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First Line of Questions, :)>

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  • mikster28
    Alright, I am going to attempt to share some ramblings here and possibly gain some perspective. When I found the Nag Hamadi and began to read, it was from the
    Message 1 of 28 , Jul 27, 2004
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      Alright, I am going to attempt to share some ramblings here and
      possibly gain some perspective. When I found the Nag Hamadi and
      began to read, it was from the perspective that I was ignorant in an
      earthly sense and spiritual sense. I wanted to find what could be
      identified as truth spiritually for I do believe there is some form
      of continuation of energy after our physical bodies have passed
      away. I also believe that the future destiny of this energy did not
      have to neccessarily go to one particular place and it seemed to me
      that this life in fleshly form had some purpose and possibly could
      effect the future destination of the energy I presently hold within
      my flesh. Now, this energy I own/use, I was unsure if it were mine
      or on loan so to speak, but either way I felt that whatever had
      given/loaned me this energy had some reason for it and most likely
      some expectation of me on how to use it while it was in my
      posession. While the idea that my abuse of this energy could lead to
      some form of punishment was not cancelled out in my book, I tried not
      to limit myself to that understanding. So I was reading back posts
      from this perspective and completely confused myself! From the
      homepage, I see that knowledge + wisdom = spirituality, true?
      This seems very vague to me. Is this is a internal equation for
      finding one's spirituality or more external? I would think if it
      were internal that the form of knowledge and wisdom could vary. If
      it is external, I was thinking maybe the knowledge and wisdom would
      be more in specific areas.
      This all came about because as I read these past posts, I saw the
      theme develop that while the Godhead is in everything, it is in
      nothing being detached from the world. Which led me to believe that
      the knowledge and wisdom being searched for would not be of the
      Godhead and more of one's self, so would that make the knowledge and
      wisdom being searched for of one's self?
      Any thoughts shared would be greatly apreciated. I feel there is a
      knowledge overload!!

      Thanks,
      Micky
    • LESLIE BRYON
      Why you do not consider the possibility that Life has no meaning at all except taht one we are giving subjectively and individually? Leslie mikster28
      Message 2 of 28 , Jul 27, 2004
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        Why you do not consider the possibility that Life has no meaning at all except taht one we are giving subjectively and individually?
        Leslie

        mikster28 <mikster28@...> wrote:
        Alright, I am going to attempt to share some ramblings here and
        possibly gain some perspective.  When I found the Nag Hamadi and
        began to read, it was from the perspective that I was ignorant in an
        earthly sense and spiritual sense.  I wanted to find what could be
        identified as truth spiritually for I do believe there is some form
        of continuation of energy after our physical bodies have passed
        away.  I also believe that the future destiny of this energy did not
        have to neccessarily go to one particular place and it seemed to me
        that this life in fleshly form had some purpose and possibly could
        effect the future destination of the energy I presently hold within
        my flesh.  Now, this energy I own/use, I was unsure if it were mine
        or on loan so to speak, but either way I felt that whatever had
        given/loaned me this energy had some reason for it and most likely
        some expectation of me on how to use it while it was in my
        posession.  While the idea that my abuse of this energy could lead to
        some form of punishment was not cancelled out in my book, I tried not
        to limit myself to that understanding.  So I was reading back posts
        from this perspective and completely confused myself!   From the
        homepage, I see that knowledge + wisdom = spirituality, true?
        This seems very vague to me.  Is this is a internal equation for
        finding one's spirituality or more external?  I would think if it
        were internal that the form of knowledge and wisdom could vary.  If
        it is external, I was thinking maybe the knowledge and wisdom would
        be more in specific areas.
        This all came about because as I read these past posts, I saw the
        theme develop that while the Godhead is in everything, it is in
        nothing being detached from the world.  Which led me to believe that
        the knowledge and wisdom being searched for would not be of the
        Godhead and more of one's self, so would that make the knowledge and
        wisdom being searched for of one's self? 
        Any thoughts shared would be greatly apreciated.  I feel there is a
        knowledge overload!!

        Thanks,
        Micky





        y
      • Mike Leavitt
        Hello mikster28 ... Well Jesus did say I and the father are one. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
        Message 3 of 28 , Jul 27, 2004
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          Hello mikster28

          On 07/27/04, you wrote:

          > Alright, I am going to attempt to share some ramblings here and
          > possibly gain some perspective. When I found the Nag Hamadi and
          > began to read, it was from the perspective that I was ignorant in an
          > earthly sense and spiritual sense. I wanted to find what could be
          > identified as truth spiritually for I do believe there is some form
          > of continuation of energy after our physical bodies have passed
          > away. I also believe that the future destiny of this energy did not
          > have to neccessarily go to one particular place and it seemed to me
          > that this life in fleshly form had some purpose and possibly could
          > effect the future destination of the energy I presently hold within
          > my flesh. Now, this energy I own/use, I was unsure if it were mine
          > or on loan so to speak, but either way I felt that whatever had
          > given/loaned me this energy had some reason for it and most likely
          > some expectation of me on how to use it while it was in my
          > posession. While the idea that my abuse of this energy could lead to
          > some form of punishment was not cancelled out in my book, I tried
          > not to limit myself to that understanding. So I was reading back
          > posts from this perspective and completely confused myself! From the
          > homepage, I see that knowledge + wisdom = spirituality, true? This
          > seems very vague to me. Is this is a internal equation for finding
          > one's spirituality or more external? I would think if it were
          > internal that the form of knowledge and wisdom could vary. If it is
          > external, I was thinking maybe the knowledge and wisdom would be
          > more in specific areas. This all came about because as I read these
          > past posts, I saw the theme develop that while the Godhead is in
          > everything, it is in nothing being detached from the world. Which
          > led me to believe that the knowledge and wisdom being searched for
          > would not be of the Godhead and more of one's self, so would that
          > make the knowledge and wisdom being searched for of one's self? Any
          > thoughts shared would be greatly apreciated. I feel there is a
          > knowledge overload!!
          >
          > Thanks,
          > Micky

          Well Jesus did say "I and the father are one."

          Regards
          --
          Mike Leavitt ac998@...
        • Micky Evans
          Leslie, I have at some point pondered whether I felt life had no meaning (except other than in the sense which you described). For my person, I felt that life
          Message 4 of 28 , Jul 27, 2004
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            Leslie,
            I have at some point pondered whether I felt life
            had no meaning (except other than in the sense which
            you described). For my person, I felt that life with
            no meaning would only be possible if I believed that
            life did not come forth from some sort of entity. To
            believe I was "created" in itself leads me to believe
            that life has some sort of meaning. I believe in a
            creator because I don't believe matter and the space
            it occupies can just be.
            Believing I was "created" by either intent or as a
            repercussion of another action, either way, would in
            essence give meaning to my existence to me. If that
            makes any sense at all. :)
            This is my current thought which may grow and/or
            completely change at any time as I learn and grow.
            Please feel free to share any thoughts you may want to
            share with me.


            Micky

            --- LESLIE BRYON <BryonL@...> wrote:
            > Why you do not consider the possibility that Life
            > has no meaning at all except taht one we are giving
            > subjectively and individually?
            > Leslie
            >
            > mikster28 <mikster28@...> wrote:
            > Alright, I am going to attempt to share some
            > ramblings here and
            > possibly gain some perspective. When I found the
            > Nag Hamadi and
            > began to read, it was from the perspective that I
            > was ignorant in an
            > earthly sense and spiritual sense. I wanted to find
            > what could be
            > identified as truth spiritually for I do believe
            > there is some form
            > of continuation of energy after our physical bodies
            > have passed
            > away. I also believe that the future destiny of
            > this energy did not
            > have to neccessarily go to one particular place and
            > it seemed to me
            > that this life in fleshly form had some purpose and
            > possibly could
            > effect the future destination of the energy I
            > presently hold within
            > my flesh. Now, this energy I own/use, I was unsure
            > if it were mine
            > or on loan so to speak, but either way I felt that
            > whatever had
            > given/loaned me this energy had some reason for it
            > and most likely
            > some expectation of me on how to use it while it was
            > in my
            > posession. While the idea that my abuse of this
            > energy could lead to
            > some form of punishment was not cancelled out in my
            > book, I tried not
            > to limit myself to that understanding. So I was
            > reading back posts
            > from this perspective and completely confused
            > myself! From the
            > homepage, I see that knowledge + wisdom =
            > spirituality, true?
            > This seems very vague to me. Is this is a internal
            > equation for
            > finding one's spirituality or more external? I
            > would think if it
            > were internal that the form of knowledge and wisdom
            > could vary. If
            > it is external, I was thinking maybe the knowledge
            > and wisdom would
            > be more in specific areas.
            > This all came about because as I read these past
            > posts, I saw the
            > theme develop that while the Godhead is in
            > everything, it is in
            > nothing being detached from the world. Which led me
            > to believe that
            > the knowledge and wisdom being searched for would
            > not be of the
            > Godhead and more of one's self, so would that make
            > the knowledge and
            > wisdom being searched for of one's self?
            > Any thoughts shared would be greatly apreciated. I
            > feel there is a
            > knowledge overload!!
            >
            > Thanks,
            > Micky
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups SponsorADVERTISEMENT
            >
            >
            > ---------------------------------
            > y




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          • pmcvflag
            Leslie.... Why you do not consider the possibility that Life has no meaning at all except taht one we are giving subjectively and individually? Leslie Well,
            Message 5 of 28 , Jul 27, 2004
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              Leslie....

              "Why you do not consider the possibility that Life has no meaning at
              all except taht one we are giving subjectively and individually?
              Leslie"

              Well, the main answer to that would be that we are here specifically
              to talk about groups that believed there is an objective source. This
              means that what we might personally consider on the subject must be
              contrasted with the beliefs of Gnosticism. Or to answer that another
              way, sure we may consider that our purpose is only subjective, but we
              must also consider whether the Gnostics felt the same way.

