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Evolution

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  • lady_caritas
    I really should give this thread a subject name. :-) ... containers ... evolution ... have ... on ... the ... in.) ... fifteen ... must ... first ... would
    Message 1 of 19 , Aug 29, 2002
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      I really should give this thread a subject name. :-)

      --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
      > In his new book, _Gnosticism, New Light on the Ancient Tradition of
      > Inner Knowing_, Stephan Hoeller says, "Gnosticism holds that human
      > beings are essentially not the product of the material world. The
      > important term in this statement is _essentially_, for Gnosticism
      > focuses on the essence rather than the physical and mental
      containers
      > that envelop this essence. Though the theory of biological
      evolution
      > did not exist at the time of the ancient Gnostics, one might guess
      > that unlike their mainstream Christian brethren, they would not
      have
      > objected to it. For they believed that the human body originates
      on
      > earth but the human spirit has come from afar, from the realm of
      the
      > Fullness, where the true Godhead dwells. A human being consists of
      > physical and psychic components, which are perishable, as well as a
      > spiritual component, which is a fragment of the divine essence,
      > sometimes called the divine spark." (pages 17-18)
      >
      > I quote this because recently the July, 2002 issue of _Scientific
      > American_ had an article, "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense." ~
      >
      > (Sometimes Yahoo has the tendency to mess up the links. If this
      > happens, please just copy and paste onto your browser or type it
      in.)
      >
      > http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-
      > 8E49809EC588EEDF
      >
      > The author, John Rennie, gives well-informed rebuttals to the
      fifteen
      > most common arguments raised against evolution. In this article,
      > Rennie admits, "The origin of life remains very much a mystery, but
      > biochemists have learned about how primitive nucleic acids, amino
      > acids and other building blocks of life could have formed and
      > organized themselves into self-replicating, self-sustaining units,
      > laying the foundation for cellular biochemistry." Later he
      > states, "Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution
      > resulting from forces beyond natural selection. Yet those forces
      must
      > be natural; they cannot be attributed to the actions of mysterious
      > creative intelligences whose existence, in scientific terms, is
      > unproved."
      >
      > Rennie also says, "Intelligent design offers few answers. For
      > instance, when and how did a designing intelligence intervene in
      > life's history? By creating the first DNA? The first cell? The
      first
      > human? Was every species designed, or just a few early ones?
      > Proponents of intelligent-design theory frequently decline to be
      > pinned down on these points."
      >
      > So, keeping Hoeller's words in mind, where does the mythological
      > demiurge fit in evolutionary "life's history"? And the pneuma,
      > trapped in the "physical and mental containers"? IOW, later in his
      > book, Dr. Hoeller says (regarding points he offers describing a
      > Gnostic), "Gnostics, when they stand up to identify themselves,
      would
      > have to agree to the majority of these tenets, but whether the
      > interpretation of them would be literal, psychological,
      > philosophical, or other must be left to the individual." (p. 190)
      > His second tenet reads, "The manifest universe of matter and mind
      was
      > created not by the original spiritual unity but by spiritual beings
      > possessing inferior powers." (p.188) So, Hoeller's opinion is that
      > mythology could be interpreted in a "literal, psychological,
      > philosophical, or other" sense. I wonder how many
      countless "Gnostic"
      > variations we might encounter explaining our existence regarding
      > the "first DNA" or "first cell" or "first human." Or does that
      > even "matter"?
      >
      > Just thought I'd throw this out for discussion to the forum.
      >
      > Cari
    • incognito_lightbringer
      Message 2 of 19 , Sep 3, 2002
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        <<"Gnostics, when they stand up to identify themselves, would
        have to agree to the majority of these tenets, but whether the
        interpretation of them would be literal, psychological,
        philosophical, or other must be left to the individual." (p. 190) >>>

        Gnosticism can be interpreted on all the above levels. I know
        involving science in the mix has been labeled "new age" by more than
        a few people. Also, science is a function of material universe, and
        thus any conclusions drawn could be said to lead to nothing more than
        the demiurge. But, quite obviously, we live in this world and are
        under it's physical laws, and the experience of it is highly
        unpleasant (that whole death and suffering and eating business),
        which prompts us to search for answers to our questions. The ancients
        were not above using science as allegory.

        I suppose if you want, the demiurge starts with the formation
        space/time/matter; the big bang. (Although the big bang as just a
        theory is constantly refined and altered as new phenomena are
        discovered). No one will argue that DNA is a code, highly complex and
        specific. That this code could have developed randomly *seems*
        impossible, and that's the major argument used in the creationism.
        The problem with creationism is that it's not just about proposing a
        theory that incorporates seeding or some kind of intelligence. The
        theory also has to adhere to whatever scriptural dogma, and with any
        contradiction real science is dismissed while pseudo science and
        charlatanism takes its place.

        One theory I've heard is that all possible universes exist
        simultaneously, thus all possible combinations of things, and we just
        happen to be in the one that supports life and thus it *appears* to
        us to be ordered by intelligence whereas it might not necessarily be
        so. At least it's a valid counter argument.

        The gnostic texts I've encountered have at least two instance
        of "matter flung apart". One is in Origin of the World. Astronomy was
        fairly advanced in ancient times. Archeologists have even found what
        looks like glass lenses for telescopes.

        The 15 point argument had one interesting idea:

        http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-
        8E49809EC588EEDF&pageNumber=4&catID=2

        <<As an analogy, consider the 13-letter sequence "TOBEORNOTTOBE."
        Those hypothetical million monkeys, each pecking out one phrase a
        second, could take as long as 78,800 years to find it among the 2613
        sequences of that length. But in the 1980s Richard Hardison of
        Glendale College wrote a computer program that generated phrases
        randomly while preserving the positions of individual letters that
        happened to be correctly placed (in effect, selecting for phrases
        more like Hamlet's). On average, the program re-created the phrase in
        just 336 iterations, less than 90 seconds. Even more amazing, it
        could reconstruct Shakespeare's entire play in just four and a half
        days. >>

        I wasn't exactly clear on this, so I went searching on the web and
        found a slightly better explanation.

        http://www.eadon.com/arena/darwinwars2tb.php
        (copying someone elses post on here)
        <<Molecular Biologists think that what made the close quarters
        exchange of chemicals so feasible would be the beginnings of an oily
        protective layer surrounding the outside, not necessarily a full
        fledged membrane but a makeshift sort. With the chemicals (yea, im
        too tired to fricken list 'em) this provides the medium for
        combination to occur. In 1980's a Richard Hardison of Glendale
        College wrote a computer program which resembled the very primitive
        cells. 'as an analogy, consider the 13-letter
        sequence 'TOBEORNOTTOBE.' Those hypothetical million monkeys, each
        pecking out one phrase a second, could take as long as 78,800 years
        to find among 26 to the 13th sequences of that length.' Theres a
        creationist sort of argument... Now to the program. 'Now with the
        sequence 'TOBEORNOTTOBE' the computer would randomly put down letters
        and the program would preserve the letters that fit the right spots.
        Recreating the phrase took 90 seconds... Now, reciting the entire
        Hamlet play it took the program only 4 and a half days to recreate
        it.' And for all you creationist swines that some how think thats
        stupid I have only profane things to call you. But this represents a
        primitive cell perfectly due to the closeness of all the chemicals
        that sparked the first RNA strand, but thats another chapter.>>

        The problem with this argument is how are "the right spots"
        determined? It is predicated upon the idea that *something* knows and
        preserves the phrases that are correct, in the failed attempts, till
        the "correct" mode is achieved, which is the final work. In this
        case, the computer program compares and preserves the failed attempts
        to some standard (the complete play), until the correct result is
        achieved. And that the entire work is known beforehand so that such
        preservation can be made. I can't see this as an evolutionary model
        simply because if several of the "right spots" aren't filled (as in a
        DNA sequence) than you get a failed life form which doesn't survive
        in order to be built upon. Why would evolution build on the failed
        life forms, which presumably wouldn't survive to be built upon, in
        order to create the "right" ones? It sounds like building a house of
        cards. This model is more of a hindsight is 20/20 attempt. Evolution
        in the real world occurs in dramatic spurts, while other times it
        lags for aeons. Also, the concept of "right spots" is nonsense,
        because all life is connected to and influenced by all other life and
        environment and in constant flux. The pattern spots on a butterfly
        are a reaction to it's environment, the environment is also a
        function of the life forms in it, etc.. There's nothing "right"
        or "wrong" about it, it just is as it is at any particular time in
        reaction to everything else. But why any living system takes on it's
        particular form as compared to all others which could conceivably
        successfully exist is the real mystery. For example, dinosaurs
        existed for what? 100 million years? They never evolved to higher
        life forms. Why not? There was certainly enough time.


