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6568Re: Evolution

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  • lady_caritas
    Sep 9, 2002
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      Corax, you make an interesting point that there doesn't seem to be
      any evidence that humanity is spiritually "evolving" as a whole. It
      seems that although Gnosis appears as a type of knowledge shared by
      humans and can be traced to historical surroundings, Gnosis remains
      an individual experience even within a setting.

      Gerry, your childhood experience was wonderful. What a precocious
      child you were to attribute an altruistic action to an inner
      revelation instead of the result of an outside, interfering force.
      Your experience brings to mind Will's comment (Post #6564), "The
      question, as I see Corax as putting it, is between whether there is a
      spirituality that brings us to this point or whether, in coming to
      this point, we encounter a spirituality engendered by our coming to
      this point. I would think our capability of that meta-awareness would
      account for what we discern as the spiritual, regardless of how we
      came to it; as a given or as evolved."

      At this point, I'd like to discuss the word "evolved" some more.
      Some of us do agree that spiritual "evolution" does not work in the
      sense of being "a product of a spectrum of process starting with
      inorganic materials combining to create simple lifeforms, which then
      culminate with man and his mental abilities which then beget spirit."
      (Corax, #6556) Mental abilities involved in begetting spirit might
      lead one to believe that "spirit" is not truly pneuma but rather some
      abstract mental construct of a psychic variety.

      Even though I would personally choose not to use the word "evolve"
      because of scientific connotations, another way of looking
      at "evolved," however, might be to consider evolution in the sense of
      unfolding, revealing, "unrolling." (See etymology:
      http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary ). Oftentimes Gnostics will
      describe Gnosis within our temporal world perceived as a *process* of
      acquaintance even once Gnosis is recognized. IOW, Gerry describes
      his early childhood experience of realizing inner revelation as very
      natural, but that his understanding (and sense of self) did
      eventually change in relation to the context of science vs. religion
      in our flawed world. So, would Gnosis then involve a "given" that
      becomes realized or revealed as a process in our temporal world?
      And, would this "given" be a given because we already have an Object
      we expect to become acquainted with or is it a "given" that is
      inherent that we may not be aware of (through ignorance) but
      eventually discover?

      Will goes on to say,
      "I see no way of ascertaining which it is. If the faculty of
      imagination derives from the given, then the given will verify itself
      through the image, which, if I have not thoroughly bollixed it up, is
      the Gnostic position. If, however, the faculty of imagination derives
      from evolution, then the former is only imagined. IMO, it is the
      latter, and Gnosis refers to coming to understand the role of
      imagination in self-awareness: remove the image of the self and that
      which remains leaves us exactly where we are; in the presence of
      being. As I said, I can see no way of ascertaining which, if either,
      is correct, and since that "which" cannot be decided, neither is
      adequate for becoming other than a belief system."

      It seems to me that Will is analyzing this from a cognitive
      perspective. Imagination is still within the mental container, is it
      not? And, yes, it is necessary. However, it seems to me that Gnosis
      is not derived solely from mental abstractions, but is also
      experienced through revelation. Gnosis is not a mystical experience
      as such, although this can play a role in the "process" of
      acquaintance.

      Will says, "I see no way of ascertaining which it is." I'm not sure
      that Gnosis is at all about being subject to proof, other than
      evidence displaying what it *does* vs. what it *is*. Does the
      concept of a "belief" system seem antithetical to the Gnosis?

      I suppose this brings up a question. Both of Willy's scenarios might
      result in a shift in sense of self. Both might apply
      this "knowledge" in a practical sense in this world. Both would
      recognize the flaw of the "demiurge." But one "leaves us exactly
      where we are; in the presence of being." The other would also
      recognize something greater than "being." Can both be indicative of
      Gnosis? Willy, are you suggesting there could be a pneuma without an
      Objective Infinite?

      Cari
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