              PMCV
            • Mike Leavitt
              Hello Micky ... The Demiurge (Saklas) created you, but the Sophia gave you your spirit and gave you life. Regards -- Mike Leavitt ac998@lafn.org
              Message 6 of 28 , Jul 27, 2004
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                Hello Micky

                On 07/28/04, you wrote:

                > Leslie,
                > I have at some point pondered whether I felt life
                > had no meaning (except other than in the sense which
                > you described). For my person, I felt that life with
                > no meaning would only be possible if I believed that
                > life did not come forth from some sort of entity. To
                > believe I was "created" in itself leads me to believe
                > that life has some sort of meaning. I believe in a
                > creator because I don't believe matter and the space
                > it occupies can just be.
                > Believing I was "created" by either intent or as a
                > repercussion of another action, either way, would in
                > essence give meaning to my existence to me. If that
                > makes any sense at all. :)
                > This is my current thought which may grow and/or
                > completely change at any time as I learn and grow.
                > Please feel free to share any thoughts you may want to
                > share with me.
                >
                >
                > Micky

                The Demiurge (Saklas) created you, but the Sophia gave you your spirit
                and gave you life.

                Regards
                --
                Mike Leavitt ac998@...
              • Lynette
                Hey Micky, I m going to reply with a true story just recently happened. One which you will relate to. I was at a BBQ and the host loves to debate religion. Up
                Message 7 of 28 , Jul 28, 2004
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                  Hey Micky,
                   
                  I'm going to reply with a true story just recently happened. One which you will relate to. I was at a BBQ and the host loves to debate religion. Up until this particular day, I always just nodded my head and only spoke when I could actually say something that would not "set him off" But on this particular day, he brought the question forward, "How does anyone ever really know that what they believe is right." Wow, such an opening as that, couldn't be ignored, right? LOL
                   
                  In the discussion that followed, he got to learn more about where I stand, then ever before {much to my dismay my mouth would not stay shut}. We left the discussion with one thought on our minds.
                   
                  He, a dedicated Christian had had a profound moment in his life that reaffirmed everything he had ever been taught about god. AND........... I had had a profound moment in my life that changed everything I had ever been taught in my life about god.
                   
                  Before those profound moments, he and I would have been in agreement on every point made in our conversation. Now I disagreed with almost every point he made in our discussion.
                   
                  So, how can two people who were raised with the same beliefs, have two profound moments, and come to absolutely opposite conclusions.
                   
                  But my stance remains, that none of it really matters.
                   
                  Spirituality and knowledge is internal though, to answer that question. When one knows what they know, they also know that they can not tell someone else what they know, because another cannot understand until they know it as well. In other words, "Walk a mile in my moccasins"
                   
                  Sincerely,
                  Lynette
                   
                  "To find the solution is to discover there  is no problem."
                   
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: mikster28
                  Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 3:38 PM
                  Subject: [Gnosticism2] First Line of Questions, :)>

                  Alright, I am going to attempt to share some ramblings here and
                  possibly gain some perspective.  When I found the Nag Hamadi and
                  began to read, it was from the perspective that I was ignorant in an
                  earthly sense and spiritual sense.  I wanted to find what could be
                  identified as truth spiritually for I do believe there is some form
                  of continuation of energy after our physical bodies have passed
                  away.  I also believe that the future destiny of this energy did not
                  have to neccessarily go to one particular place and it seemed to me
                  that this life in fleshly form had some purpose and possibly could
                  effect the future destination of the energy I presently hold within
                  my flesh.  Now, this energy I own/use, I was unsure if it were mine
                  or on loan so to speak, but either way I felt that whatever had
                  given/loaned me this energy had some reason for it and most likely
                  some expectation of me on how to use it while it was in my
                  posession.  While the idea that my abuse of this energy could lead to
                  some form of punishment was not cancelled out in my book, I tried not
                  to limit myself to that understanding.  So I was reading back posts
                  from this perspective and completely confused myself!   From the
                  homepage, I see that knowledge + wisdom = spirituality, true?
                  This seems very vague to me.  Is this is a internal equation for
                  finding one's spirituality or more external?  I would think if it
                  were internal that the form of knowledge and wisdom could vary.  If
                  it is external, I was thinking maybe the knowledge and wisdom would
                  be more in specific areas.
                  This all came about because as I read these past posts, I saw the
                  theme develop that while the Godhead is in everything, it is in
                  nothing being detached from the world.  Which led me to believe that
                  the knowledge and wisdom being searched for would not be of the
                  Godhead and more of one's self, so would that make the knowledge and
                  wisdom being searched for of one's self? 
                  Any thoughts shared would be greatly apreciated.  I feel there is a
                  knowledge overload!!

                  Thanks,
                  Micky



                • Micky Evans
                  Lynette, I do relate so much to what you have written. The last paragraph says my feelings in such a great way, feelings I had no words to prior to reading
                  Message 8 of 28 , Jul 28, 2004
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                    Lynette,
                    I do relate so much to what you have written. The
                    last paragraph says my feelings in such a great way,
                    feelings I had no words to prior to reading yours. No
                    one around me has much of any belief structure
                    externally anyway and often feel threatened with all I
                    am doing in my life. There wasn't many words I could
                    use in my defense as to why I felt compelled to change
                    so much and to study all of what I have been studying.
                    Each time I attempted to help them understand, I was
                    tongue tied or completely silent with lack of ideas to
                    verbalize the internal that I knew was real. With
                    anything else in my life I could blab for hours and
                    for once...plain speechless. I attributed it to my
                    ignorance for the longest, but I suppose it is simply
                    beyond words because it was not meant to be shared
                    externally in such detail. Thank you for these words!

                    Micky

                    --- Lynette <lynette_f@...> wrote:
                    > Hey Micky,
                    >
                    > I'm going to reply with a true story just recently
                    > happened. One which you will relate to. I was at a
                    > BBQ and the host loves to debate religion. Up until
                    > this particular day, I always just nodded my head
                    > and only spoke when I could actually say something
                    > that would not "set him off" But on this particular
                    > day, he brought the question forward, "How does
                    > anyone ever really know that what they believe is
                    > right." Wow, such an opening as that, couldn't be
                    > ignored, right? LOL
                    >
                    > In the discussion that followed, he got to learn
                    > more about where I stand, then ever before {much to
                    > my dismay my mouth would not stay shut}. We left the
                    > discussion with one thought on our minds.
                    >
                    > He, a dedicated Christian had had a profound moment
                    > in his life that reaffirmed everything he had ever
                    > been taught about god. AND........... I had had a
                    > profound moment in my life that changed everything I
                    > had ever been taught in my life about god.
                    >
                    > Before those profound moments, he and I would have
                    > been in agreement on every point made in our
                    > conversation. Now I disagreed with almost every
                    > point he made in our discussion.
                    >
                    > So, how can two people who were raised with the same
                    > beliefs, have two profound moments, and come to
                    > absolutely opposite conclusions.
                    >
                    > But my stance remains, that none of it really
                    > matters.
                    >
                    > Spirituality and knowledge is internal though, to
                    > answer that question. When one knows what they know,
                    > they also know that they can not tell someone else
                    > what they know, because another cannot understand
                    > until they know it as well. In other words, "Walk a
                    > mile in my moccasins"
                    >
                    > Sincerely,
                    > Lynette
                    >
                    > "To find the solution is to discover there is no
                    > problem."
                    >
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: mikster28
                    > To: gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 3:38 PM
                    > Subject: [Gnosticism2] First Line of Questions,
                    > :)>
                    >
                    >
                    > Alright, I am going to attempt to share some
                    > ramblings here and
                    > possibly gain some perspective. When I found the
                    > Nag Hamadi and
                    > began to read, it was from the perspective that I
                    > was ignorant in an
                    > earthly sense and spiritual sense. I wanted to
                    > find what could be
                    > identified as truth spiritually for I do believe
                    > there is some form
                    > of continuation of energy after our physical
                    > bodies have passed
                    > away. I also believe that the future destiny of
                    > this energy did not
                    > have to neccessarily go to one particular place
                    > and it seemed to me
                    > that this life in fleshly form had some purpose
                    > and possibly could
                    > effect the future destination of the energy I
                    > presently hold within
                    > my flesh. Now, this energy I own/use, I was
                    > unsure if it were mine
                    > or on loan so to speak, but either way I felt that
                    > whatever had
                    > given/loaned me this energy had some reason for it
                    > and most likely
                    > some expectation of me on how to use it while it
                    > was in my
                    > posession. While the idea that my abuse of this
                    > energy could lead to
                    > some form of punishment was not cancelled out in
                    > my book, I tried not
                    > to limit myself to that understanding. So I was
                    > reading back posts
                    > from this perspective and completely confused
                    > myself! From the
                    > homepage, I see that knowledge + wisdom =
                    > spirituality, true?
                    > This seems very vague to me. Is this is a
                    > internal equation for
                    > finding one's spirituality or more external? I
                    > would think if it
                    > were internal that the form of knowledge and
                    > wisdom could vary. If
                    > it is external, I was thinking maybe the knowledge
                    > and wisdom would
                    > be more in specific areas.
                    > This all came about because as I read these past
                    > posts, I saw the
                    > theme develop that while the Godhead is in
                    > everything, it is in
                    > nothing being detached from the world. Which led
                    > me to believe that
                    > the knowledge and wisdom being searched for would
                    > not be of the
                    > Godhead and more of one's self, so would that make
                    > the knowledge and
                    > wisdom being searched for of one's self?
                    > Any thoughts shared would be greatly apreciated.
                    > I feel there is a
                    > knowledge overload!!
                    >
                    > Thanks,
                    > Micky
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
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                  • Gavin Riggott
                    He, a dedicated Christian had had a profound moment in his life that reaffirmed everything he had ever been taught about god. I knew a man who was in the
                    Message 9 of 28 , Jul 30, 2004
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                      "He, a dedicated Christian had had a profound moment in his life that
                      reaffirmed everything he had ever been taught about god."

                      I knew a man who was in the Salvation Army. He was conservation even by
                      their standards. Often he related his conversion story. I won't say it
                      all, but it starts with him being an atheist and ends with him having a
                      mystical experience which he says was the holy spirit, etc. etc. You get
                      the idea. Apparently, this experience confirmed the truth of the Bible and
                      Christian (Protestant) teachings to him. In other words, he claims to have
                      not only experienced something, but aquired special knowledge. I often
                      chuckle to myself, thinking that he is obviously a Gnostic. I wouldn't dare
                      say that to him though!