        Another thing the article didn't address is the problem that Darwin
        is no longer accepted as is. Not that evolution in whole is wrong,
        but that Darwin's theory of how it proceeds is inaccurate. It was a
        good theory, but it doesn't mirror what's now known about our real
        world. Evolution in Darwin was a **slow** process of aeons of change
        and elimination building upon each other to achieve a final result.
        It was based on a stable model. Evolution in the real world is
        bizarre and the environment is chaotic. There are random almost
        spontaneous leaps from lower to higher levels of life (and much
        higher at that). The earth has also encountered several world wide
        extinction events. It's not stable and constantly undergoes dramatic
        changes of topography and weather. That life not only evolved, but
        apparently evolved several times, is amazing. That it evolved to
        higher levels at all is truly amazing. There are, also on the other
        hand, life forms on this planet that have remained basically the same
        for tens of millions of years. So, I have no answers and neither does
        anyone else as to where science fits and what the correct theory is.
        Every theory so far is mixed with bunk and speculation. Human
        history itself is a huge mystery. There's archaelogical evidence that
        human beings may have been around for far far longer than generally
        acknowledged. The history of just this continent alone is nothing
        like that taught in schools. But because the evidence is anomalous
        it's dismissed as a potential forgery or hidden away in embarrassment.

        <<"Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution
        resulting from forces beyond natural selection. ..>>

        What I don't like about this is the word "natural". Natural is more a
        term used to define not what *is* but rather *what we know so far*.
        It's bogus, IMHO.

        <<So, keeping Hoeller's words in mind, where does the mythological
        demiurge fit in evolutionary "life's history"? And the pneuma,
        trapped in the "physical and mental containers"?>>

        In the theory of tripartation, the body/hylic is easily understood.
        More difficult is psychic versus pneumatic, or mind versus spirit.
        What exactly is the difference?

        I've interpreted the psychic as the individual personality. So it
        would be shaped by several factors; inherited traits, environment,
        experiences. All are derivative to the material universe. (The soul
        in
        gnosticism is still a material structure.) We're also as a human race
        on whole preprogrammed to specific drives and behaviors. We're
        mammals for example, and not insects or plants.
        If you want to look at the psychic scientifically then it's perhaps
        the brain? The brain which we scientifically use to explain thought,
        although no one is quite sure how it works exactly.

        Allegorically, could drives and personality traits be interpreted as
        the archons? (The Buddhists see ego as a jailer.) In gnosticism the
        body and soul was created by either the demiurge or the devil, and is
        still a function of matter. The spirit given by the Father animates
        it.

        Spirit as consciousness itself? Consciousness is a tricky concept.
        Buddhists separate the notions of ego and consciousness, they are
        *not the same thing*. One Nag Hammadi text implies similar.
        Paraphrase of Shem there are three roots. This is a quote from the
        introduction in Nag Hammadi to the text, not the entire thing. This
        text has alway fascinated me because it implies any number of things
        not found in mainstream gnosticism.

        "The cosmogenic myth reported here is related to those systems which
        consider the universe as rooted in three principles. It opens with
        the description of the three great powers or roots: at the top reigns
        Light Infinite, called "Majesty", which is thought filled with
        hearing and word; located at the bottom is darkness, a male principle
        which is "wind in the water" and possesses the Mind (nous) wrapped
        with the restless fire. Between these two powers is Spirit, a quiet
        and humble light. The harmony which prevails at the beginning derives
        from the fact that each of those roots reigns in itself mixing with
        the other two. It is important to note that the text makes no
        allusions to any previous actions taken by Darkness to seize the
        Mind, nor does it mention a fall of the Mind. However, the events are
        essentially triggered by the will of the Majesty in an effort to save
        the Mind.
        Suddenly Darkness stirs and the Spirit discovers the existence of the
        bad root. By the will of the Great Light the waters separate and
        darkness comes up with the eye, the Mind. The Spirit reveals himself
        to Darkness and by doing so loses a part of his light to the benefit
        of the Mind.
        The exalted light then reveals himself through his son, Derdekeas. He
        appears as the likeness of Spirit, thus initiating the salvation of
        the Mind and the ascent of the Spirit's light in order to deceive
        Darkness, the Savior provokes the creation of the universe from
        water, part of which transforms into a giant Womb (also
        called "Nature"). The restless fire goes into the Womb. Fooled by the
        fire, Darkness, on seeing the Womb, becomes unchaste, has intercourse
        with the Womb and ejaculates Mind."

        There's more, such as the savior engaging in all sorts of trickery,
        such as putting on several "garments" such as one of universal light,
        one that is "trimorphic", one of fire where he "prostitutes himself
        with nature", and in very un-gnostic fashion "Derdekeas puts on the
        garment of the Beast and prompts the womb to produce heaven and earth
        and all kinds of seed. He also makes her give birth to female
        entities, the winds, and to male entities, the demons. The latter
        mate with the winds and thereby cast off the power they have, which
        is Mind.....At the end of time, Mind will take his repose with Faith
        in the cloud of Hymen."

        There's more, but this is certainly a new twist on the story!!
        All this is to save Mind from the Dark crooked root, and presumably
        do away with the Dark root altogether.
        (Interestingly the Paraphrase text is not given on gnosis.org)
        "The middle" or middle place is an idea found in other texts. In some
        cases it's the abode of the demiurge. One text I remember seeing had
        is as a place of evil that you don't want to get caught up in, Gospel
        of Philip "And so he dwells either in this world or in the
        resurrection or in the middle place. God forbid "the middle". It is
        death." Sounds like here.
        http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/nhsearch.html
        http://www.gnosis.org/search_form.html
        Run a search on "middle" and read.


        --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > I really should give this thread a subject name. :-)
        >
        > --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > > In his new book, _Gnosticism, New Light on the Ancient Tradition
        of
        > > Inner Knowing_, Stephan Hoeller says, "Gnosticism holds that
        human
        > > beings are essentially not the product of the material world.
        The
        > > important term in this statement is _essentially_, for Gnosticism
        > > focuses on the essence rather than the physical and mental
        > containers
        > > that envelop this essence. Though the theory of biological
        > evolution
        > > did not exist at the time of the ancient Gnostics, one might
        guess
        > > that unlike their mainstream Christian brethren, they would not
        > have
        > > objected to it. For they believed that the human body originates
        > on
        > > earth but the human spirit has come from afar, from the realm of
        > the
        > > Fullness, where the true Godhead dwells. A human being consists
        of
        > > physical and psychic components, which are perishable, as well as
        a
        > > spiritual component, which is a fragment of the divine essence,
        > > sometimes called the divine spark." (pages 17-18)
        > >
        > > I quote this because recently the July, 2002 issue of _Scientific
        > > American_ had an article, "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense."
        ~
        > >
        > > (Sometimes Yahoo has the tendency to mess up the links. If this
        > > happens, please just copy and paste onto your browser or type it
        > in.)
        > >
        > > http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-
        > > 8E49809EC588EEDF
        > >
        > > The author, John Rennie, gives well-informed rebuttals to the
        > fifteen
        > > most common arguments raised against evolution. In this article,
        > > Rennie admits, "The origin of life remains very much a mystery,
        but
        > > biochemists have learned about how primitive nucleic acids, amino
        > > acids and other building blocks of life could have formed and
        > > organized themselves into self-replicating, self-sustaining
        units,
        > > laying the foundation for cellular biochemistry." Later he
        > > states, "Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution
        > > resulting from forces beyond natural selection. Yet those forces
        > must
        > > be natural; they cannot be attributed to the actions of
        mysterious
        > > creative intelligences whose existence, in scientific terms, is
        > > unproved."
        > >
        > > Rennie also says, "Intelligent design offers few answers. For
        > > instance, when and how did a designing intelligence intervene in
        > > life's history? By creating the first DNA? The first cell? The
        > first
        > > human? Was every species designed, or just a few early ones?
        > > Proponents of intelligent-design theory frequently decline to be
        > > pinned down on these points."
        > >
        > > So, keeping Hoeller's words in mind, where does the mythological
        > > demiurge fit in evolutionary "life's history"? And the pneuma,
        > > trapped in the "physical and mental containers"? IOW, later in
        his
        > > book, Dr. Hoeller says (regarding points he offers describing a
        > > Gnostic), "Gnostics, when they stand up to identify themselves,
        > would
        > > have to agree to the majority of these tenets, but whether the
        > > interpretation of them would be literal, psychological,
        > > philosophical, or other must be left to the individual." (p.
        190)
        > > His second tenet reads, "The manifest universe of matter and mind
        > was
        > > created not by the original spiritual unity but by spiritual
        beings
        > > possessing inferior powers." (p.188) So, Hoeller's opinion is
        that
        > > mythology could be interpreted in a "literal, psychological,
        > > philosophical, or other" sense. I wonder how many
        > countless "Gnostic"
        > > variations we might encounter explaining our existence regarding
        > > the "first DNA" or "first cell" or "first human." Or does that
        > > even "matter"?
        > >
        > > Just thought I'd throw this out for discussion to the forum.
        > >
        > > Cari
      • beautiful2afault
        the last two postings of mine are evolution in human thought. seems its the last place we really can advance for the moment on down into the social structure
        Message 3 of 19 , Sep 4, 2002
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          the last two postings of mine are evolution in human thought.
          seems its the last place we really can advance for the moment on down
          into the social structure of world processes including science.

