Gnosticism, and ancient spiritual philosophy, is making a resurgence; even to the point of the popularization of ancient gnostic texts. Now ancient gnosticism was characterized by several defining emphases: a disgust of the material world and the eschewing of physical pleasure; a belief in esoteric wisdom (hence the name); a commitment to the inner spark of divinity of some human beings; and the goal of escaping from the prison of the material world through the pursuit of that inner spark and ascetic practices.
Contemporary Western gnostics have (in true Western form) taken bits and pieces of the ancient forms, and used them to suit their own purposes... Contemporary gnostics are attracted primarily to the concept of inner divinity, but of course, they democratize it; each human carries the spark of divinity, unlike the ancient beliefs. Wisdom remains esoteric and otherworldly to the contemporary gnostic, but the asceticism of the ancient way is rejected for a hedonistic pursuit. In short, contemporary gnosticism has bastardized the old; where the old was the renunciation of desire, the new has become the unshackling and divinizing of personal desire.
No where is this contemporary gnostic impulse better displayed than in 'The Secret.' A popular book, concept, teaching, film, movement.
The following two video clips highlight this for us: