Abstract

Abstract:

Judging by its popularity among writers, readers, and critical commentators, The Invisibles may be the comic book series that firmly established Grant Morrison as the most visible face of the sub-genre of the intellectual and philosophical comic book. While several religious and mystical traditions—including Buddhism, Hinduism, Aztec religions, and Kabbalah—combine to shape the terrain of conflict in the series, it is arguably Gnosticism that plays the primary role. The Invisibles operate invisibly by concealing themselves from their enemies: the demigod "Archons" who rule the materialistic and spiritually deficient universe and their minions among the human elites. Invisibility also characterizes the Gnostic divine realm known as the Pleroma, which can only be accessed through the hidden resources of the human spirit. Crucially, the narrative suggests that the marginal social positions occupied by the majority of the protagonists render these protagonists ideal as vehicles for the transmission of the knowledge and power of the Pleroma in the fallen human world. In The Invisibles, the cultural, economic, and political dimensions of social oppression unfold through and alongside a scenario that is central to Gnostic soteriology; humans who aspire to spiritual liberation must challenge the rule of the formidable Archons, who thrive by enslaving human consciousness within the spacetime matrix they control. In this article, I argue that, while meshing the Manichean dualities of Gnostic cosmology with the quotidian binaries of human life, The Invisibles subjects all dualities to an irenic synthesis; in the fullness of, and beyond, time, the struggles between normative and marginal, materialistic and spiritual, and darkness and light drive the Self to absorb and transform into value all of the horrors that seem to negate its worth. The Invisibles suggests that this challenging form of gnosis is the only way for the Self to attain to its greater Gnostic Selfhood.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1703-289X
Print ISSN
1703-289X
Pages
pp. 139-152
Launched on MUSE
2019-09-19
Open Access
No
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