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Re: Apophatic Theology

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  • Mike Leavitt
    Hello pmcvflag ... Frankly I go back and forth between thinking these kind of distinctions about infinity are meaningless, and thinking they are a great
    Message 1 of 23 , Jan 15, 2005
      Hello pmcvflag

      On 01/15/05, you wrote:

      >
      >
      > Over in George's club we have recently been talking about the
      > particular brand of apophatic theology that some traditional Gnostic
      > texts attempt to deal with. For those who are new to this, and may
      > not know what I am talking about, an "apophatic theology" is in this
      > case a concept of infinity that is so absolute that it cannot be
      > described, and is only attempted by describing what something is
      > NOT.... that is to say, it is talked about via negative attributes.
      >
      > I would like to open that subject to this group as well by asking a
      > few questions..
      >
      > There are actually a few types of infinity, do you feel that this
      > absolute form of infinity has any function that makes it worth our
      > time to consider in our spiritual growth?
      >
      > If so, what do you think about the other forms of spirituality that
      > don't go quite so far, but instead stick to more common
      > understandings of "infinity" and equate thier "God" with that
      > infinity?
      >
      > How do you personally feel concerning the equation of "spirit" with
      > one of these infinities? I mean, which do you think is the
      > Gnostic "Spirit"?
      >
      > Do you have any personal Gnostic texts that you feel deal with this
      > subject in a way you like?
      >
      > PMCV

      Frankly I go back and forth between thinking these kind of
      distinctions about infinity are meaningless, and thinking they are a
      great exercise to lift the mind from the mundane to the meaningful.
      A good example is Plotinus One. Because it is one and only one it
      does not exist, while the Unknown Father is not even one. How
      meaningful is this kind of distinction? That makes the Unknown
      Father One less a platonic idea(l) of One. Is it nothing, no that is
      a Platonic Idea(l) too, so it can't be that either. HeHe. :-) ;-)
      As usual the Gospel of Truth is probably my favorite text.

      Regards
      --
      Mike Leavitt ac998@...
    • pmcvflag
      Hey Mike.... ... distinctions about infinity are meaningless, and thinking they are a great exercise to lift the mind from the mundane to the meaningful. A
      Message 2 of 23 , Jan 15, 2005
        Hey Mike....

        >>"Frankly I go back and forth between thinking these kind of
        distinctions about infinity are meaningless, and thinking they are a
        great exercise to lift the mind from the mundane to the meaningful.
        A good example is Plotinus One. Because it is one and only one it
        does not exist, while the Unknown Father is not even one. How
        meaningful is this kind of distinction? That makes the Unknown
        Father One less a platonic idea(l) of One. Is it nothing, no that is
        a Platonic Idea(l) too, so it can't be that either. HeHe. :-) ;-)
        As usual the Gospel of Truth is probably my favorite text."<<

        Plotinus is one that came up in the other conversation as well, but
        let me take it back a little further...... Plato.

        As we know, Plato's unmoved mover is in no way this sort of infinite
        thing. Plato simply does not speculate that far. Platonists like
        Celsus accuse these "Christians" of misunderstanding Platonic
        thought. Do you think the historical Gnostics saw this as a
        destinction? Were they confused or did they knowingly take these
        ideas into new realms? Do you think this speculation was important
        to them?

        I know we all talked before about the forms of infinity (and even
        how Cantor's Set Theory had something in common with these esoteric
        outlines). But it always strikes me how many people really resist
        the implications of this notion of absolute indescribability. And
        yet, the Gnostic texts attempt it.... why?

        PMCV
      • Mike Leavitt
        Hello pmcvflag ... In taking Plotinus One back further to not even One, the Gnostics were trying to present ultimate reality, and to make you think. IMO at
        Message 3 of 23 , Jan 16, 2005
          Hello pmcvflag

          On 01/16/05, you wrote:


          > I know we all talked before about the forms of infinity (and even
          > how Cantor's Set Theory had something in common with these esoteric
          > outlines). But it always strikes me how many people really resist
          > the implications of this notion of absolute indescribability. And
          > yet, the Gnostic texts attempt it.... why?

          In taking Plotinus One back further to not even One, the Gnostics were
          trying to present ultimate reality, and to make you think. IMO at
          least. The hope being this would lead to greater revelation. As I
          said before though, I am not so sure how really useful all of this
          was or is.

          Regards
          --
          Mike Leavitt ac998@...
        • lady_caritas
          ... esoteric ... were ... One upshot, Mike, is that it forces me to accept personal responsibility for some things, since an infinite ultimate reality,
          Message 4 of 23 , Jan 16, 2005
            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
            > Hello pmcvflag
            >
            > On 01/16/05, you wrote:
            >
            >
            > > I know we all talked before about the forms of infinity (and even
            > > how Cantor's Set Theory had something in common with these
            esoteric
            > > outlines). But it always strikes me how many people really resist
            > > the implications of this notion of absolute indescribability. And
            > > yet, the Gnostic texts attempt it.... why?
            >
            > In taking Plotinus One back further to not even One, the Gnostics
            were
            > trying to present ultimate reality, and to make you think. IMO at
            > least. The hope being this would lead to greater revelation. As I
            > said before though, I am not so sure how really useful all of this
            > was or is.
            >
            > Regards
            > --
            > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


            One upshot, Mike, is that it forces me to accept personal
            responsibility for some things, since an infinite ultimate
            reality, "absolute indescribability," is a far cry from a literal,
            anthropomorphic being to hold my hand. And, literally or
            figuratively, I really don't want to count on blind faith in a flawed
            demiurge to solve all my problems. *ahem*


            Cari
          • Mike Leavitt
            Hello lady_caritas ... Good point, it s just how far you take this, Plotinus One would have the same effect, I would think. Regards -- Mike Leavitt
            Message 5 of 23 , Jan 16, 2005
              Hello lady_caritas

              On 01/16/05, you wrote:

              >
              >
              > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
              >> Hello pmcvflag
              >>
              >> On 01/16/05, you wrote:
              >>
              >>
              >> I know we all talked before about the forms of infinity (and even
              >> how Cantor's Set Theory had something in common with these
              > esoteric
              >> > outlines). But it always strikes me how many people really resist
              >> > the implications of this notion of absolute indescribability. And
              >> > yet, the Gnostic texts attempt it.... why?
              >>
              >> In taking Plotinus One back further to not even One, the Gnostics
              > were
              >> trying to present ultimate reality, and to make you think. IMO at
              >> least. The hope being this would lead to greater revelation. As I
              >> said before though, I am not so sure how really useful all of this
              >> was or is.
              >>
              >> Regards
              >> --
              >> Mike Leavitt ac998@l...
              >
              >
              > One upshot, Mike, is that it forces me to accept personal
              > responsibility for some things, since an infinite ultimate reality,
              > "absolute indescribability," is a far cry from a literal,
              > anthropomorphic being to hold my hand. And, literally or
              > figuratively, I really don't want to count on blind faith in a
              > flawed demiurge to solve all my problems. *ahem*
              >
              >
              > Cari

              Good point, it's just how far you take this, Plotinus One would have
              the same effect, I would think.

              Regards
              --
              Mike Leavitt ac998@...
            • pmcvflag
              ... flawed ... Great point, Lady Cari. I think another thing I have noticed that is actually related to what you have noticed (in that it is a move away from
              Message 6 of 23 , Jan 16, 2005
                > One upshot, Mike, is that it forces me to accept personal
                > responsibility for some things, since an infinite ultimate
                > reality, "absolute indescribability," is a far cry from a literal,
                > anthropomorphic being to hold my hand. And, literally or
                > figuratively, I really don't want to count on blind faith in a
                flawed
                > demiurge to solve all my problems. *ahem*
                >
                >
                > Cari


                Great point, Lady Cari. I think another thing I have noticed that is
                actually related to what you have noticed (in that it is a move away
                from materialistic "spirituality") is that the apophatic speculation
                pushes the bar up a few notches concerning just how far the material
                extends into most concepts of spirituality.

                I mean, even those who think they are beyond nathropomorphic ideas
                of deity often still think of spirituality in very egocentric terms.
                People generally still believe that the spirit is a personal
                function, subjective and interpretive. Sometimes that is about
                floating in astral realms, or psychological growth, etc.. Or, as we
                all know there are many who feel that the mystical experience is THE
                definitive process of spirituality. I can think of few concepts that
                really challenge a person to look beyond these things.

                Of course, the fact that modern science is conceptualizing in a
                direction that points to these notions of a beyond conceptualization
                removes an element of pistic doctrin and I sure that would have been
                an attraction to the historical Gnostics considering the respect
                that most of these people had for the scientific thinking of their
                time... but I think the logical aspect and the effect on thinking
                itself might have been more important. The logic involved seems
                practically incontrovertaible, so what better way to evoke the
                Logos? *lol* :)

                PMCV
              • lady_caritas
                ... literal, ... is ... away ... speculation ... material ... terms. ... THE ... that ... conceptualization ... been ... Well, yes. It s possible that there
                Message 7 of 23 , Jan 16, 2005
                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > > One upshot, Mike, is that it forces me to accept personal
                  > > responsibility for some things, since an infinite ultimate
                  > > reality, "absolute indescribability," is a far cry from a
                  literal,
                  > > anthropomorphic being to hold my hand. And, literally or
                  > > figuratively, I really don't want to count on blind faith in a
                  > flawed
                  > > demiurge to solve all my problems. *ahem*
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Cari
                  >
                  >
                  > Great point, Lady Cari. I think another thing I have noticed that
                  is
                  > actually related to what you have noticed (in that it is a move
                  away
                  > from materialistic "spirituality") is that the apophatic
                  speculation
                  > pushes the bar up a few notches concerning just how far the
                  material
                  > extends into most concepts of spirituality.
                  >
                  > I mean, even those who think they are beyond nathropomorphic ideas
                  > of deity often still think of spirituality in very egocentric
                  terms.
                  > People generally still believe that the spirit is a personal
                  > function, subjective and interpretive. Sometimes that is about
                  > floating in astral realms, or psychological growth, etc.. Or, as we
                  > all know there are many who feel that the mystical experience is
                  THE
                  > definitive process of spirituality. I can think of few concepts
                  that
                  > really challenge a person to look beyond these things.
                  >
                  > Of course, the fact that modern science is conceptualizing in a
                  > direction that points to these notions of a beyond
                  conceptualization
                  > removes an element of pistic doctrin and I sure that would have
                  been
                  > an attraction to the historical Gnostics considering the respect
                  > that most of these people had for the scientific thinking of their
                  > time... but I think the logical aspect and the effect on thinking
                  > itself might have been more important. The logic involved seems
                  > practically incontrovertaible, so what better way to evoke the
                  > Logos? *lol* :)
                  >
                  > PMCV


                  Well, yes. It's possible that there could oftentimes be a perception
                  of a god of some sort dependent on the needs of the person involved.
                  It *does* become very personal. Some might conjure up a father or
                  mother figure. Others might push limits, sending a deity way out
                  into eternity, ending up with a disinterested, non-interfering,
                  deistic type of god. Also, there are some people who
                  consider "notions of a beyond conceptualization" that you mention who
                  nonetheless retain a materialistic worldview. In their minds, this
                  unknown is a material unknown. Others might ask how then one can
                  know this unknown is only material.

                  I would imagine considering an absolute ineffability outside of
                  temporal concepts of eternity could be scary for lots of people...
                  because when you do, there is no footing, no familiar grounding.
                  Preconceptions are continually being discovered and tested.
                  Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way even when the going gets
                  rough because any other path would be fake and a copout for me. Even
                  apophatic theology in relation to trying to understand the gods of
                  various religions doesn't go far enough for me. It's not the same as
                  the ultimately absolute apophatic concept of the Gnostics. By
                  allowing for the unknowable absolute (in both thinking and
                  nonthinking mode), I discover things about myself that might be
                  uncomfortable but in turn end up contributing to my journey to
                  wholeness while I'm here on earth. I just can't help but be
                  practical in that way. ;-)


                  Cari
                • pmcvflag
                  ... perception ... involved. ... who ... this ... gets ... Even ... as ... Excellent, as always, Lady Cari. Better stated than mine, actually. PMCV
                  Message 8 of 23 , Jan 16, 2005
                    > Well, yes. It's possible that there could oftentimes be a
                    perception
                    > of a god of some sort dependent on the needs of the person
                    involved.
                    > It *does* become very personal. Some might conjure up a father or
                    > mother figure. Others might push limits, sending a deity way out
                    > into eternity, ending up with a disinterested, non-interfering,
                    > deistic type of god. Also, there are some people who
                    > consider "notions of a beyond conceptualization" that you mention
                    who
                    > nonetheless retain a materialistic worldview. In their minds,
                    this
                    > unknown is a material unknown. Others might ask how then one can
                    > know this unknown is only material.
                    >
                    > I would imagine considering an absolute ineffability outside of
                    > temporal concepts of eternity could be scary for lots of people...
                    > because when you do, there is no footing, no familiar grounding.
                    > Preconceptions are continually being discovered and tested.
                    > Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way even when the going
                    gets
                    > rough because any other path would be fake and a copout for me.
                    Even
                    > apophatic theology in relation to trying to understand the gods of
                    > various religions doesn't go far enough for me. It's not the same
                    as
                    > the ultimately absolute apophatic concept of the Gnostics. By
                    > allowing for the unknowable absolute (in both thinking and
                    > nonthinking mode), I discover things about myself that might be
                    > uncomfortable but in turn end up contributing to my journey to
                    > wholeness while I'm here on earth. I just can't help but be
                    > practical in that way. ;-)
                    >
                    >
                    > Cari



                    Excellent, as always, Lady Cari. Better stated than mine, actually.

                    PMCV
                  • janahooks
                    ... gets ... Even ... as ... I think I may be on the verge of an aha moment (or duh ). Once again, Cari, could you direct me toward a text that is helpful
                    Message 9 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
                      wrote:
                      > I would imagine considering an absolute ineffability outside of
                      > temporal concepts of eternity could be scary for lots of people...
                      > because when you do, there is no footing, no familiar grounding.
                      > Preconceptions are continually being discovered and tested.
                      > Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way even when the going
                      gets
                      > rough because any other path would be fake and a copout for me.
                      Even
                      > apophatic theology in relation to trying to understand the gods of
                      > various religions doesn't go far enough for me. It's not the same
                      as
                      > the ultimately absolute apophatic concept of the Gnostics. By
                      > allowing for the unknowable absolute (in both thinking and
                      > nonthinking mode), I discover things about myself that might be
                      > uncomfortable but in turn end up contributing to my journey to
                      > wholeness while I'm here on earth. I just can't help but be
                      > practical in that way. ;-)
                      >
                      >
                      > Cari

                      I think I may be on the verge of an "aha" moment (or "duh"). Once
                      again, Cari, could you direct me toward a text that is helpful along
                      these lines? You've probably done this before for me and it just
                      didn't take....:)
                      Thanks in advance,
                      jana
                    • nakedalchemy@aol.com
                      In a message dated 1/16/2005 10:55:18 PM Eastern Standard Time, no_r eply@yahoogroups.com writes: I mean, even those who think they are beyond
                      Message 10 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                        In a message dated 1/16/2005 10:55:18 PM Eastern Standard Time, no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes:
                        I mean, even those who think they are beyond nathropomorphic ideas
                        of deity often still think of spirituality in very egocentric terms.
                        People generally still believe that the spirit is a personal
                        function, subjective and interpretive. Sometimes that is about
                        floating in astral realms, or psychological growth, etc.. Or, as we
                        all know there are many who feel that the mystical experience is THE
                        definitive process of spirituality. I can think of few concepts that
                        really challenge a person to look beyond these things.
                         
