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Non sequitor and the father in Gnosticism

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  • pmcvflag
    Now we are getting to some meaty bits Play. ... Even Gnostic ones my friend. OK I can accept that as strictly a gnostic perspective. But I can t accept that as
    Message 1 of 27 , Jun 6, 2002
      Now we are getting to some meaty bits Play.

      >I know what non-sequior is. Spiritual concepts are filled with them.
      Even Gnostic ones my friend. OK I can accept that as strictly a
      gnostic perspective. But I can't accept that as absolute truth, I'm
      sorry.<

      Now you're talking. This is the kind of response I can respect. You
      have stated that you get the point, and that you disagree with it.
      Good man. Anyways, I'm sure you are right that there are some
      examples here and there in Gnostic scripture of "non-sequitor", but
      generally speaking it is something that Gnosticism takes great pains
      to avoid (being a classical philosophy and all). In fact, it is this
      very point that to some extent the cosmology of Gnosticism grows
      from. Perhaps you can point out some past Gnostic mistakes of this
      sort?

      >Gnostics "know" there is one (a god). Why do I say that? Read the
      Gospel of Truth. Who is the Father? What is meant by "This is the
      manifestation of the Father and his revelation to his Aeons. He
      revealed his hidden self and explained it. For who is it who exists
      if it is not the Father himself? All the spaces are his emanations."<

      You've read this passage overly literally if you think it is talking
      about "God" in the normal meaning of the word. This is why I have
      stressed familiarization with certain Gnostic concepts before really
      stating which ones you are with and which ones you don't. However,
      your next question is a good segue for that discussion.

      >Maybe this might be a good time for a clarification of terms? Who is
      the Father? What exactly about himself did he explain to his Aeons?
      Where are his spaces?<

      That "Father" is the "Image", the reflection of the Infinite. It is
      from the image that the emanations proceed. The emanations are
      constructs of our capacity to understand the realms of existance that
      we percieve as the Platonic base existantial realms where the "Forms"
      are expressed (in other words, areas of lessor division from the
      unity of the image, which is a reflection of the lack of being that
      is the Prime Source). The "explination to the Aeons" is revelation of
      the reflection as WE proceed to greater understanding of the process
      (the Gnostic experience of the Pleroma)

      Thus, all these terms that look like the pistic Christian lingo are
      allegories, not literal realities, in the Gnostic meaning. When it
      says "God is Good" it means that true perfection is in the unity
      beyond the field of opposites, and it diminishes with the movement
      away from the unity.

      Lets deal with the Gospel of Truth for a second. It is largely a
      Valintinian work, so we can temper it's meaning to a Valintinian
      interperater with another Valintinian work (we must be careful not to
      say "this is what Gnostics believed" from the outline of a single
      sect, that would be false... and we should avoid drawing on another
      sect's works to fill in). Take a look at the second paragraph in "A
      Valintinian Exposition", this should make clear the "Image" aspect I
      was talking about. There is a First father that is ambiguous, and the
      second Father, who is the Son and the source of the All. Then, if you
      look over at the first part of the Tripartite Tractate (another
      Valintinian work), it will make clear how all of this is allegory, a
      means of conceptualization rather than a literal reality (also notice
      the repeating phrase "I for my part call it..." in a Valintinian
      Exposition)

      >Love is also quite timeless and infinite in many ways. Do you
      understand what I mean by that?<

      Yes, I understand your intent, but I'm not sure you understand what I
      mean by "infinite".

      >You trust what you know even if it is philosophical,
      don't you?<

      No, I proceed with assumption for practical reasons only. I don't
      trust my perception, I don't trust my philosophy, I don't
      trust "God". The one thing I "trust" is that my spiritual
      understanding is based on a methodology that is as sound as one can
      get in this world... which is not to say perfect or "trustable". My
      statements concerning my grasp of "truth", what I "know" (Gnosis),
      must be understood to refer to relative degree, not absolute
      attainment.

      >All paths are the truth. Just by reason that they are paths that are
      being taken. They exist and are therefore valid from the perspective
      of the All.<

      You still haven't demonstrated this though. Why should I believe all
      paths are equal in validity? Do all roads _really_ lead to Rome?
      nope! Why should I believe that ignorance is equal to knowledge, or
      that matter is equal to spirit? If there is such a thing as "truth"
      (which implicitly contains the notion of accuracy vs error) then
      there is also such a thing as being closer to or farther from it.
      Some paths promote ignorance, they discourage people from looking
      inward, they are materialistic, aspiritual, and even harmful. A
      society exhibits the collective neurosis of it's constituency. So, a
      path (being a social creation as it is) can be lazy, greedy, hateful,
      ignorant, silly, addictive, loving, intellegent, prideful, or any
      other failing or strength you can apply to an individual. No right or
      wrong? Maybe (though I would debate that), there still seems to
      be "better".

      Here is another thought. In spite of all our differences there are
      also areas that are generalities to all of humanity. This collective
      subconcious denies individual perspective as anything more than
      ornament, and deals with that universal humanity... the area we are
      all the same. For all paths to be equally valid, they would have to
      be demonstratable as not only comparatively similar on this front (as
      many paths, though not all, do indeed demonstrate), but also as
      having equally positive effect (since spirituality is initiated
      partly from the individual's ability to deal with this connection on
      a more concious level). I would challenge you to demonstrate this
      principle as it relates to a comparative study of silopsism vs the
      Pentecostal church vs science.... and the way they define "reality".
      If you pull that off I will be impressed, and you will have convinced
      me of your point.

      PMCV
    • play_nice_now
      ... *smiles* Did you have any doubt that this was going to happen? ... them. ... pains ... this ... OK. In the Tripartite Tractate: Not one of the names which
      Message 2 of 27 , Jun 7, 2002
        --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > Now we are getting to some meaty bits Play.

        *smiles* Did you have any doubt that this was going to happen?


