- Sep 9, 2002Corax, 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
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
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
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