To Infinity . . . and Beyond!
- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, incognito_lightbringer
> Hi Mike,I
> Yes, it is contra-intuitive, and no, I'm not *getting it*, oh well.
> accept, though, that this is Plotinus' system and definition. Thereup,
> are contra-intuitive theories in science, which experiments back
> so I can't dismiss it on just that.Are some of those theories actually "counterintuitive," or is it that
> I also realize though that kabbalists say the same thing. The upper
> level, the Ein Sof, is nonexistence. And the whole "you can only
> describe it in the negative" which Sufi mystics also claim.
> The problem I have is that I view existence as dualistic. In other
> words, things don't exist in a framework where things do exist. So
> there are no purple flying elephants, that I know of ;)
> I've always though that this might be more like 'beyond existence',
> where it's not contained in any universe?
> Then there's the Gnostic description of oneness which contains all
> things within it but isn't bound by anything.
> I'll have to think on this some more. I have a feeling this can be
> better described by mathematics as a language than by English.
our experience in the physical world has merely shaped our
perceptions so as to leave us blinded to the possibility that lies
beyond the confines of these dimensions?
You're not alone in seeing existence as a duality, but your
observation of looking "beyond" it seems to be the gist of what the
Gnostic writers were getting at. Not in the sense of adding greater
numbers of dimensions to our already limited and polarized universe,
but achieving a state where such limitations simply don't apply.
The best example that a friend gave me was to ponder two points on a
piece of paper. Can it not be said that there is an infinite number
of points between them? Indeed, one could keep dividing that segment
ad infinitum, but it's still operating on a limited section along one
axis of a two-dimensional planesomething far short of the normal
field of existence in which we're used to operating, and yet we think
we can appreciate the concept of infinity.
To me, that's like the orthodox version of an "infinite" god, one who
is just sooooo loving that he'll always be there for us no matter
whatof course, when he's not loving US to death, he's sending
others off to eternal damnation in hell. Anything wrong with that
picture? God's allegedly infinite mercy and compassion would have to
be extremely limited.
On the other hand, by furthering that example, we can consider the
points on that paper outside of those initial two points. It's no
longer simply about a limited segment, but actual "lines" this time
two axesthen throw in a third to make it really exciting and begin
to include all points above the paper and all those through the desk
and floor beneath it, extending in all directions to the edges of the
universe. Here, we have DRAMATICALLY increased the playing field in
a way that a flatlander couldn't have conceived, and yet, it's merely
the world in which we currently reside. It's still governed by space
and time. We're still limited by the field of opposites. It's the
world we all know, but it's not the world with which gnosis seeks to
What I always loved about the Big Bang is that I couldn't stop
wondering what all this expanse of creation was expanding INTO?
Especially with the implication that it alternately expands and
contracts, the contained system of the universe seems less intriguing
to me than the container itself. If you can come up with a
mathematical explanation for what lies beyond, more power to you, but
I think that the philosophical infinity of the Gnostics ( Kabbalists
and Sufis) lies outside of such attempted explication. No matter how
many alternative dimensions we should conceive, we're merely adding
to the concept of plotting limited points across time and space, even
if we jazz it up with such extras as curved space and superimposed
universes. When we find that which cannot be measured in any
direction or by any standard, we will have found our Source.
> Interesting to hear it put that way - I haven't read Bauer (yet), soAs far as I can see, Walter Bauer is considered somewhat of a pioneer
> Gnostic Gospels felt like an historian exploring new ground. Based
> on her bibliography and notes, I at least had a sense that Pagels was
> leaning on Bauer.
in the investigative genre of "Early Christian" scholarship - especially
with the Comittee to which Pagels belonged (the Coptic Gnostic Library
Comittee of scholars).
Anyways, I was just butting in to inform the readers of this list
that they can make their own mind up, without much trouble and without
parting with money - Bauer`s chief work is online
Walter Bauer: Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity
Terje Dahl Bergersen
Deacon,Ecclesia Gnostica Norvegia