Re: Old vs new
- Hey Crispin
I take you to mean that even though you doubt the abilities of
modern people to modernize the system (due to some suspicion as to
whether they actually understand the system as much as they claim),
that you are not against the idea of modernization in and of itself.
Is that correct?
It seems we have a pretty even split then....
0= The ancient Gnostic system would be hurt by attempts to
modernize, causing it to loose its intended context or
3= Ancient Gnosticism needs no change (besides maybe words that can
be better understood by the modern reader). <Crispin, Mike and Mike>
3= The core meanings that we find in Gnosticism are the important
point (a core assumption that we have not yet discussed), the system
itself isn't important so the question of modernization is a given.
<Tom, George, and Ken>
0= Historical Gnosticism is only valid if modernized.
I want to pose the same question to you that I posed to Ken. As
different as your two stances seem, they both depend on the
assumption of a core principle and the question of who is able to
attain that core principle in some way. Indeed, that may be one of
the primary elements underlying the whole question of modernization.
You mention the "transformative" quality again, and I remember the
discussion about that previously. I take it that to some extent you
would posit this as the core that you would assume in this case?
This seems to put you very much in line with what George seems to be
saying, in spite of the fact that I think you are leaning towards
the two Mikes in your intended vote.
Here is another question for you all. Is it possible that the only
difference between the two camps thus far represented in the vote
(since no one seems to have taken either of the extremes I presented
in the vote) is about interprative method rather than essential
content? Or, let me put that more specifically; Is the difference
between Ken and Crispin (or Tom and Mike) simply about who has the
ability to read the meanings, or is there a difference in the core
goal of the two stances?
>>>>hello, PMCV, your questions seem to be addressing the"practice" of Gnosticism as opposed to modern
"scholarly" notions regarding ancient Gnosticism.
as i don't know what "modern standards" (didn't get the
memo) to apply when assessing the modernization of
Gnosticism i can only apply my own assumptions and
preconceptions (sorry about that, mate, but i'll call it
"my experience" in order to at least lend the illusion of
being somewhat authoritative) to the question of why
current Gnostic practice is "failing."
in my limited experience it appears that "modern
notions of Gnosticism" are all over the map of human
imagining. the nearest thing to a consensus i can
detect is a virtual "anything goes" approach that glibly
tosses all manner of disparate "forms" into the cooking
pot of modern (or maybe it would be more accurate to
say "popular") Gnosticism. for me this is the
trivialization of Gnosticism: for all intents and purpose
a reduction of a mystical science to a banal set of "do it
yourself" and "anything goes" aphorisms; an attitude
of condescension (or outright hostility) to the
application of intellectual discipline and an inordinate
valuation of intuition and emotion ("feelings") as a sort
of magical conduit to "the truth." it all seems rather
meaningless to me when the inmates are running the
asylum. not meaning to offend, but it does appear to
be marked by an inordinate degree of gullibility and
wish fulfillment (keep in mind that my exposure to
"popular" Gnosticism has been limited to Yahoo
discussion groups and one popular web site that
purports to represent a modern Gnostic church, which
did have the "virtue" of eschewing New Age incursions
into its particular "system").
as far as "modernizing" the ancient mystical discipline
of Gnosticism i have no objection to that. but there is
one major caveat as far as i can tell. and that is who is
going to modernize it? or better, who has the capacity
and genuine experience to modernize it? all i can say
is that i have yet to encounter ANYBODY, despite
many claims to the contrary, that has the genuine
capacity and necessary experience to pull it off.
Widad's Lebanese Gnostics (which may or may not be
in actuality a disguised Sufic operation) are very
interesting to me, but we know too little about them to
say anything particularly meaningful about their
validity as a genuinely transformative discipline or
operation, much less describe them as a valid or
effective modernization of ancient Gnosticism.
[Widad, by the way, should be returning to the States
in the next week or two.]
imo, and it's not mine alone, there seems to be this
glaring blind spot in the eyes of many of today's
self-proclaimed Gnostics in regards to the rigid
discipline and diligent effort today's scholars
insist was part and parcel of ancient Gnosticism,
and which is also consistent with genuine Sufism
as it is practiced today. part of this attitude may
be derived from popular infusions of Buddhist
thought and attitudes regarding "effort"; partly from
current cultural attitudes favoring instant
gratification. it's somewhat tantamount to an
individual whose mathematical abilities are at the
high school algebra level rewriting the precepts of
quantum mechanics in order to bring that
discipline down to their own particular level of
understanding. at a personal level they may well
feel some vindication and a sense of
accomplishment. fine and dandy. but do you want
this person on the faculty of your university
perpetuating their error?<<<<