                        Hmmm? I have mostly thought that I am in spirit and spirit is in  me, but I have never considered it being limited to me, in fact, it is what I mean when I say Spirituality is connection, that everything is connected to everything, and the simple realization of this is what brings on the logic of what spirituality entails...one doesn't necessarily need to have a mystical experience, but it is nice and helpful(although I have found it to be a hindrance too in compounding the message of gnosis). A mystical experience, for one, sometimes happens like a acid trip, way too overwhelming and not always clear. I would not comprehensively recommend it, but then, we have little say so, it would seem, if it does occur.
                        Gnosis, although akin to such a thing is without description, it is a "knowing" sometimes a feeling mingled in with conceptualizations, but, basically, once described, it is never of the same potency, or, rather...well, Like when I go to write a poem and try to get my thoughts into words, and the poem turns out not to be anything like I intended it to be. It may be a good poem, it may be full of all sorts of cool meaning and depth, but it still isn't the same thing as when I first imagined it.(Sometimes I write things that don't even seem to be of my own persona doing it at all).

                        Of course, the fact that modern science is conceptualizing in a
                        direction that points to these notions of a beyond conceptualization
                        removes an element of pistic doctrin and I sure that would have been
                        an attraction to the historical Gnostics considering the respect
                        that most of these people had for the scientific thinking of their
                        time... but I think the logical aspect and the effect on thinking
                        itself might have been more important. The logic involved seems
                        practically incontrovertaible, so what better way to evoke the
                        Logos? *lol* :)
                         
                        when we dissect something we remove the mystique from it and see that its organs have functions, that, the thing that was once alive is just a carcass, it takes the romance out if it, so we go with reason and logic from thereon.
                        but, if we have never personnaly dissected anything, the mystique remains...CSI on TV spoils everything by being so in your face with precisely this. Instead of faith we have cold science, but science cannot and is not in the business of explaining supernatural phenomena beyond what can be proven. It attempts to and is sometimes confronted with unknown variables, but just by being unknown does not make it illogical, it just hasn't yet come to light.
                        I think the Gnostics wanted to work both sides of the fence here, and why not, it gives a broader view.
                         
                        mychael

                        PMCV



                         
                      • nakedalchemy@aol.com
                        In a message dated 1/17/2005 1:25:40 AM Eastern Standard Time, no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes: I would imagine considering an absolute ineffability outside
                        Message 11 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                          In a message dated 1/17/2005 1:25:40 AM Eastern Standard Time, no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes:
                          I would imagine considering an absolute ineffability outside of
                          temporal concepts of eternity could be scary for lots of people...
                          because when you do, there is no footing, no familiar grounding. 
                          Preconceptions are continually being discovered and tested. 
                          Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way even when the going gets
                          rough because any other path would be fake and a copout for me.  Even
                          apophatic theology in relation to trying to understand the gods of
                          various religions doesn't go far enough for me.  It's not the same as
                          the ultimately absolute apophatic concept of the Gnostics.  By
                          allowing for the unknowable absolute (in both thinking and
                          nonthinking mode), I discover things about myself that might be
                          uncomfortable but in turn end up contributing to my journey to
                          wholeness while I'm here on earth.  I just can't help but be
                          practical in that way.  ;-) 


                          Cari
                          Cari..as I agree here, also, if the Unknow God is that unknown, then, I wont try to know it since no matter how much I would try, I wouldn't anyway. Just inconceivable and try and leave it at that.
                          But, my nature is insistent, too, so damn curious, I will be arrogant enough to confront mu understanding or misunderstanding, as the case may be, that I will go ahead and make the attempt.
                          One thing I have noticed in the TEXTS is that mention is made of the Ineffable, but so many more gloss over it, too. Some may make the attempt, as I do, but knowing it can't be done.., well, they tend to go back to what they know, and they know that these other gods they can describe are not the "one"..so sticking with the knowable gods is a much easier task.
                          I feel the Trimorphic Prottennoia is a beautiful example, they describe the Three Thoughts as having existence rather than describe or attempt to describe from What these  THOUGHTS came from.
                          It is these Three THOUGHTS that do the speaking. each connected to the other, distinct but ONE..A great concept for the original understanding of a TRINITY and incidentally understood as Feminine, The First THOUGHT being Barbelo, whom is the First Father(A FEMALE being a male), the Second Thought is the VOICE, and is the Female, the Mother, and the Third Thought is the Logos, now male and the Son...and EACH THOUGHT DESCENDS, and has its own story, you might say, spoken in the first person by each.
                          I love it!
                          So, that which is scary to many is that which we cannot know, so why bother, is what I say.
                          Howvere, that which we can know, it is our journey to find out as much as we can about it, them, whatever, the more we know, the more we understand what we know, and the more we understand, the greater our capacity for reaching beyond ourselves by reaching into ourselves.
                           