        > >I know what non-sequior is. Spiritual concepts are filled with
        them.
        > Even Gnostic ones my friend. OK I can accept that as strictly a
        > gnostic perspective. But I can't accept that as absolute truth, I'm
        > sorry.<
        >
        > Now you're talking. This is the kind of response I can respect. You
        > have stated that you get the point, and that you disagree with it.
        > Good man. Anyways, I'm sure you are right that there are some
        > examples here and there in Gnostic scripture of "non-sequitor", but
        > generally speaking it is something that Gnosticism takes great
        pains
        > to avoid (being a classical philosophy and all). In fact, it is
        this
        > very point that to some extent the cosmology of Gnosticism grows
        > from. Perhaps you can point out some past Gnostic mistakes of this
        > sort?

        OK. In the Tripartite Tractate:

        "Not one of the names which are conceived or spoken, seen or grasped -
        not one of them applies to him, even though they are exceedingly
        glorious, magnifying and honored. However, it is possible to utter
        these names for his glory and honor, in accordance with the capacity
        of each of those who give him glory."

        It doesn't follow that if names can't be conceived or spoken that
        they can still be uttered.

        and:

        "the form of the formless,
        the body of the bodiless,
        the face of the invisible,
        the word of the unutterable, "

        C'mon. If I wrote this, you would get annoyed.

        There are more but this is all I have time for right now.

        > >Gnostics "know" there is one (a god). Why do I say that? Read the
        > Gospel of Truth. Who is the Father? What is meant by "This is the
        > manifestation of the Father and his revelation to his Aeons. He
        > revealed his hidden self and explained it. For who is it who exists
        > if it is not the Father himself? All the spaces are his
        emanations."<
        >
        > You've read this passage overly literally if you think it is
        talking
        > about "God" in the normal meaning of the word.

        That is where you misunderstand me. I don't view "God" in the normal
        meaning of the word. When I talk about "It" God is nothing akin to
        what fundamentalists say IT is. Unfortunatel, the word "God" was used
        too much by others that it now has a negative stigma attached to IT
        that just turns people off. But that is not the God of which I speak.

        > This is why I have
        > stressed familiarization with certain Gnostic concepts before
        really
        > stating which ones you are with and which ones you don't. However,
        > your next question is a good segue for that discussion.
        >
        > >Maybe this might be a good time for a clarification of terms? Who
        is
        > the Father? What exactly about himself did he explain to his Aeons?
        > Where are his spaces?<
        >
        > That "Father" is the "Image", the reflection of the Infinite. It is
        > from the image that the emanations proceed. The emanations are
        > constructs of our capacity to understand the realms of existance
        that
        > we percieve as the Platonic base existantial realms where
        the "Forms"
        > are expressed (in other words, areas of lessor division from the
        > unity of the image, which is a reflection of the lack of being that
        > is the Prime Source). The "explination to the Aeons" is revelation
        of
        > the reflection as WE proceed to greater understanding of the
        process
        > (the Gnostic experience of the Pleroma)

        I understand. But I also take it to mean much more than that. These
        emanations of image also take form into a physical "reality" of which
        we now find ourselves immersed. What you say above is true but there
        is also this physical component of matter and form that is a part of
        what is being eminated from the "Father" which is unity. I posit that
        this physical existence is a part of what the infinite has created,
        however finite, flawed or in error it may seem. It then follows that
        if that is the case, then it has some value and is valid. No matter
        what the form or station in life.

        >
        > Thus, all these terms that look like the pistic Christian lingo are
        > allegories, not literal realities, in the Gnostic meaning. When it
        > says "God is Good" it means that true perfection is in the unity
        > beyond the field of opposites, and it diminishes with the movement
        > away from the unity.

        That is so true.


        > Lets deal with the Gospel of Truth for a second. It is largely a
        > Valintinian work, so we can temper it's meaning to a Valintinian
        > interperater with another Valintinian work (we must be careful not
        to
        > say "this is what Gnostics believed" from the outline of a single
        > sect, that would be false... and we should avoid drawing on another
        > sect's works to fill in). Take a look at the second paragraph in "A
        > Valintinian Exposition", this should make clear the "Image" aspect
        I
        > was talking about. There is a First father that is ambiguous, and
        the
        > second Father, who is the Son and the source of the All. Then, if
        you
        > look over at the first part of the Tripartite Tractate (another
        > Valintinian work), it will make clear how all of this is allegory,
        a
        > means of conceptualization rather than a literal reality (also
        notice
        > the repeating phrase "I for my part call it..." in a Valintinian
        > Exposition)

        OK, I see what you are talking about.


        > >Love is also quite timeless and infinite in many ways. Do you
        > understand what I mean by that?<
        >
        > Yes, I understand your intent, but I'm not sure you understand what
        I
        > mean by "infinite".

        Maybe it is time for another clarification of terms, eh?


        > >You trust what you know even if it is philosophical,
        > don't you?<
        >
        > No, I proceed with assumption for practical reasons only. I don't
        > trust my perception, I don't trust my philosophy, I don't
        > trust "God". The one thing I "trust" is that my spiritual
        > understanding is based on a methodology that is as sound as one can
        > get in this world... which is not to say perfect or "trustable". My
        > statements concerning my grasp of "truth", what I "know" (Gnosis),
        > must be understood to refer to relative degree, not absolute
        > attainment.

        Trust, or anything else for that matter in this existence, is rarely
        absolute. I'm talking about to a relative degree. I'm afraid that
        will have to suffice for us in this life. But, from that perspective,
        I take it that you do trust what you have come to know. That is what
        I'm talking about.


        > >All paths are the truth. Just by reason that they are paths that
        are
        > being taken. They exist and are therefore valid from the
        perspective
        > of the All.<
        >
        > You still haven't demonstrated this though. Why should I believe
        all
        > paths are equal in validity?

        OK. Because I exist and have my truth, you exist and have your truth
        and everyone and everything else exists and has it's truth, it
        follows, whether we agree with these truths or not, that these truths
        do in fact exist and are therefore her, now and valid. We are
        products or emanations of the "Father's" word which is to say
        emanations of his total truth. Because we are "here", we are a part
        of "his" word. "His" truth which can't be denied.

        > Do all roads _really_ lead to Rome?
        > nope! Why should I believe that ignorance is equal to knowledge, or
        > that matter is equal to spirit?

