While I am happy to see Sophiology reaching a wider audience over the last few years (and David Bentley Hart’s sophiological sensibilities are definitely exposed in his new book, Roland in Moonlight) I am nevertheless concerned that it is often an intellectual exercise with which some become fascinated or intrigued at the expense of the engagement with the Real which is the true core of Sophiology. That engagement, as I have said many times, resides in an agapeic attention to the Creation and the simultaneous shining of Divinity through Creation. Sophia is the name of that shining; she is the metaxu who occupies the threshold.
This agapeic engagement is not realized in isolation, however, even though a contemplative disposition allows one access to the sophianic. The sophianic is realized in diversity, in engagement, and in interaction: with the natural world—with the diversity of plants, animals, and other human beings—as well as in the panoply found in the more purely spiritual worlds of ideas and concepts. The sophianic can be experienced in agapeic engagement with the world, the cosmos, even if one has never heard of Sophia or Sophiology. I would even go as far as to suggest that the vast panorama of religions and spiritual traditions all touch on this reality in various dimensions, though I would hesitate to suggest that dogmas or theological propositions do much to foster such insights. This is why traditions as diverse as the cult of the Great Mother of late-antiquity (delightfully and fancifully illustrated in Apuleius’s The Golden Ass), Sufism, Hinduism, the Kabbalah, and, of course, Christianity have often come to sophianic insights quite naturally and spontaneously—and before turning to theologies or available religious or philosophical vocabularies to find a language for making sense of the experience. That is, the experience of the sophianic comes first, while the intellectual grasping to explain or understand comes afterwards. I’m sure the reverse can be true—that one comes upon sophiological discourse and begins to appreciate it, and then looks for it in the Creation; but without the experience of the sophianic in Creation, the appreciation for it as an intellectual stream becomes arid and sterile—just like any other conceptual framework—and becomes idolatry if it is not discarded in its entirety out of a sort of spiritual ennui or atrophy.
Sophiology, that is, is practical. This is why my wife and I are involved with biodynamic farming. Nothing is more real than dealing with Natura on her own terms—without the mechanistic and dogmatic commitments of domination and colonization that so characterize much of conventional agriculture and reach their apotheosis in the marriage of BigAg to BigTech.
For these (and other) reasons, I have for a long time been a great supporter of Indian bioactivist Vandana Shiva, who since the 1980s has fought against the encroachments of BigAg in Indian farming, and which she has since turned into a worldwide movement. Shiva holds a doctorate in quantum physics, ideas of which still inform her work, upholding as they do “the non-separation and the potential” and which she believes “will get the mechanistic thinking out of the world.” She extends this commitment to include civil disobedience, the moment for which, in the context of farming, has more than arrived.
I caught Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s recent interview with Shiva (as far as I’m concerned, both of them are practically saints). The main topic of their interview was Bill Gates and his ventures into agriculture—which are part and parcel of his interventions into “health” and medicine—and which are nothing less than diabolical in their implications.
Gates, as you’ve probably heard, in addition to his role as primary funder of the WHO and as a proponent of vaccines, vaccine mandates, and vaccine passports (even though his investment portfolios are rank with conflicts of interest through his investments in these technologies), has moved into farming—gobbling up farmland at a gluttonous rate, investing large amounts of capital in the production of synthetic meat, and pushing GMO seed on the world. He wants control over them. GMO seed is patented, and Gates is avidly gaining control of seedbanks across the globe. As Shiva argues, Gates is “turning the land into a portfolio, the biodiversity into a portfolio, and thinking it’s some smart economics.” In addition, Gates is also investing in the Google company Alphabet to develop robotic farm workers designed to replace human farmers. This is why Shiva is calling for civil disobedience: “let us do a civil disobedience against force feeding of bad food. Whether it be lab food, like Impossible Burger, or golden rice, because he’s preparing for biofortification to be made compulsory. And we’ve seen how he can make things compulsory.” This man is no friend of humanity. “Bill Gates, keeps talking about innovation, all he’s doing is colonization.” And not only are farms being colonized, so are bodies. Our bodies.
And we’re being colonized with the full cooperation of the political class, for the most part.
Gates has money, and politicians—not to mention NGOs, universities, and other institutions—have an addiction to it. Thoreau describes our current situation with great alacrity in Civil Disobedience:
“The mass of men serve the state thus, not as men mainly, but as machines, with their bodies. They are the standing army, and the militia, jailers, constables, posse comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgement or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others—as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and office-holders—serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending it, as God. A very few—as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men—serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.”
So don’t let Sophiology be a purely theoretical exercise of spiritual self-pleasuring. Do something. Engage the world. Don’t hide in your Covid bunker. Don’t fill your body with poisons, whether ingested or injected. Fight for biodiversity. Join an organic or biodynamic CSA. Start an organic garden. Choose life.
Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: The Garden.