                      I prefer to maintain an attitude of healthy skepticism about these things.
                      I believe there was a Christian martyr from ancient Rome who said to his
                      executioner, "I beseech you in the bowels of Christ to consider the
                      possibility that you are wrong." Of course, the poor guy was killed anyway,
                      but its a nice line...


                      Gavin Riggott
                    • pmcvflag
                      The mystical experience, Mr Gavin, does not a Gnostic make. Neither too does any form of knowledge that one believes they have attained. No, your Salvation
                      Message 10 of 28 , Jul 30, 2004
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                        The mystical experience, Mr Gavin, does not a Gnostic make. Neither
                        too does any form of knowledge that one believes they have attained.

                        No, your Salvation Army-man sounds in no way "Gnostic" to me but
                        instead a mystically inclined "Pistic" Christian. Of course, perhaps
                        you have other reasons for including him amongst the practitioners of
                        the ancient system we are talking about here?

                        PMCV

                        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gavin Riggott" <wu@n...> wrote:
                        > "He, a dedicated Christian had had a profound moment in his life
                        that
                        > reaffirmed everything he had ever been taught about god."
                        >
                        > I knew a man who was in the Salvation Army. He was conservation
                        even by
                        > their standards. Often he related his conversion story. I won't
                        say it
                        > all, but it starts with him being an atheist and ends with him
                        having a
                        > mystical experience which he says was the holy spirit, etc. etc.
                        You get
                        > the idea. Apparently, this experience confirmed the truth of the
                        Bible and
                        > Christian (Protestant) teachings to him. In other words, he claims
                        to have
                        > not only experienced something, but aquired special knowledge. I
                        often
                        > chuckle to myself, thinking that he is obviously a Gnostic. I
                        wouldn't dare
                        > say that to him though!
                        >
                        > I prefer to maintain an attitude of healthy skepticism about these
                        things.
                        > I believe there was a Christian martyr from ancient Rome who said
                        to his
                        > executioner, "I beseech you in the bowels of Christ to consider the
                        > possibility that you are wrong." Of course, the poor guy was
                        killed anyway,
                        > but its a nice line...
                        >
                        >
                        > Gavin Riggott
                      • Gavin Riggott
                        ... Of course he s not a Gnostic, it was just a joke! Sometimes I forget that my sense of humour tends to loose people :P To the point though, I related the
                        Message 11 of 28 , Jul 30, 2004
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                          > The mystical experience, Mr Gavin, does not a Gnostic make. Neither
                          > too does any form of knowledge that one believes they have attained.

                          Of course he's not a Gnostic, it was just a joke! Sometimes I forget that
                          my sense of humour tends to loose people :P

                          To the point though, I related the story because it was relevant to what was
                          said before. Anyone can claim to have spiritual knowledge, regardless of
                          the religious preferance (but sticking to Gnosticism for this example). How
                          does one know when that knowledge is genuine Gnosis and not just "mere"
                          intuition? The stock New Age reply seems to be "you'll know when it
                          happens." Maybe, but even then, what about other people who arn't privy to
                          that knowledge? How do we, as readers of Gnostic scriptures, know that the
                          writers of those texts had actual genuine Gnosis? This might be an
                          elementary question, but it's not a rhetorical one - I honestly have no
                          answer.


                          Gavin Riggott
                        • LESLIE BRYON
                          That my position too. Everything is subjective. If i want to believe that this is really Gnosis no matter how others see the same events i will stubbornly
                          Message 12 of 28 , Jul 31, 2004
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                            That my position too. Everything is subjective. If i want to believe that this is really Gnosis no matter how others see the same events i will stubbornly repeat it is Gnosis. What then is real? Is reality just a personal idea? Or is the world outside us that is EVIL? Is it or not? That dualism is the only thing that i disagree with Gnosticism: Evil World versus Good individual Gnosis. Somehow this is incongruent with my college education in Science and psychology.
                            Leslie

                            Gavin Riggott <wu@...> wrote:

                             The stock New Age reply seems to be "you'll know when it
                            happens."  Maybe, but even then, what about other people who arn't privy to
                            that knowledge?  How do we, as readers of Gnostic scriptures, know that the
                            writers of those texts had actual genuine Gnosis?  This might be an
                            elementary question, but it's not a rhetorical one - I honestly have no
                            answer.


                            Gavin Riggott



                          • pmcvflag
                            Gavin *lol*, well the joke is on me then. It went right over my head, so, thanks for taking the time to point it out. However, when I read Leslie s post in
                            Message 13 of 28 , Aug 1, 2004
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                              Gavin *lol*, well the joke is on me then. It went right over my head,
                              so, thanks for taking the time to point it out. However, when I read
                              Leslie's post in answer to yours....

                              >>>"That my position too. Everything is subjective. If i want to
                              believe that this is really Gnosis no matter how others see the same
                              events i will stubbornly repeat it is Gnosis. What then is real? Is
                              reality just a personal idea? Or is the world outside us that is
                              EVIL?"<<<

                              .... it sounds to me as if she is not catching the sarcasm either.
                              What a fickle medium the net is. Or perhaps she is also being a bit
                              facetious herself, and simply means to bring up the same question you
                              do when you say....

                              >>>"How do we, as readers of Gnostic scriptures, know that the
                              writers of those texts had actual genuine Gnosis? This might be an
                              elementary question, but it's not a rhetorical one - I honestly have
                              no answer."<<<

                              Well, the answer to that is that since they invented the meaning we
                              are here to talk about, who else would set the standard for our
                              definition? If we were talking about something else,
                              say "Platonism"... would you ask "how do I know if these people who
                              claimed to be Platonic really were?"? This question seems like asking
                              whether troubadours understood the Scala Amoris, or whether Albert
                              understood the theory of Relativity.


                              Now, it may be true that many people today have taken the
                              term "Gnosis" and reused to to mean many different things, but there
                              is no place here for unrelated definitions. Since we really are here
                              talking about a specific definition of the word "Gnosis" the question
                              becomes a lot less confusing.... did the people who outlined the
                              term "Gnosis" as it is used here actually have it? If not, then what
                              the heck did they invent the term to describe... AND... how could
                              somebody else have something they discovered if they did not?

                              If we are all on the same page about what this group is here to
                              discuss, then the only question would have to come from confusion as
                              to what the very word "Gnosis" means in the Gnostic context?!?! If I
                              have once again misunderstood you, please feel free to make your
                              point more clear. Or, perhaps more to your point would be the
                              question as to whether "Gnosis" actually exists?

                              PMCV
                            • pmcvflag
                              BTW, I had intended to point something out concerning Leslie s post here.... ... believe that this is really Gnosis no matter how others see the same events i
                              Message 14 of 28 , Aug 1, 2004
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                                BTW, I had intended to point something out concerning Leslie's post
                                here....

                                >>>"That my position too. Everything is subjective. If i want to
                                believe that this is really Gnosis no matter how others see the same
                                events i will stubbornly repeat it is Gnosis. What then is real? Is
                                reality just a personal idea? Or is the world outside us that is
                                EVIL?"<<<

                                Certianly subjectivity has it's place, but let us not forget that we
                                are not talking about postmodernists, but Gnostics. Now, if somebody
                                walks up to me on the street and offers me some random item... "Hey
                                buddy, here is an old Nike shoebox containing 75 us dollors, broken
                                as a $50 a $20, and five ones, all of them minted in 1972" but in
                                fact they had me some other items... say, an unopened pack of Pokemon
                                cards with a recipt showing they were perchased earlier today at the
                                local Walmart.

                                Now, on a personal level you may not wish to question the validity of
                                the communication going on between this other person and myself, and
                                you could argue that for him he really handed me what he claimed...
                                you could argue that perception is reality, etc., BUT, here we need
                                not worry about that form of subjectivity. We are here to talk about
                                something quite specific really, and other definitions of the
                                word "Gnosis" simply is not relavant here even if they are perfectly
                                valid.

                                If I went to a club dealing with lowrider cars, and tried to tell
                                them that "pneumatic" does not refer to the air pressure lifts that
                                bounces the cars... well even if I am right in my context it has
                                nothing to do with thiers.... and being that the focus of thier club
                                would be clearly stated it would be selfish of me to not talk in
                                thier lingo.

                                What I am trying to say is, the level of subjectivity that we may
                                personally believe to represent "reality" should not prevent us from
                                trying to deal with the subject at hand on a level that actually
                                communicates the points in a way that is mutually understood, and to
                                try to understand the texts as something that does exist outside our
                                minds in and of themselves (in other words, have an "objective"
                                existance)

                                PMCV

                                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, pmcvflag <no_reply@y...> wrote:
                                > Gavin *lol*, well the joke is on me then. It went right over my
                                head,
                                > so, thanks for taking the time to point it out. However, when I
                                read
                                > Leslie's post in answer to yours....
                                >
                                > >>>"That my position too. Everything is subjective. If i want to
                                > believe that this is really Gnosis no matter how others see the
                                same
                                > events i will stubbornly repeat it is Gnosis. What then is real? Is
                                > reality just a personal idea? Or is the world outside us that is
                                > EVIL?"<<<
                                >
                                > .... it sounds to me as if she is not catching the sarcasm either.
                                > What a fickle medium the net is. Or perhaps she is also being a bit
                                > facetious herself, and simply means to bring up the same question
                                you
                                > do when you say....
                                >
                                > >>>"How do we, as readers of Gnostic scriptures, know that the
                                > writers of those texts had actual genuine Gnosis? This might be an
                                > elementary question, but it's not a rhetorical one - I honestly
                                have
                                > no answer."<<<
                                >
                                > Well, the answer to that is that since they invented the meaning we
                                > are here to talk about, who else would set the standard for our
                                > definition? If we were talking about something else,
                                > say "Platonism"... would you ask "how do I know if these people who
                                > claimed to be Platonic really were?"? This question seems like
                                asking
                                > whether troubadours understood the Scala Amoris, or whether Albert
                                > understood the theory of Relativity.
                                >
                                >
                                > Now, it may be true that many people today have taken the
                                > term "Gnosis" and reused to to mean many different things, but
                                there
                                > is no place here for unrelated definitions. Since we really are
                                here
                                > talking about a specific definition of the word "Gnosis" the
                                question
                                > becomes a lot less confusing.... did the people who outlined the
                                > term "Gnosis" as it is used here actually have it? If not, then
                                what
                                > the heck did they invent the term to describe... AND... how could
                                > somebody else have something they discovered if they did not?
                                >
                                > If we are all on the same page about what this group is here to
                                > discuss, then the only question would have to come from confusion
                                as
                                > to what the very word "Gnosis" means in the Gnostic context?!?! If
                                I
                                > have once again misunderstood you, please feel free to make your
                                > point more clear. Or, perhaps more to your point would be the
                                > question as to whether "Gnosis" actually exists?
                                >
                                > PMCV
                              • Mike Leavitt
                                Hello pmcvflag ... I guess you are saying that Gnosticism and Solipsism are mutually exclusive, and I think you are right. Solipsists write for themselves,
                                Message 15 of 28 , Aug 1, 2004
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                                  Hello pmcvflag

