Re: Pursuit of gnosis (Opposites)
>>>"(1) I'd like a precise definition of what you mean by "the field ofopposites""<<<
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.
- 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).