          the creation of humanity from the biological level has a process
          still in vague ideology and agreement. the spiritual origins also
          vague and less known or available to knowledge execpt through the
          queballa or however that spelling goes.

          the blue dude in one writing is krisna, with the seperation of
          society and development of class systems. the social hiarchy has
          begun. the attainment of enlightment the outcome.

          the queballa itself an explaination of male, woman creation. the
          social system just embellishment upon the same.

          in the mean time it is for the minds of humanity to come to
          understanding that more than physical mental and spiritual entertwine
          to make the world a fit place to reside.

          living in the world, residing from the soul, thinking with our mind
          and learning all three modes.

          as for the chemical anology of human formation from the evolutionary
          position in biology. the G spot. oh yes, the G spot from god to sex
          and all that allure of spontanity including the quaballe.

          the chemical hiarchy of building atoms is not unlike the hiarchy of
          the levels of the mind. some say seven, some say five, i say levels
          are like the levels in chemical atomic structure. many attributes on
          differing levels.

          or as with the first level in chemical structure. one attribute, one
          level as to ground level here on earth.

          i do think anologies and structure can be formulated as to some
          physical structure on going here on earth as to the metaphysical
          structuring in the spiritual.

          both elements work together through the minds of men and women to
          bring about better for all realms of existence.

          just my two cents
          in attempting to
          build a better world

          beautiful2afault
        • Coraxo
          Caritas: this is a great subject that you have brought up and one which really shakes at the iron bars of scientific epistemology. The ancients, Heraclitus and
          Message 4 of 19 , Sep 4, 2002
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            Re: [Gnosticism] Evolution Caritas:

            this is a great subject that you have brought up and one which really shakes at the iron bars of scientific epistemology.

            The ancients, Heraclitus and Pythagoras saw the plan of intelligent design, but ascribed this not to the Demiurgic fabricator of Kosmos, but to the properties of Nous itself.

            Good old Bishop berkeley wrote to the effect that we cannot know anything outside of the agency of the mind. This much is so and as such it begs the question whether the "objective universe" is a product of Intelligent Design, or if this design is the artifat of the Mind's perception of the Universe _ I tend to think that it is both.

            First, the Mind is not necessarily restricted to the limits of the epidermis in fact it is my experience that the Noetic construct is just as vast and as varied as the "physical worls". I write it in quotes because we bnever truly experience a "Physical World" but a mental world. The Physical World is a projection, just as is our sense of self - the ego, and the body. These are all constructs of Mind - we only surmise that they are external to ourselves because things do not always act in accord with our individual volition.

            Rather than being a narcissistic solipsism, it is a type of ontological solipsism which ios not based in the personal self but in a more abstract and impersonal realm of Mind.

            This Nous acts according to certain predetermined rules - some of which are apriori rudiments like the addition of Numbers, and the geometries of planes and solids were held in high esteem by the Pythagoreans.

            It is thus easy if we divorce our senses from the so-called objective world and see that we are in fact parts of a greater Mind - some of which have like ourselves forgotten their origins and begin to act chaotically, we can see that even the hyle which DNA is a component of must necessarily act in accord with certain basic formulae.

            Thus Bishop berkley evenmtually surmised that there was in fact nothing but spirit - that outside of this the qualities and characteristics of objects were the coloring of perception. This is not unlike the discussion in the Prajnaparamita Sutra as well as the discourse on Suffering in the Acts of John.

            Not that it is Illusion, but that the reality is a similitude of a greater ground of being.

            At any rate that is it from me for now.

            Corax



            From: lady_caritas <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
            Reply-To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2002 20:50:21 -0000
            To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [Gnosticism] Evolution


            I really should give this thread a subject name.  :-)

            --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
            > In his new book, _Gnosticism, New Light on the Ancient Tradition of
            > Inner Knowing_, Stephan Hoeller says, "Gnosticism holds that human
            > beings are essentially not the product of the material world.  The
            > important term in this statement is _essentially_, for Gnosticism
            > focuses on the essence rather than the physical and mental
            containers
            > that envelop this essence.  Though the theory of biological
            evolution
            > did not exist at the time of the ancient Gnostics, one might guess
            > that unlike their mainstream Christian brethren, they would not
            have
            > objected to it.  For they believed that the human body originates
            on
            > earth but the human spirit has come from afar, from the realm of
            the
            > Fullness, where the true Godhead dwells.  A human being consists of
            > physical and psychic components, which are perishable, as well as a
            > spiritual component, which is a fragment of the divine essence,
            > sometimes called the divine spark." (pages 17-18)
            >
            > I quote this because recently the July, 2002 issue of _Scientific
            > American_ had an article, "15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense." ~   
            >
            > (Sometimes Yahoo has the tendency to mess up the links.  If this
            > happens, please just copy and paste onto your browser or type it
            in.)
            >
            > http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-
            > 8E49809EC588EEDF
            >
            > The author, John Rennie, gives well-informed rebuttals to the
            fifteen
            > most common arguments raised against evolution.  In this article,
            > Rennie admits, "The origin of life remains very much a mystery, but
            > biochemists have learned about how primitive nucleic acids, amino
            > acids and other building blocks of life could have formed and
            > organized themselves into self-replicating, self-sustaining units,
            > laying the foundation for cellular biochemistry."  Later he
            > states, "Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution
            > resulting from forces beyond natural selection. Yet those forces
            must
            > be natural; they cannot be attributed to the actions of mysterious
            > creative intelligences whose existence, in scientific terms, is
            > unproved."
            >
            > Rennie also says, "Intelligent design offers few answers. For
            > instance, when and how did a designing intelligence intervene in
            > life's history? By creating the first DNA? The first cell? The
            first
            > human? Was every species designed, or just a few early ones?
            > Proponents of intelligent-design theory frequently decline to be
            > pinned down on these points."
            >
            > So, keeping Hoeller's words in mind, where does the mythological
            > demiurge fit in evolutionary "life's history"?  And the pneuma,
            > trapped in the "physical and mental containers"?  IOW, later in his
            > book, Dr. Hoeller says (regarding points he offers describing a
            > Gnostic), "Gnostics, when they stand up to identify themselves,
            would
            > have to agree to the majority of these tenets, but whether the
            > interpretation of them would be literal, psychological,
            > philosophical, or other must be left to the individual." (p. 190)  
            > His second tenet reads, "The manifest universe of matter and mind
            was
            > created not by the original spiritual unity but by spiritual beings
            > possessing inferior powers." (p.188)  So, Hoeller's opinion is that
            > mythology could be interpreted in a "literal, psychological,
            > philosophical, or other" sense. I wonder how many
            countless "Gnostic"
            > variations we might encounter explaining our existence regarding
            > the "first DNA" or "first cell" or "first human."  Or does that
            > even "matter"?
            >
            > Just thought I'd throw this out for discussion to the forum.
            >
            > Cari


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          • lady_caritas
            ... than ... than ... ancients ... I would agree that the function of science relates to the material universe. And that is still demiurgic territory wherein
            Message 5 of 19 , Sep 5, 2002
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              --- In gnosticism2@y..., incognito_lightbringer <no_reply@y...> wrote:
              > <<"Gnostics, when they stand up to identify themselves, would
              > have to agree to the majority of these tenets, but whether the
              > interpretation of them would be literal, psychological,
              > philosophical, or other must be left to the individual." (p. 190)
              >>>
              >
              > Gnosticism can be interpreted on all the above levels. I know
              > involving science in the mix has been labeled "new age" by more
              than
              > a few people. Also, science is a function of material universe, and
              > thus any conclusions drawn could be said to lead to nothing more
              than
              > the demiurge. But, quite obviously, we live in this world and are
              > under it's physical laws, and the experience of it is highly
              > unpleasant (that whole death and suffering and eating business),
              > which prompts us to search for answers to our questions. The
              ancients
              > were not above using science as allegory.

