Re: It's in our DNA
- Hey Barbara
>>>I do believe in Logos and I do believe in the myth of Sophia. Ifthat were not true, we'd not be searching for meaning in life,
knowing that this physical world is not our true home. The problem
is how to get back to paradise. Another problem is that 90% or
greater of earth's population doesn't even question this human
I think you are right. However, I would also point out that without
the ability to state the possibility that something is "wrong" we
throw out the allegorical function of the Logos. This is why I
thought perhaps you were against the notion. Gnostics never cared
about "paradise", it was not the point of their notions of
salvation. That is an idea connected to the religion of the very
same common folk you just mentioned in a negative way.
>>>>I have often contemplated whether some of these 2000 year oldwritings are descriptions of personal mystical experience, which
these individuals interpreted (rightly or wrongly, just as we do)
based upon their own personal experience in a world of Roman
occupation, Jewish law, poverty, etc.<<<
I really like the fact that you point out the interpative aspect of
the mystical expeirence. Many people today deny such a thing exists
while presenting the opposite view that everything is about personal
experience. Whether or not I feel you have presented an over all
consistant point, I have to give you kudos for doing so in this
particular area. If everything is personal interpretation, then so
too must be the mystical experience.
However, in the end we have to remember that whether or not WE feel
this way, the Gnostics of old did not. The function of the Logos in
the liturature is pretty clearly presented as an external and
The notion of objective and empirical truth vs falsehood is so
deeply core to historical Gnosticism, that it is possible to
genuinely say that modern relativism is anti-Gnostic on this front.
To say that there can be no wrong, is to say that one does not agree
with the myth of the Logos and the fall of Sophia. Now I am not
saying THAT is right or wrong, just that it is a disagreement with
the historical Gnostics.
>>>One also has to think about the fact that Jesus, if he wasactually one person (as you point out), and his initial followers
may have been illiterate - and all that is written is oral tradition
changed a thousand times and passed through several generations
before it was written by persons who never had 'gnosis'. And it
certainly was used by the Roman empire for control of its
population - it was then that it seemed to take on more and more
pagan/mystery religion ideas and ritual - so it was more easily
incorporated into Roman society. And gnosis got forgotten in the
process . Sophia seems forever doomed!<<<
If we can't say something is right or wrong, we can't say if anyone
genuinely had "Gnosis". I absolutely think the point
that "Christian" beliefs became a tool for political aims is an
historical fact, but I have to disagree that this is when "Pagan"
(and I hate the word because it is already creating historical
confusion) Mystery elements came into play. In fact, I can
historically demonstrate otherwise if you are interested in the
subject. Texts like Thomas demonstrate Mystery elements, Paul has
Mystery elements, and if we accept Secret Mark then even the oldest
existing Gospel has mystery elements. Jewish sources contemporary
with Jesus demonstrate a Mystery element being introduced into
Judism in opposition to Roman occupation. There is some reason to
argue that perhaps from the very beginning, with Jesus himself (and
even before Jesus, with John) there were some Mystery elements. I
think it is important to consider that this may not have been a
I would also say that it is not Sophia that has been left behind in
recent thinking, but the Logos. Sure, the name of the Logos has been
used more often, but the allegorical function of the Logos is far
>>>Although this type of forum is great to discuss ideas, it also isdifficult to get ideas across!<<<<
Very true. However, anyone who is going to be part of a group
dealing with Gnosticism, whether from an academic perspective or
from an emic perspective, should be willing to put in the work...
don't you think?
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, GP <swtmeadow@...> wrote:
>some more or less obvious problems that I'm sure others of you have
> I'm not really new to Gnosticism. But I am struggling lately with
>run into. I am wondering how you dealt with them.Hello, GP. I've been thinking about your questions, and I'll just
offer a few ideas to kick around or throw out, whatever you decide.
These are purely personal reflections of mine.
> First, I realize that unlike Sophia, I don't know where I belongbut I'm pretty sure it isn't "here." So, how do you find out where
you belong? Do you wait until grace is offered from another plane
much as Christ offered grace to Sophia because she prayed so
>despite my dissatisfaction with where I am. I long for something more
> Second, it has occurred to me that perhaps this IS where I belong
free -- less burdened by the heaviness of the physical, but is that
really an indication that I belong somewhere else? Perhaps I could be
of the world but not in it (as some religious groups advise) and
simply be of service to what seems best in this Malcut of a place
(sorry for the place name dropping!)<<
Or you could be in this world but not of it... The Gnostics did
recognize the material world as real, even if corruptible. And
that's where we all function right now. As far as "another
plane,"... do you like to obediently "wait," GP? Does prayer have
meaning for you? IOW, you need to be honest with yourself and
continue to learn to know yourself.
Saying 3 from The Gospel of Thomas says, "If those who lead you
(plur.) say to you, `See, the kingdom is in heaven,' then the birds
of heaven will precede you. If they say to you, `It is the sea,'
then the fish will precede you. But the kingdom is inside you of
you. And it is outside of you."
Also, from Saying 6, "His disciples questioned him and said to
him, `Do you want us to fast? And how shall we pray? Shall we give
alms? And what kind of diet shall we follow?' Jesus said, `Do not
lie, and do not do what you hate. For all things are disclosed
before heaven. For there is nothing obscure that will not be shown
forth, and there is nothing covered that will remain without being
> Finally, I ain't no intellectual. Most of what I know isum....empirical or has been taught me orally or by demonstration. How
important is book learning to the pursuit of understanding ourselves?
(I can't think how to phrase this without it sounding
um....smartalecy.....not meant in that way!) I read lots but retain
little from books. Thanks for your responses.
>GP, I'm thinking it might not be about being "intellectual" so much
as that we all have different learning styles. If you're retaining
little from reading books, have you considered making audiotapes of
selected writings and listening to them? No matter how you "read"
them, have you taken that empirical knowledge and those oral
teachings you speak of and knocked them around against ideas from the
ancient Gnostics or modern authors who talk about them? I find that
getting involved and critically comparing to my own experience helps
make the reading meaningful. And there are also times when I'm just
swept up by the poetry of it all.
In any case, our group is always available to discuss these readings
if that is of any help to you. Maybe other members have further
helpful ideas or suggestions.