                                  On 08/02/04, you wrote:

                                  > BTW, I had intended to point something out concerning Leslie's post
                                  > here....
                                  >
                                  >>>> "That my position too. Everything is subjective. If i want to
                                  > believe that this is really Gnosis no matter how others see the same
                                  > events i will stubbornly repeat it is Gnosis. What then is real? Is
                                  > reality just a personal idea? Or is the world outside us that is
                                  > EVIL?"<<<
                                  >
                                  > Certianly subjectivity has it's place, but let us not forget that we
                                  > are not talking about postmodernists, but Gnostics. Now, if somebody
                                  > walks up to me on the street and offers me some random item... "Hey
                                  > buddy, here is an old Nike shoebox containing 75 us dollors, broken
                                  > as a $50 a $20, and five ones, all of them minted in 1972" but in
                                  > fact they had me some other items... say, an unopened pack of
                                  > Pokemon cards with a recipt showing they were perchased earlier
                                  > today at the local Walmart.
                                  >
                                  > Now, on a personal level you may not wish to question the validity
                                  > of the communication going on between this other person and myself,
                                  > and you could argue that for him he really handed me what he
                                  > claimed... you could argue that perception is reality, etc., BUT,
                                  > here we need not worry about that form of subjectivity. We are here
                                  > to talk about something quite specific really, and other definitions
                                  > of the word "Gnosis" simply is not relavant here even if they are
                                  > perfectly valid.
                                  >
                                  > If I went to a club dealing with lowrider cars, and tried to tell
                                  > them that "pneumatic" does not refer to the air pressure lifts that
                                  > bounces the cars... well even if I am right in my context it has
                                  > nothing to do with thiers.... and being that the focus of thier club
                                  > would be clearly stated it would be selfish of me to not talk in
                                  > thier lingo.
                                  >
                                  > What I am trying to say is, the level of subjectivity that we may
                                  > personally believe to represent "reality" should not prevent us from
                                  > trying to deal with the subject at hand on a level that actually
                                  > communicates the points in a way that is mutually understood, and to
                                  > try to understand the texts as something that does exist outside our
                                  > minds in and of themselves (in other words, have an "objective"
                                  > existance)
                                  >
                                  > PMCV

                                  I guess you are saying that Gnosticism and Solipsism are mutually
                                  exclusive, and I think you are right. Solipsists write for
                                  themselves, not for others, if they write at all.

                                  Regards
                                  --
                                  Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                                • Gavin Riggott
                                  ... PMCV, If Gnostic texts were a single, defined philosophy by a single (or close-nit) group, then I might be more inclined to accept that answer. I do take
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Aug 2, 2004
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                                    > >>>"How do we, as readers of Gnostic scriptures, know that the
                                    > writers of those texts had actual genuine Gnosis? This might be an
                                    > elementary question, but it's not a rhetorical one - I honestly have
                                    > no answer."<<<
                                    >
                                    > Well, the answer to that is that since they invented the meaning we
                                    > are here to talk about, who else would set the standard for our
                                    > definition? If we were talking about something else,
                                    > say "Platonism"... would you ask "how do I know if these people who
                                    > claimed to be Platonic really were?"? This question seems like asking
                                    > whether troubadours understood the Scala Amoris, or whether Albert
                                    > understood the theory of Relativity.

                                    PMCV,

                                    If Gnostic texts were a single, defined philosophy by a single (or
                                    close-nit) group, then I might be more inclined to accept that answer. I do
                                    take your point though. As this group has members with all sorts of reasons
                                    and motivations for being here, I should probably explain mine briefly. I
                                    am interested in Gnosticism mostly because I am a seeker after truth; my
                                    interest is not purely academic. If I were a historian with no interest in
                                    religous experience as such (that is, not seeking it personally), then I
                                    would no doubt be content with the explanation that Gnosis is whatever the
                                    Gnostic authors wrote about. Indeed, for the purposes of discussion I can
                                    do that quite happily. However, the "spiritual" part of me, if I can get
                                    away with that metaphor here, is thinking, "hang on a minute, how do we know
                                    this is a genuine expression of Gnosis and not just a nice, but otherwise
                                    pointless, story?" Due to the variety of the Gnostic authors, it seems like
                                    a reasonable question. Is Jung's Gnostic-influenced text a genuine
                                    expression of Gnosis? What if I were to write my own text? Of course, the
                                    question is irellevant from a historical point of view--neither I nor Jung
                                    are or were classical Gnostics as per this group's focus--but hopefully it
                                    makes a point. What makes a text truly Gnostic? Is it simply having
                                    Gnostic themes? If that were so, some of the members here could probably
                                    write a "Gnostic" scripture based on the textual conventions of other
                                    scriptures. Apart from the minor (!) issue of none of us being from the 2nd
                                    century, there would be no reason not to give it that status. Unless, of
                                    course, I'm mising something, some other criteria.

                                    I'm not sure whether this question falls within the group's focus or not,
                                    but it's what motivated my earlier post. I'll try to phrase it in a less
                                    personal-religious way: what are the criteria of a text being Gnostic? Is
                                    it just a certain style and set of conventions? Are there any disagreements
                                    about whether certain texts are Gnostic, perhaps like the orthodox issues of
                                    the RC deutero cannonical books or disputed letters of Paul?

                                    Hopefully those questions are a bit more on track.


                                    Gavin Riggott
                                  • janahooks
                                    ... Gavin, could you point me in the direction of that text? I d like to read it. I teach art in an elementary school, and my first project is a mandala.
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Aug 2, 2004
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                                      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gavin Riggott" <wu@n...> wrote:
                                      > Is Jung's Gnostic-influenced text a genuine
                                      > expression of Gnosis?

                                      Gavin, could you point me in the direction of that text? I'd like to
                                      read it. I teach art in an elementary school, and my first project
                                      is a mandala. All I've read of Jung was in my education courses.
                                      (and that one "Police" album...) jana
                                    • pmcvflag
                                      Hey Mike.... I guess you are saying that Gnosticism and Solipsism are mutually exclusive, and I think you are right. Solipsists write for themselves, not for
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Aug 2, 2004
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                                        Hey Mike....

                                        "I guess you are saying that Gnosticism and Solipsism are mutually
                                        exclusive, and I think you are right. Solipsists write for
                                        themselves, not for others, if they write at all."

                                        Exactly what I am saying. They don't fit together.

                                        PMCV
                                      • pmcvflag
                                        Hey Gavin, you bring up some very important points... ... close-nit) group, then I might be more inclined to accept that answer. I do take your point
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Aug 2, 2004
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                                          Hey Gavin, you bring up some very important points...

                                          >>>"If Gnostic texts were a single, defined philosophy by a single (or
                                          close-nit) group, then I might be more inclined to accept that
                                          answer. I do take your point though."<<<<

                                          Well, now, before you take my point... or leave it... maybe we should
                                          talk about it a bit further to make sure it is understood. You are
                                          very right to point out that "Gnosticism" was not a single group, or
                                          even a close nit one, but I do not feel you are accurate to say that
                                          it is not a "defined philosophy". What you say next brings the
                                          subject up a bit more specifically.....


                                          >>>"As this group has members with all sorts of reasons and
                                          motivations for being here, I should probably explain mine briefly. I
                                          am interested in Gnosticism mostly because I am a seeker after truth;
                                          my interest is not purely academic. If I were a historian with no
                                          interest in religous experience as such (that is, not seeking it
                                          personally), then I would no doubt be content with the explanation
                                          that Gnosis is whatever the Gnostic authors wrote about. Indeed, for
                                          the purposes of discussion I can do that quite happily."<<<

                                          While I am now the one to say "I take your point", let me point out
                                          that the focus of this club is not simply specified "for the purpose
                                          of discussion". You and I can both be seekers of truth, as you put
                                          it, but unless you really do wish to go back to the notion
                                          that "truth" is subjective (in which case, what is there to seek?),
                                          then we do have to understand the intent of communications via which
                                          we find our interest in truth piqued.

                                          If we can't define what the word "Gnosis" means, we cant communicate
                                          it... so once again the search be becomes a sham if we even take the
                                          time to look at ANY ancient liturature or assume any communication.
                                          What is the point of having a club dealing with the subject then?

                                          >>>"However, the "spiritual" part of me, if I can get away with that
                                          metaphor here, is thinking, "hang on a minute, how do we know
                                          this is a genuine expression of Gnosis and not just a nice, but
                                          otherwise pointless, story?" Due to the variety of the Gnostic
                                          authors, it seems like a reasonable question. Is Jung's Gnostic-
                                          influenced text a genuine expression of Gnosis? What if I were to
                                          write my own text? Of course, the question is irellevant from a
                                          historical point of view--neither I nor Jung are or were classical
                                          Gnostics as per this group's focus--but hopefully it makes a point.
                                          What makes a text truly Gnostic?".....