              I would agree that the function of science relates to the material
              universe. And that is still demiurgic territory wherein we exist.
              Incognita, you also mention:

              "One theory I've heard is that all possible universes exist
              simultaneously, thus all possible combinations of things, and we just
              happen to be in the one that supports life and thus it *appears* to
              us to be ordered by intelligence whereas it might not necessarily be
              so. At least it's a valid counter argument."

              I have also heard this. It has been posited, I believe, that if all
              other possible universes coexist simultaneously, that it is likewise
              possible that the physical nature of these universes could be
              entirely different than ours, whether or not potentially
              incorporating different laws (intelligent design?) or perhaps in
              chaos. We would still have the question as to the source of these
              universes, ordered or not.

              > I suppose if you want, the demiurge starts with the formation
              > space/time/matter; the big bang. (Although the big bang as just a
              > theory is constantly refined and altered as new phenomena are
              > discovered). No one will argue that DNA is a code, highly complex
              and
              > specific. That this code could have developed randomly *seems*
              > impossible, and that's the major argument used in the creationism.
              > The problem with creationism is that it's not just about proposing
              a
              > theory that incorporates seeding or some kind of intelligence. The
              > theory also has to adhere to whatever scriptural dogma, and with
              any
              > contradiction real science is dismissed while pseudo science and
              > charlatanism takes its place.

              I believe you have hit on a key point here, Incognita. Especially
              dogma found in modern religions that rely primarily on literalistic
              interpretations has swung the creationist pole so far to the right
              that scientists (many or most atheists or agnostics) often tend to
              react by associating any ideas of "creation" with fundamentalism.
              And, truly, fundamentalists can be very vocal. An acquaintance
              mentioned that one such person recently tried to post in a club
              some "pseudo science" mumbo-jumbo flatly lambasting evolution
              theories, stating (of course, replete with scriptural quotes) how the
              Bible literally predicted "modern" scientific findings. A few club
              members who were biologists, anthropologists and the like quickly
              refuted her unsubstantiated claims in fine form with very little
              effort, simply using common sense in many cases. Yet, that still
              leaves life's origin a mystery, as even admitted by John Rennie in
              his article. Wherefrom come "primitive nucleic acids, amino acids
              and other building blocks of life" he mentions. Space? Still the
              physical realm. And what about this "space"? And on we go ad
              infinitum ...

              > Rennie: <<"Thus, science welcomes the possibility of evolution
              > resulting from forces beyond natural selection. ..>>
              >
              > What I don't like about this is the word "natural". Natural is more
              a
              > term used to define not what *is* but rather *what we know so far*.
              > It's bogus, IMHO.

              Well, yes, I think most scientists would agree that "natural" is
              *what we know so far*. Yet, according to scientists, acceptable
              explanation for "forces" would need to comply with, well, …
              naturalism. As Rennie says, "A central tenet of modern science is
              methodological naturalism--it seeks to explain the universe purely in
              terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms." So, modern
              science at best can only explain our material world based on
              empirical evidence *we know so far*. When scientists have discovered
              all there is to know about life and our world and universe(s), what
              then?

              Likewise, I think fundamentalist creationists are doing themselves a
              disservice by trying to explain God and creation in materialistic,
              anthropomorphic ways, and letting emotionalism override common sense
              when discussing things of our material world. No wonder what they
              call "spiritual" is so easily discounted by materialists as
              superstition.

              While Rennie complains about religionists filling in the blanks with
              nonsensical beliefs, it is very possible that admonitions from both
              evolution and creationist camps are tending to fuel extreme,
              exclusive views in the process. It's all or none? As Corax pointed
              out (#6540), we humans have brains, intelligence, can reason. Why
              not the possibility of a greater Mind? Well, sure, scientists
              wouldn't discount that if we could prove it empirically. So, let's
              leave fundamentalism for a moment. How about Gnosis? What, someone
              can claim to KNOW?? Know what? ;-) Ah, . . . back to the drawing
              table . . .

              Now we get to that psychic/pneumatic dilemma you addressed,
              Incognita. Is there in fact "nothing but spirit" surmised by Bishop
              Berkley (Corax, Post #6540)? Is the reality of this world "a
              similitude of a greater ground of being"? What about the Gnostic
              concept of the flaw of our material/psychic world? More later . . .
              (and hopefully from lots of other members as well).
              Gotta go now.

              Cari

              P. S. Almost forgot ~ I wanted to comment on that computer program
              by Richard Hardison you mentioned. Not being familiar with the
              details of the study, I still certainly have the same reservations
              about possible high-order assumptions coded into that program by the
              researcher(s) (intentionally or not), . . . especially, *if* as your
              web search showed, the program included "right spots."
            • wilbro99
              Another view of the evolution of Spirit: There is the physical world, the one our senses work on and in, which requires a sensate body. There is a sense of
              Message 6 of 19 , Sep 6, 2002
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                Another view of the evolution of Spirit:

                There is the physical world, the one our senses work on and in, which
                requires a sensate body. There is a sense of self that can be imagined
                as using that body as a vehicle, or can be imagined as being
                synergistically engendered by it in an evolutionary sense. When that
                sense of self, assuming for the moment a latent sense of self that
                defines as the possibility of self-identity, defines itself in worldly
                language, the inner and outer are cast in the same language. The image
                of the self and the language of the self is an identity whose world is
                the sensate world. This image-identity evolves naturally from living
                in the world. When this sense of self focuses upon the world, its
                image and its world mesh, giving the illusion of being the one present
                to the world, whereas its presence to the world is through the image
                of the world/self. As such, this self-identity is not yet qualified as
                spirit; it finds itself solely in the world, yet separated from it, as
                if it were an abstract from the world.

                In the breaking of that image self, the self comes to know itself as
                itself and acquires the qualification of spirit, call that Gnosis, if
                you will; I will. The language of spirit is not the language of the
                world. It is a language only the spirit can speak and it can speak of
                two languages; the language of the world and the language of the
                spirit. It finds itself in the world, as presence, yet not of the
                world. The spirit is presence, and presence is being.
              • lady_caritas
                Hello, Incognita, Corax, Willy, B2aF, et al. ~ Having caught up on reading replies, I ll gradually continue to address the many thoughtful ideas from your
                Message 7 of 19 , Sep 7, 2002
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                  Hello, Incognita, Corax, Willy, B2aF, et al. ~

                  Having caught up on reading replies, I'll gradually continue to
                  address the many thoughtful ideas from your posts.

                  Thank you, Corax, for pulling some ideas together on classical
                  Gnosticism (Post #6552). My last post was a response to Incognita's
                  look at evolution in our material world. Corax, you then commented
                  how "the gnostics quest is liberation from materiality, not evolution
                  within it." Very true, although as Hoeller remarked the ancients
                  probably would not have objected to evolutionary theory as a function
                  of the material world. Evolution would have just been another way of
                  describing the flawed world most likely. It wouldn't have affected
                  what was essential, the human spirit, the divine spark.

                  So, why even discuss evolution? Well, as Incognita pointed out, we
                  obviously live in this material world and are curious about it. But
                  also, . . . this concept of evolution has unfortunately permeated our
                  language in how moderns often describe other things, like … evolution
                  of the spirit. This would have seemed so contrary to a classical
                  Gnostic approach. We find ourselves using temporal terms to describe
                  knowledge not of this world; however, we do need to realize the
                  inadequacy of language. ("The language of the spirit is not the
                  language of the world." – Willy #6549) We talk of a Gnostic path of
                  discovery, of recognition, of acquaintance, but perhaps should be
                  very careful not to think of it as "evolutionary." This would seem
                  to indicate a psychic approach, almost like climbing a never-ending
                  ladder working through faith and deeds "evolving" or developing a
                  spirit worthy of that projected personal, yet separate, god in the
                  sky, whether near or far.

