Re: Pursuit of gnosis
- Hey Gich, in answer to your question...
>>>"Could you enlarge on this please. How does one PURSUE gnosis?"<<<Well, to start with we have to be sure that we are understanding the
word "gnosis" in the intended context so that we know exactly what
it is we are talking about pursuing. So let me revisit this for a
second. Consider this passage that we looked at previously in
"Whoever finds the meaning of these words will not taste death."
Gnostics used a number of terms to outline the idea of what we have
condenced into a single essential concept called "Gnosis". Aspects
of this over all concept include knowing ones self, knowing the
spiritual realm, and.... obviously.... understanding the meanings
behind the Gnostic system.
Technically speaking, if a person does not know the meanings of the
Gnostic metaphors, they don't have Gnosis. Since the mythologies,
analogies, rituals, etc., of the Gnostic systems were meant to
contain what the Gnostics believed they had come to know, failing to
comprehend this system completely is to fail to have Gnosis. Let me
put that another way. Look at this passage...
"Blessed is the lion that a person will eat and the lion will become
human. And anathema is the person whom a lion will eat and the lion
will become human."
Since salvation is dependent on understanding the message, and we
have already outlined the fact that this message has meaning on more
than one level, then pursuing Gnosis is at least partly about trying
to come to understand a passage such as this. Or, if we are talking
about a ritual, then the Gnosis that is gained by that ritual is
dependant on having to be correctly effected by the ritual, as well
as understanding the meaning of the ritual. These aspects are
supposed to facilitate each other, and are inter-dependent.
We would then have to go on to include questions like "What is the
Sophia, really?" and "what is the destinction between the First
Father, the Second Father, and the Demiurge?" Anyone who either does
not fully grasp the destinctions intellectually, or who has not
experienced the function of the destinctions on a personal level
(BOTH of these must be achieved), can not technically be said to
have gained that gnosis. And that gnosis is THE Gnosis of Gnosticism.
How did Gnostics believe that Gnosis was gained? The answer is....
generally through the initiatory system. In fact, just as modern
physics cannot be completely removed from the mathmatic language
that outlines it, Gnosis to some extent IS the system of initiation.
--- In email@example.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
> Hey PMCV
> You write in a post to Mychael
> "Within the Gnostic texts, the function of "Gnosis" is passed on
> initiatory process. .... I think their [historical Gnostics]
> Gnosis was very much based in an idea of something that should be
> Could you enlarge on this please. How does one PURSUE gnosis?
- Hey Gich
>>>"Gosh!! I must confess to feeling somewhat baffled by your post.I'm struggling to see any connection with gnosticism as I understand
Honestly, I thought that was part of the point of your line of
questions..... that you are struggling to understand Gnosticism
>>>"(1) You said it, it's an ASSUMPTION. But, other assumptions MAYbe equally valid including ones that haven't yet been proposed."<<<
Sure, other assumptions could be equally as valid or invalid... that
has nothing to do with whether other assumptions are
particularly "Gnostic". The point is not relevent to the other
philosophies that my make this assumption either.
>>>"(2) I didn't know we were discussing "movements that deal with thedestinction between the perciever and the percieved". I'd need loads
more definitions to begin to understand what you're talking about."<<<
Well, the vast majority of philosophical movements make this
destinction, and Gnosticism is one of them. Your other alternatives
are pantheism or solipsism... and even the first of those two makes
some destinction. Since we are not here to talk about New Age or post
modernist movements, you can now assume for the remainder of our
conversation that we are indeed dealing with a destinction between
the perciever and the percieved.
(3) I'm glad you put "fact" in inverted commas.
>>>If one cannot grasp this, they cannot grasp the very function ofI find this statement incomprehensible:
Harris writes: Gnosticism is a term that is used of a movement centred
around a deep inner yearning to know the secret of deliverance. The
movement is not a "sociological entity", [Perkins, P. (1980) Gnostic
Dialogue, New York.] but the use of the word "movement" is intended
to indicate a process of developing wider vistas of reality on the
way to full salvation. There is within such a process an implicit
unity or self-revealing experience that is a foretaste of that all-
consuming coming union between the human and the divine.
While Harris seems to prefer to couch the point in terms I find a
little fluffy, it seems he is agreeing with what I said more than you
seem to believe. He seems to be aware of the teachings in Gnostic
texts dealing with what is beyond the realm of opposites, but I think
his subtlety has served more to confuse you than to make the point
clear. He is, however, wrong in defining the movement in the way he
does... this is in fact not fully what the term "Gnosticism" was
coined to refer to. On the contrary, while the "movement" is
certainly primarily defined by this soteriological function, it is
also defined by cosmology and ritual, aspects that are very much
definitive of a "sociological entity". Harris becomes so vague here
that while he may have started with the intent to deal with
historical Gnostics what he winds up presenting looses its accuracy
(at least from the academic perspective).
It may, however, be of great interest to those who are using a wider
definition based on emic qualities. That is to say, while for our
purposes Gnosticism is defined more by the academic qualities that
the word was created for in the first place, I know that many
here.... like our friend George who's group you are also a member
of.... prefer to foster a slightly wider definition for personal use.
That is certainly ok in that context, and I think that Harris seems
to be fitting that context more. But again, here we are talking about
traditional "Gnosticism" so that the point becomes far more specific
to be generalized in such a way (for our purposes).