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Re: "accepting one's lot"

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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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