                          mychael
                        • lady_caritas
                          ... people... ... of ... same ... along ... jana, not being inside your head or heart, I ll not venture to guess that I d be successful in complementing your
                          Message 12 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
                            > wrote:
                            > > I would imagine considering an absolute ineffability outside of
                            > > temporal concepts of eternity could be scary for lots of
                            people...
                            > > because when you do, there is no footing, no familiar grounding.
                            > > Preconceptions are continually being discovered and tested.
                            > > Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way even when the going
                            > gets
                            > > rough because any other path would be fake and a copout for me.
                            > Even
                            > > apophatic theology in relation to trying to understand the gods
                            of
                            > > various religions doesn't go far enough for me. It's not the
                            same
                            > as
                            > > the ultimately absolute apophatic concept of the Gnostics. By
                            > > allowing for the unknowable absolute (in both thinking and
                            > > nonthinking mode), I discover things about myself that might be
                            > > uncomfortable but in turn end up contributing to my journey to
                            > > wholeness while I'm here on earth. I just can't help but be
                            > > practical in that way. ;-)
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Cari
                            >
                            > I think I may be on the verge of an "aha" moment (or "duh"). Once
                            > again, Cari, could you direct me toward a text that is helpful
                            along
                            > these lines? You've probably done this before for me and it just
                            > didn't take....:)
                            > Thanks in advance,
                            > jana


                            jana, not being inside your head or heart, I'll not venture to guess
                            that I'd be successful in complementing your impending "aha" or "duh"
                            moment. ;-)

                            However, for starters, I can direct you to some Sethian scripture
                            that describes the ascent of the soul toward Gnosis. Both _The
                            Foreigner_ (or _Allogenes_) and Zostrianos involve intellectual
                            abstractions and mystical aspects. The Foreigner describes a
                            lifetime of deliberation (study, contemplation) in preparation. _The
                            Foreigner_ is concerned mainly with ascent, and _Zostrianos_ also
                            discusses the descent. Zostrianos is heavily metaphorical compared
                            to _The Foreigner_, but both works describe a process, a journey
                            through abstract aeons. Particularly relevant to our subject is the
                            apophatic description of the unrecognizable in _The Foreigner_
                            (similar to that found in _The Secret Book According to John_),
                            involving, ironically, a rational recognition that *complete*
                            rational understanding or description of the ineffable first
                            principle isn't humanly possible.

                            Here's a passage from _The Foreigner_ (Bentley Layton trans.)
                            preceding this apophatic depiction that describes part of this
                            person's experience with an added mystical component:

                            "Now, I was listening to them say these things {instructions of holy
                            powers}, and within me was stillness of silence. I listened to
                            blessedness, through which I understood myself as I really am. And I
                            withdrew to vitality, which I sought to understand; and I accompanied
                            it into itself, and stood at rest--not firmly, but in stillness. And
                            I beheld an indivisible, eternal, intellectual movement--belonging to
                            all the powers; formless; and unlimited by bestowal of limit. And
                            when I wished to stand firmly at rest I withdrew to reality, which I
                            found to be standing at rest and still, after an image and a
                            resemblance of the (image) which I was wearing. Through a
                            manifestation of the undivided and the still, I became full of
                            manifestation. (And) through a first manifestation of the
                            unrecognizable, I [understood] it (the unrecognizable), at the same
                            time [that] I was uncomprehending of it. And from the latter I
                            received power, having gotten eternal strength from [it]."


                            Cari
                          • lady_caritas
                            ... gets ... Even ... as ... then, I wont ... anyway. Just ... arrogant enough ... be, that I ... the ... attempt, as I do, ... they know, ... the
                            Message 13 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, nakedalchemy@a... wrote:
                              >
                              > In a message dated 1/17/2005 1:25:40 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                              > no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes:
                              >
                              > I would imagine considering an absolute ineffability outside of
                              > temporal concepts of eternity could be scary for lots of people...
                              > because when you do, there is no footing, no familiar grounding.
                              > Preconceptions are continually being discovered and tested.
                              > Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way even when the going
                              gets
                              > rough because any other path would be fake and a copout for me.
                              Even
                              > apophatic theology in relation to trying to understand the gods of
                              > various religions doesn't go far enough for me. It's not the same
                              as
                              > the ultimately absolute apophatic concept of the Gnostics. By
                              > allowing for the unknowable absolute (in both thinking and
                              > nonthinking mode), I discover things about myself that might be
                              > uncomfortable but in turn end up contributing to my journey to
                              > wholeness while I'm here on earth. I just can't help but be
                              > practical in that way. ;-)
                              >
                              >
                              > Cari
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > Cari..as I agree here, also, if the Unknow God is that unknown,
                              then, I wont
                              > try to know it since no matter how much I would try, I wouldn't
                              anyway. Just
                              > inconceivable and try and leave it at that.
                              > But, my nature is insistent, too, so damn curious, I will be
                              arrogant enough
                              > to confront mu understanding or misunderstanding, as the case may
                              be, that I
                              > will go ahead and make the attempt.
                              > One thing I have noticed in the TEXTS is that mention is made of
                              the
                              > Ineffable, but so many more gloss over it, too. Some may make the
                              attempt, as I do,
                              > but knowing it can't be done.., well, they tend to go back to what
                              they know,
                              > and they know that these other gods they can describe are not
                              the "one"..so
                              > sticking with the knowable gods is a much easier task.
                              > I feel the Trimorphic Prottennoia is a beautiful example, they
                              describe the
                              > Three Thoughts as having existence rather than describe or attempt
                              to describe
                              > from What these THOUGHTS came from.
                              > It is these Three THOUGHTS that do the speaking. each connected to
                              the
                              > other, distinct but ONE..A great concept for the original
                              understanding of a
                              > TRINITY and incidentally understood as Feminine, The First THOUGHT
                              being Barbelo,
                              > whom is the First Father(A FEMALE being a male), the Second Thought
                              is the
                              > VOICE, and is the Female, the Mother, and the Third Thought is the
                              Logos, now
                              > male and the Son...and EACH THOUGHT DESCENDS, and has its own
                              story, you might
                              > say, spoken in the first person by each.
                              > I love it!
                              > So, that which is scary to many is that which we cannot know, so
                              why bother,
                              > is what I say.
                              > Howvere, that which we can know, it is our journey to find out as
                              much as we
                              > can about it, them, whatever, the more we know, the more we
                              understand what
                              > we know, and the more we understand, the greater our capacity for
                              reaching
                              > beyond ourselves by reaching into ourselves.
                              >
                              > mychael