                                          You do a good job of bringing the question into focus here. Please
                                          don't take this as patronistic (I have been accused of it when I
                                          don't intend it at all), but, may I suggest that PERHAPS the very
                                          question could come from a bit of unsurity as to what "Gnosis"
                                          actually is? IF (an I emphasize the word "IF" so that you can feel
                                          open to correct me if I do confuse your point here) there is a lack
                                          of clarity as to the meaning of the word "Gnosis" in its traditional
                                          usage, then one could seperate the historical point of view from the
                                          multitude of possible usages of the word "Gnosis". Let me put it
                                          another way.... We can absolutely say that Jung was not
                                          technically "Gnostic", based on something like an era attribute in
                                          the deffinition... but is it really THAT hard to know if he
                                          expressed "Gnosis" (which is not the same question as whether or not
                                          he HAD it)? Well, if the word "Gnosis" is well defined then we should
                                          at least be able to look at some attributes. Does Jung express the
                                          cosmology? More importantly, does Jung express the notion and
                                          function of understanding in the same way? Please take note of the
                                          difference here as to whether we are talking about "gnosis"
                                          or "Gnosis". This is one of the reasons I was not sure about bringing
                                          this destinction into the conversation. If you want to argue whether
                                          he has some spiritual knowledge, that is one thing.... but not any
                                          and all spiritual outlines really fit the term "Gnosis".

                                          >>>"Is it simply having Gnostic themes? If that were so, some of the
                                          members here could probably write a "Gnostic" scripture based on the
                                          textual conventions of other scriptures. Apart from the minor (!)
                                          issue of none of us being from the 2nd century, there would be no
                                          reason not to give it that status. Unless, of course, I'm mising
                                          something, some other criteria."<<<<<

                                          Well, of course you do point out an historical point that we do deal
                                          with here... HOWEVER.... may I also point out that it is easier to
                                          copy motifs from mythologies than to present something that truely
                                          continues to represent it's meaning. For instance, I have read many
                                          copies, reworkings, and attempts to represent Dante's Divine Comedy.
                                          While I am no expert, I know enough to see sometimes when an attempt
                                          simply failes the depth of his meaning... it is not always to hard to
                                          tell if the modern author doesn't understand what he is copying.

                                          Likewise, if one reads a poem from some of the troubadours as
                                          a "cognoscenti", one from the inside of the tradition, they can vey
                                          quickly tell if another is presenting them from the outside....
                                          untrained.

                                          >>>>"I'm not sure whether this question falls within the group's
                                          focus or not, but it's what motivated my earlier post. I'll try to
                                          phrase it in a less personal-religious way: what are the criteria of
                                          a text being Gnostic? Is it just a certain style and set of
                                          conventions? Are there any disagreements about whether certain texts
                                          are Gnostic, perhaps like the orthodox issues of the RC deutero
                                          cannonical books or disputed letters of Paul?"<<<<

                                          Gavin, your questions are quite on focus, so don't worry. Let me
                                          answer your books backwards.

                                          1) The dispute between the validity of Pauline texts is largely on a
                                          pretty defined line between academic vs Christian observation. The so
                                          called "Apocrapha" has a three way split, Catholic, vs Protestant, vs
                                          Academic (which is tending to put them more in line with the Catholic
                                          as time goes on). But the disagreements concerning what is "Gnostic"
                                          is entirely academic concerning the focus of this club.

                                          That is to say, while the term "Gnostic" may be argued on technical
                                          grounds, we should not confuse that with the arguements amongst
                                          laypersons which are generally based on ignorance of the origin of
                                          the word itself.

                                          On the academic front there is argument as to what is and is
                                          not "Gnostic", but it is often very specific and really does not
                                          detract from the over-all meaning as much as casual readers may
                                          think. Are Manichaeans "Gnostic"? Well, I say no, some may say yes,
                                          what we all agree is that they are at least a closely related group
                                          that can help us in our understanding of the definition.

                                          2) proceding from that is the question you ask concerning whether
                                          Gnosticism is a set of conventions (or style) and exactly what the
                                          criteria are.

                                          Certainly to some extent, the answer is "yes".... if there are
                                          criteria then something has "convention". I mean, does something that
                                          is "Gnostic" automatically agree with every other tradition or belief
                                          system on the face of the Earth? ABSOLUTELY NOT. As mike recently
                                          pointed out, solipsism and Gnosticism are not reconcileable.

                                          Syncratism should not be confused with ecclecticism, and in spite of
                                          the fact that Gnosticism is quite open to other traditions from which
                                          it is connected, and in a modern context, from which it may have
                                          affinities, it does not mean that it is identical with any and every
                                          philosophical bent. The criteria then are very specifically a
                                          cosmological, and soteriological, outline.

                                          If interperatation, meaning, as intended by the author, is understood
                                          by the reader, the question of "Gnostic" meanings in the text may
                                          become less difficult.

                                          The most important criteria then, would be on the hermeneutic, which
                                          may be subjective on some levels, but are objective on some levels as
                                          well. If that sounds vague it isn't. I am willing to make the point
                                          more specific if anybody wants.

                                          PMCV
                                        • Gavin Riggott
                                          PMCV, Hrmm, you are really making me think :P ... By single, defined philosophy I meant one with no variation. Obviously though, Gnosticism is not like
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Aug 3, 2004
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                                            PMCV,

                                            Hrmm, you are really making me think :P

                                            > Well, now, before you take my point... or leave it... maybe we should
                                            > talk about it a bit further to make sure it is understood. You are
                                            > very right to point out that "Gnosticism" was not a single group, or
                                            > even a close nit one, but I do not feel you are accurate to say that
                                            > it is not a "defined philosophy".

                                            By "single, defined philosophy" I meant one with no variation. Obviously
                                            though, Gnosticism is not like this; it is not uniform. I'll get to why I
                                            mentioned this next...

                                            > While I am now the one to say "I take your point", let me point out
                                            > that the focus of this club is not simply specified "for the purpose
                                            > of discussion". You and I can both be seekers of truth, as you put
                                            > it, but unless you really do wish to go back to the notion
                                            > that "truth" is subjective (in which case, what is there to seek?),
                                            > then we do have to understand the intent of communications via which
                                            > we find our interest in truth piqued.
                                            >
                                            > If we can't define what the word "Gnosis" means, we cant communicate
                                            > it... so once again the search be becomes a sham if we even take the
                                            > time to look at ANY ancient liturature or assume any communication.
                                            > What is the point of having a club dealing with the subject then?

                                            Well, I'm glad that I don't have to limit myself to purely academic
                                            discussions. However, I'm not for one minute suggesting that truth is
                                            subjective. On the contrary, that's why I'm interested in this line of
                                            questioning. I don't accept that all texts that can be placed under the
                                            (defined!) umbrella as "Gnostic" necessarily contain the truth. The fact
                                            that Gnoisis is defined as a _particular_ type of intuitive, spiritual
                                            knowledge does not mean that every text displaying Gnostic cosmology and all
                                            the right typological criteria is a genuine expression of Gnosis... does it?
                                            (Note the emphasis on "particular" there - I realise that Gnosis does not
                                            refer to spiritual intuition in general. You wondered if my definition of
                                            Gnosis is a little unsure. Well, I think Gnosis must be truth - in the same
                                            sense that the equation 2+2=4 is true. Maybe this isn't the proper
                                            definition? If so, my entire line of questioning is misguided, hehe.)

                                            I'm not sure that I agree with what you say using the example of the Divine
                                            Comedy. The fact that you are capable of disagreeing with the
                                            interpretations of some modern authors does not necessarily relate to
                                            Gnostic scriptures. Afterall, not all Gnostic texts agree with one another.
                                            If a man in Germany decided to do some spring cleaning and found a Gnostic
                                            text in a dusty old cabinet somewhere, it would no doubt add yet another
                                            myth or idea to the collection. It might be obviously Gnostic in character,
                                            but it certainly won't literally 100% agree with all the other texts. (Not
                                            that they are meant to be read literally, but bear with me...) What if,
                                            several years later, it was discovered that this was a fake? The author,
                                            sufficiently qualified--a writer himself, expert in ancient languages and
                                            familiar with the other texts, etc--wrote it fairly recently. He had no
                                            Gnostic experience; he just wrote it to make money.

                                            How would we know whether it was a genuine expression of Gnosis or not? Is
                                            there any way to tell? Is the question even relevant? A historian might
                                            not care about this question of real Gnosis, but I do, and it's nagging at
                                            me. When I open a book and start reading a particular Gnostic scripture,
                                            that part of me says, "that's great, but how do you know it's really
                                            Gnosis?" Please realise that I'm not questioning whether Gnostic texts as a
                                            whole express Gnosis. As you pointed out, that really would be nonsensical.
                                            But within the tradition, the question for certain texts... well, then I
                                            think it's open for debate. Consider that I start my own school, Gavinism.
                                            Within time, my students set up different sects which in turn experience
                                            schisms, and more and more diversity enters into it. To a historian, they
                                            would all be different schools of Gavinism. But within that tradition,
                                            there would be room for debate as to whether certain sects or authors have
                                            really understood and expressed Gnavos. See what I'm trying to get at?

                                            (By the way, I wasn't suggesting that Jung was a Gnostic, I just used him as
                                            an example. I should probably have used a metaphorical example, like Mr.
                                            Joe Smith or some other made-up name.)


                                            Gavin Riggott
                                          • Mike Leavitt
                                            Hello Gavin ... Your fake book, written as it was, may be fake, but still may contain gnosis (or even Gnosis) stolen from earlier sources. I suspect many of
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Aug 3, 2004
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                                              Hello Gavin

                                              On 08/03/04, you wrote:

