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Re: "accepting one's lot"

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  • Mike Leavitt
    Hello Gerry ... While for the Valentinians the universe had some redeming features as a training ground, even for them the universe was a mistake, a big
    Message 1 of 15 , Jun 1, 2005
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      Hello Gerry

      On 06/02/05, you wrote:

      > It seems to me that such an understanding would follow from looking
      > at Gnostic concepts from a mainstream perspective. There is a very
      > good reason that we repeatedly caution against this here.
      >
      > Gerry

      While for the Valentinians the universe had some redeming features as
      a training ground, even for them the universe was a mistake, a big
      mistake. Gich sounds more like a theosophist than a gnostic. I
      know, I have that background.

      Regards
      --
      Mike Leavitt ac998@...
    • David Wilson
      One thing I want to stress... becareful of taking a named group of individuals and placing them all into one direct narrow path. All Gnostics followed many
      Message 2 of 15 , Jun 2, 2005
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        One thing I want to stress... becareful of taking a named group of individuals and placing them all into one direct narrow path. All Gnostics followed many different paths, some were more open then others and some were close minded.
         
        David

        Gerry <gerryhsp@...> wrote:

        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
        >
        > For me, this sort of discussion comes down to whether you consider
        > that there is (literally) a god, or gods, that are responsible for
        > the creation of the universe, the Earth and mankind. Suppose we
        > accept the hypothesis as I think the ancient gnostics did. It then
        > seems to me logical to consider that the gods must have some
        > purpose, some reason for the creation, some PLAN;


        Let me stop you for a moment right there, Gich.  Suppose we accept
        that what you're suggesting is in line with what the Gnostics
        posited.  Can you tell us where they outline this grand
        strategy . . . the divine PLAN behind creation?  Seems to me it is
        generally described in terms of "error."  What do you make of that?


        > . . . otherwise, why bother; what's the point?


        Exactly.  Is that too scary to consider?


        > Fundamental to gnosticism is the possibility of immortality via
        > gnosis but why didn't the gods create us immortal in the first
        > place?


        Besides questioning "the gods," Gich, perhaps you should question
        your premise that "immortality" is a fundamental goal of Gnosticism.


        > Why bother with the rigmarole of life on Earth? It again seems to
        > me that life on Earth is part of the PLAN; there is a
        > reason for it; it has a purpose;


        It may very well seem that way to you, Gich, but the Gnostics
        described it quite differently from what you propose.


        > . . . it must be some sort of preparation for what follows.


        What exactly is it that follows?  [If it's gonna sound like the fuzzy
        promises of a tent revival, I'd rather not hear about it.]


        > . . . It seems to me that the idea of "a god entity meting out
        > Gnosis on a merit basis" [although this isn't the form of words I
        > would use] is a valid concept in gnosticism and follows logically
        > from the foregoing.
        >


        It seems to me that such an understanding would follow from looking
        at Gnostic concepts from a mainstream perspective.  There is a very
        good reason that we repeatedly caution against this here.

        Gerry


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      • Mike Leavitt
        Hello gich ... It is enough to say, that under Karma and the Divine Plan, they think perfect justice rules the world. I m sure Cari can provide you with some
        Message 3 of 15 , Jun 2, 2005
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          Hello gich

          On 06/02/05, you wrote:

          > What's a theosophist?
          > Gich
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: "Mike Leavitt" <ac998@...>
          > To: <gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com>
          > Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 6:17 AM
          > Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: "accepting one's lot"

          It is enough to say, that under Karma and the Divine Plan, they think
          perfect justice rules the world. I'm sure Cari can provide you with
          some earlier discourse on this.

          Regards
          --
          Mike Leavitt ac998@...
        • Mike Leavitt
          Hello gich ... There have been enough definitionss given, I won t add any, just read back a few messages. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
          Message 4 of 15 , Jun 2, 2005
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            Hello gich

            On 06/02/05, you wrote:

            > Hey Mike!
            >>>> Gich sounds more like a theosophist than a gnostic.<<<
            > Would you please define exactly what you mean by "a gnostic"?
            > Many thanks
            > Gich

            There have been enough definitionss given, I won't add any, just read
            back a few messages.

