In modern usage "hylic" refers to anything that is slanted toward the thought of any illusory concept, or that which gives an unbalanced view of life. It does not just refer to things slanted toward materialistic pursuits but to anything that is out of order with the rhythm of nature. Nature, in this context, refers to anything that is in harmony with the Divine Law, the Living Word. It is the One Law of the Cosmos and covers all bases Spiritually, Mentally and Physically.

Modern usage also defines matter as not necessarily being that which is seen, felt or tasted. Quantum Physics defines matter much differently than did Newton or the old Gnostics, So hylic would not fit into the old Gnostic ideas in this modern age.

Hylic (from Greek ύλη (hylē) "matter") is the opposite of psychic (from Greek ψυχή (psychē) "soul").

In the gnostic view, hylics, also called Somatics (from Gk σώμα (sōma) "body"), were the lowest order of the three types of human. The other two were the psychics and the pneumatics (from Gk πνεύμα (pneuma) "spirit, breath"). So humanity comprised matter-bound beings, matter-dwelling spirits and the matter-free or immaterial, souls.

Somatics were deemed completely bound to matter. Matter, the material world, was seen as "evil" in the gnostic world view. The material world was created by a demiurge, in some instances a blind, mad God, in others an army of rebellious angels as a trap for the spiritual Ennoia. The duty of (spiritual) man was to escape the material world by the aid of the hidden knowledge (gnosis)[1].

Somatics were human in form, but since their entire focus was on the material world, such as eating, sleeping, mating, creature comforts, they were seen as doomed. The pneumatic saw himself as escaping the doom of the material world via the secret knowledge. Somatics were thought to be incapable of understanding.

For consideration of these dynamics see for example, The Gospel of Judas, believed to be a gnostic text, where Jesus is posited as a Pneumatic and the other disciples, non-gnostics, as Somatics.

  1. Freke, Timothy (2001). Jesus and the Lost Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 9781400045945. 

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