        I'm not looking at it that way. Not a matter of equality. It is a
        matter of what is and isn't. Fact is ignorance, whether equal or not
        is still part of truth since it does, in fact, exist.


        > If there is such a thing as "truth"
        > (which implicitly contains the notion of accuracy vs error) then
        > there is also such a thing as being closer to or farther from it.

        Only from our limited perspective is that true. But truth, the truth
        itself has its own say and is its own entity. It doesn't
        concern "itself" with who is closer or further from it. It is what it
        is. So again. I'm sorry but I can't agree with that.

        > Some paths promote ignorance, they discourage people from looking
        > inward, they are materialistic, aspiritual, and even harmful. A
        > society exhibits the collective neurosis of it's constituency. So,
        a
        > path (being a social creation as it is) can be lazy, greedy,
        hateful,
        > ignorant, silly, addictive, loving, intellegent, prideful, or any
        > other failing or strength you can apply to an individual. No right
        or
        > wrong? Maybe (though I would debate that), there still seems to
        > be "better".

        These are judgements of truth. But the truth is that these paths do
        exist and are therefore a part of what is truth. If we can accept
        that all things emanate from one source, from the "Father" or from
        what the infinite, it follows that what we consider bad or good,
        wrong or right, error and perfection or whatever came from this one
        source and therefore can't help but to lead back to it.


        > Here is another thought. In spite of all our differences there are
        > also areas that are generalities to all of humanity. This
        collective
        > subconcious denies individual perspective as anything more than
        > ornament, and deals with that universal humanity... the area we are
        > all the same. For all paths to be equally valid, they would have to
        > be demonstratable as not only comparatively similar on this front
        (as
        > many paths, though not all, do indeed demonstrate), but also as
        > having equally positive effect (since spirituality is initiated
        > partly from the individual's ability to deal with this connection
        on
        > a more concious level). I would challenge you to demonstrate this
        > principle as it relates to a comparative study of silopsism vs the
        > Pentecostal church vs science.... and the way they
        define "reality".
        > If you pull that off I will be impressed, and you will have
        convinced
        > me of your point.

        I think we are getting bogged down in terms of what is valid. The way
        I'm looking at this, if it "is" then it is valid regardless of what
        we think about it. I'm not placing judgement or comparing anyone or
        anything here. If it "is" it must have come from the prime source
        directly or indirectly since all things that "are" come from that one
        thought. In that sense they are valid. I'm careful to say it this way
        to avoid judgeing what is right or wrong. Another way of saying this
        is that the one truth is broken up into all sorts of truths which
        makes the one truth all encompassing. In its own "image". No matter
        which way you look at this, from the top down or from the bottom up
        it leads to and from the prime source. This is who I refer to
        as "God". The one God. Not Demiurge. The All are with the "Father"
        and do not exist for themselves. The All exist for and with him, even
        in the physical sense, for physicality can also be allegory to what
        is infinite. Nothing is far from the "Father" if it is all in Him.


        peace,
        play
      • pmcvflag
        ... they can still be uttered.
        Message 3 of 27 , Jun 7, 2002
          >It doesn't follow that if names can't be conceived or spoken that
          they can still be uttered.<

          Well, technically neither of these examples are non sequitor Play.
          They are a contention of our need to give a name to something in
          spite of the innacuracy that this causes.

          >C'mon. If I wrote this, you would get annoyed.<

          No Play, if you had said this then it would be clear that you were
          cogniscent of the allagory, rather than being literal. In other
          words, the issue here has been that you _appear_ to be speaking from
          the opposite direction as the examples you give. Now, if it is part
          of your point here with these examples to show that you are indeed
          aware if this, and that your belief in the connection of "love" to
          the infinite (for example) is only a metaphore rather than literal,
          then I would say "well why didn't you say so in the first place!"...
          I mean, the whole point of what I have said to you is that you seem
          to be very literal minded in interpreting some things that are not
          intended that way. For instance, it has seemed that you believed the
          Aeons are a literal accurate cosmological structure. If this is not
          the case, then we are in agreement.

          >I don't view "God" in the normal meaning of the word.<

          The question is whether or not you view "God" as a literal
          providential force, or as a construct of ours for the sake of dealing
          with higher philosophical subjects.

          >I understand. But I also take it to mean much more than that. These
          emanations of image also take form into a physical "reality" of which
          we now find ourselves immersed.<

          I understand that you believe that, however it isn't what the author
          of this book believed. Instead the Aeons (to the Gnostic writer) are
          seperated from physicality by a limit placed in the eighth (or ninth
          depending on the source) realm of the Archons (sometimes this is
          Saboath, others it is Low Sophia). It is beneath that limit that
          Yaldabaoth works.

          >I posit that this physical existence is a part of what the infinite
          has created<

          The question however is whether or not the Infinite "created"
          anything. If it did then it isn't really infinite since it has
          motive.... and motive is a finite action.

          >Maybe it is time for another clarification of terms, eh?<

          Ok, think of it this way.... there can be two meanings of the
          term "infinite". One is the general principle of physical un-
          measurability. The universe for instance may be "infinite" in this
          way, since it has no end (at least that we are able to positively
          discern) right?. This lack of ends gives it sort of an eternal
          quality. The same is true of numbers, as far as we know they don't
          end, they are "infinite" in that sense. However, this is only
          physical "infinity" not pure philosophical "Infinity". This second
          form of Infinity not only has no measurable ends, but no points of
          measurability anywhere. Numbers may go off into infinity, but
          wherever you are on that journey is still a finite point. No such
          thing exists in true, pure, infinity, since the existance of a finite
          point counters the absolute quality of the philsophical "form". Since
          all terms are finite concepts, we can only talk about pure infinity
          according to what it is not. Infinity isn't "big", because "big" is a
          thing right? This is what the biginning of the tripartite tractate is
          trying to say when it goes through that long list of negations, then
          saying that in reality God is not good, but we call it that because
          it gives honor to the concept.