                              Thank you, mychael. I hope jana finds your words helpful, too.

                              Cari
                            • lady_caritas
                              ... people... ... grounding. ... of ... same ... what ... attempt ... to ... THOUGHT ... Thought ... the ... Also,... *recognition* of the unknown in the
                              Message 14 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
                                wrote:
                                >
                                > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, nakedalchemy@a... wrote:
                                > >
                                > > In a message dated 1/17/2005 1:25:40 AM Eastern Standard Time,
                                > > no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes:
                                > >
                                > > I would imagine considering an absolute ineffability outside of
                                > > temporal concepts of eternity could be scary for lots of
                                people...
                                > > because when you do, there is no footing, no familiar
                                grounding.
                                > > Preconceptions are continually being discovered and tested.
                                > > Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way even when the going
                                > gets
                                > > rough because any other path would be fake and a copout for me.
                                > Even
                                > > apophatic theology in relation to trying to understand the gods
                                of
                                > > various religions doesn't go far enough for me. It's not the
                                same
                                > as
                                > > the ultimately absolute apophatic concept of the Gnostics. By
                                > > allowing for the unknowable absolute (in both thinking and
                                > > nonthinking mode), I discover things about myself that might be
                                > > uncomfortable but in turn end up contributing to my journey to
                                > > wholeness while I'm here on earth. I just can't help but be
                                > > practical in that way. ;-)
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > Cari
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > Cari..as I agree here, also, if the Unknow God is that unknown,
                                > then, I wont
                                > > try to know it since no matter how much I would try, I wouldn't
                                > anyway. Just
                                > > inconceivable and try and leave it at that.
                                > > But, my nature is insistent, too, so damn curious, I will be
                                > arrogant enough
                                > > to confront mu understanding or misunderstanding, as the case may
                                > be, that I
                                > > will go ahead and make the attempt.
                                > > One thing I have noticed in the TEXTS is that mention is made of
                                > the
                                > > Ineffable, but so many more gloss over it, too. Some may make the
                                > attempt, as I do,
                                > > but knowing it can't be done.., well, they tend to go back to
                                what
                                > they know,
                                > > and they know that these other gods they can describe are not
                                > the "one"..so
                                > > sticking with the knowable gods is a much easier task.
                                > > I feel the Trimorphic Prottennoia is a beautiful example, they
                                > describe the
                                > > Three Thoughts as having existence rather than describe or
                                attempt
                                > to describe
                                > > from What these THOUGHTS came from.
                                > > It is these Three THOUGHTS that do the speaking. each connected
                                to
                                > the
                                > > other, distinct but ONE..A great concept for the original
                                > understanding of a
                                > > TRINITY and incidentally understood as Feminine, The First
                                THOUGHT
                                > being Barbelo,
                                > > whom is the First Father(A FEMALE being a male), the Second
                                Thought
                                > is the
                                > > VOICE, and is the Female, the Mother, and the Third Thought is
                                the
                                > Logos, now
                                > > male and the Son...and EACH THOUGHT DESCENDS, and has its own
                                > story, you might
                                > > say, spoken in the first person by each.
                                > > I love it!
                                > > So, that which is scary to many is that which we cannot know, so
                                > why bother,
                                > > is what I say.
                                > > Howvere, that which we can know, it is our journey to find out as
                                > much as we
                                > > can about it, them, whatever, the more we know, the more we
                                > understand what
                                > > we know, and the more we understand, the greater our capacity for
                                > reaching
                                > > beyond ourselves by reaching into ourselves.
                                > >
                                > > mychael
                                >
                                >
                                > Thank you, mychael. I hope jana finds your words helpful, too.
                                >
                                > Cari


                                Also,... *recognition* of the unknown in the first place seems to be
                                of utmost importance in this process.


