belong or the sexism or their homophobia or the transphobia. They have to confess to all the different ways that they’ve had these. Then what do you have to do? Well, you go through these sessions, you criticize each other, you self criticize, you confess, the desire to confess is at the center of the Maoist cult project. 

And then you do the work. That’s the phrase. In other words, what they called in China xuexi, which is study. You start studying the relevant Marxist teachers, you start studying current events through a Marxist lens, blah, blah, blah. So now we have not just this kind of cult belonging desire for unity at the beginning in the formula, but now we have our DEI trainings in the middle. Then on the other side, you have socialist discipline in Mao where you become woke and you have unity within the cult. The hard part is that those different stages, unity, criticism, unity, actually outline different parts of how culture actually structured in reality at the very beginning. The desire for unity is a, it’s a desire, it’s a drive, it’s a moral impulse. And maybe it’s got social tendrils. Your social circle is acting this way. They want you to be this way. 

They want to help you, you want to be a part of them, you want unity with them. And so you have moral and psychological and social ties, but you may not know anything about, say, systemic oppression or systemic racism or any of this stuff. You don’t know any CRT, and that’s what cults would refer to. And this is what we about last time, as the outer school, cults tend to be organized into an outer school of people who have picked up a sense of trying to belong to the cult. And then an inner school of adept who understand what the cult is about. So you have initiates, then you have adapts, and then you actually have the people that are in charge in various, you know, levels of authority. And those would be the, what are called the inner circle sometimes. So in, in Mao you had people who had desired to become socialists, people who were studying to understand communism. 

And then you had party members at the three different levels of, of, and then of course, party leadership is even a higher level of that. So the outer school becomes people who have adopted the socialist worldview. Now they desire to belong to a socialist system. Here we have people who desire to fit in. They don’t want to be a bad person, they just want to be kind. They just want to show respect. They don’t want to offend trans people or black people or whatever it is that the, the mythology says they do by merely existing. That’s the equivalent of having adopted socialism. They are then criticized and brought into a process of struggle so that they can become not just initiates, but adapts that they understand the cult and make deeper intellectual and, and more thorough ties to it. And that’s your inner school structure. That’s people who know what’s going on, but they don’t know why it’s going on. 

And then the inner circle are going to be handpicked people who are allowed to know various levels of if you want the conspiracy or the plan or the cult or purpose. And most people never make it there. I mean, I just shared a video today on Twitter that I saw about this exact structure being outlined by a refugee from Scientology. And he was born in a family of Scientologists and he never made it to the inner circle. Even after years and years of devoted connection, he’s maybe made it to the inner school, but he never made it into leadership. Those people are handpicked for other traits. And that’s party loyalty usually. And being willing to adopt the command structure. So what we see is kind of tying what we talked about together last time. Tying in Mao at this time, talking about cult structure, latching it onto the woke movement. 

I think what we can see is very, very clearly that what we have with the woke movement and being conscientized or woke or woke up, or whatever you want to say, is a cult that has a secret knowledge that saves us from ourselves. That’s why it’s agnostic. And then, or saves us from the oppression that we visit upon ourselves, really. And so that is also modeled after the, I will also say gnostic cult, that Mao Zedong laid out where socialism becomes the secret gnosis that we can all be, you know, one happy state driven family under socialism with Chinese characteristics was Mao’s secret knowledge. so I think that that kind of ties up in a bow, kind of the predicament that we find ourselves in. A gnostic cult that’s taking on the same shape as the cult run by Mao Zedong in China. And the reason people will say, why would we do Maoism in America? Because it worked. 


So I do want to dig a little bit more into Gnosticism cause I don’t want that word. I don’t want that word to be empty. I don’t want that word to be undefined, because if it is, then it doesn’t have the impact and it won’t, it won’t portray an understanding of and or an explanation that would be get understanding of what we’re, what we’re talking about here. But give me an example first of when you’re talking about this outer, this outer circle, the inner school and then the inner circle of cults. Can you apply that? Can you give us some examples of like, people that we would be familiar with, organizations that we’re familiar with here in American culture that are very woke, maybe Marxist organizations that would meet the definition of those three levels? 

