Re: [Gnosticism2] RE: Old group
I live in Columbia, SC and I am new to Gnosticism. I would like to know
from someone who knows <> where I can attend a group of this sort.
Thanks a lot.
- Hi, all. I just want to pop in to welcome all our recent new members
(and older members posting for the first time) -- elmoreb, Jo Ann
Hinkle, Steve, Michael Heinich, Scott Fraser, Leslie Bryon. There
are many others who are at least reading and we invite you to join us
in discussion, if you so desire.
Just a note while I'm here, Leslie. I read the recent posts to which
you responded and I couldn't find where anyone used the
phrase "psychoanalyzing a Text." I did see mention of opinions
regarding "psychologizing" texts, which might refer to interpretation
of ancient text via modern psychology avenues.
I suppose I would encourage an understanding of the intent of the
author(s) first. Gnostic parlance wouldn't equate "pneumatic"
with "psychic," but I also can't imagine how a spiritual awareness
would not affect the psyche in some way and how we function in this
P. S. Dear members, no need to be "sorry," for joining conversations
and offering respectful insights and opinions. After all, that's
what we're here for, right? ;-)
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, LESLIE BRYON <BryonL@p...> wrote:
> Sorry, i am new to the group and i am having a problem
understanding two concepts:
> 1) what do you mean by "psychoanalizing a Text" i am a Mental
helath Counsleor and we analyze people and their writings not Texts...
> 2) what does a person requires to be label as an "alchemist"? It is
a philosophical position? a religious one? or a proto-chemist?
> Sorry for my humble disagreement...
> Scott Fraser <scorpius@i...> wrote:
> Sorry to interrupt on this interesting discussion. But I don't
believe that Gnostic texts can be psychologised. Look at the trouble
Jung got into when he tackled alchemy. Totally clueless. You cannot
understand someone else's meaning unless you have *experience* of the
same underlying reality. Your experience is the limit of your
knowledge and heuristic capacity. Jung was not an alchemist, so he
misunderstood alchemy. How could he know what terms like "Lion"
and "eagle" meant, when all he knew about was the psychological
dimension? Paul says that the carnal man cannot understand the things
of the spirit. Same principle at work: he has no *experience* of
spiritual reality so he is *bound* to interpret on some other level
of meaning that was not intended.
> Jesus says that Pharisees *cannot* understand parables. Same thing
here. We would not visit a psycholgist and expect him to tell us
about dentistry, so why would we trouble him about *spiritual*
matters when these too are outside the province of his experience and
competence. The only reason we would make this mistake is if WE TOO
had no experience of spiritual matters and therefore falsely believed
that they were reduceable to psychological terms or that the
psychological dimension was the only reality. Frankly, this error is
appallingly evident in our modern world. We are simply unaware of
anything beyond the conceptual/rational level of the mind, even
though people who have visisted this other dimension...Jesus, Mani,
Buddha, and a million others -- frequently bring back reports of it.
We, not having the same experience as Gnostics, would logically think
that no such experience existed, and therefore that it could be
explained (away) psychologically. But this is not the level on
> which the ancient Gnosticis address us. They are not talking to
the carnal man or the psychic/rational/emotional man (or only insofar
as he is the medium, or channel through which the spiritual man is
reached)... They are talking to the spiritual man -- and only he will
understand. If a mechanic talks to another mechanic about cars, both
will understand. If a mechanic talks to someone who does not know
what a car is, who in his narrow experience of life, has never seen
on or touched one, then this person, having never experienced cars,
may indeed think that cars are "all in the mechanics head"
(reductionist/psychological). He may not even so much as suspect
their existence, but if he does he will try to imagine what a car is
in terms of his own existing experience and knowledge. This is
exactly what a Psychologist does when he approaches Gnostcism. Again,
experience is the limit of your knowledge. No one is fit to
interpret gnostic *experience* unless he is himself a gnostic who
> has had *actual gnosis* of the same reality. Otherwise he is
trying to describe the scenery of a distant country he has never
visited. All other comentators, who have not had gnosis, are only
competent in the sphere of their own expertise and experience and
should handle only peripheral matters of psychology, history,
biography and so on. If they DO commentate on gnostic *experience* we
will only find out what a psychogist or historian *thinks about*
gnostic ie (non-psychogical) experience, not what a gnostic *knows*
about his own experience. It may be interesting -- but it will not in
the least way bring us closer to knowing what that experience is, or
its true significance. For that, we would have to have the same
experience ourselves. It is an absurd conceit to think we can know
or say anything meaningful about something we haven't experienced,
but ths is precisely the conceit of a psychologist who tries to
understand occult states that he has no experience of. "Oh, of
> he says, "that journey through the heavens is *really just* a form
of the oedipus complex"....Why should we not expect an enlightened
Gnostic to say the opposite.."Oh, of course, his Oedipus complex is
*really just* a form of journey through the heavens". The
reductionist equation works both ways. Spritual matters can be
psycholgised or psychological matters can be spiritualised. But this
is viciously circular and very stupid. An experience is what it is.