                                Cari
                              • janahooks
                                Thank you, Cari and Mychael. And Cari, I thought it was interesting that you said *recognize* the Unrecognizable One--I think I have only been *acknowledging*
                                Message 15 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                                  Thank you, Cari and Mychael. And Cari, I thought it was interesting
                                  that you said *recognize* the Unrecognizable One--I think I have only
                                  been *acknowledging* several concepts. I wish I could pull my
                                  thoughts together into an actual question, but I don't think that's
                                  going to happen. Ha--the unrecognizable question. ;)

                                  jana
                                • lady_caritas
                                  ... interesting ... only ... Ha! Didn t mean to provide a koan there, jana. lol Maybe I should have said it was important to recognize the image or concept,
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                                    --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
                                    wrote:
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Thank you, Cari and Mychael. And Cari, I thought it was
                                    interesting
                                    > that you said *recognize* the Unrecognizable One--I think I have
                                    only
                                    > been *acknowledging* several concepts. I wish I could pull my
                                    > thoughts together into an actual question, but I don't think that's
                                    > going to happen. Ha--the unrecognizable question. ;)
                                    >
                                    > jana


                                    Ha! Didn't mean to provide a koan there, jana. lol

                                    Maybe I should have said it was important to recognize the image or
                                    concept, since we indeed only perceive through images in this realm.


                                    Cari
                                  • nakedalchemy@aol.com
                                    In a message dated 1/17/2005 6:03:12 PM Eastern Standard Time, no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes: Also,... *recognition* of the unknown in the first place seems
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                                      In a message dated 1/17/2005 6:03:12 PM Eastern Standard Time, no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes:
                                      Also,...  *recognition* of the unknown in the first place seems to be
                                      of utmost importance in this process.


                                      Cari
                                      yeppers...i,e, just knowing there is ofr isnt an unknon is quite enough to know
                                    • Mike Leavitt
                                      Hello lady_caritas ... Ah yes, as it says in the Gospel of Philip, explicitly. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                                        Hello lady_caritas

                                        On 01/18/05, you wrote:

                                        >
                                        >
                                        > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
                                        > wrote:
                                        >>
                                        >>
                                        >> Thank you, Cari and Mychael. And Cari, I thought it was
                                        > interesting
                                        >> that you said *recognize* the Unrecognizable One--I think I have
                                        > only
                                        >> been *acknowledging* several concepts. I wish I could pull my
                                        >> thoughts together into an actual question, but I don't think that's
                                        >> going to happen. Ha--the unrecognizable question. ;)
                                        >>
                                        >> jana
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Ha! Didn't mean to provide a koan there, jana. lol
                                        >
                                        > Maybe I should have said it was important to recognize the image or
                                        > concept, since we indeed only perceive through images in this realm.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Cari

                                        Ah yes, as it says in the Gospel of Philip, explicitly.

                                        Regards
                                        --
                                        Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                                      • lady_caritas
                                        ... that s ... or ... realm. ... Yes, it does indeed, Mike. Truth did not come to the world nakedly; rather, it came in prototypes and images: the world will
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                                          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                                          > Hello lady_caritas
                                          >
                                          > On 01/18/05, you wrote:
                                          >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "janahooks" <janahooks@y...>
                                          > > wrote:
                                          > >>
                                          > >>
                                          > >> Thank you, Cari and Mychael. And Cari, I thought it was
                                          > > interesting
                                          > >> that you said *recognize* the Unrecognizable One--I think I have
                                          > > only
                                          > >> been *acknowledging* several concepts. I wish I could pull my
                                          > >> thoughts together into an actual question, but I don't think
                                          that's
                                          > >> going to happen. Ha--the unrecognizable question. ;)
                                          > >>
                                          > >> jana
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > Ha! Didn't mean to provide a koan there, jana. lol
                                          > >
                                          > > Maybe I should have said it was important to recognize the image
                                          or
                                          > > concept, since we indeed only perceive through images in this
                                          realm.
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > Cari
                                          >
                                          > Ah yes, as it says in the Gospel of Philip, explicitly.
                                          >
                                          > Regards
                                          > --
                                          > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


                                          Yes, it does indeed, Mike.

                                          "Truth did not come to the world nakedly; rather, it came in
                                          prototypes and images: the world will not accept it in any other
                                          form."


                                          And one of my favorites,

                                          "And, furthermore, when that person leaves this world, he or she has
                                          already received the truth in the form of images, and the world has
                                          already become the eternal realm. For, to this person the eternal
                                          realm is fullness and, as such, is manifest to him or her alone--
                                          hidden not in darkness and night but hidden in perfect day and holy
                                          light."