            Regards
            --
            Mike Leavitt ac998@...
          • lady_caritas
            ... think ... You re kidding, right? :-D http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gnosticism2/message/10562 I don t know if this will help, but here are a few online
            Message 5 of 15 , Jun 3, 2005
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              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
              > Hello gich
              >
              > On 06/02/05, you wrote:
              >
              > > What's a theosophist?
              > > Gich
              > >
              > > ----- Original Message -----
              > > From: "Mike Leavitt" <ac998@l...>
              > > To: <gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com>
              > > Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2005 6:17 AM
              > > Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: "accepting one's lot"
              >
              > It is enough to say, that under Karma and the Divine Plan, they
              think
              > perfect justice rules the world. I'm sure Cari can provide you with
              > some earlier discourse on this.
              >
              > Regards
              > --
              > Mike Leavitt ac998@l...


              You're kidding, right? :-D
              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gnosticism2/message/10562


              I don't know if this will help, but here are a few online sites for
              starters:
              http://www.blavatsky.net/
              http://theosophy.org/
              http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dp5/homepage.htm


              Cari
            • Gerry
              ... Thanks, Mike. That was my point exactly. We can appreciate the diversity of those early groups without losing sight of the fact that there actually were
              Message 6 of 15 , Jun 5, 2005
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                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Mike Leavitt <ac998@l...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > While for the Valentinians the universe had some redeming features as
                > a training ground, even for them the universe was a mistake, a big
                > mistake. . . .
                >
                > Regards
                > --
                > Mike Leavitt




                Thanks, Mike. That was my point exactly. We can appreciate the
                diversity of those early groups without losing sight of the fact that
                there actually were points of commonality between them——some very
                important points.

                To some of us, I suppose such considerations must seem like givens,
                but they apparently need to be stated here from time to time . . .
                to time . . . to time . . . to time.

                Gerry
              • Gerry
                ... Honestly, Gich, you need to know. At the very least, it s something you need to consider, and given that Gnostic material is replete with such
                Message 7 of 15 , Jun 5, 2005
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                  --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > >>> . . . Suppose we accept that what you're suggesting is in line
                  > >>> with what the Gnostics posited. Can you tell us where they
                  > >>> outline this grand strategy . . . the divine PLAN behind
                  > >>> creation? Seems to me it is generally described in terms of
                  > >>> "error." What do you make of that?<<<
                  >
                  > I don't know.
                  >



                  Honestly, Gich, you need to know. At the very least, it's something
                  you need to consider, and given that Gnostic material is replete with
                  such descriptions, I'm not sure how it has eluded you thus far.

                  I mentioned this quote from your "Harris" book back in April, but you
                  might have missed it:

                  >>>Gnostic cosmogony is noted for its elaborate cosmologies with
                  multi-storeyed heavens and spheres ..... The myths are not to be
                  interpreted in a literal way: the task is to penetrate the inner
                  meaning the myth enshrines and seek to comprehend the truth.<<<
                  ——http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gnosticism2/message/10919

                  [That is actually very similar to the advice that Nick just gave you
                  regarding the interpretation of "Thomas."]

                  In the case of Error, you don't seem to have picked up on even
                  the "literal" mention of it in the texts. I just don't see how you can
                  hope to explore the esoteric nature of this material when even the
                  exoteric isn't readily apparent.

                  In the end, if it really floats your boat to believe that there is some
                  comforting God up there (wherever you wish to compartmentalize him),
                  that Man has a quadripartite nature, and Creation is part of some
                  wonderful, perfect plan, then I hope it adds meaning to your life. If
                  you truly wish to pursue the writings of those early Gnostics though,
                  you may find it necessary to suspend some of your preconceptions.