An oedipus complex is an oedipus complex. A journey through the
heavens is a journey through the heavens. As it is experienced, so it
is. . This does not mean experience is subjective, either. Because
there is no objective reality with which it could be compared and
said to be *subjective* in the first place. Gnostics do not talk to
non-gnostics/non-initiates about their experience. They are speaking
a different language to people who have not experienced what the
words of their language signify.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: pmcvflag <email@example.com>
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com>
> Date: Monday, 5 April 2004 05:43
> Subject: [Gnosticism2] Re: Material and Spiritual Worlds
> Hey Danielle, you state....
> "The way I understood Crowley's writting was: who is anyone to
> who is "worthy" to recieve the Gnosis and who is not."
> The question I would raise is not about who is worthy of Gnosis,
> whether Crowely used the word "Gnosis" to mean the same thing that
> the traditional Gnostics did.
> An example; if we both use the term "love", but one of us defines
> term to simply mean sex, where as the other uses the term to mean a
> spiritual recognition of seperation from the prime source.... we
> could have some communication problems when trying to communicate a
> mythological outline of "love".
> The historical Gnostics that this club deals with had some very
> specific definitions. Just because another group uses the same
> does not mean they are talking about the same thing. Modern groups
> have had a tendency to borrow terms from Gnosticism without really
> understanding the usages in thier original context.
> To bring this to your point... how would you demonstrate that the
> Historical Gnostics that this club deals with defined "spiritual
> maturity" according to the same criteria as Crowley? AND.. how sure
> are you that you and I mean the same thing when we use the
> term "Gnosis"? For the sake of this club, the only definitions that
> matter are the tradtional ones, all else must be compared against
> them to be relevent here.
> Consider another possibility also... What if the symbolic usages
> being used here are a language of sorts? Think, for instance, of
> rennaisance classicists like Botticelli, in a painting like the
> Vera. You can interperate that painting however you wish, but it
> dictated by Ficino to have a very specific meaning. If you don't
> the language of the picture, you can't interperate the intended
> meaning any more than you can understand me if I am speaking in a
> language you don't know. For the most part, ancient people did not
> agree with that modern notion of free form art creation and
> interperatation. Instead, thier works had much more precisely
> intended functions.
> When we look at an ancient work like these Nag Hammadi texts we
> make a choice.... do we care what the original authors meant or are
> we going to foist them into a modern mold? The problem with
> psychologicizing these works is the same as the problem with
> some kind of free form art interperatation (and it is usually the
> latter that people mean when they say "spiritual interperetation",
> even though we could question whether that is actually spiritual or
> not) which is that these methods fail to utilize the same language
> the work being read.
> In spite of his advocacy of Jungian method, Dr Campbell points out
> this problem with interperating myth also when he compares myth to
> his computer his computer... it has a function and is meant to do
> specific things for you, but it does not work if you go mixing
> incompatible softwares, softwares that use different languages. I
> think this observation is important, and that if we want to know a
> myth we must know it in it's own language rather than making it fit
> into our own personal psychological perspective.
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Danielle George"
> <treasurer@h...> wrote:
> > The way I understood Crowley's writting was: who is anyone to
> > who is "worthy" to recieve the Gnosis and who is not.
> > I personally believe the writings were circulated, layered in
> > symobilism for saftey if nothing else to all persons) Any one
> > can read something and form an opinion, the opinion would be
> > on the persons understanding, if the person was advanced
> > or on the path to understanding, that person would be able to
> > discern between the literal and symbolic text in one writing- and
> > find the hidden Truths- regardless of that persons faith/religon-
> > he warns in the writing to keep your mind open and to not
> > one form of interpretation and use only the other-
> > Danielle'