James Lindsay: 

Yeah, I mean, so your typical teacher, your typical kind of institutional bureaucrat, your typical annoying woke person at work or in your family or in your neighborhood. We sometimes call them NPCs. Those people are probably in the outer school. Those people have picked up that it’s what it means to be a good person or that it’s somehow a part of being a good person. They may have a social circle that depends heavily on it. If you ask them to name say a woke scholar, they might be able to name one of the very popular ones like Robin D’Angelo or Ibram Kendi. But maybe that’s iffy. If you asked ’em if they’ve read any of the books? The answer’s probably not. They have no idea what they’re implementing. They just think it’s part of being a good person. And probably the vast majority of so-called woke teachers are in this category. 

The vast majority of the woke annoying people at work are in this category. So most of your typical everyday woke people, they’re like to compare it to Christians, not to make a cult analogy or anything like that, because some people will think I’m doing that. There are a lot of Christians who don’t really read the Bible, they don’t really pay attention to the scripture. They go to church on Sunday sometimes or most of the time, but they’re Christian and they believe, and they sometimes think things like the, the most famous Bible verses God helps those who helps themselves, but they’re still Christian. They still believe in you know, generally speaking or whatever. That’s kind of the outer school mentality. They’re not deeply ensconced in learning about what’s going on. But then on the other side of that commitment, and you start to begin the study. 

So you go to your work, you go to your DEI training, some people get into it and some people are very excited to go home and read their Robin D’Angelo and start to learn to do better or go read their, you know, Ibram Kendi or they go read whatever books are assigned to them. and they get into it and they start to study. Those people are heading toward the track of being inner school. So most of the people who are your consultants that come in to run your DEI training your DEI officers at work, or that are over at the departments and universities or at the DEI office. Most of those people are probably inner school. If you ask them to talk about the theorists, they can talk about the theorists. They can probably tell you where critical race theory came from. 

Generally speaking, who some of its leading lights are. Like Derrick Bell and Kimberly Crenshaw, Cheryl Harris, they might be able to name five or six of them. They might be able to give you the basic tenants. They’ll probably say things like, you can’t even define critical race theory. And then they’ll give you some problem. Or it sounds very nice when they do it, they understand on a more profound level what things like diversity, equity, and inclusion mean and why they’re important. Those kinds of people in institutions are inner school level institutions. Then you have the people who are in the inner circle. 

They in fact may or may not even believe in it. Most of them probably do. Those are going to be those thought leaders that we just referenced. Kimberly Crenshaw is not inner school. She understands what she’s doing. She understands exactly what critical race theory is and what it’s for, but above them you have the people that are putting money into it. 

I don’t know whether they are actually committed to the cult, just like often, I don’t know how many of the cult leaders in like kind of more typical cults are committed to the cult so much as they’re committed to the benefits of the cult that they get from it. So for example, I don’t know how much George Soros believes about woke theory. I think he does believe in his concept of an open society. I think he’s a very strategic thinker and I think he dumps a river of money into this that makes him inner circle for certain that’s beyond just inner school. He, he’s an operator of this, this thing, whether he believes in it or not. I know he does believe in his open society concept, but I don’t know if he’s cynically using Woke to move it along. I do know, however, that he funds or his Open Society Foundation funds the African American Policy Forum. 

That is Kimberly Crenshaw’s other job beyond being a professor at UCLA. So he’s definitely dumping a lot of money into it. I also know that he dumped a lot of money into the HRC, the human rights campaign, not the other HRC which he also probably dumped a lot of money into the Hillary Rodham Clinton. But he dumped a lot of money into the human rights campaign, which went from being kind of a gay civil rights, you know, organization in the two thousands into being this kind of very radical, very pro Planned Parenthood, very now trans human rights campaign that it is today. Same with you know, Media Matters is something that has been funded by them rather substantially. And he’s just one character. I’m not saying that it, he’s all behind it because there are characters, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations even some of these people that you know, are kind of in our own government Biden is passing all these executive orders. 