          There is an implication here that I want to make clear. If we are
          talking about "part" of an infinity, we can only mean that physical
          infinity since the pure concept has no "parts"... no points of the
          finite to disrupt the pure form of the concept. This is the crux of
          our conversation in that the point you seemed to make, and the one
          that I was countering, is the notion of a "God" that has literal
          (rather than allegorical) attributes like "love". To Gnostics, such a
          conceptualization of "God" prevents one from being able to begin to
          gain that realization of pure philosophical infinity (which is partly
          what "Gnosis" is)

          Now, let me backtrack. This conversation started between you and
          Gerry primarily on the subject of anthropomorphization. The true
          question though is not whether you commit this fallacy (which we all
          must do), but whether you do it conciously, or if you believe it
          literally.

          >OK. Because I exist and have my truth, you exist and have your truth
          and everyone and everything else exists and has it's truth, it
          follows, whether we agree with these truths or not, that these truths
          do in fact exist and are therefore her, now and valid.<

          AH, so by "truth" you mean "realities" it seems. In that way yes, we
          all have our material existance. However, to the Gnostic those are
          not truth, on the contrary they are quite false.

          >We are products or emanations of the "Father's" word which is to say
          emanations of his total truth. Because we are "here", we are a part
          of "his" word. "His" truth which can't be denied.<

          Are we? The Gnostic cosmology certainly raises question about just
          what we are a part of.

          >I'm not looking at it that way. Not a matter of equality. It is a
          matter of what is and isn't. Fact is ignorance, whether equal or not
          is still part of truth since it does, in fact, exist.<

          That is assuming that "existance" is "truth". Unless the real truth
          is not found in existance, but in the pure philosophical infinity. So
          what "is" and "isn't" is not the truth.

          PMCV
        • ZELITCHENK
          2 simple questions. First. I see the difference between to believe and to know is fundumental for you. Can you articulate this in more details. What does
          Message 4 of 27 , Jun 8, 2002
            2 simple questions. First. I see the difference between "to believe"
            and "to know" is fundumental for you. Can you articulate this in more
            details. What does it mean - "to know"? What does it mean - "to
            believe"? Where is difference?

            Second. What is the difference between "esoteric path" and "inner
            path"? What is it - "esoteric path"?

            --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > Ok Play, you do in fact make some areas of where you are comming
            from
            > more clear, and that is quite helpful.
            >
            > To deal with some specific points you raise....
            >
            > >When I come off sounding like everything is good, it is more to
            > illustrate the idea that everything is exactly as it should be and
            > not flawed is as valid as the idea that flaw and error exists. I'm
            > saying the same thing as you but adding this insight to it. The
            > former way of thinking allows one to see God's perfection much more
            > readily than the latter.<
            >
            > I see two problems that present themselves to the Gnostic
            perspective
            > here. One is a logical flaw called "non sequitor" (which means "it
            > doesn't follow"). Whether or not things are "as it shood be" is not
            > necessarily relevent to whether or not there is a flaw. A flaw can
            be
            > intentional. On the other hand, intent can be a flaw which would
            make
            > the notion of "as it should be" flawed in and of itself
            > since "should" could be error from the getgo. The next one is
            > concerning "God". You are assuming we believe in one to make this
            > statement.
            >
            > >Acceptance, love and compassion are things of tremendous
            importance
            > and value especially in this day and age, are more easily
            assimilated
            > into being than seeing things as flawed or in error in my opinion.<
            >
            > Once again, non sequitor. The notion of flaw in no way implies a
            lack
            > of love or compassion. However, love, like all other things you can
            > name, applies to the field of time rather than to infinity.
            >
            > >I don't trust that judgement as much as I trust love<
            >
            > I don't "trust" period (as far as philosophical points are
            > concerned). "Trust" is another way of saying "believe" or "have
            faith
            > in". The point is, that is "pistic" not "gnostic". We don't seek
            > to "believe", we seek to "know". I know that love and compassion
            are
            > very valuable, and can even be footsteps in the path to Gnosis,
            they
            > are also limited.
            >
            > >I can see that these are not valued from the perspective here when
            I
            > get comments from you and others that ideas based upon love,
            > acceptance and tolerance are "rose colored", "warm and fuzzy" and
            the
            > like.<
            >
            > No, you misunderstand. In fact, I run a club solely on the subject
            of
            > love and compassion in esoteric practice. What is "rose colored" is
            > the need to imply that that love is a matter of providence, and
            that
            > we should float along being guided by it to the point of excluding
            > critical thought, that we should simply "trust" our hearts and not
            > stop to think about it. If you have been following my discussion
            with
            > Wilbro you may have noticed that I outlined the function of "Logos"
            > and "Sophia" in a sort of Jungian manner.... well that applies here
            > as well.
            >
            > >I'll tell you truly that warm and fuzzy ideas
            > are much more preferable to suicide bombers dieing and killing for
            > their belief in what they consider "right". Rose colored glasses
            are
            > better than blood stained ones anyday.<
            >
            > Not if everything is "the way it should be". If that is the case
            then
            > thier hate is every bit as important as your love, and even
            > preferable in some circumstances. Beyond love and hate is the true
            > repose of the spirit. You see, those rose colored glasses are one
            and
            > the same as the blood stained ones. The eyes of the spirit need no
            > glasses at all.
            >
            > >All things are part of what is true.<
            >
            > Only when talking about worldly perception. Remember the post from
            > the Tripartite tractate? "The majority, however, all who have
            reached
            > as far as the visible elements, do not know anything more than
            them."
            > The "truth" you keep mentioning is one that is dependant on the
            > visible elements, as is "love", and "acceptance". All these things
            > that exist as "part of what is true", no longer exist in what is
            > really True.
            >
            > >This subject of truth and God and spirituality is very much a
            matter
            > of perspective.<
            >
            > Only when looked at from somewhere that has "perspective", i.e. the
            > world of the "visible elements".
            >
            > >And all paths eventually lead to truth.<
            >
            > Demonstrate this. I doubt it seriously.
            >
            > >The one item that impresses me the most
            > is the Gospel of Truth. The Gospel of Thomas is interesting but
            open
            > to too much interpretation by the reader.<
            >
            > It is also debatable as to whether Thomas is in fact "Gnostic".
            >
            > >I've been on the inner path for a while now and it is
            > exactly as you say.<
            >
            > Hmmm, except I didn't say the "inner path", I said the "esoteric
            > path", there is a difference.
            >
            > >Hey, come to think of it, a gnostic shouldn't have much of a
            > problem with contradictions. You have read the Gospel of Thomas
            > haven't you?<
            >
            > There is a difference between intentional contradiction for the
            sake
            > of illustration (such as we see at the biginning of the tripartite
            > tractate), and idealogical inconsistancy. Once again, The "Gnostic"
            > validity of Thomas is open to debate.
            >
            > I do think though, that we may be closer to understanding each
            other.
            >
            > PMCV
          • hey_market
            I m stepping into this conversation late, and haven t read all the threads, so I may be repeating thing or speaking out of turn here. For what it s worth Play,
            Message 5 of 27 , Jun 8, 2002
              I'm stepping into this conversation late, and haven't read all the
              threads, so I may be repeating thing or speaking out of turn here.