                  Gerry
                • marinas_snake
                  If you truly wish to pursue the writings of those early Gnostics though, you may find it necessary to suspend some of your preconceptions. ... Suspending
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jun 5, 2005
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                    "If you truly wish to pursue the writings of those early Gnostics
                    though, you may find it necessary to suspend some of your
                    preconceptions."
                    >
                    > Gerry


                    Suspending preconceptions is not an easy thing to do though, is it?
                    Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?
                  • pmcvflag
                    Marinas_snake ... Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jun 5, 2005
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                      Marinas_snake

                      >>>"Suspending preconceptions is not an easy thing to do though, is it?
                      Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?"<<<

                      It IS hard... REALLY hard. I personally don't claim to completely
                      attain it, and I am on record for pointing out the flaws of nearly
                      every scholar on the subject for not attaining it. I think sometimes
                      people even get the impression that I am some kind of pessimist who is
                      overly ready to rip down everyone else's theories... but this is not
                      really my intent. I simply think that a self aware attempt to
                      understand this in and of itself is admirable, and that we should all
                      be willing to admit our own failings in this area (scholors even MORE
                      so).

                      I can even tell you my own eisigetic leanings, as I am very aware of
                      them. However, to some extent that is a subject for another group. My
                      advice is this; understand the history! THEN, Understand the
                      hermeneutics. And as you learn that history, continue to ask yourself
                      if you are simply looking at it from a personal perspective, or if you
                      are really understanding the intended communication. This is a double
                      check, since anyone can claim to understand it in spirit. I don't
                      agree with Gich that this "Gnosis" does not have an intellectual
                      function... as you know. I think that this intellectual function is a
                      ballance to the Sophia experience, and that they should work together.
                      The Sophia fell without the Logos, so it seems that dealing with this
                      subject on a logical and historical front is something that the
                      Gnostics of old would have supported. Don't get me wrong, I am not
                      saying that it is the only aspect... I am simply pointing out that it
                      can be a way of testing the communication against our own eisegesis.

                      So, the way to deal with the subject while suspending preconceptions
                      seems to me to be aboutbacking off on our personal needs, and trying
                      to understand if the message may have communicated something beyond
                      the desire to prove our own observations. How do you feel about that?

                      PMCV
                    • lady_caritas
                      ... or gods, ... and ... considered ... creation, some ... even the ... can hope to ... exoteric isn t ... over the ... itself. ... point ... Whether or not
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jun 7, 2005
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                        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
                        > Hey Gerry.
                        >
                        > (1) I don't think I've made myself clear. What I was trying to say
                        was this:
                        > if the ancient gnostics believed that there is (literally) a god,
                        or gods,
                        > that are responsible for the creation of the universe, the Earth
                        and
                        > mankind THEN it seems to me logical that the ancient gnostics
                        considered
                        > that the gods must have some purpose, some reason for the
                        creation, some
                        > plan.
                        >
                        > (2) >>>In the case of Error, you don't seem to have picked up on
                        even the
                        > "literal" mention of it in the texts. I just don't see how you
                        can hope to
                        > explore the esoteric nature of this material when even the
                        exoteric isn't
                        > readily apparent.<<<
                        >
                        > I need you to help me here Gerry. The word "error" crops up all
                        over the
                        > place in Harris, but I don't recall reading of it as a "concept" in
                        itself.
                        > Could you please enlarge on your comments as I don't understand the
                        point
                        > your making. :-)



                        Whether or not Gerry expands on his point, in the meantime, Gich,
                        here are a few references to read for starters, if you'd like,
                        regarding various schools or groupings of Gnosticism (Valentinian and
                        Sethian), which might help address things
                        like "creation," "error," "god," "demiurge," etc.:

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        Valentinian Gnosticism articles found in our "links" section I have
                        previously mentioned on this board (probably ad nauseum to people who
                        have been around a while) --

                        Sethians viewed demiurge as hostile, even evil, contrary to
                        Valentinians, who viewed demiurge as capricious, foolish, arrogant,
                        etc.:
                        http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Demiurge.htm

                        Brief summary of Valentinian theology:
                        http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Brief_Summary_Theology.htm

