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Re: First Line of Questions, subjectivity.

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  • 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 1 of 28 , Aug 1 9:43 PM
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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 2 of 28 , Aug 1 9:59 PM
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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 3 of 28 , Aug 2 2:01 PM
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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 4 of 28 , Aug 2 5:11 PM
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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 5 of 28 , Aug 2 10:31 PM
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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 6 of 28 , Aug 2 11:42 PM
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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 7 of 28 , Aug 3 2:38 PM
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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 8 of 28 , Aug 3 7:06 PM
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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 9 of 28 , Aug 4 10:42 PM
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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 10 of 28 , Aug 5 11:59 AM
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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 11 of 28 , Aug 5 8:48 PM
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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 12 of 28 , Aug 5 10:39 PM
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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 13 of 28 , Aug 6 8:21 PM
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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 14 of 28 , Aug 8 2:47 PM
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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 15 of 28 , Aug 8 11:54 PM
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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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