“Domestic animals may be the bull and the donkey and other species. Others are wild and live in the deserts. A man plows the field with a domestic animal, and from the fruit of his labor he feeds himself and the animals, tame or wild. Compare the perfect human. Through submissive powers he plows and prepares for everything to come into being. So his world holds together, good or evil, the right and the left. The holy spirit shepherds everyone and rules all the powers, those tame and wild and running loose. He gathers them and shuts them in so, like it or not, they cannot escape.
“It is impossible to see anything in the real realm unless you become it. Not so in the world. You see the sun without being the sun, see sky and earth but are not them. This is the truth of the world. In the other truth you are what you see. If you see spirit, you are spirit. If you look at the anointed, you are the anointed. If you see the father, you will be father. In this world you see everything but yourself, but there, you look at yourself and are what you see.” ~Gospel of Philip
It is interesting that in the time of Philip and the other Apostles, the phrase “domestic animals” is assumed to mean bulls, donkeys, and probably oxen. Today we would immediately think of dogs, cats, and other pets when talking about domestic animals. Perhaps a more accurate name for what Philip means is working animals. That would include animals that pull plows or carry heavy loads. Today, it would also include service dogs that have been trained to help humans or other animals that are handicapped. Philip says that when we plow a field with the aid of domestic animals, we get food for them as well as for ourselves. In some cases that is true in a very direct sense, but in others, it is true only indirectly. If the domestic animals are herbivores, they may eat some of the plants the farmer grows. If the animal is more of a meat-eater, it will be fed off meat that the farmer gets by buying it or trading produce for it. That is an indirect example. As for Man himself being a domestic animal, we will get to that later.
It seems that to Philip, animals are either domestic work animals, or wild ones, but some animals are tame, yet not working animals. At least they don’t do work for man. What I would think of as wild animals doesn’t include the tame ones that are not working animals. Only those that avoid humans, and live on their own are truly wild. Yet even they may have to rely on man occasionally. We have all seen the pictures and videos of animals being rescued and treated for burns from the major wildfires in Australia a while ago. And there are the videos of one or more humans helping a wild animal that has fallen through ice on a lake, or giving water to a wild animal during a drought. So it seems wildness can be pushed aside in case of emergency.
Domestic and Perfect Man
Philip seems to think that domestic man and the perfect man are the same things, at least that is how I read it. While in one sense, that is true, in another sense, it isn’t. On the physical level, in the materialistic, capitalistic world of today, domestic man would be the one who faithfully does his job as well as he can even though he hates the job and doesn’t get paid what he should get for doing it. He doesn’t complain about such things. He consumes and consumes just as he is taught. He follows all the rules of the country, state, and city he lives in. That is one type of domestic man, but he is not the perfect man. The perfect man is domesticated in the sense that he develops his spiritual self following the long-established methods and rules of the spiritual masters. He doesn’t innovate. He doesn’t pick and choose which teaching to follow and which to ignore. He may get nowhere in the physical world, but he will go far in developing his spiritual self so that he may continue on into the spiritual world after his physical life has ended.
Seeing the Real
As Philip says is the second part of the quote, it is impossible to see the real unless you become the real. What he is talking about here is spiritual development and knowledge of the spiritual world. There are many people who form theories of what it is like in the realm of spirits. Many fantasies of reuniting with people and pets from the past, as if Heaven is nothing more than a ghostly version of Earth. But that perfect man, that domestic man of the spiritual sort awakens his spirit and soul. He is, through those faculties, able to not just speculate about the spiritual but to become one with it, even if only occasionally. So the perfect domestic man is wise and knowledgeable.