              For what it's worth Play, I will note that it's a bit simplistic to
              even suppose that love and suicide bombers don't mix, since the
              latter certainly have rose-tinted glasses (godly and saintly even, at
              least in their estimation), even rosier than most I'd warrant, since
              they so adamantly believe they can take action to realize a world of
              perfection--a world they love--one that would exsist if they could
              only blow up or otherwise eradicate all of the enemies of their
              perfect world.

              And those enemies are located in the mind as much as anywhere else,
              particularly in minds that refuse to see that their world is as
              flawed as the next person's.

              It was Shakespeare who wrote that "nothing is, but thinking makes it
              so." And given your appreciation for this line, then you might see
              how it applies not only to any conception of love, including a suiced
              bombers, but to any thoughts period.

              As such, how this little bit of wisdom plays out in this instance is
              that "nothing is love, but my thinking makes it so," or "nothing is
              good, but my thinking makes it so," and then invetably, "nothing is
              evil, but THEIR thinking makes it so." And yet, this thinking is not
              exclusively THEIR thinking, is it?

              How it Plays out for you is that, "nothing is bad, but THEIR thinking
              makes it so." So why don't they think about better things--the power
              of positive thinking?

              And yet look at the evidence of our thinking--even your own mind must
              contend with an unavoidable evil within its walls, even if only to
              contend with the thoughts of other. Even if only to say, "ah, that's
              evil over there and there and there, and here's goodness over here."

              You are compelled to be discerning and make distinctions, and these
              distinctions define your own definition of love.

              So why not discern love in a fully conscious fashion? Wouldn't this
              be a better love? A fuller love?

              So why pretend to remove such challenges to your notions of love,
              especially within a field of thought from which they cannot be
              removed, and in fact, must exist as the very material with which you
              scrape away to sculpt your cognitive statue of love?

              This isn't to say that you should welcome evil, but it can hardly be
              avoided, or rather, the archontic forces of evil can only be avoided
              via the highly difficult process of developing fuller awareness.
              Otherwise, without acknowledging this reality we'll bump into a lot
              of ostensibly evil things that will not only disappoint us, but worse
              still, keep us ignorant.

              Internal inconsistency is a hallmark of such a frame of mind,
              precisely because it is unwilling to confront and reconcile those
              things that exist BEYOND the thinking that makes them so--that is,
              the objective psychoid facts of reality vs. a personal psychological
              facts of mind.

              Those who do confront these realities enevitably come to realize that
              the good is never altogether good and the evil never altogether evil,
              at least in this world.

              Better to realize that sooner than later, so as to move beyond it
              sooner than later--to move to the fullness of which Gnostics speak.
              But the only way to do so is through uncompromising consciousness,
              regardless of the discomfort.


