Some of my best friends are Gnostics, and this, mutatis mutandis, works for any initiatory path, I think. I think I'm personally still working through stage 3. You do have to make compromises with the Prince of This World to be able to survive in this world long enough to change this world. Perhaps the most important thing - which I don't think I ever truly understood until a couple of days ago - is that the game cannot corrupt you if you remember that it's a game.
I, personally, a long time ago (perhaps age 6) started playing a game called PRIDE/SHAME. The object of the game is to see whether you can get everyone in the world to give you uncritically positive attention. This is a game that any human is designed to lose, but playing the game is a way to be able to participate in the world if you're convinced that what you really are is worthless and rejected by God and everything on the earth. And I played the game for so long I thought it was my personality. I still do if I don't keep up my work of "remembering". It's an addiction and it's like sleepwalking at the same time. It's so much easier.