                        Valentinian theology in more detail:
                        http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Valentinian_Theology.htm

                        Discussion of Valentinian view of creation:
                        http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Valentinian_Creation.htm

                        Discussion of Sophia myth:
                        http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Sophia_Eve.htm

                        Discussion of "error" in Gospel of Truth:
                        http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Error_GTruth.htm

                        More articles, plus links to *actual source* writings from
                        Valentinian school.
                        http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/index.html
                        http://www.gnosis.org/library/valentinus/Detailed_Articles.htm

                        IOW, articles and books give a view, but don't replace reading
                        original source material.

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        Also, for Sethian Gnosticism, check out --

                        Sethian original source writings and related articles:
                        http://jdt.unl.edu/

                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                        Cari
                      • marinas_snake
                        ... it? ... sometimes ... is ... not ... all ... MORE ... of ... My ... yourself ... you ... double ... a ... together. ... this ... it ... preconceptions ...
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jun 7, 2005
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                          --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                          > Marinas_snake
                          >
                          > >>>"Suspending preconceptions is not an easy thing to do though, is
                          it?
                          > Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?"<<<
                          >
                          > It IS hard... REALLY hard. I personally don't claim to completely
                          > attain it, and I am on record for pointing out the flaws of nearly
                          > every scholar on the subject for not attaining it. I think
                          sometimes
                          > people even get the impression that I am some kind of pessimist who
                          is
                          > overly ready to rip down everyone else's theories... but this is
                          not
                          > really my intent. I simply think that a self aware attempt to
                          > understand this in and of itself is admirable, and that we should
                          all
                          > be willing to admit our own failings in this area (scholors even
                          MORE
                          > so).
                          >
                          > I can even tell you my own eisigetic leanings, as I am very aware
                          of
                          > them. However, to some extent that is a subject for another group.
                          My
                          > advice is this; understand the history! THEN, Understand the
                          > hermeneutics. And as you learn that history, continue to ask
                          yourself
                          > if you are simply looking at it from a personal perspective, or if
                          you
                          > are really understanding the intended communication. This is a
                          double
                          > check, since anyone can claim to understand it in spirit. I don't
                          > agree with Gich that this "Gnosis" does not have an intellectual
                          > function... as you know. I think that this intellectual function is
                          a
                          > ballance to the Sophia experience, and that they should work
                          together.
                          > The Sophia fell without the Logos, so it seems that dealing with
                          this
                          > subject on a logical and historical front is something that the
                          > Gnostics of old would have supported. Don't get me wrong, I am not
                          > saying that it is the only aspect... I am simply pointing out that
                          it
                          > can be a way of testing the communication against our own eisegesis.
                          >
                          > So, the way to deal with the subject while suspending
                          preconceptions
                          > seems to me to be aboutbacking off on our personal needs, and
                          trying
                          > to understand if the message may have communicated something beyond
                          > the desire to prove our own observations. How do you feel about
                          that?
                          >
                          > PMCV
                        • marinas_snake
                          ... it? ... sometimes ... is ... not ... all ... MORE ... of ... My ... yourself ... you ... double ... a ... together. ... this ... it ... preconceptions ...
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jun 7, 2005
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                            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                            > Marinas_snake
                            >
                            > >>>"Suspending preconceptions is not an easy thing to do though, is
                            it?
                            > Anyone have any advice on how to accomplish that?"<<<
                            >
                            > It IS hard... REALLY hard. I personally don't claim to completely
                            > attain it, and I am on record for pointing out the flaws of nearly
                            > every scholar on the subject for not attaining it. I think
                            sometimes
                            > people even get the impression that I am some kind of pessimist who
                            is
                            > overly ready to rip down everyone else's theories... but this is
                            not
                            > really my intent. I simply think that a self aware attempt to
                            > understand this in and of itself is admirable, and that we should
                            all
                            > be willing to admit our own failings in this area (scholors even
                            MORE
                            > so).
                            >
                            > I can even tell you my own eisigetic leanings, as I am very aware
                            of
                            > them. However, to some extent that is a subject for another group.
                            My
                            > advice is this; understand the history! THEN, Understand the
                            > hermeneutics. And as you learn that history, continue to ask
                            yourself
                            > if you are simply looking at it from a personal perspective, or if
                            you
                            > are really understanding the intended communication. This is a
                            double
                            > check, since anyone can claim to understand it in spirit. I don't
                            > agree with Gich that this "Gnosis" does not have an intellectual
                            > function... as you know. I think that this intellectual function is
                            a
                            > ballance to the Sophia experience, and that they should work
                            together.
                            > The Sophia fell without the Logos, so it seems that dealing with
                            this
                            > subject on a logical and historical front is something that the
                            > Gnostics of old would have supported. Don't get me wrong, I am not
                            > saying that it is the only aspect... I am simply pointing out that
                            it
                            > can be a way of testing the communication against our own eisegesis.
                            >
                            > So, the way to deal with the subject while suspending
                            preconceptions
                            > seems to me to be aboutbacking off on our personal needs, and
                            trying
                            > to understand if the message may have communicated something beyond
                            > the desire to prove our own observations. How do you feel about
                            that?
                            >
                            > PMCV