                  Perhaps that is why this concept of evolving places a psychic person
                  in that "midpoint" after this world. _The Gospel of Philip_
                  describes this as "death." The psychic doesn't break through the
                  barrier of the demiurge, but rather just keeps striving and
                  stretching the limits of temporality without achieving resurrection
                  while existing in this world. "While we exist in this world we must
                  acquire resurrection, so that when we put off the flesh we might be
                  found in repose and not walk in the midpoint: for many get lost along
                  the way." (GPh)

                  Well, `nuf for now. It's late and I'm beginning to not make sense to
                  myself. lol

                  Cari
                • Coraxo
                  Hello Caritas; I agree that evolutionary theory is another way of describing mankind s involvement with the somatic world; instead of stellar archons the
                  Message 8 of 19 , Sep 8, 2002
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                    Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Evolution Hello Caritas;

                    I agree that evolutionary theory is another way of describing mankind's involvement with the somatic world; instead of stellar archons the archons now are Genes; small genii that pull the levers on how our bodies work, but archontic mechanisms just the same.

                    Which speaks to the Creationist downfall; why would a benign deity engineer such a flawed and twisted imperfection? Regardless of the scientific merits or lack thereof, the essential failure of God is in the evidently mucked up design of the carcass into which the human Spirit is entombed with all of its fluids and excretions, needing to feed on other living things.

                    Spiritual evolution as a metaphor for the ascent of the Spirit to the Pleroma is an interesting idea, nevertheless, the concept appears to have generated in the 20th century by people like Gurdjieff, Blavatsky, Ouspensky, and creepy old Aliester Crowley.

                    In many regards the Theosophical movement and Golden Dawn sought early on to capitalize on the new scientism that was sweeping the western world at the time in order to appear modern in comparison to the very anachronistic dogmas and doctrines of the Catholic Church and its Protestant offspring.

                    Nevertheless, evolutionary theory in spirituality does not work within a Gnostic view, IMO, since the Spirit itself is not "evolved" from some other source; that is to say it is not the product of a spectrum of process starting with inorganic materials combining to create simple lifeforms, which then culminate with man and his mental abilities which then beget the spirit.

                    The development of spiritual capacity has not been documented to be advancing and despite the popular sentiments that the "Age of Aquarius" or the New Age marks a "quantum" change in humanity's spiritual progress, the evidence for such advance is lackibng. It would seem to be that humanity is devolving into materialism and that the popular spiritualities - New Age, Thelema, Fourth Way, etc., reflect that trend towards materialism through their use of scientific materialism as the foundation of their belief systems; hence the use of terms like "quantum" and "evolution" in spiritual discourse reflects not so much advancement, but a deepening amnesis of the spirit.

                    Corax

                    From: lady_caritas <no_reply@yahoogroups.com>
                    Reply-To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Sun, 08 Sep 2002 06:08:50 -0000
                    To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: Evolution


                    Hello, Incognita, Corax, Willy, B2aF, et al. ~

                    Having caught up on reading replies, I'll gradually continue to
                    address the many thoughtful ideas from your posts.

                    Thank you, Corax, for pulling some ideas together on classical
                    Gnosticism (Post #6552).  My last post was a response to Incognita's
                    look at evolution in our material world.  Corax, you then commented
                    how "the gnostics quest is liberation from materiality, not evolution
                    within it."  Very true, although as Hoeller remarked the ancients
                    probably would not have objected to evolutionary theory as a function
                    of the material world.  Evolution would have just been another way of
                    describing the flawed world most likely.  It wouldn't have affected
                    what was essential, the human spirit, the divine spark.

                    So, why even discuss evolution?  Well, as Incognita pointed out, we
                    obviously live in this material world and are curious about it.  But
                    also, . . . this concept of evolution has unfortunately permeated our
                    language in how moderns often describe other things, like … evolution
                    of the spirit.  This would have seemed so contrary to a classical
                    Gnostic approach.  We find ourselves using temporal terms to describe
                    knowledge not of this world; however, we do need to realize the
                    inadequacy of language.  ("The language of the spirit is not the
                    language of the world." – Willy #6549)  We talk of a Gnostic path of
                    discovery, of recognition, of acquaintance, but perhaps should be
                    very careful not to think of it as "evolutionary."  This would seem
                    to indicate a psychic approach, almost like climbing a never-ending
                    ladder working through faith and deeds "evolving" or developing a
                    spirit worthy of that projected personal, yet separate, god in the
                    sky, whether near or far.  

                    Perhaps that is why this concept of evolving places a psychic person
                    in that "midpoint" after this world.  _The Gospel of Philip_
                    describes this as "death." The psychic doesn't break through the
                    barrier of the demiurge, but rather just keeps striving and
                    stretching the limits of temporality without achieving resurrection
                    while existing in this world.  "While we exist in this world we must
                    acquire resurrection, so that when we put off the flesh we might be
                    found in repose and not walk in the midpoint: for many get lost along
                    the way." (GPh)

                    Well, `nuf for now.  It's late and I'm beginning to not make sense to
                    myself.  lol

                    Cari



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                  • Gerry
                    ... Since you wrote that, Cari, I’ve been thinking about my own experience with that topic. My parents really didn’t want to question the issue
                    Message 9 of 19 , Sep 8, 2002
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                      Reply to Cari’s message #6509:

                       

                      >>I wonder how many countless "Gnostic" variations we might encounter explaining our existence regarding the "first DNA" or "first cell" or "first human." Or does that even "matter"?<<  

                       

                      Since you wrote that, Cari, I’ve been thinking about my own experience with that topic.  My parents really didn’t want to question the issue (creation).  For me, however, the two worlds of science and religion didn’t seem to collide at all—the whole thing was very much a NON-issue.  Part of the reason for that was due to a misunderstanding.

                       

                      Among my earliest childhood recollections were stories we kids listened to—some to entertain, some to educate, still others to just plain old scare us straight!  One such tale, from a set of 78 rpm records (yellow, if anyone else remembers them), was about Thunder and Lightning.  In the tale, a man was about to sacrifice his son (in accordance with customary ritual) to appease the gods, making the storm go away.  In the end, with the youngster already bound and ready to be sacrificed, the man instead decides that his son need not die and screams out, “Bring me a goat—bring me a young goat!”

                       

                      Over time, the memory of that story converged somehow with the biblical account of Abraham and the near-sacrifice of Isaac.  In that tale, the patriarch opts for the slaughter of a ram he finds in a nearby thicket.  The part I was missing was that Abraham didn’t have some sudden inner revelation.  It took an angel shouting at him to prevent him from killing his son, revealing that God had merely been testing his faith.

                       

                      As a result of the confusion of those stories, I had erroneously thought that Abraham had come to his senses, as it were, and that it made an interesting case for the possibility that as Man evolved in a physical sense, he came closer to realizing the internal spark of Divinity, enabling him to cast off the shackles of the material world and his hitherto Demiurgic lord.  That concept worked for me, even as a very young child (without the Gnostic terminology, of course!).  To me, the whole notion of scientific evolution was even more remarkable when imagining that other forces had set the entire process into motion, waiting for the day that man would awaken, not only to have self-realization, but the ability to realize something greater than himself.

                       

                      While I can no longer reconcile the story of Abraham with my views, it should now be evident why I was so pleased with Incognito’s earlier recommendations (waaaay back) of Stephen Mitchell’s introduction to and translation of The Book of Job.  Indeed, this story works even better, at least with regards to witnessing the mettle of one who is repeatedly put to the test.  More than an account of proving the measure of Job’s faith, however, Mitchell shows how the story details a personal transformation—a level of understanding which Job could not have gained by faith alone.

                       

                      It’s really a fantastic, quick read, if anyone has yet to encounter it.  The front-cover William Blake engraving should be indicative that this is not simply another mainstream interpretation of the same old sad story.

                       

                      Gerry

                       

                    • wilbro99
                      It seems to me that in the matter of spirituality, we can only start with where we are. The question, as I see Corax as putting it, is between whether there is
                      Message 10 of 19 , Sep 9, 2002
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                        It seems to me that in the matter of spirituality, we can only start
                        with where we are. The question, as I see Corax as putting it, is
                        between whether there is a spirituality that brings us to this point
                        or whether, in coming to this point, we encounter a spirituality
                        engendered by our coming to this point. I would think our capability
                        of that meta-awareness would account for what we discern as the
                        spiritual, regardless of how we came to it; as a given or as evolved.