                                              > PMCV,
                                              >
                                              > Hrmm, you are really making me think :P
                                              >
                                              >> Well, now, before you take my point... or leave it... maybe we
                                              >> should talk about it a bit further to make sure it is understood.
                                              >> You are very right to point out that "Gnosticism" was not a single
                                              >> group, or even a close nit one, but I do not feel you are accurate
                                              >> to say that it is not a "defined philosophy".
                                              >
                                              > By "single, defined philosophy" I meant one with no variation.
                                              > Obviously though, Gnosticism is not like this; it is not uniform.
                                              > I'll get to why I mentioned this next...
                                              >
                                              >> While I am now the one to say "I take your point", let me point out
                                              >> that the focus of this club is not simply specified "for the
                                              >> purpose of discussion". You and I can both be seekers of truth, as
                                              >> you put it, but unless you really do wish to go back to the notion
                                              >> that "truth" is subjective (in which case, what is there to seek?),
                                              >> then we do have to understand the intent of communications via
                                              >> which we find our interest in truth piqued.
                                              >>
                                              >> If we can't define what the word "Gnosis" means, we cant
                                              >> communicate
                                              >> it... so once again the search be becomes a sham if we even take
                                              >> the
                                              >> time to look at ANY ancient liturature or assume any
                                              >> communication.
                                              >> What is the point of having a club dealing with the subject then?
                                              >
                                              > Well, I'm glad that I don't have to limit myself to purely academic
                                              > discussions. However, I'm not for one minute suggesting that truth
                                              > is subjective. On the contrary, that's why I'm interested in this
                                              > line of questioning. I don't accept that all texts that can be
                                              > placed under the (defined!) umbrella as "Gnostic" necessarily
                                              > contain the truth. The fact that Gnoisis is defined as a
                                              > _particular_ type of intuitive, spiritual knowledge does not mean
                                              > that every text displaying Gnostic cosmology and all the right
                                              > typological criteria is a genuine expression of Gnosis... does it?
                                              > (Note the emphasis on "particular" there - I realise that Gnosis
                                              > does not refer to spiritual intuition in general. You wondered if my
                                              > definition of Gnosis is a little unsure. Well, I think Gnosis must
                                              > be truth - in the same sense that the equation 2+2=4 is true. Maybe
                                              > this isn't the proper definition? If so, my entire line of
                                              > questioning is misguided, hehe.)
                                              >
                                              > I'm not sure that I agree with what you say using the example of the
                                              > Divine Comedy. The fact that you are capable of disagreeing with the
                                              > interpretations of some modern authors does not necessarily relate
                                              > to Gnostic scriptures. Afterall, not all Gnostic texts agree with
                                              > one another. If a man in Germany decided to do some spring cleaning
                                              > and found a Gnostic text in a dusty old cabinet somewhere, it would
                                              > no doubt add yet another myth or idea to the collection. It might be
                                              > obviously Gnostic in character, but it certainly won't literally
                                              > 100% agree with all the other texts. (Not that they are meant to be
                                              > read literally, but bear with me...) What if, several years later,
                                              > it was discovered that this was a fake? The author, sufficiently
                                              > qualified--a writer himself, expert in ancient languages and
                                              > familiar with the other texts, etc--wrote it fairly recently. He had
                                              > no Gnostic experience; he just wrote it to make money.
                                              >
                                              > How would we know whether it was a genuine expression of Gnosis or
                                              > not? Is there any way to tell? Is the question even relevant? A
                                              > historian might not care about this question of real Gnosis, but I
                                              > do, and it's nagging at me. When I open a book and start reading a
                                              > particular Gnostic scripture, that part of me says, "that's great,
                                              > but how do you know it's really Gnosis?" Please realise that I'm not
                                              > questioning whether Gnostic texts as a whole express Gnosis. As you
                                              > pointed out, that really would be nonsensical. But within the
                                              > tradition, the question for certain texts... well, then I think it's
                                              > open for debate. Consider that I start my own school, Gavinism.
                                              > Within time, my students set up different sects which in turn
                                              > experience schisms, and more and more diversity enters into it. To a
                                              > historian, they would all be different schools of Gavinism. But
                                              > within that tradition, there would be room for debate as to whether
                                              > certain sects or authors have really understood and expressed
                                              > Gnavos. See what I'm trying to get at?
                                              >
                                              > (By the way, I wasn't suggesting that Jung was a Gnostic, I just
                                              > used him as an example. I should probably have used a metaphorical
                                              > example, like Mr. Joe Smith or some other made-up name.)
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > Gavin Riggott

                                              Your fake book, written as it was, may be fake, but still may contain
                                              gnosis (or even Gnosis) stolen from earlier sources. I suspect many
                                              of the gnostic texts are actually this way.

                                              Jung was a Hermeticist (in the sense of an Alchemistical philosopher)
                                              more than a Gnostic. Alchemy was his true love.

                                              Regards
                                              --
                                              Mike Leavitt ac998@...
                                            • pmcvflag
                                              Gavin... may I ask you a question using your own analogy? If a man in Germany discovered a text claiming to be written by Newton about Calculus.... is the
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Aug 4, 2004
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                                                Gavin... may I ask you a question using your own analogy?

                                                If a man in Germany discovered a text claiming to be written by
                                                Newton about Calculus.... is the question of the validity of the
                                                author going to be the same as the question as to whether the author
                                                understood the math?

                                                One who is trained in this form of math will understand quite easily
                                                if the author is also. In fact, even if the author was untrained in
                                                the math, a good enough copy will still contain the math itself on an
                                                accurate basis.

                                                The question of whether a text has "Gnosis" or not cannot be answered
                                                unless the reader has a good understanding of what "Gnosis" actually
                                                is. This was the direction I meant to point out. You may well have a
                                                good grasp of the subject... who knows, maybe better than mine.
                                                Still, I think from the logical perspective my point stands.

                                                Gnosis may be truth, but that does not mean that truth is Gnosis.
                                                BUT, your line of reasoning absolutely begs that you outline exactly
                                                which texts you do consider to be "Gnostic" since you say that some
                                                that fit the definition contain truth while others do not. I mean....
                                                which texts specifically are "Gnostic" but are utterly void of any
                                                truth in your book? I am not saying you are wrong, only that your
                                                point cannot be made without this end of the outline.

                                                PMCV

                                                --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gavin Riggott" <wu@n...> wrote:
                                                > PMCV,
                                                >
                                                > Hrmm, you are really making me think :P
                                                >
                                                > > Well, now, before you take my point... or leave it... maybe we
                                                should
                                                > > talk about it a bit further to make sure it is understood. You are
                                                > > very right to point out that "Gnosticism" was not a single group,
                                                or
                                                > > even a close nit one, but I do not feel you are accurate to say
                                                that
                                                > > it is not a "defined philosophy".
                                                >
                                                > By "single, defined philosophy" I meant one with no variation.
                                                Obviously
                                                > though, Gnosticism is not like this; it is not uniform. I'll get
                                                to why I
                                                > mentioned this next...
                                                >
                                                > > While I am now the one to say "I take your point", let me point
                                                out
                                                > > that the focus of this club is not simply specified "for the
                                                purpose
                                                > > of discussion". You and I can both be seekers of truth, as you put
                                                > > it, but unless you really do wish to go back to the notion
                                                > > that "truth" is subjective (in which case, what is there to
                                                seek?),
                                                > > then we do have to understand the intent of communications via
                                                which
                                                > > we find our interest in truth piqued.
                                                > >
                                                > > If we can't define what the word "Gnosis" means, we cant
                                                communicate
                                                > > it... so once again the search be becomes a sham if we even take
                                                the
                                                > > time to look at ANY ancient liturature or assume any
                                                communication.
                                                > > What is the point of having a club dealing with the subject then?
                                                >
                                                > Well, I'm glad that I don't have to limit myself to purely academic
                                                > discussions. However, I'm not for one minute suggesting that truth
                                                is
                                                > subjective. On the contrary, that's why I'm interested in this
                                                line of
                                                > questioning. I don't accept that all texts that can be placed
                                                under the
                                                > (defined!) umbrella as "Gnostic" necessarily contain the truth.
                                                The fact
                                                > that Gnoisis is defined as a _particular_ type of intuitive,
                                                spiritual
                                                > knowledge does not mean that every text displaying Gnostic
                                                cosmology and all
                                                > the right typological criteria is a genuine expression of Gnosis...
                                                does it?
                                                > (Note the emphasis on "particular" there - I realise that Gnosis
                                                does not
                                                > refer to spiritual intuition in general. You wondered if my
                                                definition of
                                                > Gnosis is a little unsure. Well, I think Gnosis must be truth - in
                                                the same
                                                > sense that the equation 2+2=4 is true. Maybe this isn't the proper
                                                > definition? If so, my entire line of questioning is misguided,
                                                hehe.)
                                                >
                                                > I'm not sure that I agree with what you say using the example of
                                                the Divine
                                                > Comedy. The fact that you are capable of disagreeing with the
                                                > interpretations of some modern authors does not necessarily relate
                                                to
                                                > Gnostic scriptures. Afterall, not all Gnostic texts agree with one
                                                another.
                                                > If a man in Germany decided to do some spring cleaning and found a
                                                Gnostic
                                                > text in a dusty old cabinet somewhere, it would no doubt add yet
                                                another
                                                > myth or idea to the collection. It might be obviously Gnostic in
                                                character,
                                                > but it certainly won't literally 100% agree with all the other
                                                texts. (Not
                                                > that they are meant to be read literally, but bear with me...)
                                                What if,
                                                > several years later, it was discovered that this was a fake? The
                                                author,
                                                > sufficiently qualified--a writer himself, expert in ancient
                                                languages and
                                                > familiar with the other texts, etc--wrote it fairly recently. He
                                                had no
                                                > Gnostic experience; he just wrote it to make money.
                                                >
                                                > How would we know whether it was a genuine expression of Gnosis or
                                                not? Is
                                                > there any way to tell? Is the question even relevant? A historian
                                                might
                                                > not care about this question of real Gnosis, but I do, and it's
                                                nagging at
                                                > me. When I open a book and start reading a particular Gnostic
                                                scripture,
                                                > that part of me says, "that's great, but how do you know it's really
                                                > Gnosis?" Please realise that I'm not questioning whether Gnostic
                                                texts as a
                                                > whole express Gnosis. As you pointed out, that really would be
                                                nonsensical.
                                                > But within the tradition, the question for certain texts... well,
                                                then I
                                                > think it's open for debate. Consider that I start my own school,
                                                Gavinism.
                                                > Within time, my students set up different sects which in turn
                                                experience
                                                > schisms, and more and more diversity enters into it. To a
                                                historian, they
                                                > would all be different schools of Gavinism. But within that
                                                tradition,
                                                > there would be room for debate as to whether certain sects or
                                                authors have
                                                > really understood and expressed Gnavos. See what I'm trying to get
                                                at?
                                                >
                                                > (By the way, I wasn't suggesting that Jung was a Gnostic, I just
                                                used him as
                                                > an example. I should probably have used a metaphorical example,
                                                like Mr.
                                                > Joe Smith or some other made-up name.)
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Gavin Riggott
                                              • Gavin Riggott
                                                PMCV, Thank you for your patience. I think we may be talking at cross purposes though, let s see if we can resolve this... ... Well, I m no mathematician, but
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Aug 5, 2004
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                                                  PMCV,

                                                  Thank you for your patience. I think we may be talking at cross purposes
                                                  though, let's see if we can resolve this...

