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Re: Pursuit of gnosis (Opposites)

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  • pmcvflag
    Gich ... opposites
    Message 1 of 31 , Apr 6, 2005

      >>>"(1) I'd like a precise definition of what you mean by "the field of

      The "field of opposites" is not only a pretty common philosophical
      assumption in most movements that deal with the destinction between
      the perciever and the percieved, it is also related to a generally
      accepted "fact" in biological psychology. It works like this...

      Your conciousness is based on contrast. The reason for this is that
      every thing you can percieve is caused by contrast. Without contrast
      in light you can't see. Without contrast in sound, you cannot hear.
      You feel contrasts like soft vs hard, wet vs dry.... hot and cold,
      etc. Without these contrasts, you simply don't percieve, period.

      It goes even farther though. If you don't percieve, there is not
      thought. You also think in contrasts. Your thoughts are based on
      layers and layers of experience of contrasts, so that even your most
      abstract thought is related to those contrasts as they exist in a
      linear realm. Without contrasts, you literally cannot be concious.

      And it goes even farther than this! Not only what you percieve is
      defined by contrast, but existence itself is defined this way. One
      cannot say something "is" without the contrast of the possibility
      of "is not". Without contrast, something cannot technically "exist".
      Even where the universe goes beyond our perception and even beyond our
      conception, if it exists it is defined by contrast in multiple ways.

      This is why "existance" is sometimes called "the field of opposites".

      >>"(2) Why are we "limited" by it?"<<

      That is not something that can be answered accurately in an internet
      group. If one cannot grasp this, they cannot grasp the very function
      of Gnosticism. It is this very thing that the Gnostics proported
      to "know". What I can point out though is that if there is a "source"
      of all that is in the field of opposites, it would theoretically not
      be limited within that very field. Therefore, to look towards the
      Gnostic source would be to look beyond the field of opposites to some
      extent. The problem posed here though is the fact that we cannot
      concieve outside that field of opposites because all of our thoughts
      and perceptions and intuitions and experiences are part of that field
      of opposites. That would obviously be a limit to our human ability to
      attain the spirit.

    • pmcvflag
      Hey Gich ... I m struggling to see any connection with gnosticism as I understand it. :)
      Message 31 of 31 , Apr 7, 2005
        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
        it. :)"<<<

        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 MAY
        be 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 the
        destinction 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 of

        I 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-revealĀ­ing 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).

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