Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: Gnosis

Expand Messages
  • pmcvflag
    Hey Phillip, thanks for understanding. PMCV ... again, ... though ... notions ... mine ... be ... Gnostics ... subject ... or ... of ... preachers ... so ...
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 28, 2006
      Hey Phillip, thanks for understanding.

      PMCV

      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "phillipetaylor"
      <phillipetaylor@...> wrote:
      >
      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@> wrote:
      >
      > Well, you are accurate to point out my inappropriate tone, and I
      > appologize for that. A very personal reaction to situations and
      > context came out, and many persons didn't deserve the implicit
      > attack. I didn't consciously mean it to be an attack, but upon
      > reflection, I must confess the bias and apologize for it. So
      again,
      > I'm sorry.
      >
      >
      > Phillip
      >
      > >
      > > This was certainly an interesting set of opinions you offer,
      though
      > > they are of questionable help to us in the study of historical
      > > Gnosticism. This is not a pulpit for proslytizing our OWN
      notions
      > > of "Gnosis" and what it means in our own spiritual lives. Please
      > give
      > > some historical context to your claims.
      > >
      > > This does not negate the importance of your personal path (or
      mine
      > or
      > > anyone else's here), but just as people who study Kabbalah may
      be
      > > interested in the history of Kabbalah, so are many modern
      Gnostics
      > > interested in historical Gnosticism. And not everyone here is
      > > even "Gnostic". If you feel that historical Gnosticism is a
      subject
      > > that has any value at all, then you are in the right place.
      > >
      > > Also, please refrain from prejudiced polemics against academia,
      or
      > > against anyone for that matter. There are many people here from
      > many
      > > different backgrounds, please respect them. There are many types
      of
      > > scholars with many ideas, just as there are many types of
      preachers
      > > and mystics... and the lines between these groups are not always
      so
      > > cut and dry as you seem to imply. It IS possible for a person to
      be
      > a
      > > mystic AND a scholar. We have all of them here in this group,
      but
      > we
      > > are still here to learn about the historical forms of Gnosticism
      > for
      > > whatever reason each individual finds the subject interesting.
      > >
      > > PMCV
      > >
      > > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "phillipetaylor"
      > > <phillipetaylor@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > "Gnosis" is the perfect word around which Gnostics direct
      their
      > > > conversations when they call themselves "Gnostics", for by
      > calling
      > > > ourselves "Gnostic" we begin to help re-define our modern
      > > > presumptions about knowledge, what it is, and what it means to
      > > know.
      > > >
      > > > "Knowledge" according to society and culture today is centered
      on
      > > the
      > > > book, and objective "knowing". One knows a thing is true
      because
      > > > someone with "authority" wrote about it, and we read about it
      and
      > > > cite our source, sharing in that "authority". Knowledge here
      is
      > > rote
      > > > knowledge, it is an ability to recall information read
      > accurately,
      > > > and to quote and cite our sources accurately. Yet this notion
      > > > of "authority" is never drawn into question. "Authority"
      within
      > > this
      > > > concept is very amorphous when we examine it more closely.
      > > >
      > > > In today's society, "authority" can be granted by a
      University,
      > > > usually a Masters or Doctorate. Those who receive such
      diplomas
      > > are
      > > > granted them because they have demonstrated their capacity to
      > enact
      > > > this style of knowing effectively. Even more strangely, once
      > > > receiving these diplomas and distinguishing themselves among
      > their
      > > > peers, these scholars grant "authority" to particular
      documents
      > and
      > > > deny them to others. In mystical "knowledge", old texts, for
      > > > instance, or old documents, possess more "authority" than
      newer
      > > > texts. Little consideration is given to the means by which
      these
      > > > texts are generated, and often little consideration is given
      to
      > > which
      > > > sect of a particular branch of Christianity generated these
      > > > texts. "Old" equals "authority". We have no idea how valid
      > > Gnostics
      > > > of the past considered these documents that our current
      scholars
      > > > grant "authority", we only know that they were found at such
      and
      > > such
      > > > a location, and that they were probably originally held at
      such
      > an
      > > > such location by such and such sect of Christianity. We know
      > > little
      > > > of this sects "authority" in their time, little of the quality
      > and
      > > > accuracy of their mystical revelation, and little of their
      > > traditions
      > > > and practices. We have only these select few documents from
      > which
      > > > scholars attempt to piece together the thinking of this
      tradition.
      > > >
      > > > What scholars often fail to recognize in their process of
      > > > granting "authority" is that these mystics were operating from
      a
      > > > different paradigm of "knowledge" than our scholars. Scholars
      > > assume
      > > > that these mystics considered "knowing" to be a book-centered
      > > affair
      > > > much as they do. They presume that these mystics were
      scholars
      > as
      > > > they are, and that they thought of "knowing" in the same
      > objective,
      > > > book-centered way they do. They fail to recognize that these
      > > > traditions were primarily oral, with mystical practices,
      > > discourses,
      > > > and rituals. They assume that these sects had a "religious"
      > > > structure based on dogma and common ways of thinking about
      God,
      > > akin
      > > > to our current concepts surrounding religion, not recognizing
      > that
      > > > this way of thinking about religion was a paradigm shift
      > generated
      > > by
      > > > the period of Constantine in the Christian Church and by State-
      > run
      > > > religions, which most or all of the mystics they study spoke,
      > > worked
