Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Science/Mythology
- Belatedly, thank you Cari for your reply and for the interesting link to the article on "metaphors". I accept your points, that scientists are not objective beings. Certainly they are conditioned by belief systems and those do enter into their research (the male vs female IQ a case in point). Religous conditioning also enters in --- the Darwinian universe being a strong (atheistic) reaction to the religous ethos of the 19th century.Another aspect of the issue is the extend to which modern myths come in scientific trappings, because that is what our minds relate to today. Flying Saucers and the Matrix come to mind. BTW, the" Matrix," and the expression "cyberspace" first appeared in the 1980's in William Gibson's novel, "Neuromancer" --- quite a wild book that also contains gnostic elements.Paul
lady_caritas <email@example.com> wrote:
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Paul Kieniewicz <paulmmk@y...>
>>I'm afraid I take issue with Mr. Fiedler's thesis that the
scientific endeavour is mythological or influenced by "mythological
Well, Dr. Fideler does mention (_Gnosis_, Spring, 1991, page 6-7)
that "history has shown how strongly science itself is *influenced*
by mythological constructs." So, Paul, I suppose it might help to
define what "mythological" means in this instance. Unfortunately Dr.
Fideler isn't here to clarify, but I could take that to simply
mean "lacking factual basis or historical validity" (Webster) or
even "relating to mythology,"... relating to "the body of stories
associated with a culture or institution or person." (Webster)
Actually, the other letter I quoted from V. F. Vogt also included a
few examples of mythology affecting theories in the nineteenth and
twentieth centuries; for instance, anthropologists in the 1880's
creating evidence to classify races and one even circulating a
pamphlet about women's brains being "soft as their bodies, so they
could not comprehend the principles of higher learning." Vogt
acknowledges that scientists might say that "anthropological
theories have been revised in the last twenty years because science
is open to new evidence." He, however, suggests that "the revision
is because racism and sexism are no longer politically popular."
Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle. And some might point
to these as extreme examples; however, David Fideler's premise is
that to view science as only objective reality and religious
cosmologies as only a subjective phenomenon is "crass and
reductive." OTOH, yes, the scientific _method_ is largely empirical
and rational, but there is still a subjective element because not
only religious knowledge, but also scientific knowledge is "rooted in
the principle of consciousness." He further states, "Yet Ted's
argument implies that consciousness is a subjective phenomenon, while
science offers objective truth. Stated this way, the fallacy becomes
obvious, for if consciousness itself did not possess the means of
determining objective truth, both scientific insight and technology
could not exist. If consciousness can grasp eternal, objective
truths (for example in mathematics and physics), the principle of
consciousness must have something in common with its objects of
inquiry. Insofar as the scientific method (with its claims for
objective, universal knowledge) is rooted in the principle of
consciousness, science implicitly accepts the premise that
consciousness itself is an objective, universal phenomenon, and that
its insights are not limited by time or place. All of a sudden, the
underlying principle of rational science is starting to sound pretty
Indeed, some view science as largely metaphoric:
That is not to say that science and religion are the same. Science
is primarily concerned with physical reality. Gerry, in his post
#8674 mentions, "It seems foolhardy to look to one discipline to
prove the tenets of another, but that doesn't mean that one cannot
independently complement another."
And, I would add in agreement with Fideler that different disciplines
of learning *should* work together in contributing "something to a
larger understanding of reality as a whole."
>>But sometimes a spade is just a spade, and not a symbol. A pot is
round for various practical reasons and its roundness is not
conceived as a symbol of wholeness or a mandala.
Yes, many modern scientists such as Einstein, Pauli, and Heisenberg
had interesting insights into the meaning of things, and their work
may have sprung from an inner desire to explore this meaning. But
they are the exception. Many more scientists are led to using science
and technology to create innovative ways to kill and destroy. The
human mind immediately figures out how to use any discovery for its
This reminds me of the gnostic myths of mind working alone without
its consort, and creating a world without meaning. In some of those
myths you'll find meaning.<<
And, Paul, you have offered an excellent illustration of why
disciplines should complement each other instead of being fragmented
into isolated subdisciplines. I'm not at all arguing whether a spade
is a physical object or whether it has practical value. The Gnostics
certainly viewed the physical as real, but not as the only reality.
IOW, practical application of a spade might be helpful, but in light
of your example, should it be used as a garden tool or as a weapon?
>> But gnostic myths are not science, and hopefully are not concerned
with the origin of the physical universe.<<
Sure, they are concerned with origin of the physical universe, but
not only a physical origin. They investigate this with a
mythological modality. Terje (post #8661) describes the myth as
having a specific purpose � "namely offering pointers, signposts -
for our imagination and our ability to perceive in an alternate
Gnostics valued importance of both the rational and the nonrational.
Science alone without its "consort" could end up being a dead-end
investigation of the nature of corruptibility.
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- --- In email@example.com, Paul Kieniewicz <paulmmk@y...>
> Belatedly, thank you Cari for your reply and for the interestinglink to the article on "metaphors".
You're welcome, Paul. I found that whole website quite compelling.
>Religous conditioning also enters in --- the Darwinian universe being
>I accept your points, that scientists are not objective beings.
>Certainly they are conditioned by belief systems and those do enter
>into their research (the male vs female IQ a case in point).
a strong (atheistic) reaction to the religous ethos of the 19th
>century.I find it interesting that many people tend to relate, sometimes in a
reactive manner, in terms of black and white religious supernatural
theism (god beings) vs. rational, naturalistic atheism, although
there certainly are religious or spiritually inclined people who
consider themselves atheistic or nontheistic as well as
materialists/atheists who very much recognize the significance of
both their rational and nonrational natures.
> Another aspect of the issue is the extend to which modern mythscome in scientific trappings, because that is what our minds relate
to today. Flying Saucers and the Matrix come to mind. BTW, the"
Matrix," and the expression "cyberspace" first appeared in the 1980's
in William Gibson's novel, "Neuromancer" --- quite a wild book that
also contains gnostic elements.
>Oh, wow, I keep saying I'm going to pick up that book. Has it been
that long? lol No excuses; I should read it. I've heard enough
In that vein, considering your mention of Darwin, Gibson, "matrix,"
and "cyberspace," here is a link to a collection of quotes
("Cyberspace the New Jerusalem") about these terms you might (or
not) be familiar with, under the following headings: Definitions and
Origin, The Gnostic Mythform, The Platonic Matrix, Evolution or
Also, this lecture about cyberspace mentions Gibson, as well as