I don’t know if Biden, I mean, Donald Trump had said the best thing about Biden ever. I don’t think Joe knows he’s alive. So I don’t know if he knows what he’s actually saying or doing. I suspect Kamala does. A lot of people think she’s really dumb, but she says straight unadulterated communism in valley girl cheerleader, idiot language. And if you can hear it, it’s obvious what she’s saying. So I think she knows what she’s doing. These people are the inner circle people, and they might be true believers or they might be very cynical. Kimberly Crenshaw’s an inner circle member for, for instance, who is certainly a true believer. And then Soros, Biden Harris probably a little more cynical. 


Well, I think it helps, it helps me conceptualize, I assume this is true for a lot of people watching and listening, but it helps me conceptualize these ideas to think, okay, this is how it applies to specific individuals that we’re familiar with in radical leftism and critical race theory and woke because those, those are all names and people and organizations that we are familiar with. So here’s kind of where we take we, we move into part two of our conversation from the last time we established, okay, woke is a cult. It has a cult-like structure. Here are the players, here’s how they fit in. And now we talk about, well, what is the cult? It’s not just… well, it is a facade. So when I say it’s not a complete facade, it’s not just structured like a call without religious beliefs. 

There is an element of religious belief, just not religious belief. The way that a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim would understand religious belief. Their religious belief at the core of this, you say is Gnosticism. But this is where I want to be very clear and explain at an elementary level what is Gnosticism maybe compared now, compared to what it was in the second century when it was condemned as a heresy. And because we have to understand clearly what it is in order for that to have any impact on our understanding of, of wokeness. 

James Lindsay: 

Yeah, sure. So let me quickly say in reference to what we just talked about, the people in the outer school, and a lot of the people that are kind of moving up through the earlier parts of the inner school in this cult are victims of this cult. And we should actually, it’s very easy to get really mad at them, but it’s, they are victims, especially in the outer school. The people who don’t really know, they just, they, they don’t, they don’t, they haven’t really read the books. They don’t really have any idea, but they, they’re annoying and think that this is what it means to be a good person. And their social circle depends on it and their professional life might depend on it. All kind of traits of a cult. Those people are victims of this cult. And so we must remember that and try to be as frustrating as they are in damaging as they can be. 

We have to have some level of compassion and always be trying to think if there are ways to try to rescue them from the cult that has captured them that we should be doing so. But Gnosticism is actually, and I don’t mean to overcomplicate anything, it’s a little bit of a complicated word because of its complex linguistic history. So you bring up the second century gnostic cult, I’ve actually kind of narrowed things down and thought about it. And I think there were actually four different meanings of the word Gnosticism. And that complicates things a little bit. So the gnostic cults of the first and second century, which were Christian gnostic cults are one of the four meanings. So I’ll bracket that and come back to it. I want to start with the word gnostic itself. If you look up the word gnostic, it tells you just the definitions. 

Just go to your favorite search engine, type in define gnostic and read, read a bunch of them different dictionaries, but they all kind of, they, they say different things, but they all kind of revolve around the same idea. Gnosticism as kind of a very general term, a very broad umbrella term means that you’ve determined or received, usually received secret hidden knowledge. Often it’s self-knowledge, knowledge about you, about the self that is salvific in its orientation. So there is hidden secret knowledge that saves you from the condition of being you or saves you from the condition of being human or saves you from the condition of living the life that you have to live. So this is a very broad definition and it can actually encompass a lot of different religious cults that have sprung up throughout history that are not going to mesh well with say, the second century, first and second century Christian Gnostics at all. 

In general though, it’s the belief that you have received absolute knowledge, which is not the same as faith. You know, you talk to the angel yourself kind of thing. You know, you have self-knowledge that can save you from the condition of your life. That’s basically Gnosticism at its broadest definition. Now, a slightly narrower definition is that there is actually this kind of almost cult religious structure around that belief that gets much more specific without necessarily latching onto the idea of say, Christianity or Judaism or whatever other or science scientism as we see in the modern era. And that is that the universe itself in life and the very nature of what it means to be, is in fact a prison. It’s a prison that traps people. We were born into the world. We never asked to be born into the world. We were born into a body. 

We were never asked to be born into the body. We were born into. Maybe I wanted to be a girl, maybe I wanted to be a little bit taller. I wanted to be a baller, six foot three, I would call her, you know, that kind of thing. We, we were, we were born and trapped into a world that’s not what we would want it to be. This is what Heidegger called Geworfenheit, which means flung this or thrownness of being. Heidegger was agnostic. And so he’s saying that we’ve been flung into this life, flung into this experience, and it maybe is miserable. Maybe it’s, we don’t like it. And more particularly the reason that things are the way that they are and what we have to save ourselves from. And what the secret allows us to do is that things were organized by some external power. 