                        I see no way of ascertaining which it is. If the faculty of
                        imagination derives from the given, then the given will verify itself
                        through the image, which, if I have not thoroughly bollixed it up, is
                        the Gnostic position. If, however, the faculty of imagination derives
                        from evolution, then the former is only imagined. IMO, it is the
                        latter, and Gnosis refers to coming to understand the role of
                        imagination in self-awareness: remove the image of the self and that
                        which remains leaves us exactly where we are; in the presence of
                        being. As I said, I can see no way of ascertaining which, if either,
                        is correct, and since that "which" cannot be decided, neither is
                        adequate for becoming other than a belief system.


                        --- In gnosticism2@y..., Coraxo <coraxo@e...> wrote:
                        > Hello Caritas;
                        >
                        > I agree that evolutionary theory is another way of describing
                        mankind's
                        > involvement with the somatic world; instead of stellar archons the
                        archons
                        > now are Genes; small genii that pull the levers on how our bodies
                        work, but
                        > archontic mechanisms just the same.
                        >
                        > Which speaks to the Creationist downfall; why would a benign deity
                        engineer
                        > such a flawed and twisted imperfection? Regardless of the scientific
                        merits
                        > or lack thereof, the essential failure of God is in the evidently
                        mucked up
                        > design of the carcass into which the human Spirit is entombed with
                        all of
                        > its fluids and excretions, needing to feed on other living things.
                        >
                        > Spiritual evolution as a metaphor for the ascent of the Spirit to
                        the
                        > Pleroma is an interesting idea, nevertheless, the concept appears to
                        have
                        > generated in the 20th century by people like Gurdjieff, Blavatsky,
                        > Ouspensky, and creepy old Aliester Crowley.
                        >
                        > In many regards the Theosophical movement and Golden Dawn sought
                        early on to
                        > capitalize on the new scientism that was sweeping the western world
                        at the
                        > time in order to appear modern in comparison to the very
                        anachronistic
                        > dogmas and doctrines of the Catholic Church and its Protestant
                        offspring.
                        >
                        > Nevertheless, evolutionary theory in spirituality does not work
                        within a
                        > Gnostic view, IMO, since the Spirit itself is not "evolved" from
                        some other
                        > source; that is to say it is not the product of a spectrum of
                        process
                        > starting with inorganic materials combining to create simple
                        lifeforms,
                        > which then culminate with man and his mental abilities which then
                        beget the
                        > spirit.
                        >
                        > The development of spiritual capacity has not been documented to be
                        > advancing and despite the popular sentiments that the "Age of
                        Aquarius" or
                        > the New Age marks a "quantum" change in humanity's spiritual
                        progress, the
                        > evidence for such advance is lackibng. It would seem to be that
                        humanity is
                        > devolving into materialism and that the popular spiritualities - New
                        Age,
                        > Thelema, Fourth Way, etc., reflect that trend towards materialism
                        through
                        > their use of scientific materialism as the foundation of their
                        belief
                        > systems; hence the use of terms like "quantum" and "evolution" in
                        spiritual
                        > discourse reflects not so much advancement, but a deepening amnesis
                        of the
                        > spirit.
                        >
                        > Corax
                        >
                        > From: lady_caritas <no_reply@y...>
                        > Reply-To: gnosticism2@y...
                        > Date: Sun, 08 Sep 2002 06:08:50 -0000
                        > To: gnosticism2@y...
                        > Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: Evolution
                        >
                        >
                        > Hello, Incognita, Corax, Willy, B2aF, et al. ~
                        >
                        > Having caught up on reading replies, I'll gradually continue to
                        > address the many thoughtful ideas from your posts.
                        >
                        > Thank you, Corax, for pulling some ideas together on classical
                        > Gnosticism (Post #6552). My last post was a response to Incognita's
                        > look at evolution in our material world. Corax, you then commented
                        > how "the gnostics quest is liberation from materiality, not
                        evolution
                        > within it." Very true, although as Hoeller remarked the ancients
                        > probably would not have objected to evolutionary theory as a
                        function
                        > of the material world. Evolution would have just been another way
                        of
                        > describing the flawed world most likely. It wouldn't have affected
                        > what was essential, the human spirit, the divine spark.
                        >
                        > So, why even discuss evolution? Well, as Incognita pointed out, we
                        > obviously live in this material world and are curious about it. But
                        > also, . . . this concept of evolution has unfortunately permeated
                        our
                        > language in how moderns often describe other things, like …
                        evolution
                        > of the spirit. This would have seemed so contrary to a classical
                        > Gnostic approach. We find ourselves using temporal terms to
                        describe
                        > knowledge not of this world; however, we do need to realize the
                        > inadequacy of language. ("The language of the spirit is not the
                        > language of the world." – Willy #6549) We talk of a Gnostic path of
                        > discovery, of recognition, of acquaintance, but perhaps should be
                        > very careful not to think of it as "evolutionary." This would seem
                        > to indicate a psychic approach, almost like climbing a never-ending
                        > ladder working through faith and deeds "evolving" or developing a
                        > spirit worthy of that projected personal, yet separate, god in the
                        > sky, whether near or far.
                        >
                        > Perhaps that is why this concept of evolving places a psychic person
                        > in that "midpoint" after this world. _The Gospel of Philip_
                        > describes this as "death." The psychic doesn't break through the
                        > barrier of the demiurge, but rather just keeps striving and
                        > stretching the limits of temporality without achieving resurrection
                        > while existing in this world. "While we exist in this world we must
                        > acquire resurrection, so that when we put off the flesh we might be
                        > found in repose and not walk in the midpoint: for many get lost
                        along
                        > the way." (GPh)
                        >
                        > Well, `nuf for now. It's late and I'm beginning to not make sense
                        to
                        > myself. lol
                        >
                        > Cari
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ADVERTISEMENT
                        >
                        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                        > gnosticism2-unsubscribe@y...
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service
                        > <http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/> .
                      • lady_caritas
                        Corax, you make an interesting point that there doesn t seem to be any evidence that humanity is spiritually evolving as a whole. It seems that although
                        Message 11 of 19 , Sep 9, 2002
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                          Corax, you make an interesting point that there doesn't seem to be
                          any evidence that humanity is spiritually "evolving" as a whole. It
                          seems that although Gnosis appears as a type of knowledge shared by
                          humans and can be traced to historical surroundings, Gnosis remains
                          an individual experience even within a setting.

                          Gerry, your childhood experience was wonderful. What a precocious
                          child you were to attribute an altruistic action to an inner
                          revelation instead of the result of an outside, interfering force.
                          Your experience brings to mind Will's comment (Post #6564), "The
                          question, as I see Corax as putting it, is between whether there is a
                          spirituality that brings us to this point or whether, in coming to
                          this point, we encounter a spirituality engendered by our coming to
                          this point. I would think our capability of that meta-awareness would
                          account for what we discern as the spiritual, regardless of how we
                          came to it; as a given or as evolved."

                          At this point, I'd like to discuss the word "evolved" some more.
                          Some of us do agree that spiritual "evolution" does not work in the
                          sense of being "a product of a spectrum of process starting with
                          inorganic materials combining to create simple lifeforms, which then
                          culminate with man and his mental abilities which then beget spirit."
                          (Corax, #6556) Mental abilities involved in begetting spirit might
                          lead one to believe that "spirit" is not truly pneuma but rather some
                          abstract mental construct of a psychic variety.

                          Even though I would personally choose not to use the word "evolve"
                          because of scientific connotations, another way of looking
                          at "evolved," however, might be to consider evolution in the sense of
                          unfolding, revealing, "unrolling." (See etymology:
                          http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary ). Oftentimes Gnostics will
                          describe Gnosis within our temporal world perceived as a *process* of
                          acquaintance even once Gnosis is recognized. IOW, Gerry describes
                          his early childhood experience of realizing inner revelation as very
                          natural, but that his understanding (and sense of self) did
                          eventually change in relation to the context of science vs. religion
                          in our flawed world. So, would Gnosis then involve a "given" that
                          becomes realized or revealed as a process in our temporal world?
                          And, would this "given" be a given because we already have an Object
                          we expect to become acquainted with or is it a "given" that is
                          inherent that we may not be aware of (through ignorance) but
                          eventually discover?

                          Will goes on to say,
                          "I see no way of ascertaining which it is. If the faculty of
                          imagination derives from the given, then the given will verify itself
                          through the image, which, if I have not thoroughly bollixed it up, is
                          the Gnostic position. If, however, the faculty of imagination derives
                          from evolution, then the former is only imagined. IMO, it is the
                          latter, and Gnosis refers to coming to understand the role of
                          imagination in self-awareness: remove the image of the self and that
                          which remains leaves us exactly where we are; in the presence of
                          being. As I said, I can see no way of ascertaining which, if either,
                          is correct, and since that "which" cannot be decided, neither is
                          adequate for becoming other than a belief system."