              --- In gnosticism2@y..., "play_nice_now" <stokedup@y...> wrote:
              > --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              > > Hate to say it "Play Nice", but I'm forced to question your grasp
              > on
              > > the notion of internal consistancy. Some of your statements
              simply
              > > don't pan out.
              >
              > That is partly because I'm not explaining them clear enough and
              also
              > partly because this is a very difficult subject to present in an
              > absolute sense of the word as you well know.
              >
              > > I say this not to upset you, but to give you the
              > > opportunity to examine your statements a little more closely
              before
              > > you post them.
              >
              > I understand and examine my statements more closely than you think.
              >
              > > Gerry and Cari are completely justified in questioning
              > > the way you come accross.
              >
              > Of course they are. So are you and so am I.
              >
              > > However, let me base my points on the
              > > idealogical, for instance....
              > >
              > > If there is such a thing as the "Infinite" source, then you are
              > right
              > > to some extent to point out that the notion of a "flaw" is in
              error
              > > (since no opposites exist there). On the other hand it also means
              > > that the "everything is good" ideal is equally in error. Someone
              > once
              > > said that nothing is good or evil but that our thinking makes it
              so
              > > (yes, it was a Gnostic ;)).
              >
              > I would more agree with the latter. Everything isn't good as much
              as
              > everything isn't bad. I think that was the point I was trying to
              > make. When I come off sounding like everything is good, it is more
              to
              > illustrate the idea that everything is exactly as it should be and
              > not flawed is as valid as the idea that flaw and error exists. I'm
              > saying the same thing as you but adding this insight to it. The
              > former way of thinking allows one to see God's perfection much more
              > readily than the latter. Acceptance, love and compassion are things
              > of tremendous importance and value especially in this day and age,
              > are more easily assimilated into being than seeing things as flawed
              > or in error in my opinion. Humanity seeks to "fix" things that are
              > considered "flawed" or in "error". Our track record in judging what
              > is messed up or not isn't exactly the best if you catch my drift. I
              > don't trust that judgement as much as I trust love, tolerance and
              > compassion which by their very nature don't concern themselves with
              > the flaws and errors that seemingly exist from a perspective that
              > roots out love, compassion and tolerance in their thinking. I can
              see
              > that these are not valued from the perspective here when I get
              > comments from you and others that ideas based upon love, acceptance
              > and tolerance are "rose colored", "warm and fuzzy" and the like.
              Like
              > these are "bad" things. I'll tell you truly that warm and fuzzy
              ideas
              > are much more preferable to suicide bombers dieing and killing for
              > their belief in what they consider "right". Fixing what they
              consider
              > as flawed and in error. Rose colored glasses are better than blood
              > stained ones anyday.
              >
              > This subject of truth and God and spirituality is very much a
              matter
              > of perspective. It isn't as objective as many people think it is.
              You
              > don't agree? That is why I question every path when it seems to me
              > that people are so married to one idea over all others. From what I
              > see here, Gnosticism isn't much different in this regard. Like I
              have
              > said a bunch of times already, truth isn't a matter of right and
              > wrong, good or bad, up or down, left or right. All things are part
              of
              > what is true. It is more about acceptance and tolerance than
              anything
              > else in my opinion.
              >
              > >
              > > Let me post this again since I don't think it hit home....
              > >
              > > "Therefore they have introduced other types of explination, some
              > > saying that it is according to providence that the things which
              > exist
              > > have thier being. These are the people who observe the stability
              > and
              > > the conformity of the movement of creation. Others say that it is
              > > something alien. These are the people who observe the diversity
              and
              > > the lawlessness and the evil of the powers. Others say that the
              > > things which exist are what is destined to happen. These are the
              > > people who were occupied with this matter. Others that it is
              > > something in accordance with nature. Others say that it is self
              > > existent. The majority, however, all who have reached as far as
              the
              > > visible elements, do not know anything more than them."
              >
              > No. It hit home. I would agree with that and it is why I say
              that "I
              > don't know shit". Compared to what there is to know, I don't.
              Neither
              > does anyone here. I give that the respect that it deserves. Doesn't
              > mean that I know nothing as much as it means that I have much to
              > learn. Much to remember. So do we all.
              >
              >
              > > The difference between the Gnostic "flaw" and the New Age rose
              > > colored glasses? Well the difference is that we make our mistake
              > > conciously rather than out of ignorace or the pathological need
              to
              > > feel warm and fuzzy in spite of the dual nature necessary for
              time
              > > to exist. We do it for the sake of description. However, that
              isn't
              > > the problem. The fact is, until you know what Gnostics mean by
              the
              > > things they say, you don't really know if you agree or disagree,
              > nor
              > > how to state what is right or wrong about it. The thing is, you
              are
              > > still doing so. The word for this behavior is "presumption", and
              > many
              > > people find it annoying. I will be patient, as you have asked of
              > us,
              > > but don't think that "patience" is the same as letting you off
              the
              > > hook where critical thinking is concerned.
              >
              > My thinking about what is being said in here is critical. I'll try
              to
              > be more clear if and when I decide to post anything in here again.
              > I'm sorry if I annoyed anyone.
              >
              > > If you "don't know shit", then that is about what the "insights"
              > you offer are worth.
              >
              > I explained what I meant by that statement above so it should be
              > clearer to understand now.
              >
              > > That doesn't mean that they may not be true, they
              > > just haven't flowered into true cogniscence yet. Hold on to them,
              > > test them, and after you _really_ know what we are talking about
              > see
              > > if they stand up to what you may learn here. We also believe we
              > have
              > > some insights as to where to find truth, and how to come to know
              > > it.... and it has much to do with flaw and error (at least in an
              > > allegorical sense). To add to that, there are some here who know
              > > thier "shit" pretty well.
              >
              > I have said many times that you all "know" as much as anyone when
              it
              > comes to what is true. And all paths eventually lead to truth. You
              > know well what you know but compared to what there is to know,
              > well.....each of us doesn't know much. That isn't presumption. It
              is
              > truth.
              >
              >
              > > I hope you are able to take this in the light it is meant. I am
              > > giving you a hard time, but it is not meant in an angry manner at
              > > all. I think the fact is that there are a few basic principles to
              > > Gnosticism that may still be a little foggy to you, let alone the
              > > deep stuff for now. Yes, there is a great deal of study that is
              > going
              > > to be involved if you wish to have some understanding of
              Gnosticism
              > > (whether or not you decide you agre with it), and you stated that
              > you
              > > are in fact curious.
              >
              > I am not at all irritated and have read a bunch of Gnostic "stuff"
              > already. I am still curious. The one item that impresses me the
              most
              > is the Gospel of Truth. The Gospel of Thomas is interesting but
              open
              > to too much interpretation by the reader. Words taken out of
              context
              > lends itself to much confusion in my opinion. Reminds me of what
              > fundamentalist Christianity does to support ideas that the original
              > teachings weren't meant to portray.
              >
              > > Any true esoteic path is going to be blood sweat
              > > and tears, expect some work and some concepts that had not
              > previously
              > > hit you. This is a continual process, and any worth while
              esoteric
              > > path is a tremendous amount of work.
              >
              > So true. I've been on the inner path for a while now and it is
              > exactly as you say. I have shared much with you in this post and
              > hopefully now you understand me and my "contradictory" nature a bit
              > more. Hey, come to think of it, a gnostic shouldn't have much of a
              > problem with contradictions. You have read the Gospel of Thomas
              > haven't you?
              >
              > peace be with you,
              > play
            • Rob Thompson
              I hate to butt in but is the difference to believe is something based on fact but still has a leap of faith involved, where to know is a idea based solely on
              Message 6 of 27 , Jun 8, 2002

                I hate to butt in but is the difference to believe is something based on fact but still has a leap of faith involved, where to know is a idea based solely on fact or something that we can prove. From example... Fred believes the Gospel of Thomas to be the true word based on the idea that it is one of the oldest Christian documents, or I know the Gospel of Thomas is one of the oldest Christian documents.

                Rob

                  ZELITCHENK <zelitchenk@...> wrote:

                2 simple questions. First. I see the difference between "to believe"
                and "to know" is fundumental for you. Can you articulate this in more
                details. What does it mean - "to know"? What does it mean - "to
                believe"? Where is difference?

                Second. What is the difference between "esoteric path" and "inner
                path"? What is it - "esoteric path"?