Maybe it’s spiritual, maybe a demon, maybe it’s a deity of some kind. And if we understand that that thing is actually the constructor of our prison, the word that they used comes from the Greek, it’s demiurges in Greek, which means artisan or builder. They call it the demiurge that this demiurge has constructed a prison. Everything in existence is the prison meant to trap us. But if we know that and we live our, our lives the correct way, according to whatever that knowledge tells us, as secret gnosis tells us, then we can actually escape the cycle of suffering. We can, as that’s the Buddhist articulation of it. We can escape the prison of being. We can actually ascend spiritually and get out of our plight. It’s a very pessimistic view, though. There is no getting out in this life. There’s only preparing yourself spiritually to be ascended to the next life. 

That’s Gnosticism in a very broad sense, but a little bit tighter. A third definition is the gnostic cults. Those were Christian gnostic cults, very, very specifically. This belief is itself parasitic. It latches onto other mythologies. And one of the things that it did, and it created its entire own mythology on this, which actually precedes the Christian one, but borrowed from it. It’s in, it’s, it’s, it’s inherently, how is it, how’s it work? It’s inherently coming along and saying that thing that you guys believe. We believe that too, but we know it better than you. because we know the secret. We know the secret truth, we know the Bible code, we know whatever the secret truth is. And so it comes along before it gets all the way Christian, because this is pre-Christian and it says, Hey, look, you know that thing in Genesis where the snake comes and says, God has not said snake was telling the truth. 

So you know the creation story, but what you don’t know is that the deity presented in Genesis is in fact the demiurge. Through this other cosmology, this other creation story that we have where, where the undifferentiated one that is God splits into the thought which becomes immediately logic and wisdom or logos. And Sophia and Sophia decides in the female aspect to want to create and create, she does because she lives in the plural where things automatically come into being if you think them. So she creates the world, but it has to be made through a maker. And the maker is the demiurge. But the demiurge was created in sin because Sophia isn’t God and doesn’t have the power to create. So it was actually evil from its creation. So the Demiurge is an evil demon that traps all of creation and in in fact, especially the spirit of man, which is also the spirit of God in male in man form traps them into the being of the material world. 

And this is the secret knowledge that you have to learn to understand and overcome to, to get spiritual salvation from the, the prison of being, which is erected by the character called Yahweh in the Old Testament, or the God depicted in Genesis, who’s actually a demon. And then this gets way more specific in the first century and second century Christian cults where they start decoding like Jesus as the key to get out of it. And this is where you get things like the gospel of Thomas and, and this kind of very strange stuff. This is where you get the Manian cult, the Setian cult, the Valenti cult which got put down by Uranus. This is where I, there’s another one I, I don’t know, it’s all just made up stuff. Anyway, but this is where those kinds of those cults came from and laid out whole kind of sort of Christian sort of weird sort of sideways cosmologies and mythologies, which includes some very strange things like the, if you’ve read the Gospel of Thomas, it’s pretty alarming what it says like the, to that no woman will make it to heaven. 

And so except the women who want to can become like the brothers, so women who become men will go to heaven and all this kind of very odd stuff which is secret knowledge about how you’re supposed to interpret the scripture in order to understand, you know, how to be able to achieve salvation, which is what no is about in the first place. So you end up with this very broad definition that kind of narrows to something much more specific to something that gets extremely specific. And then it cobbles itself into under the name Gnosticism. And this is what most Christians recognize it as. And most people actually may recognize it as these specific cults that arose, especially the Valentinian cults that arose in the first and second century. maybe origin could be considered also agnostics, so-called church father heretic character. And so that, that’s a complicated thing because the word refers to four different things at the same time in different levels of specificity as to what’s being meant. 

