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Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue

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  • JIM GODDARD
    No, you are correct. One only has to read Epictetus to see that kindness and virtue are entirely compatible. He gives several examples of actions that are both
    Message 1 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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      No, you are correct. One only has to read Epictetus to see that kindness and virtue are entirely compatible. He gives several examples of actions that are both virtuous and kind. 

      Then again, the problem with the quote you give is that the definitions of both kindness and virtue are not ones that I would recognise. Each definition is highly problematic. Indeed, they are both plain wrong. 

      Regards,

      Jim 

      --- On Sat, 1/9/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

      From: stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...>
      Subject: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue
      To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Saturday, 1 September, 2012, 7:34

       

      I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?
      Thanks.
      Karlton
      Quote:
      "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

      —Alexander Schmemann

    • Malcolm Schosha
      Hi Karlton, I think he is correct about kindness . His definition of virtue is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very
      Message 2 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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        Hi Karlton,

        I think he is correct about 'kindness'.

        His definition of 'virtue' is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very different. His definition of virtue is actually close to what Eric Voegelin referred to as 'Gnosticism'....although that term could use an update too. 

        This is a Catholic source, but I think the author does a fairly good job of explaining what Voegelin meant by Gnosticism. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/01/eric-voegelin-on-modern-gnosticism.html

        Malcolm

        .......................................

        --- On Sat, 9/1/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

        I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?

        Thanks.

        Karlton

        Quote:

        "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."



        —Alexander Schmemann
      • stoic_thorn_bearer
        Thanks Jim. As soon as I read the quote it hit me wrong. I think of virtue as the thing that fuels correct action, like kindness. It is hard for me to imagine
        Message 3 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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          Thanks Jim. As soon as I read the quote it hit me wrong. I think of virtue as the thing that fuels correct action, like kindness. It is hard for me to imagine it at the opposite end of the spectrum from kindness.
          Karlton

          --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, JIM GODDARD <jim.goddard1@...> wrote:
          >
          > No, you are correct. One only has to read Epictetus to see that kindness and virtue are entirely compatible. He gives several examples of actions that are both virtuous and kind. 
          > Then again, the problem with the quote you give is that the definitions of both kindness and virtue are not ones that I would recognise. Each definition is highly problematic. Indeed, they are both plain wrong. 
          > Regards,
          > Jim 
          >
        • stoic_thorn_bearer
          Thanks Malcolm. