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Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Gnostic beliefs on matter

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  • Chris Holtzhausen(private)
    Thanks.I think the Hermetic vision is backed-up by the Biblical passage of the Apostle Paul when he speaks of seeing through a glass -a mirror- darkly which
    Message 1 of 48 , Aug 17, 2007
      Thanks.I think the Hermetic vision is backed-up by the Biblical passage of
      the Apostle Paul when he speaks of seeing "through a
      glass"-a mirror-"darkly" which is to have an obscure, or imperfect vision
      of reality.This is unfortunately what we experience most of the time.
      Paul explains,however, that we do not now see clearly; but at the end of
      time;(the timeless mystical vision), we will do so.
      The problem with Gnosticism is that, because it sees the material World as
      an evil place,one need not care for it.Ironically a similar philosophy
      is shared by certain fundamentalist Christian believers(I think we all know
      who some of these people are)! Like the Gnostics,they wish to escape
      from this World to Heaven and therefore see nothing fundamentally wrong in
      exploiting the Earth.As a result we now have a major environmental crisis
      on our hands.Heaven is a state of consciousness,and the Work towards this
      awareness needs to start on Earth so that we,and therefore the World,can be
      transformed-just like the alchemical process.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "jimdale827" <jimdale827@...>
      To: <gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 5:03 PM
      Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: Gnostic beliefs on matter

      > Thanks for the reply sir.
      > [It sounds like you had an experience of gnosis or divine knowledge-
      > a mystical experience.]
      > It certainly was, and absolutely mind-blowing.
      > [One needs to distinguish between gnosis and the movements that fall
      > under the name Gnosticism.]
      > I could not agree more. They are ranting on about something they are
      > choosing to believe in but not talking about an experience which they
      > know from personal experience first hand by being there and living it.
      > [whereas an experience of gnosis can reveal a mystically transformed
      > world.]
      > Yes, I had that further experience some time later and that too was
      > mind-blowing. Tell people about these events and they go `Derrrrr" !
      > Yes some aspects of what I have read of Hermeticism also correlate
      > with the experience of what I and some others call the mystical
      > gnosis event.
      > Gnosticism does not interest me but the living phenomenon of gnosis
      > and that mystical state of mind does, for it is like a personal
      > quantum leap in awareness and a deep primordial wisdom or innate
      > cosmological understanding.
      > Jim.
      > --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Holtzhausen\(private\)"
      > <tessalonics@...> wrote:
      >> It sounds like you had an experience of gnosis or divine knowledge-
      >> a mystical experience.One needs to distinguish between gnosis and
      > the
      >> movements that fall under the name Gnosticism.......
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
    • pmcvflag
      Hey Mark You state... ... interpreters, I often wonder to what degree an historical Gnostic practitioner might have presented, or appeared, as a modern day
      Message 48 of 48 , Sep 10, 2007
        Hey Mark

        You state...

        >>>At times when reading the Gnostic texts and some of their
        interpreters, I often wonder to what degree an "historical" Gnostic
        practitioner might have presented, or appeared, as a modern day

        Could you help me by telling me what you mean by "charismatic"? I am
        not sure if you mean this in the generic, or if you mean it in the
        modern evangelical sense, or if you mean it etymologically.

        >>>Thus, I think experience was important, maybe even critical, to
        Historical Gnosticism. But such an experience only helped to start
        them on the path, and it was not the whole of the path. If you want
        to find a person who has lost faith, then find a charismatic who can
        no longer experience the "Spirit." I think Historical Gnosticism
        would agree with the idea that faith may be initiated through an
        experience, but faith grows through an act of will. Experience is
        the proverbial icing on the cake. Without a doubt, beautiful and
        delicious, but without a substance that sustains and nurishes.<<<

        This could raise an interesting question for another thread. One may
        wonder exactly what function pistis, praxis, and gnosis have in the
        larger concept of Gnosis (with a capital "G") for historical (and
        traditional) practitioners. Is there a correct mix or specific
        interaction that one can find stated (or even implied) in the texts?

        >>>I am a fairly firm believer that every generation castrates
        the previous one in order to individuate themselves. Or to put it
        differently, each generation has the right or obligation to recast in
        their own terms/lingo that which their ancestors held as sacred.
        This is not the same as rejecting. Many, perhaps due to an
        intellectual laziness, find it easier simply to reject tradition,
        instead of re-interpreting it. Tradition, in its most meanigful
        sense, however, is this very process of re-interpretation through

        Interesting point. I find I can't disagree.

        There is, as you point out, a move to reject all notion
        of "tradition" itself. I find it interesting that the rhetoric used
        in these cases are very often based on singular experience and a
        reaction against that experience (people who were raised with strict
        fundementalist backgrounds). This is then cast in a lingo that is
        very closely related to racist doctrins, i.e., all notion of
        tradition or structure of any sort must be spiritually dead (the
        proof being their personal experience with one single false claim)
        and need not be examined or understood before making such a

        More important to our subject is how shockingly many people who are
        interested in Gnosticism are very much using Gnosticism (and by this
        I mean the historical texts) as a weapon for this kind of reaction
        without really wanting to try and understand the texts in and of
        themselves (I am tempted to call it the Da Vinci code complex, but
        maybe there are better terms).

        >>>When it comes to the questions of what is outdated and what must
        be changed, I think we need to be careful to distinguish between
        the "form" of the Gnostic "truths" and the "content" of those
        truths. In other words, there were many social and political norms
        that "formed" the Gnostic content and we must account for these,
        which is the domain of hermeneutics. Nonetheless, I think there are
        some spiritual truths that worked then and that work now, regardless
        of the "forming" influence of culture. In this sense, these texts
        are not just "moldy old texts and docrines," but give "form" to a
        spiritual "content" that speaks to us today.<<<

        In the end, that may be key to the whole issue. When you state this,
        though, do you have any specific examples in mind? If not, could we
        impose upon you to find a couple? It seems to me that the point may
        be too core to the conversation to be left abstract.

        >>>What is the "truth" the texts intend?<<<

        Well, I guess I could counter by asking "what is truth", but I think
        Darkchylde already does this. Frankly, though, it isn't so much my
        point. Rather, I was trying to raise the question of whether the
        authors of the texts believed in a "truth" or whether they were
        relativists like the modern popular postmodernists (or maybe bits of

        To be fair, let me try to give my own perspective on the texts and
        some examples of what they may posit as "truths".

        For one, I think they intend their cosmology as a genuine
        functional "truth" (whether that cosmology is literal or allegorical
        may be a different question, but from the functional perspective it
        may not matter).

        I think they intend to offer a specific soteriology as a literal
        truth based directly on the functionality of the cosmology (again,
        whether that cosmology is literal or allegorical).

        I am open to debate on these points, as always, but I just wanted to
        offer what I think to be the intended function of many of these
        texts so that it doesn't seem like I am standing outside the issue.

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