                                          Cari

                                          "
                                        • pmcvflag
                                          Mychael ... in me, but I have never considered it being limited to me, in fact, it is what I mean when I say Spirituality is connection, that everything is
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Jan 17, 2005
                                            Mychael

                                            >>>"Hmmm? I have mostly thought that I am in spirit and spirit is
                                            in me, but I have never considered it being limited to me, in fact,
                                            it is what I mean when I say Spirituality is connection, that
                                            everything is connected to everything, and the simple realization of
                                            this is what brings on the logic of what spirituality entails...one
                                            doesn't necessarily need to have a mystical experience, but it is
                                            nice and helpful(although I have found it to be a hindrance too in
                                            compounding the message of gnosis). A mystical experience, for one,
                                            sometimes happens like a acid trip, way too overwhelming and not
                                            always clear. I would not comprehensively recommend it, but then, we
                                            have little say so, it would seem, if it does occur.<<<"

                                            I think you very nicely outline the problem with equating the
                                            mystical experience with "gnosis".

                                            >>>"Gnosis, although akin to such a thing is without description, it
                                            is a "knowing" sometimes a feeling mingled in with
                                            conceptualizations, but, basically, once described, it is never of
                                            the same potency."<<<

                                            I am not sure I agree with that, but I am not sure if I understood
                                            you correctly. The usage of the word "gnosis" in both the Platonic
                                            texts and the Gnostic is not so vague. On the contrary it often in
                                            very obvious contexts that we see it come up.

                                            Remember when we were using the allegory of math to
                                            describe "gnosis"? Since that was in the other group let me recount
                                            it here for the people who were not there......

                                            A person can understand the formulas for a very complex physics
                                            problem but have no understanding of how it is practically used or
                                            why the math even exists. They may even have the statistics to plug
                                            into the problem that represent real world actions. This is pure
                                            data, simply an academic knowing. We have all met those who are
                                            mathematicians for the plain love of numbers. This is obviously not
                                            gnosis, it is "pliroforo".

                                            On the other hand, there are the engineers and technicians who know
                                            exactly what the numbers are for. It is their job to actually USE
                                            those numbers to equate to real world practical experience. Often
                                            times they have no understanding as to why the numbers work, or
                                            where they came from, only that they do work. When you ask them how
                                            they know when to use which methods in a problem, you will
                                            surprisingly often here them say that they simply felt it in thier
                                            gut. This is also not gnosis, it is "xero".

                                            However, sometimes these two forms of "knowing", xero and pliroforo,
                                            come together. They cross the lines and meld into a situation where
                                            the person can really say they "know" the subject as if it was the
                                            back of their hand. You know the experience, you know the
                                            intellectual context, you know it inside and out... you
                                            have "gnosis" of it.

                                            It is interesting that so many people today are so bent on removing
                                            the academic end so that they equate gnosis with xero, but that is
                                            exactly what seems to be the popular usage today.

                                            Ok, Mychael, I know that you are already aware of all that. But let
                                            me point out then that I don't see what you mean by saying that once
                                            you can describe it it looses potence. When Archemedes supposedly
                                            ran naked from his bath after obtaining "gnosis" of the problem of
                                            mass, he was surely very excited to be able to describe it. After
                                            all, as the saying goes.... one who can't describe it doesn't really
                                            know it. Perhaps this is where the attacks from the polemicist
                                            against the Gnostics comes from when they say 'these Gnostics
                                            believe that you are not spiritually mature until you can write your
                                            own gospel' (paraphrase). I think that a deep knowing like this
                                            produces an excitement, a WISH to communicate it, and that
                                            includes "gnosis" as it pertainst to spirit as well.

                                            What do you think?

                                            PMCV
                                          • nakedalchemy@aol.com
                                            In a message dated 1/17/2005 11:47:56 PM Eastern Standard Time, no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes: Ok, Mychael, I know that you are already aware of all that.
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Jan 18, 2005
                                              In a message dated 1/17/2005 11:47:56 PM Eastern Standard Time, no_reply@yahoogroups.com writes:
                                              Ok, Mychael, I know that you are already aware of all that. But let
                                              me point out then that I don't see what you mean by saying that once
                                              you can describe it it looses potence. When Archemedes supposedly
                                              ran naked from his bath after obtaining "gnosis" of the problem of
                                              mass, he was surely very excited to be able to describe it. After
                                              all, as the saying goes.... one who can't describe it doesn't really
                                              know it. Perhaps this is where the attacks from the polemicist
                                              against the Gnostics comes from when they say 'these Gnostics
                                              believe that you are not spiritually mature until you can write your
                                              own gospel' (paraphrase). I think that a deep knowing like this
                                              produces an excitement, a WISH to communicate it, and that
                                              includes "gnosis" as it pertainst to spirit as well.

                                              What do you think?

                                              PMCV

                                              perhaps "potency" is the wrong word to use here...I simply meant oftentimes it is not easy to put down in words--for others--exactly what you experienced, while it still can be true that you do know whereof you speak. Not all of us are Archemedes, and not all of us have the skills to describe things accurately...this is all I meant.
                                               
                                              mychael
                                            • pmcvflag
                                              Hey Gich Pliroforo is facts and data, pure intellectual knowledge. Xero is intuited and experiential knowledge.
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Jan 21, 2005
                                                Hey Gich

                                                Pliroforo is facts and data, pure intellectual knowledge.
                                                Xero is intuited and experiential knowledge.

                                                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gichnosis" <gich@h...> wrote:
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Please forgive a newbie for butting in to your conversation.
                                                > Could you give a definition of 'xero' and 'pliroforo'.
                                                > gich
                                                >
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