                          It seems to me that Will is analyzing this from a cognitive
                          perspective. Imagination is still within the mental container, is it
                          not? And, yes, it is necessary. However, it seems to me that Gnosis
                          is not derived solely from mental abstractions, but is also
                          experienced through revelation. Gnosis is not a mystical experience
                          as such, although this can play a role in the "process" of
                          acquaintance.

                          Will says, "I see no way of ascertaining which it is." I'm not sure
                          that Gnosis is at all about being subject to proof, other than
                          evidence displaying what it *does* vs. what it *is*. Does the
                          concept of a "belief" system seem antithetical to the Gnosis?

                          I suppose this brings up a question. Both of Willy's scenarios might
                          result in a shift in sense of self. Both might apply
                          this "knowledge" in a practical sense in this world. Both would
                          recognize the flaw of the "demiurge." But one "leaves us exactly
                          where we are; in the presence of being." The other would also
                          recognize something greater than "being." Can both be indicative of
                          Gnosis? Willy, are you suggesting there could be a pneuma without an
                          Objective Infinite?

                          Cari
                        • Will Brown
                          Cari, a short response. Your last paragraph of 6538: I suppose this brings up a question. Both of Willy s scenarios might result in a shift in sense of self.
                          Message 12 of 19 , Sep 10, 2002
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                            Cari, a short response. Your last paragraph of 6538:

                            "I suppose this brings up a question. Both of Willy's scenarios might
                            result in a shift in sense of self. Both might apply this "knowledge"
                            in a practical sense in this world. Both would recognize the flaw of
                            the "demiurge." But one "leaves us exactly where we are; in the
                            presence of being." The other would also recognize something greater
                            than "being." Can both be indicative of Gnosis? Willy, are you
                            suggesting there could be a pneuma without an Objective Infinite?"

                            I have two answers. The first has to do with something called the God
                            Spot. The following first two sites speak to it. It could be argued
                            that the God Spot is the faculty through which the Objective Infinite
                            is sensed and it could be argued that it is nothing more than an
                            artifact of evolution. Again, the either/or I suggested. The third
                            site speaks to a drug induced NDE. If the ref. is too long, Google up
                            ketamine and it is the third site listed. This suggests a
                            physiological involvement to what is considered to be a spiritual
                            experience.

                            http://www.parascope.com/articles/slips/fs22_3.htm

                            http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/Nightline/neuro020114_spirit_fe
                            ature.html

                            http://leda.lycaeum.org/Documents/Using_Ketamine_to_Induce_the_Near-De
                            ath_Experience.9260.shtml

                            My other answer is that there is a cognition that may be come upon in
                            which a sense of Presence comes into being that infuses the sensed. My
                            description would go like this: At its fullest, my sense of self is
                            annulled, and having been "there" allows a sense of that Presence to
                            be brought back with my sense of self, placing me in it as a
                            particular within it. It is as if one's sense of self must come to an
                            end within it in order to return with a piece of it. At this point,
                            all is Home. This is what I call the realm of the spiritual. There is
                            no room for a beyond. This is what I would call self-knowing in that
                            the self, i.e., sense of self, becomes present to itself in a way that
                            speaks to the prior way as being an empty sense of self, an abstract
                            thing of thought, the thought of self reified, or, if you will, an
                            empty box.

                            If there is another self-knowing in which the sense of self itself
                            that can enter that fullness, so be it. I do not know it. My
                            experience is that the self must be left outside to enter; there being
                            no place for it. The fullness can not entertain the particular. How
                            then do we account for the two separate domains of fullness we seem to
                            be speaking to? We each have separate truths. This is my either/or and
                            neither is exclusive. All that I know is of a fullness that when one
                            falls into it, one comes out reeking of it, and until that fall, one
                            has no reek. Yet, in saying that, I must say that when one falls into
                            it, no one fell into it. All but that tail will pass through the
                            window.

                            Of course, and this goes without saying, what I am talking about could
                            have nothing whatsoever to do with Gnosticism and the few points I see
                            in common are solely artifacts of my over fertile imagination.
                          • Gerry
                            ... being ... to ... Will, in that treatment of The Book of Job that I mentioned previously, the author made a deliberate distinction between submission and
                            Message 13 of 19 , Sep 11, 2002
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                              --- In gnosticism2@y..., "Will Brown" <wilbro99@y...> wrote:
                              > . . . .
                              > If there is another self-knowing in which the sense of self itself
                              > that can enter that fullness, so be it. I do not know it. My
                              > experience is that the self must be left outside to enter; there
                              being
                              > no place for it. The fullness can not entertain the particular. How
                              > then do we account for the two separate domains of fullness we seem
                              to
                              > be speaking to?


                              Will, in that treatment of The Book of Job that I mentioned
                              previously, the author made a deliberate distinction
                              between "submission" and "surrender" to a higher power.
                              Unfortunately, I left the book with a friend while I was out of
                              town. If anyone else cares to quote it, I think it was around
                              section 5 of the Introduction.

                              Anyway, Job's growth was the result of not merely bowing down to an
                              unseen authority, but by his release of his own "self," even if
                              momentarily, so that there might be a union of sorts with the
                              Fullness.

                              I think the concept of the tripartite nature of Man is crucial here
                              for rationalizing why such a union can only be "temporary" as long as
                              we exist within the temporal world.

                              Sorry if I've missed your point altogether! I've been driving all
                              day and I think it's past time to get something to eat. ;-)

                              Gerry
                            • Mister Coraxo
                              Well gerry; The Job thing really points out the pettiness of the Demiurge and his bet with Satan. I mean nary a tear shed for the casualties of Job s first
                              Message 14 of 19 , Sep 11, 2002
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                                Well gerry;

                                The Job thing really points out the pettiness of the Demiurge and his bet with
                                Satan.

                                I mean nary a tear shed for the casualties of Job's first family, including
                                children, wives, daughters; his servants (slaves?), his livestock - simply
                                non-entities wipoed out by Jehovah to prove a point about the "faithfulnesss"
                                of hsi submissive Job.

                                Nevertheless, Job prevails not through faith but by accessing the reality of his
                                own self, the Pneuma; now this was not something the Demiurge Jehovah and
                                his shadow self Satan bargained for:

                                Job 3:23 "Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,

                                And whom God has hedged in?

                                7:1 "Is not man forced to labor on earth,

                                And are not his days like the days of a hired man?

                                9:17 "For He bruises me with a tempest

                                And multiplies my wounds without cause.

                                21 "I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself;

                                I despise my life.

                                22 "It is all one; therefore I say,

                                `He destroys the guiltless and the wicked.'


                                19:25 "As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,

                                And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.

                                NB: Job is not speaking about Jehovah as the Redeemer.

                                And so on; Job demonstrates that this Deity is an arbitrary and capricious Lord
                                - and then asks elsewhere "Where is the place of Wisdom and where can it be
                                found?"

                                So while not a tale of the Logos, Job understands the origin of the Lord
                                subservient to Wisdom Sophia-Choahkmah.

                                Job 28:
                                28 "And to man He said, `Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;

                                And to depart from evil is understanding.' "

                                Now this may be read as being that which the Lord himself is afraid of:
                                Chockhmah - Wisdom - the Lord's fear is of Wisdom.

                                Surprising the hidden resources of Job who saw through the wickedness of the
                                Creator, yet took the high road and refused to stoop to quarrel.