                            OOps, sorry I hit the "send" button before I even replied on the last
                            post.

                            Thanks for answering my question. I think it would be a real
                            challenge.

                            Marina
                          • Gerry
                            ... Honestly, Gich, it is apparent that you haven t understood many of the points made since you got here. What is truly tragic about the whole thing is that
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jun 10, 2005
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                              --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "gich morgan" <gich2@b...> wrote:
                              >
                              >
                              > I need you to help me here Gerry. The word "error" crops up all
                              > over the place in Harris, but I don't recall reading of it as
                              > a "concept" in itself. Could you please enlarge on your comments as
                              > I don't understand the point your making. :-)


                              Honestly, Gich, it is apparent that you haven't understood many of
                              the points made since you got here. What is truly tragic about the
                              whole thing is that your understanding of Gnosticism actually seems
                              to have declined over recent months.

                              If you understand the concept of the word "error," then you have a
                              point of reference by which you might attempt to understand why the
                              Gnostics might have depicted their creation myths in this way. You
                              could say that it was the "opposite" of how the same story was
                              portrayed by the orthodox. The latter maintained that God's creation
                              was perfect from the start and that Man screwed it up, but the
                              Gnostics posited that the physical creation was NOT the result
                              of "God's" will——that it was, in fact, a mistake.

                              Perhaps you can see how different these things are:

                              • something done purposely and intentionally; a Divine plan.
                              • something done accidentally——in error; an abomination.


                              > I don't personally believe any of this Gerry. I've just been trying
                              > to produce models that help me make sense of gnosticism.
                              >
                              > Gich



                              I know you're trying to produce models, and you're looking at the
                              entire phenomenon quite concretely while you do so. BTW, that is not
                              a compliment. Of course, neither is it an attack; it is merely an
                              observation of your tendencies to pick apart details in an extremely
                              obsessive manner——to the point that you often miss the bigger picture.

                              If you were able to step back far enough to actually see the subject
                              of your focus, you might realize that there is probably a reason that
                              those early Gnostics chose to represent the Creation story in the way
                              that they did. If they believed that God had a purpose for Man and a
                              place for us in this ostensibly perfect world (again, the belief of
                              the orthodox already), then why would they have been at odds with
                              those mainstream believers in the first place? Why create a story
                              antithetical to theirs?

                              While you may think you're trying to construct a model of Gnosticism,
                              you are actually composing something that is at odds with the very
                              system you are striving to represent.

                              Gerry

                              BTW, I'm well aware that you claim not to be an orthodox Christian,
                              Gich. I heard you very plainly when you commented early on that you
                              did NOT have a background in that tradition. And yet, you DO seem to
                              have a propensity for viewing this material through the same
                              mindset. Again, just an observation, but one that may have meaning
                              to some.
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