Re: First Line of Questions, Gavin's retort
- 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 notquite 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 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?
--- In email@example.com, "Gavin Riggott" <wu@n...> wrote:
> 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
> > 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
> 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
> > true scientist. Psychology is a misture of fields that is
> > science, sometimes good speculation, and sometimes fraud.
> Grandfather Freud would probably be very, very angry if he heard
> that he isn't a true scientist! Freud honestly considered himself
> scientific - his theory was essentially a psychological expansion of
> Dawinian evolutionary theory. I understand exactly what you mean
> more apropriate term to describe the aproach of Skinner and his
> 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
> > that, so don't take what I am saying at face value. Since there
> > sections of Psychology that are more or less "scientific", there
> > sections that could be seen as more or less objective or
> Well... this is where it gets tricky. There are certainly many
> psychology that are not empiricistic, but its a gradual scale. For
> experimental social psychology uses statistical and objective
> its subject nature is such that it can't quite be reduced to
> and observations. Further along the scale, we get things like
> identity theories and the various personal therapies (Rogers'
> psychology and psychoanalysis, etc.). These definately have a
> emphasis, but they are (hopefully) based an observation, and can be
> critisised on whether or not the data conform to the observations
> psychologists and thereapists. Even further along, we go into the
> domain of transpersonal psychology (Jung, Ken Wilber, etc.). This
> the basis of the theories is not only observation, but also
> spirituality and metaphysics.
> I brought that up because...
> > When we bring this down to the attainment of "Gnosis", I think we
> > 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
> > level of " what is truth".
> Right, we are not on either extreem - not empiricism but not quite
> metaphysics, either. Unfortunately inbetween those two polarities
> a lot of room for maneuver and, despite your examples that followed
> 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
> > why we group them together).
> So the rituals/formulas for testing Gnosis are neither totally
> totally subjecttive, but _somewhere_ inbetween. I think I could
> clarification on this.
> Looks like we are getting there. Slowly.
> Gavin Riggott