                                                  > If a man in Germany discovered a text claiming to be written by
                                                  > Newton about Calculus.... is the question of the validity of the
                                                  > author going to be the same as the question as to whether the author
                                                  > understood the math?

                                                  Well, I'm no mathematician, but I believe that all mathematical statements
                                                  are either true or false, with no room for disagreement. For instance,
                                                  2+2=5 is just plain wrong, no matter what spin one puts on it. Can the same
                                                  be said of Gnosis? If so, then what is the "formula" for working it out?
                                                  If I knew that, my question would be answered.

                                                  > Gnosis may be truth, but that does not mean that truth is Gnosis.

                                                  Oh yeah, agreed. Absolutey. 2+2=4 is a true statement, but 2+2=4 is not
                                                  synonymous with truth in general.

                                                  > ... you say that some [Gnostic texts]
                                                  > that fit the definition contain truth while others do not. I mean....
                                                  > which texts specifically are "Gnostic" but are utterly void of any
                                                  > truth in your book?

                                                  No, not exactly, I say that I do not assume all texts classed as "Gnostic"
                                                  are all _necessarily_ equally valid expressions of Gnosis. Note that I'm
                                                  not saying specifically that some are and some arn't, as that's precisely
                                                  what I'm trying to find out. However, you said 'The question of whether a
                                                  text has "Gnosis" or not cannot be answered unless the reader has a good
                                                  understanding of what "Gnosis" actually is.' I suppose that answers my
                                                  question, then, in a way - though it does put me in a sort of catch 22
                                                  position. Maybe this is just something I'll have to work out myself.


                                                  Gavin Riggott
                                                • William Redman
                                                  If you would tell a story and I wrote the book, who would understand the words Gavin Riggott wrote:PMCV, Thank you for your patience. I
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Aug 5, 2004
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                                                    If you would tell a story and I wrote the book, who would understand the words

                                                    Gavin Riggott <wu@...> wrote:
                                                    PMCV,

                                                    Thank you for your patience.  I think we may be talking at cross purposes
                                                    though, let's see if we can resolve this...

                                                    > If a man in Germany discovered a text claiming to be written by
                                                    > Newton about Calculus.... is the question of the validity of the
                                                    > author going to be the same as the question as to whether the author
                                                    > understood the math?

                                                    Well, I'm no mathematician, but I believe that all mathematical statements
                                                    are either true or false, with no room for disagreement.  For instance,
                                                    2+2=5 is just plain wrong, no matter what spin one puts on it.  Can the same
                                                    be said of Gnosis?  If so, then what is the "formula" for working it out?
                                                    If I knew that, my question would be answered.

                                                    > Gnosis may be truth, but that does not mean that truth is Gnosis.

                                                    Oh yeah, agreed.  Absolutey.  2+2=4 is a true statement, but 2+2=4 is not
                                                    synonymous with truth in general.

                                                    > ... you say that some [Gnostic texts]
                                                    > that fit the definition contain truth while others do not.  I mean....
                                                    > which texts specifically are "Gnostic" but are utterly void of any
                                                    > truth in your book?

                                                    No, not exactly, I say that I do not assume all texts classed as "Gnostic"
                                                    are all _necessarily_ equally valid expressions of Gnosis.  Note that I'm
                                                    not saying specifically that some are and some arn't, as that's precisely
                                                    what I'm trying to find out.  However, you said 'The question of whether a
                                                    text has "Gnosis" or not cannot be answered unless the reader has a good
                                                    understanding of what "Gnosis" actually is.'  I suppose that answers my
                                                    question, then, in a way - though it does put me in a sort of catch 22
                                                    position.  Maybe this is just something I'll have to work out myself.


                                                    Gavin Riggott




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                                                  • pmcvflag
                                                    Ok Gavin, you really make me have to stop ant think there.... I like that ;) I don t think we are so much talking at cross purposes, as perhaps saying
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Aug 5, 2004
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                                                      Ok Gavin, you really make me have to stop ant think there.... I like
                                                      that ;) I don't think we are so much talking at cross purposes, as
                                                      perhaps saying something similar in different ways... I meant to
                                                      raise some of the same questions I think you do, and was asking for
                                                      you take on the subject. You bring up some great topics here. Let me
                                                      try to give my take....

                                                      >>>"Well, I'm no mathematician, but I believe that all mathematical
                                                      statements are either true or false, with no room for disagreement.
                                                      For instance, 2+2=5 is just plain wrong, no matter what spin one puts
                                                      on it. Can the same be said of Gnosis? If so, then what is
                                                      the "formula" for working it out? If I knew that, my question would
                                                      be answered."<<<

                                                      Hey, I am with you there. I am not one of those people who argue that
                                                      perception is reality, and everything is subjective. I think though,
                                                      that you make the question even more specific later on here, so let
                                                      me move on to that point. BTW, I aknowledge that I misunderstood your
                                                      point concerning what the equation is between Gnosis and Truth, so
                                                      let me skip that and get to the other point.....

                                                      >>>"you said 'The question of whether a text has "Gnosis" or not
                                                      cannot be answered unless the reader has a good understanding of
                                                      what "Gnosis" actually is.' I suppose that answers my question, then,
                                                      in a way - though it does put me in a sort of catch 22 position.
                                                      Maybe this is just something I'll have to work out myself."<<<

                                                      Well, ok, of course I was trying to make an analogy. Math is
                                                      something that we can test, and with the one assumption that reality
                                                      has it's own life outside perception, math becomes something "true"
                                                      for sure.

                                                      Let me try an analogy that is perhaps more to the point. In most
                                                      peoples mind we see "psychology" from the lense of particular shools.
                                                      I will be the first to admit that in the over all spectrum,
                                                      psychology is not a pure science. However, let me point out that
                                                      there are subdivisions within the grouping, and some are more
                                                      scientific than others. Few people would debate the fact that Frued's
                                                      methodology was flawed. On the other hand, Skinner was much more the
                                                      true scientist. Psychology is a misture of fields that is sometimes
                                                      science, sometimes good speculation, and sometimes fraud.

                                                      I will be the first to say that we should not psychologicize
                                                      Gnosticism, and even our Jung fans here have been in agreement with
                                                      that, so don't take what I am saying at face value. Since there are
                                                      sections of Psychology that are more or less "scientific", there are
                                                      sections that could be seen as more or less objective or subjective.

                                                      When we bring this down to the attainment of "Gnosis", I think we are
                                                      on middle ground in the original texts. That is to say, we are not
                                                      quite on such specific grounds as "2+2=4" but neither are we on the
                                                      level of " what is truth".

                                                      Let me put this another way. Gnostics had specific formulas for
                                                      what "Gnosis" is, as well as how to attain it. Rituals may have
                                                      differed, but the function and outline of Gnosis was agreed (which is
                                                      why we group them together).

                                                      Since Gnosis was a very specific realization, there was definately an
                                                      idea that the ways of attaining it were testable, and repeatable. It
                                                      was not luck of the draw, it was dedication to a path of
                                                      understanding which used a formula.

                                                      Think about the initiation part of our discussion. Gentile (hylic) is
                                                      something that can lead to Hebrew (psychic). There is a methodology
                                                      used to help a person go from one level to the next. The system can
                                                      be repeated for the average person, and that is a sort of scientific
                                                      test. Next, the system assumes a move from Hebrew, to "Christian"
                                                      (which does not have to mean an acceptance of "Jesus". This also is
                                                      something tested and repeated. The whole point here being that it is
                                                      a system that seems to be something that can be used time an again to
                                                      achieve a specific effect.

                                                      Now, I am not even dealing with the point of whether the effect is
                                                      valid, that is the next point to debate. Here, all we need worry
                                                      about is if the effect intended is achieved. If so, there is already
                                                      a sort of scientific level to this outline.

                                                      So, before I go on... what do you think so far?

                                                      PMCV
                                                    • elmoreb
                                                      ... statements ... instance, ... Can the same ... Off Topic: I would say 90% of math is theoretical. True, basic mathematic expressions like 2+2 do have a
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Aug 6, 2004
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                                                        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gavin Riggott" <wu@n...> wrote:
                                                        > Well, I'm no mathematician, but I believe that all mathematical
                                                        statements
                                                        > are either true or false, with no room for disagreement. For
                                                        instance,
                                                        > 2+2=5 is just plain wrong, no matter what spin one puts on it.
                                                        Can the same
                                                        > be said of Gnosis?

                                                        Off Topic: I would say 90% of math is theoretical. True, basic
                                                        mathematic expressions like 2+2 do have a simple answer. Others
                                                        dont. Irrational numbers, infinity, zero, nonlinear equations are
                                                        all thoerical with no hard proof. Most can only be proven with other
                                                        non proven ideas. But they are useful none the less. Other math is a
                                                        tool for dealing with simple math. Such as linear algebra (
                                                        matrices). A gnostic text may play the same role in gnosis.

                                                        In fact, the idea of infinity, a mathematical idea, has many
                                                        implications in gnosticism ( and religion in general). Maybe this is
                                                        because man decided to slap descriptions onto god like "infinate
                                                        wisdom", "infinite mercy", etc.

                                                        I agree that truth is not always original, and the only way to
                                                        distinguish is to know the truth yourself. Much like looking at a
                                                        plagarized math book.
                                                      • Gavin Riggott
                                                        PMCV, I had to let this one sit for a few days before I could reply. ... Ah ha! I m half-way through a psychology degree, so this is an analogy I can follow
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Aug 8, 2004
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                                                          PMCV,

                                                          I had to let this one sit for a few days before I could reply.

                                                          > Let me try an analogy that is perhaps more to the point. In most
                                                          > peoples mind we see "psychology" from the lense of particular shools.
                                                          > I will be the first to admit that in the over all spectrum,
                                                          > psychology is not a pure science. However, let me point out that
                                                          > there are subdivisions within the grouping, and some are more
                                                          > scientific than others.

                                                          Ah ha! I'm half-way through a psychology degree, so this is an analogy I
                                                          can follow more easily than Newtonian examples...

                                                          > Few people would debate the fact that Frued's
                                                          > methodology was flawed. On the other hand, Skinner was much more the
                                                          > true scientist. Psychology is a misture of fields that is sometimes
                                                          > science, sometimes good speculation, and sometimes fraud.