                --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                > Ok Play, you do in fact make some areas of where you are comming
                from
                > more clear, and that is quite helpful.
                >
                > To deal with some specific points you raise....
                >
                > >When I come off sounding like everything is good, it is more to
                > illustrate the idea that everything is exactly as it should be and
                > not flawed is as valid as the idea that flaw and error exists. I'm
                > saying the same thing as you but adding this insight to it. The
                > former way of thinking allows one to see God's perfection much more
                > readily than the latter.<
                >
                > I see two problems that present themselves to the Gnostic
                perspective
                > here. One is a logical flaw called "non sequitor" (which means "it
                > doesn't follow"). Whether or not things are "as it shood be" is not
                > necessarily relevent to whether or not there is a flaw. A flaw can
                be
                > intentional. On the other hand, intent can be a flaw which would
                make
                > the notion of "as it should be" flawed in and of itself
                > since "should" could be error from the getgo. The next one is
                > concerning "God". You are assuming we believe in one to make this
                > statement.
                >
                > >Acceptance, love and compassion are things of tremendous
                importance
                > and value especially in this day and age, are more easily
                assimilated
                > into being than seeing things as flawed or in error in my opinion.<
                >
                > Once again, non sequitor. The notion of flaw in no way implies a
                lack
                > of love or compassion. However, love, like all other things you can
                > name, applies to the field of time rather than to infinity.
                >
                > >I don't trust that judgement as much as I trust love<
                >
                > I don't "trust" period (as far as philosophical points are
                > concerned). "Trust" is another way of saying "believe" or "have
                faith
                > in". The point is, that is "pistic" not "gnostic". We don't seek
                > to "believe", we seek to "know". I know that love and compassion
                are
                > very valuable, and can even be footsteps in the path to Gnosis,
                they
                > are also limited.
                >
                > >I can see that these are not valued from the perspective here when
                I
                > get comments from you and others that ideas based upon love,
                > acceptance and tolerance are "rose colored", "warm and fuzzy" and
                the
                > like.<
                >
                > No, you misunderstand. In fact, I run a club solely on the subject
                of
                > love and compassion in esoteric practice. What is "rose colored" is
                > the need to imply that that love is a matter of providence, and
                that
                > we should float along being guided by it to the point of excluding
                > critical thought, that we should simply "trust" our hearts and not
                > stop to think about it. If you have been following my discussion
                with
                > Wilbro you may have noticed that I outlined the function of "Logos"
                > and "Sophia" in a sort of Jungian manner.... well that applies here
                > as well.
                >
                > >I'll tell you truly that warm and fuzzy ideas
                > are much more preferable to suicide bombers dieing and killing for
                > their belief in what they consider "right". Rose colored glasses
                are
                > better than blood stained ones anyday.<
                >
                > Not if everything is "the way it should be". If that is the case
                then
                > thier hate is every bit as important as your love, and even
                > preferable in some circumstances. Beyond love and hate is the true
                > repose of the spirit. You see, those rose colored glasses are one
                and
                > the same as the blood stained ones. The eyes of the spirit need no
                > glasses at all.
                >
                > >All things are part of what is true.<
                >
                > Only when talking about worldly perception. Remember the post from
                > the Tripartite tractate? "The majority, however, all who have
                reached
                > as far as the visible elements, do not know anything more than
                them."
                > The "truth" you keep mentioning is one that is dependant on the
                > visible elements, as is "love", and "acceptance". All these things
                > that exist as "part of what is true", no longer exist in what is
                > really True.
                >
                > >This subject of truth and God and spirituality is very much a
                matter
                > of perspective.<
                >
                > Only when looked at from somewhere that has "perspective", i.e. the
                > world of the "visible elements".
                >
                > >And all paths eventually lead to truth.<
                >
                > Demonstrate this. I doubt it seriously.
                >
                > >The one item that impresses me the most
                > is the Gospel of Truth. The Gospel of Thomas is interesting but
                open
                > to too much interpretation by the reader.<
                >
                > It is also debatable as to whether Thomas is in fact "Gnostic".
                >
                > >I've been on the inner path for a while now and it is
                > exactly as you say.<
                >
                > Hmmm, except I didn't say the "inner path", I said the "esoteric
                > path", there is a difference.
                >
                > >Hey, come to think of it, a gnostic shouldn't have much of a
                > problem with contradictions. You have read the Gospel of Thomas
                > haven't you?<
                >
                > There is a difference between intentional contradiction for the
                sake
                > of illustration (such as we see at the biginning of the tripartite
                > tractate), and idealogical inconsistancy. Once again, The "Gnostic"
                > validity of Thomas is open to debate.
                >
                > I do think though, that we may be closer to understanding each
                other.
                >
                > PMCV


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              • pmcvflag
                Hey AZ, you ask... ... and to know is fundumental for you. Can you articulate this in more details. What does it mean - to know ? What does it mean - to
                Message 7 of 27 , Jun 9, 2002
                  Hey AZ, you ask...

                  >2 simple questions. First. I see the difference between "to believe"
                  and "to know" is fundumental for you. Can you articulate this in more
                  details. What does it mean - "to know"? What does it mean - "to
                  believe"? Where is difference?<

                  In the Gnostic system, the difference between believing (pistis
                  [faith]) and knowing "gnosis" is fundemental (after all, it
                  is "Gnosticism" not "Pisticism")

                  One "knows" through a system of experience and critical perspective.
                  How for instance do you "know" that you are reading my message on a
                  computer message board? Belief on the other hand is only necessary
                  when we chose to maintain an idea despite the lack of enough evidence
                  or logic to give us reason to hold the idea in question. It doesn't
                  mean the belief is wrong, just that we draw a destinction on how the
                  conclusion should be reached.

                  >Second. What is the difference between "esoteric path" and "inner
                  path"? What is it - "esoteric path"? <

                  Esotericism literally referes to an initiatory process, though that
                  may be expressed in many forms and is certainly an "inner" process as
                  well. However, "inner path" is a very general destinction for any
                  kind of self examination, whereas "esoteric" referes to a more
                  specific and methodological approach, generally via a initiatory
                  system (alchemy for instance, or Freemasonry, Hermeticism, Kabbalah,
                  or of course Gnosticism.)