I think that if we back up to just the level of the second definition where you have this kind of demiurge creator that’s organized a world into a prison and becoming aware of that, you can escape it. That’s where that level of belief got cobbled into the kind of emerging modern era by certain French and German philosophers like Rousseau and Hegel. Who laid out this kind of modern era Gnosticism, some of which became science as it matured 500 years later, but a lot of which became programs for social and political tyranny. And I think that what we’re looking at when we look at Mao or we look at Marx, or we look at Rousseau, or we look at any of these kind of characters in this long awful march that we’ve seen for the last 300 years, is Gnostics who have been pretending to be scientists, Gnostics who have been pretending to be political scientists in particular, or social scientists in specific. 

And I don’t think that were any different Rousseau’s most famous line perhaps if you had to ask somebody and they happen to know a quote from Jean-Jacques Rousseau is, man is born free and everywhere he’s in chains. That’s a gnostic sentiment. And what puts us in chains, it’s our commitment to civilized life. So the social constructions of civilized life chain us when we were actually meant to be born free. And how can we escape that with a secret knowledge that we actually are free and we can see that reflected in the savages. And if we could somehow recover the noble savage in ourselves, and you see the whole gnostic formulation, the secret knowledge, the lead to, to doing what you’re supposed to do, Marx called, called the Demiurge, the bourgeois the bourgeois class operates what’s, get rid of all the Gnosticism that bourgeois class operates to construct the rules of society, the values of society, such that it benefits and keeps everybody else in constant oppression. 

It’s a gnostic cult socialism is the name of the gnosis where whereby you realize your true nature, which is a species being. And when we all realize our true natures as species beings together, people or beings who put the species first, in other words become communists, then we liberate ourselves from the oppression of the class society that is structured by the bourgeois class in its demiurgic power. It’s simply a gnostic theory foisted onto economics and politics in the modern context, trying to get rid of all of those religious myths that the same mindset attached to in the first and second centuries. 


Hmm. It’s kind of complicated. At the same time as you’re giving this explanation, what’s popping into my mind is all these examples that make more sense when you look at Marxism and socialism or just woke through this lens. For example, anybody who’s on Twitter, if you say one derogatory thing about socialism, the actual socialist party here in the United States, which by the way is a real thing, will respond to you and claim that what you’re talking about isn’t real socialism, the real socialism hasn’t been tried, socialism hasn’t been done, right. That’s why it’s quote unquote never worked. And that makes sense if you look at it through this gnostic lens that only inner party leaders in the socialist gnostic cult have the secret knowledge of how to make it work. That you are not able to do that, but you will be liberated and saved if you latch onto this even though you don’t have secret knowledge. 

James Lindsay: 

Yeah, if everybody does their part, it’ll work, then that’s the only way it could possibly work, is if everybody’s still alive, buys in and does it. Because it’s also, it’s not just a cult. Some cults are, believe it or not, a little more benign than others. This is what’s called a totalizing cult. This is a cult that its belief structure is organized such that salvation occurs by everybody getting involved, everybody doing the right thing all the time. So every aspect of their life, their speech, their thought, their behavior, their association, their business, everything that they do has to be filtered through the lens of the cult doctrine. Whether it’s socialism, whether it’s anti-racism, whether it’s, you know, whatever anti-trans phobia would be called. I don’t know if they have a specific name for that queer theory, but, when everybody that’s still alive participates, it’ll work. But until then it doesn’t work. Because in a sense the demiurge just still contouring the way that we all experience reality. I hate to put it so bluntly, but actually this makes everything in the, the, like the woke, everything that Mao almost everything that Lennon did actually perfectly transparent. It makes it extremely easy to understand. 


Well think about cancel culture, for example. Like, think about, think about a classic cult, the may, maybe even cults that have been here in the United States that have been famous because the leaders end up, oh, shocker, being frauds and being violent. But every cult, the one of the hallmarks is that you’re not supposed to talk to family members who dissent. You’re not supposed to de debate. You’re not supposed to quote unquote share the message. You are supposed to cut people out without any discussion. This is true in Scientology, this is true in any, any cult that we’ve ever seen in the United States. That’s exactly what cancel culture is. It’s an unwillingness to talk to anybody who dissents, which is a hallmark of a cult. So I find this really interesting. I know this is, this is deep, this is very intellectual, this is very nerdy. Some people want, they want solutions. They say, okay, well you might be diagnosing the problem. How does that help with a solution? I want to hear your answer to that because to me, I don’t think we can fight well against a political enemy until we acknowledge and define the reality of what that enemy is. 

James Lindsay: 

I agree. In fact, that’s been a principle kind of axiom of my approach all along. There’s a polish proverb I stumbled upon many years ago. It is never attempt to cure that which you don’t understand. Kind of a medical proverb. And I think that that’s absolutely crucial. If you say were to get some kind of a disease, and you went to the doctor and you said, Hey doctor, I have some kind of a disease. And then the doctor doesn’t understand what you have, they’re probably going to misdiagnose you and they’re probably going to prescribe the wrong thing if they prescribe the wrong thing. Not only are you not going to get your problem cured, but you’re going to pick up what they call iatrogenic problems. In other words, doctor generated additional problems. And I forget what percentage of medical deaths or deaths in the United States are iatrogenic right now, but it’s a lot and it’s going to go up as medicine keeps going woke. 

But this is like you said, absolutely indicative of a cult. And if we don’t understand that what we’re dealing with is a cult, we’re going to misdiagnose the problem. We’re not going to address it correctly. We’re going to demonize people who are victims of the cult. We’re going to go to, say, businesses for example, who are caught up in this, not because they want to be, but because the logic of this has made it so they don’t have any other options and we’re going to put pressure on them to do something that they can’t do, which causes them to have to double down and, and, and set us up as an enemy. Because I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a situation where you’re just down or you’re really stressed out and then somebody comes in and they try to help you and you end up yelling at them because they’re actually just adding more pressure to you. 

But that happens a lot. And if you come at this the wrong way, you’re going to misdiagnose what’s going on and you’re going to react incorrectly. And in fact, the way this call often works is by generating for its believers and by people who are susceptible to become believers that, I mean, it casts kind of a spell almost to say, oh, the whole world is super racist. The whole world is super fascist outside of us. We’re the only people who are against fascism. We’re the only people who are against racism. People just want to say the N word, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We’ve heard all these excuses. There’s a rising tide of anti LGBTQ hate. They cast these kind of narrative spells out there and then they go find the evidence. And so if you don’t recognize that you’re working with a cult, you’re going to play into that what they call a dialectical trap or a dialectical game. 

You’re going to become the foil, you’re going to become the evidence of the problem. They claim to be the only diagnosis and solution to, rather than being able to sidestep their provocations or rather being able to rise above their provocations, or rather being able to figure out, holy crap, maybe we have a massive First Amendment violation in civil rights violation happening in schools, military government, institutions and workplaces, which are, are not carving out space for people to have their religious liberty protected with this obvious imposition by the employer of a religion or by the state of a religion, a cult religion. I know that a lot of people hesitate, they don’t want the word religion attached because they want religion to be something good, but there are wayward religions. I don’t think that we should carve out an exemption there that protects cults so that cults can’t be treated as the things that they are. 

What we have is massive, massive violations, which are also direct avenues to solutions to the problem to these problems and possibility not just to solve the problems institutionally and practically, but to circumvent the entire argument. Let’s say just hypothetically that the Supreme Court heard these arguments and a case landed before them where this judgment could be made, and they said, oh my gosh, woke is actually an even Marxism is actually a cult religion. We rule that it’s a religion. It meets the definitions of religion. So all of a sudden, the free exercise clause and the establishment clause apply. Not only do you get the massive institutional changes, not only do they have to stop teaching it in public schools, not only do they have to give accommodation in the workplaces in both directions, not only do they have to purge it out of the military in all of these public institutions, all of that has to happen like right away. 

Not only that, however, while massive exposure for lawsuits, but the culture shifts, the culture shifts immediately and says, wait a minute, wait a minute. You know, I maybe I’m Christian, maybe I’m not Christian, it doesn’t matter. But if somebody comes and proselytizes to me, I can say, you know what? I’m good on religion. I don’t, that happened to me at the grocery store the other day. This lady starts trying to talk me to come into her Bible study or whatever. And I’m just like, you know, I appreciate what you’re saying, but I don’t really, I’m good on religion, I don’t need this. But thank you. And you don’t feel weird telling somebody that except for the moment of social awkwardness. And they don’t usually feel weird accepting it right now. It’s being kind of ambiguously defined as social science and the true science and what you’re supposed to do to be a good person and just caring and being a decent person and being kind when people can see that it’s a cult. 

