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9981Re: First Line of Questions, Gavin's retort

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  • pmcvflag
    Aug 8, 2004
      Hehe, the thought of making Frued twitch a bit is not wholely
      unpleasurable, though I do also think sometimes people are a bit hard
      on him out of personal distaste rather than critical thinking. Still,
      the fact he considerd himself a "scientist" comes (in my view) from a
      misunderstanding he had of what "Science" actually is. And that is
      really to our point as well, in that I believe the majority of people
      interested in "Gnosticism" have an equal misunderstanding of just
      what that is in the traditional meaning of the term.

      Well it seems we found a good analogy then. I was tempted to go on
      and postulate the important difference between psychology and
      psychiatry, but I think perhaps it is simple enough to point out then
      that we agree that from the view of that branch of philosophy known
      as "Scientific Methodology", psychology is not technically a "pure
      science".... but then niether are history or hermeneutics so we
      should not feel this devalues our attempt to apply scientific method
      to something that isn't a scientific field.

      Ok, so now from that agreement we can procede to a very important
      point you make....

      >>>"Right, we are not on either extreem - not empiricism but not
      quite metaphysics, either. Unfortunately inbetween those two
      polarities there is a lot of room for maneuver and, despite your
      examples that followed the above quote, I'm not quite sure where
      Gnosis would fit in the psychology-scale metaphor."<<<

      Let me be the first to throw a wrench into the works of my own
      arguement in pointing out something that you were gracious enough to
      skirt around. Not only is there the question you point out about just
      where in the spectrum "Gnosticism" fits (though perhaps we should be
      talking about specific forms of Gnosticism just as we did
      for "psychology"), but I will concede from the start that part of the
      question must first be dealt with from an observation outside
      Gnosticism by way of our interperative method.... hermeneutics.

      Just where Gnosticism fits in this question depends on how you
      understand the Gnostic texts. While I disagree with Elmoreb's
      statement that "Irrational numbers, infinity, zero, nonlinear
      equations are all thoerical with no hard proof.", I do take his
      point. What I mean is... Pi is an irrational number, but it is
      something we demonstrate on a physical level, but when we do start
      building up past a certain level of demonstratability then we have to
      be careful. Sometimes theories fall, while other times theories
      eventually start finding evidence... such as the new uses being found
      for Set Theory. In Gnosticism we would be looking at desired effects
      as well as philosophical demonstrations (logical proofs) to deal with
      this question.

      This brings up some questions, I think....

      1) Does Gnosticism have goals
      2) Are the validity of these goals demonstratable
      3) Is there a methodology forwarded for the attainment of these goals
      4) Is that methodology something that can be repeated to attain
      similar effects in multiple situations

      Well, actually those questions are a bit overly basic, and I had a
      few more to add.... but I want to deal with the point in small pieces.

      What do you all think?

      PMCV

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gavin Riggott" <wu@n...> wrote:
      > PMCV,
      >
      > I had to let this one sit for a few days before I could reply.
      >
      > > Let me try an analogy that is perhaps more to the point. In most
      > > peoples mind we see "psychology" from the lense of particular
      shools.
      > > I will be the first to admit that in the over all spectrum,
      > > psychology is not a pure science. However, let me point out that
      > > there are subdivisions within the grouping, and some are more
      > > scientific than others.
      >
      > Ah ha! I'm half-way through a psychology degree, so this is an
      analogy I
      > can follow more easily than Newtonian examples...
      >
      > > Few people would debate the fact that Frued's
      > > methodology was flawed. On the other hand, Skinner was much more
      the
      > > true scientist. Psychology is a misture of fields that is
      sometimes
      > > science, sometimes good speculation, and sometimes fraud.
      >
      > Grandfather Freud would probably be very, very angry if he heard
      you say
      > that he isn't a true scientist! Freud honestly considered himself
      to be
      > scientific - his theory was essentially a psychological expansion of
      > Dawinian evolutionary theory. I understand exactly what you mean
      though. A
      > more apropriate term to describe the aproach of Skinner and his
      fellow
      > behaviourists might be "empiricistic psychology."
      >
      > > I will be the first to say that we should not psychologicize
      > > Gnosticism, and even our Jung fans here have been in agreement
      with
      > > that, so don't take what I am saying at face value. Since there
      are
      > > sections of Psychology that are more or less "scientific", there
      are
      > > sections that could be seen as more or less objective or
      subjective.
      >
      > Well... this is where it gets tricky. There are certainly many
      areas of
      > psychology that are not empiricistic, but its a gradual scale. For
      instance
      > experimental social psychology uses statistical and objective
      methods, but
      > its subject nature is such that it can't quite be reduced to
      empirical terms
      > and observations. Further along the scale, we get things like
      social
      > identity theories and the various personal therapies (Rogers'
      humanistic
      > psychology and psychoanalysis, etc.). These definately have a
      subjective
      > emphasis, but they are (hopefully) based an observation, and can be
      > critisised on whether or not the data conform to the observations
      of other
      > psychologists and thereapists. Even further along, we go into the
      blury
      > domain of transpersonal psychology (Jung, Ken Wilber, etc.). This
      is where
      > the basis of the theories is not only observation, but also
      philosophy,
      > spirituality and metaphysics.
      >
      > I brought that up because...
      >
      > > When we bring this down to the attainment of "Gnosis", I think we
      are
      > > on middle ground in the original texts. That is to say, we are not
      > > quite on such specific grounds as "2+2=4" but neither are we on
      the
      > > level of " what is truth".
      >
      > Right, we are not on either extreem - not empiricism but not quite
      > metaphysics, either. Unfortunately inbetween those two polarities
      there is
      > a lot of room for maneuver and, despite your examples that followed
      the
      > above quote, I'm not quite sure where Gnosis would fit in the
      > psychology-scale metaphor.
      >
      > > Let me put this another way. Gnostics had specific formulas for
      > > what "Gnosis" is, as well as how to attain it. Rituals may have
      > > differed, but the function and outline of Gnosis was agreed
      (which is
      > > why we group them together).
      >
      > So the rituals/formulas for testing Gnosis are neither totally
      objective nor
      > totally subjecttive, but _somewhere_ inbetween. I think I could
      use some
      > clarification on this.
      >
      > Looks like we are getting there. Slowly.
      >
      >
      >
      > Gavin Riggott
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