      > > > and thought in opposition to the State of their time. They
      don't
      > > > take into account that the mystic's way of thinking
      and "knowing"
      > > in
      > > > relation to God are very different than the modern scholar's
      > > > paradigm. Yet, the scholar takes none of this into
      > consideration,
      > > > and interprets texts according to our current views and
      standards
      > > of
      > > > knowing.
      > > >
      > > > Ironically, when modern mystics engage the same practices and
      > > methods
      > > > that allowed the mystics of the past to generate these
      documents
      > to
      > > > speak to the issues of our current age, they are granted
      > > > less "authority" because they do not have this quality of
      age.
      > > Yet
      > > > the approach to "knowledge" and the thinking about "knowing"
      in
      > > terms
      > > > of a mystical tradition is very different than the modern
      > thinking
      > > > about this term.
      > > >
      > > > First of all, "knowing" in terms of a mystical tradition
      places
      > far
      > > > more value on the subjective experience than our modern view
      > > > standards. Phenomena that is immediate to one's being is
      given
      > > more
      > > > value. This doesn't de-value objective knowing, it merely
      > > considers
      > > > the two in dynamic balance. Knowledge gained from a book and
      > from
      > > > the scientific method has value, but the tendency to value
      only
      > > that
      > > > which is gained by a book, or from the scientific method is a
      > very
      > > > limited view of what it means to know. This kind of knowing
      > > strictly
      > > > negates the reality of the internal experience, which makes up
      > the
      > > > larger part of our being.
      > > >
      > > > Only a very small portion of what we experience of ourselves
      to
      > > > be "real" is observable and measurable by the standards of the
      > > > scientific method. In our very being, we are primarily a
      > > subjective
      > > > phenomena. Yet would we say that we are therefore not real?
      > > > Perhaps, mystically speaking, we are not "real" in the way we
      > think
      > > > we are, but according to the way science would proclaim we are
      > not,
      > > > we very much are. We feel, yet cannot measure feelings except
      by
      > > > their activity in the brain or body. We think, but cannot
      > measure
      > > > thoughts except by their activity in the brain. We intuit,
      but
      > > > cannot measure this. We dream, but cannot find where we go
      when
      > we
      > > > dream, or this being that is dreaming, nor can we measure it.
      We
      > > > know dreaming is a necessary process, psychologically, but we
      > don't
      > > > know why. And for each portion of these experiences that is
      > > > measurable, there is a huge portion of them that is not,
      perhaps
      > > the
      > > > greater portion. What is an insight? We might be able to
      > measure
      > > > the activity in the brain, but what is it internally? What is
      > its
      > > > experience? How is that any less "real" than the objective,
      > > > measurable phenomena? If we know that there is more than one
      > > > perspective through which to view a phenomena, how can we say
      > that
      > > > one perspective is "real" and another is not? How can we say
      > that
      > > > one phenomena is more accurate, simply because it is
      observable
      > by
      > > > more than one person? We can't even say that each person is
      > > > observing the same phenomena, ultimately, we can only say that
      > two
      > > > people can agree that they say "something" happen, in the same
      > way
      > > > that two people call the same color "green," and yet we cannot
      > say,
      > > > with any certainty that two people experience the same color
      at
      > > all,
      > > > subjectively.
      > > >
      > > > What is even more disturbing to our modern ways of "knowing"
      is
      > > that
      > > > we have even found that the observer alters a scientific
      > > experience.
      > > > Light, photons, the fundamental building blocks of the cosmos
      > alter
      > > > their very nature according to who is observing them. They
      > appear
      > > as
      > > > a particle to those who believe they are a particle, and a
      wave
      > to
      > > > those who believe they are a wave. So all our modern ways of
      > > knowing
      > > > are built on a series of presumptions about the nature of
      reality
      > > > that negate the most sophisticated tool ever devised to
      measure
      > and
      > > > make sense of reality. Being itself. Our bodies, our senses,
      > our
      > > > experience of these, our thoughts, our dreams, our
      > visualizations,
      > > > our intuition, our insights, the phenomena of mind itself has
      > been
      > > > the tool that even scientists use and have used to observe
      this
      > > > reality-display and generate every theory about this reality-
      > > > display. But the modern definition of "knowledge" has drawn
      us
      > > away
      > > > from this most effective and intrinsic tool, the mind itself,
      and
      > > > drawn us into thinking that man-made tools to discover knowing
      > > > have "authority" to determine what is real and true, whereas
      the
      > > God-
      > > > made tool for exploring and knowing reality, the mind and
      being
      > > > itself is denied.
      > > >
      > > > Gnostic draw us back to this most fundamental way of knowing,
      the
      > > > mind and being itself, and train in methods to help develop
      and
      > > hone
      > > > that tool to perceive the most sublime and profound qualities
      of
      > > > reality. This does not negate modern developments and tools
      for
      > > > knowing reality, for all ways of knowing are an evolution and
      a
      > > > perfection of this process. But in this work, the Gnostic
      > > remembers
      > > > that of all the ways of knowing the tool best devised to
      generate
      > > > Gnosis (knowledge) is the mind and being itself, for this is
      made
      > > by
      > > > the hands of God for this very purpose. All we must do is
      open
      > to
      > > > the inward journey.
      > > >
      > >
      >
    • pmcvflag
      Hey David ... PMCV in pointing out Phillip s bias. I must admit, though, that it was refreshing to read Phillip s points about the tendency in academe to
      Message 2 of 6 , Mar 28, 2006
        Hey David

        >>>Phillip was generous to apologize for ruffling feathers, as was
        PMCV in pointing out Phillip's bias. I must admit, though, that it
        was refreshing to read Phillip's points about the tendency in
        academe to value ancient texts from whatever source with a sort of
        reverence that may or may not be justified. And also, that modern
        voices may be dismissed for lack of historical validation.<<<

        Well, of course the historian will be more interested in an
        historical text, where somebody who studies textual criticism,
        language, hermeneutics, or something of that sort, may be just as
        interested in a modern text as an historical one. And,
        unfortunately, many people mistakenly throw theologians in with
        academic personages. It all depends on what subject matter you are
        talking about, and what context that subject matter is being
        understood within.

        >>>The issue, to my mind, is not so much about exchanging opinions
        and scholarly insights about historical or modern writings, but
        rather to hold a dismissive attitude about such writings when one
        may disagree. It's one thing to attempt objective analysis of a
        subjective experience, and quite another to judge whether another's
        gnosis is right or wrong.<<<

        No critical academician looking at an historical text judges whether
        the spiritual content is valid or not.... it isn't the point. These
        are two completely seperate issues. IF that is what you are trying
        to point out, then I agree with you. I think part of the problem is
        that many lay persons misunderstand the function of an academic
        study of a subject like this, and think that the academic stance is
        valuating things that it is not generally meant to even deal with.

        I am not sure where you have ever heard an historian or textual
        critic judge whether somebody's "gnosis" is right or wrong, but I
        would suggest questioning their credentials rather than the study
        itself.

        >>>I respect the breadth of academic knowledge shared in this forum,
        and it offers me an expanded knowledge base. I read and almost
        never post. Historical evidence of Gnosticism, however, only takes
        a modern Gnostic so far. From all I've learned, it's this moment,
        not one in the past, one's present experience, not that of others in
        the past, that constitutes gnosis.<<<

        Depends on how you define "Gnosis". The question wold not be whether
        one or the other (modern vs historical) is VALID, but simply whether
        they are really communicating the same thing.

        >>>In writing this, I freely admit that this is simply my own
        opinion, and distinguish "gnosis" from "Gnosticism." But I doubt
        anyone could argue that Gnosis is essentially subjective, even if
        historical texts and myths can be studied objectively. My pagan,
        mystical soul bristles and bridles a bit when anyone claims to
        know "The Truth." As a friend and journalist once told me, "You
        must always write the facts, but you must never claim to tell the
        truth."<<<

        Whether or not the word "Gnosis" is meant to imply something
        objective or subjective is entirely a matter of what you use the
        word to mean. Does the practice of scientific methodologies include
        (maybe even depend on) subjective elements? Sure. Perhaps we never
        really can attain to a true objectivity in the limited scope of our
        lives. I am not sure how anyone could claim to know "Truth" without
        knowing everything about the material universe, as well as any
        possible spiritual realms, etc. Personally, I would doubt anyone who
        makes such a claim. Again, though, that may depend on context. Truth
        about what?

        PMCV
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.