                                                          Grandfather Freud would probably be very, very angry if he heard you say
                                                          that he isn't a true scientist! Freud honestly considered himself to be
                                                          scientific - his theory was essentially a psychological expansion of
                                                          Dawinian evolutionary theory. I understand exactly what you mean though. A
                                                          more apropriate term to describe the aproach of Skinner and his fellow
                                                          behaviourists might be "empiricistic psychology."

                                                          > I will be the first to say that we should not psychologicize
                                                          > Gnosticism, and even our Jung fans here have been in agreement with
                                                          > that, so don't take what I am saying at face value. Since there are
                                                          > sections of Psychology that are more or less "scientific", there are
                                                          > sections that could be seen as more or less objective or subjective.

                                                          Well... this is where it gets tricky. There are certainly many areas of
                                                          psychology that are not empiricistic, but its a gradual scale. For instance
                                                          experimental social psychology uses statistical and objective methods, but
                                                          its subject nature is such that it can't quite be reduced to empirical terms
                                                          and observations. Further along the scale, we get things like social
                                                          identity theories and the various personal therapies (Rogers' humanistic
                                                          psychology and psychoanalysis, etc.). These definately have a subjective
                                                          emphasis, but they are (hopefully) based an observation, and can be
                                                          critisised on whether or not the data conform to the observations of other
                                                          psychologists and thereapists. Even further along, we go into the blury
                                                          domain of transpersonal psychology (Jung, Ken Wilber, etc.). This is where
                                                          the basis of the theories is not only observation, but also philosophy,
                                                          spirituality and metaphysics.

                                                          I brought that up because...

                                                          > When we bring this down to the attainment of "Gnosis", I think we are
                                                          > on middle ground in the original texts. That is to say, we are not
                                                          > quite on such specific grounds as "2+2=4" but neither are we on the
                                                          > level of " what is truth".

                                                          Right, we are not on either extreem - not empiricism but not quite
                                                          metaphysics, either. Unfortunately inbetween those two polarities there is
                                                          a lot of room for maneuver and, despite your examples that followed the
                                                          above quote, I'm not quite sure where Gnosis would fit in the
                                                          psychology-scale metaphor.

                                                          > Let me put this another way. Gnostics had specific formulas for
                                                          > what "Gnosis" is, as well as how to attain it. Rituals may have
                                                          > differed, but the function and outline of Gnosis was agreed (which is
                                                          > why we group them together).

                                                          So the rituals/formulas for testing Gnosis are neither totally objective nor
                                                          totally subjecttive, but _somewhere_ inbetween. I think I could use some
                                                          clarification on this.

                                                          Looks like we are getting there. Slowly.



                                                          Gavin Riggott
                                                        • pmcvflag
                                                          Hehe, the thought of making Frued twitch a bit is not wholely unpleasurable, though I do also think sometimes people are a bit hard on him out of personal
                                                          Message 28 of 28 , Aug 8, 2004
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                                                            Hehe, the thought of making Frued twitch a bit is not wholely
                                                            unpleasurable, though I do also think sometimes people are a bit hard
                                                            on him out of personal distaste rather than critical thinking. Still,
                                                            the fact he considerd himself a "scientist" comes (in my view) from a
                                                            misunderstanding he had of what "Science" actually is. And that is
                                                            really to our point as well, in that I believe the majority of people
                                                            interested in "Gnosticism" have an equal misunderstanding of just
                                                            what that is in the traditional meaning of the term.

                                                            Well it seems we found a good analogy then. I was tempted to go on
                                                            and postulate the important difference between psychology and
                                                            psychiatry, but I think perhaps it is simple enough to point out then
                                                            that we agree that from the view of that branch of philosophy known
                                                            as "Scientific Methodology", psychology is not technically a "pure
                                                            science".... but then niether are history or hermeneutics so we
                                                            should not feel this devalues our attempt to apply scientific method
                                                            to something that isn't a scientific field.

                                                            Ok, so now from that agreement we can procede to a very important
                                                            point you make....

                                                            >>>"Right, we are not on either extreem - not empiricism but not
                                                            quite metaphysics, either. Unfortunately inbetween those two
                                                            polarities there is a lot of room for maneuver and, despite your
                                                            examples that followed the above quote, I'm not quite sure where
                                                            Gnosis would fit in the psychology-scale metaphor."<<<

                                                            Let me be the first to throw a wrench into the works of my own
                                                            arguement in pointing out something that you were gracious enough to
                                                            skirt around. Not only is there the question you point out about just
                                                            where in the spectrum "Gnosticism" fits (though perhaps we should be
                                                            talking about specific forms of Gnosticism just as we did
                                                            for "psychology"), but I will concede from the start that part of the
                                                            question must first be dealt with from an observation outside
                                                            Gnosticism by way of our interperative method.... hermeneutics.

                                                            Just where Gnosticism fits in this question depends on how you
                                                            understand the Gnostic texts. While I disagree with Elmoreb's
                                                            statement that "Irrational numbers, infinity, zero, nonlinear
                                                            equations are all thoerical with no hard proof.", I do take his
                                                            point. What I mean is... Pi is an irrational number, but it is
                                                            something we demonstrate on a physical level, but when we do start
                                                            building up past a certain level of demonstratability then we have to
                                                            be careful. Sometimes theories fall, while other times theories
                                                            eventually start finding evidence... such as the new uses being found
                                                            for Set Theory. In Gnosticism we would be looking at desired effects
                                                            as well as philosophical demonstrations (logical proofs) to deal with
                                                            this question.

                                                            This brings up some questions, I think....

                                                            1) Does Gnosticism have goals
                                                            2) Are the validity of these goals demonstratable
                                                            3) Is there a methodology forwarded for the attainment of these goals
                                                            4) Is that methodology something that can be repeated to attain
                                                            similar effects in multiple situations

                                                            Well, actually those questions are a bit overly basic, and I had a
                                                            few more to add.... but I want to deal with the point in small pieces.

                                                            What do you all think?

                                                            PMCV

                                                            --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, "Gavin Riggott" <wu@n...> wrote:
                                                            > PMCV,
                                                            >
                                                            > I had to let this one sit for a few days before I could reply.
                                                            >
                                                            > > Let me try an analogy that is perhaps more to the point. In most
                                                            > > peoples mind we see "psychology" from the lense of particular
                                                            shools.
                                                            > > I will be the first to admit that in the over all spectrum,
                                                            > > psychology is not a pure science. However, let me point out that
                                                            > > there are subdivisions within the grouping, and some are more
                                                            > > scientific than others.
                                                            >
                                                            > Ah ha! I'm half-way through a psychology degree, so this is an
                                                            analogy I
                                                            > can follow more easily than Newtonian examples...
                                                            >
                                                            > > Few people would debate the fact that Frued's
                                                            > > methodology was flawed. On the other hand, Skinner was much more
                                                            the
                                                            > > true scientist. Psychology is a misture of fields that is
                                                            sometimes
                                                            > > science, sometimes good speculation, and sometimes fraud.
                                                            >
                                                            > Grandfather Freud would probably be very, very angry if he heard
                                                            you say
                                                            > that he isn't a true scientist! Freud honestly considered himself
                                                            to be
                                                            > scientific - his theory was essentially a psychological expansion of
                                                            > Dawinian evolutionary theory. I understand exactly what you mean
                                                            though. A
                                                            > more apropriate term to describe the aproach of Skinner and his
                                                            fellow
                                                            > behaviourists might be "empiricistic psychology."
                                                            >
                                                            > > I will be the first to say that we should not psychologicize
                                                            > > Gnosticism, and even our Jung fans here have been in agreement
                                                            with
                                                            > > that, so don't take what I am saying at face value. Since there
                                                            are
                                                            > > sections of Psychology that are more or less "scientific", there
                                                            are
                                                            > > sections that could be seen as more or less objective or
                                                            subjective.
                                                            >
                                                            > Well... this is where it gets tricky. There are certainly many
                                                            areas of
                                                            > psychology that are not empiricistic, but its a gradual scale. For
                                                            instance
                                                            > experimental social psychology uses statistical and objective
                                                            methods, but
                                                            > its subject nature is such that it can't quite be reduced to
                                                            empirical terms
                                                            > and observations. Further along the scale, we get things like
                                                            social
                                                            > identity theories and the various personal therapies (Rogers'
                                                            humanistic
                                                            > psychology and psychoanalysis, etc.). These definately have a
                                                            subjective
                                                            > emphasis, but they are (hopefully) based an observation, and can be
                                                            > critisised on whether or not the data conform to the observations
                                                            of other
                                                            > psychologists and thereapists. Even further along, we go into the
                                                            blury
                                                            > domain of transpersonal psychology (Jung, Ken Wilber, etc.). This
                                                            is where
                                                            > the basis of the theories is not only observation, but also
                                                            philosophy,
                                                            > spirituality and metaphysics.
                                                            >
                                                            > I brought that up because...
                                                            >
                                                            > > When we bring this down to the attainment of "Gnosis", I think we
                                                            are
                                                            > > on middle ground in the original texts. That is to say, we are not
                                                            > > quite on such specific grounds as "2+2=4" but neither are we on
                                                            the
                                                            > > level of " what is truth".
                                                            >
                                                            > Right, we are not on either extreem - not empiricism but not quite
                                                            > metaphysics, either. Unfortunately inbetween those two polarities
                                                            there is
                                                            > a lot of room for maneuver and, despite your examples that followed
                                                            the
                                                            > above quote, I'm not quite sure where Gnosis would fit in the
                                                            > psychology-scale metaphor.
                                                            >
                                                            > > Let me put this another way. Gnostics had specific formulas for
                                                            > > what "Gnosis" is, as well as how to attain it. Rituals may have
                                                            > > differed, but the function and outline of Gnosis was agreed
                                                            (which is
                                                            > > why we group them together).
                                                            >
                                                            > So the rituals/formulas for testing Gnosis are neither totally
                                                            objective nor
                                                            > totally subjecttive, but _somewhere_ inbetween. I think I could
                                                            use some
                                                            > clarification on this.
                                                            >
                                                            > Looks like we are getting there. Slowly.
                                                            >
                                                            >
                                                            >
                                                            > Gavin Riggott
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