                                Corax






                                --- In gnosticism2@y..., "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
                                > --- In gnosticism2@y..., "Will Brown" <wilbro99@y...> wrote:
                                > > . . . .
                                > > If there is another self-knowing in which the sense of self itself
                                > > that can enter that fullness, so be it. I do not know it. My
                                > > experience is that the self must be left outside to enter; there
                                > being
                                > > no place for it. The fullness can not entertain the particular. How
                                > > then do we account for the two separate domains of fullness we seem
                                > to
                                > > be speaking to?
                                >
                                >
                                > Will, in that treatment of The Book of Job that I mentioned
                                > previously, the author made a deliberate distinction
                                > between "submission" and "surrender" to a higher power.
                                > Unfortunately, I left the book with a friend while I was out of
                                > town. If anyone else cares to quote it, I think it was around
                                > section 5 of the Introduction.
                                >
                                > Anyway, Job's growth was the result of not merely bowing down to an
                                > unseen authority, but by his release of his own "self," even if
                                > momentarily, so that there might be a union of sorts with the
                                > Fullness.
                                >
                                > I think the concept of the tripartite nature of Man is crucial here
                                > for rationalizing why such a union can only be "temporary" as long as
                                > we exist within the temporal world.
                                >
                                > Sorry if I've missed your point altogether! I've been driving all
                                > day and I think it's past time to get something to eat. ;-)
                                >
                                > Gerry
                              • Will Brown
                                ... How ... seem ... as ... Gerry, I am not sure whether you missed my point or hit it spot on. I am trying to think my way through a possible difference in
                                Message 15 of 19 , Sep 11, 2002
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                                  --- In gnosticism2@y..., "Gerry" <gerryhsp@y...> wrote:
                                  > --- In gnosticism2@y..., "Will Brown" <wilbro99@y...> wrote:
                                  > > . . . .
                                  > > If there is another self-knowing in which the sense of self itself
                                  > > that can enter that fullness, so be it. I do not know it. My
                                  > > experience is that the self must be left outside to enter; there
                                  > being
                                  > > no place for it. The fullness can not entertain the particular.
                                  How
                                  > > then do we account for the two separate domains of fullness we
                                  seem
                                  > to
                                  > > be speaking to?
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Will, in that treatment of The Book of Job that I mentioned
                                  > previously, the author made a deliberate distinction
                                  > between "submission" and "surrender" to a higher power.
                                  > Unfortunately, I left the book with a friend while I was out of
                                  > town. If anyone else cares to quote it, I think it was around
                                  > section 5 of the Introduction.
                                  >
                                  > Anyway, Job's growth was the result of not merely bowing down to an
                                  > unseen authority, but by his release of his own "self," even if
                                  > momentarily, so that there might be a union of sorts with the
                                  > Fullness.
                                  >
                                  > I think the concept of the tripartite nature of Man is crucial here
                                  > for rationalizing why such a union can only be "temporary" as long
                                  as
                                  > we exist within the temporal world.
                                  >
                                  > Sorry if I've missed your point altogether! I've been driving all
                                  > day and I think it's past time to get something to eat. ;-)
                                  >
                                  > Gerry

                                  Gerry, I am not sure whether you missed my point or hit it spot on. I
                                  am trying to think my way through a possible difference in one's
                                  registering of the experience that when reflected upon is seen as
                                  contact with the spiritual, or pneuma. I dance with the words here
                                  because the "union with fullness," as you termed it, can only be
                                  reflected upon as having happened after the fact. I am trying to
                                  distinguish between it and the experience where I can say, during the
                                  fact, that I am experiencing fullness. When the former is, there is no
                                  one present to say what it is, and to say what it was is only to say
                                  what one thought it was. There is no way to say beyond when one is
                                  beyond; can't even say one was there, much less make it objective.

                                  I guess I was trying to answer Cari's question about an Objective
                                  Infinite. Since the Gnostic has that requirement, the only equitable
                                  statement I can make is that there is more than one Gnosis. Yes, a
                                  fullness is brought back from that Fullness, and from there, one can
                                  say that one is full, but since the Fullness cannot be grasped, how
                                  can one tag fullness as other than self-presence? That's why I tag
                                  Fullness as Presence. I don't know if that makes sense to you, but
                                  it's fairly close to what I am trying to say.

                                  Try as I may, I cannot make the body/soul/spirit fit this. I see the
                                  division as between the language of the world and the language of the
                                  spirit, with the latter coming into being with presence as the
                                  language of presence. I would suspect the soul is only the place
                                  holder for the self-identity of the language of the world, and that it
                                  has to do with the habit of self-identity more than anything else. I
                                  can't find anything I would call a soul in presence.
                                • Gerry
                                  ... wisdom; ... wickedness of the ... I doubt you could have found a better example from the OT, although, I certainly wouldn t mind if you proved me wrong.
                                  Message 16 of 19 , Sep 11, 2002
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                                    --- In gnosticism2@y..., "Mister Coraxo" <coraxo@e...> wrote:
                                    > . . . .
                                    > Job 28:
                                    > 28 "And to man He said, `Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is
                                    wisdom;
                                    >
                                    > And to depart from evil is understanding.' "
                                    >
                                    > Now this may be read as being that which the Lord himself is afraid
                                    of:
                                    > Chockhmah - Wisdom - the Lord's fear is of Wisdom.
                                    >
                                    > Surprising the hidden resources of Job who saw through the
                                    wickedness of the
                                    > Creator, yet took the high road and refused to stoop to quarrel.
                                    >
                                    > Corax
                                    >


                                    I doubt you could have found a better example from the OT, although,
                                    I certainly wouldn't mind if you proved me wrong. Got any other
                                    quotes up your sleeve? :-)

                                    BTW, Corax, I was quite impressed with your knowledge of Náhuatl in
                                    the earlier thread. Frankly, I wasn't even able to read the linked
                                    article to that point.

                                    Ax tleno / Gracias. ;-)

                                    Gerry
                                  • lady_caritas
                                    ... Will, thanks for the references, but you should know me better than that by now. :-) You are rehashing old territory here. God Spot? Oh, please. Let s
                                    Message 17 of 19 , Sep 11, 2002
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                                      --- In gnosticism2@y..., "Will Brown" <wilbro99@y...> wrote:
                                      > I have two answers.

                                      Will, thanks for the references, but you should know me better than
                                      that by now. :-) You are rehashing old territory here. God Spot?
                                      Oh, please. Let's not use the word "God" then. Personal gods,
                                      deities, etc. I view as projected mental constructs that remain in
                                      the demiurgic psychic nature. This is NOT what I mean by Bythos or
                                      Ineffable Infinite. When I asked you about pneuma in relation to an
                                      Objective Infinite, that was meant to stir you to a *beyond* that is
                                      also part of you.

                                      Consider something for a moment. We live in a temporal world and
                                      think in temporal ways. But gnosis is not about mental constructs.
                                      Therein lies the paradox when trying to mentally construe your
                                      experience. We can be aware of the infinite, but as Gerry says, even
                                      if "there might be a union of sorts with the Fullness,[…] such a
                                      union can only be `temporary' as long as we exist within the temporal
                                      world."

                                      Willy, do you remember our past discussion about a paradox box, …
                                      about two sides of a coin?

                                      Perhaps it would be refreshing (and hopefully, not also too
                                      confusing) for you to review Posts #5770, 5771, 5774 to get other
                                      members' perspectives.

                                      Cari
                                    • beautiful2afault
                                      about that two sides of a coin anology. i think the band between the two sides is understanding. this anology also applies to the pain posts. if pain is the
                                      Message 18 of 19 , Sep 12, 2002
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                                        about that two sides of a coin anology.
                                        i think the band between the two sides is understanding.
                                        this anology also applies to the pain posts.

                                        if pain is the coin.
                                        it , the pain is either internal or external of orgin. one side of
                                        the coin or the other.
                                        the band is understanding the source of that pain and is then the
                                        element needed, understanding to acknowledging the pain, the source
                                        and then the process of healing can begin.

                                        b

                                        --- In gnosticism2@y..., lady_caritas <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                                        > --- In gnosticism2@y..., "Will Brown" <wilbro99@y...> wrote:
                                        > > I have two answers.
                                        >
                                        > Will, thanks for the references, but you should know me better than
                                        > that by now. :-) You are rehashing old territory here. God
                                        Spot?
                                        > Oh, please. Let's not use the word "God" then. Personal gods,
                                        > deities, etc. I view as projected mental constructs that remain in
                                        > the demiurgic psychic nature. This is NOT what I mean by Bythos or
                                        > Ineffable Infinite. When I asked you about pneuma in relation to
                                        an
                                        > Objective Infinite, that was meant to stir you to a *beyond* that
                                        is
                                        > also part of you.
                                        >
                                        > Consider something for a moment. We live in a temporal world and
                                        > think in temporal ways. But gnosis is not about mental
                                        constructs.
                                        > Therein lies the paradox when trying to mentally construe your
                                        > experience. We can be aware of the infinite, but as Gerry says,
                                        even
                                        > if "there might be a union of sorts with the Fullness,[…] such a
                                        > union can only be `temporary' as long as we exist within the
                                        temporal
                                        > world."
                                        >
                                        > Willy, do you remember our past discussion about a paradox box, …
                                        > about two sides of a coin?
                                        >
                                        > Perhaps it would be refreshing (and hopefully, not also too
                                        > confusing) for you to review Posts #5770, 5771, 5774 to get other
                                        > members' perspectives.
                                        >
                                        > Cari
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