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Re: First Line of Questions, :)>

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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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