                  PMCV
                • lady_caritas
                  ZELITCHENK (#5997) ... believe and to know is fundumental for you. Can you articulate this in more details. What does it mean - to know ? What does it mean
                  Message 8 of 27 , Jun 9, 2002
                    ZELITCHENK (#5997)
                    >>2 simple questions. First. I see the difference between "to
                    believe" and "to know" is fundumental for you. Can you articulate
                    this in more details. What does it mean - "to know"? What does it
                    mean - "to believe"? Where is difference?<<

                    Hello, AZ. I've only had time to scan your book briefly so far.
                    Thank you for sharing your efforts. In addition to previous comments
                    from PMCV and Rob, I'd like to offer a link to an article that
                    discusses "faith" vs. "gnosis" from a Valentinian perspective. I
                    noticed in "Conversation 1" of your book, the "Teacher" says, "Man
                    has three bodies: a spiritual one, a mental one and a physical one."
                    Gnostics also recognized tripartite nature of humans, the hyle,
                    psyche, and pneuma.

                    http://www.cyberus.ca/~brons/gnosis.htm

                    >>Second. What is the difference between "esoteric path" and "inner
                    path"? What is it - "esoteric path"?<<

                    Esoteric traditions as described by PMCV are often distinguished
                    from "exoteric" paths. Richard Smoley and Jay Kinney in their book
                    about Western esoteric traditions, _Hidden Wisdom_, write, "Esoteric
                    spirituality is often contrasted with _exoteric_ spirituality or
                    _religion_, which constitutes the more outward forms of belief and
                    practice. […] Esoteric traditions are concerned with
                    _transcendence_, chiefly of oneself." (p. xiv)

                    AZ, I don't know if you're familiar with the now defunct _Gnosis_
                    magazine. Smoley and Kinney were editors of this excellent "Journal
                    of the Western Inner Traditions." An entire issue was devoted
                    to "Esoteric Spirituality," (Spring, 1988).
                    http://www.lumen.org/issue_contents/contents07.html

                    Cari
                  • ZELITCHENK
                    Thanks. I do not want to go in details (I did this in book - www.geocities.com/zelitchenk - Conversations 2-3), but I want to fix 2 important moments you wrote
                    Message 9 of 27 , Jun 11, 2002
                      Thanks.

                      I do not want to go in details (I did this in book -
                      www.geocities.com/zelitchenk - Conversations 2-3), but I want to fix
                      2 important moments you wrote about. First. The "to know" means to
                      get experience - not only words (idea). To know something is to
                      experience this "something". I think (I know) - this is most
                      important in gnosticism.

                      Second. If you do not mean historico-cultural investigation of the
                      procedures of initiation in different "schools" (it would be very
                      difficult if resolved at all problem, which in my taste is rather
                      meaningless also), then the esoteric path is inner path of somebody
                      who become Initiates. On the other hand, the phases of any inner
                      path, when the person breaks through to something new (for himself,
                      of course) are esoteric (for this person).

                      Agree?
                      AZ

                      --- In gnosticism2@y..., pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                      > Hey AZ, you ask...
                      >
                      > >2 simple questions. First. I see the difference between "to
                      believe"
                      > and "to know" is fundumental for you. Can you articulate this in
                      more
                      > details. What does it mean - "to know"? What does it mean - "to
                      > believe"? Where is difference?<
                      >
                      > In the Gnostic system, the difference between believing (pistis
                      > [faith]) and knowing "gnosis" is fundemental (after all, it
                      > is "Gnosticism" not "Pisticism")
                      >
                      > One "knows" through a system of experience and critical
                      perspective.
                      > How for instance do you "know" that you are reading my message on a
                      > computer message board? Belief on the other hand is only necessary
                      > when we chose to maintain an idea despite the lack of enough
                      evidence
                      > or logic to give us reason to hold the idea in question. It doesn't
                      > mean the belief is wrong, just that we draw a destinction on how
                      the
                      > conclusion should be reached.
                      >
                      > >Second. What is the difference between "esoteric path" and "inner
                      > path"? What is it - "esoteric path"? <
                      >
                      > Esotericism literally referes to an initiatory process, though that
                      > may be expressed in many forms and is certainly an "inner" process
                      as
                      > well. However, "inner path" is a very general destinction for any
                      > kind of self examination, whereas "esoteric" referes to a more
                      > specific and methodological approach, generally via a initiatory
                      > system (alchemy for instance, or Freemasonry, Hermeticism,
                      Kabbalah,
                      > or of course Gnosticism.)
                      >
                      > PMCV
                    • arose607@aol.com
                      ... Oh, could I have an invite? Annalee :0) arose607@aol.com
                      Message 10 of 27 , Jun 13, 2002


                        No, you misunderstand. In fact, I run a club solely on the subject of
                        love and compassion in esoteric practice


                        Oh, could I have an invite?

                        Annalee :0)
                        arose607@...
                      • pmcvflag
                        Why sure Ms Annalee, let me post it here for the club so that anyone who wishes can join. This club is specifically about the love forms in 11th - 13th century
                        Message 11 of 27 , Jun 13, 2002
                          Why sure Ms Annalee, let me post it here for the club so that anyone
                          who wishes can join.

                          This club is specifically about the love forms in 11th - 13th century
                          esoteric practice connected to the courts of love. In other words,
                          the scope is very specific in some ways. However, we do talk about
                          Gnosticism (we draw the connection due to the Platonist origin of
                          both, and it seems valid to gain insight as to how such movements
                          come about by examining Gnosticism and the surprizing correlations
                          that can be seen in some of the more experientialist versions we
                          see... such as Monoimos, Carpocrates, etc.)

                          Anyways, The club is meant primarily to deal with romantic (erotic)
                          tones in the fin amore via the scala amoris of certain troubadours.

                          Here is the url http://groups.yahoo.com/group/philosophia2/

                          PMCV

                          --- In gnosticism2@y..., arose607@a... wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > > No, you misunderstand. In fact, I run a club solely on the
                          subject of
                          > > love and compassion in esoteric practice
                          >
                          > Oh, could I have an invite?
                          >
                          > Annalee :0)
                          > arose607@a...
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