Even if that doesn’t happen at the level of Supreme Court jurisprudence, which would make it very obvious for, and, and, and not really debatable in a practical sense. But even if this, this narrative were to get out and become clear this, well, it’s not a narrative. It’s fact about it were to become clear. It becomes very easy for people. You know, I, I heard somebody say this the other day. Somebody said, what are your pronouns? And the reply was, I’m sorry, I’m not religious. and, you just, you can just be confident to reply in those ways. If you actually understand and believe that this is a cult religion, you’re going to see a woke person coming and doing woke things to you the same way you would see a Scientologist or you know, a member of some really weird moony cult or UFO cult or whatever coming and trying to convince you to join the cult and handover your daughter or whatever. 

That level of certainty and confidence to reject the advances of it shifts completely when we actually understand this thing for what it is. And solutions start to become very forthcoming. Lawsuits follow, again, if it goes to the point of First Amendment or even civil rights lawsuits, this is violating my religious liberty Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. I mean, there’s all kinds of legal architecture and sociocultural architecture in the United States, which was born out of religious freedom that rumbles into action. The moment people recognize this for what it is, plus, you know, who wants to be in a cult? Who wants to be in a cult? You know, you, you’re going to people who, who, who see it will back away from it. Outer school members who realize they’re participating in a cult in many cases will back off and will wake up from it. 

Inner school members probably will, not so often, but it’s a very effective thing to diagnose and speak about this as what it is now. A lot of people want solutions at work, you know, kind of like I just described, like, oh, we have this magic pill and you take this and everything’s going to be better on the other side and in two years we’ll all be back to normal. No, this thing is insinuated itself into a lot of institutions. I think that the establishment clause approach is a bit of a Hail Mary. It might work. It may actually be a bad idea. I don’t think it is. There are, I’ve thought through it a lot, but I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a First Amendment lawyer in particular. There might be some pitfalls in that direction. I’m not saying there’s not, but what the truth is, is especially if we don’t end up with a First Amendment law decision of that type is this is going to take 20 years. 

We’ve got a lot of minds to change. We have a lot of people who are in a cult who have to be deprogrammed. These people aren’t wrong. Your woke friend, your woke sister isn’t wrong. They’re not crazy. They’ve been indoctrinated into a cult. That’s a very, very different position to be in, to start having to unwind culturally to bring back to reality. In fact, to that is literally what you have to do is pull them back to reality out of this certain knowledge that this is how the world works and should work and can be made to work if we all participate and do our part. So it changes everything, but it’s not quick or easy. Unfortunately, and a lot of the quick and easy solutions being proffered are not realistic and may in fact just be part of that dialectical backfire that proves the point the woke are trying to make to the people who are susceptible to woke and thus increasing its power. 


See, I find this to be really energizing. I find this to be really encouraging. Not the idea that, oh, we won’t be able to, we won’t be able to vanquish this political enemy in the next year. Of course, we’d all like to be able to do that, but it’s obviously not realistic. The march through our institutions has been half a century in the making. It would be, it would be naive of us to think that we could turn that back just because a bunch of people were so-called red pilled in the past two years in Covid. You can’t undo everything. You can start, you can make good progress. You can, you can look at the world through a different lens and understand what’s going on and see these problems and start tackling them one by one. All that’s great. I’m not diminishing it, but it is unrealistic to think that we’re going to be able to reclaim and restore our institutions overnight. 

So I find this to be incredibly energizing. and I think that our viewers hopefully do as well. They should as well. There’s work for us to be done. But when we diagnose the problem correctly, when we acknowledge the reality of the political enemy we’re facing, then we can fight well against them. Then there is a real path to victory instead of just spinning our wheels. So thank you. Thank you Dr. Lindsay for sitting here, for having this conversation for, I always feel like I learned so much in these conversations. Really enjoy it. I know my audience does too, so thank you for being on the show today. 

James Lindsay: 

Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you for having me to talk about this. 


All right guys, make sure you subscribe so you never miss another episode. Thank you for watching today. Thank you for listening. I’m Liz Wheeler. This is the Liz Wheeler Show. 

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