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What system of ideas which you first encountered indirectly through artists you admired was the most disappointing when you got to actually know about it? For me it's Gnosticism.

Me, aged 21: Wow, Philip K Dick, Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Pynchon, Octavio Paz and Sonic Youth are all into the Gnostics, they must have been pretty cool

Actually-existing* Gnosticism:

A black-and-white line drawing of Abraxas, a Gnostic deity in the form of a man with a rooster's head and snakes for legs armed with a flail and a shield, saying nonsense syllables


* Yes, I know that the Gnostics were repressed by the early Church and that pretty much all of the sources we have about them are by their mortal enemies, and I don't care, I just spent five minutes tracking down that gibberish in the cartoon in my library and it still wasn't worth it.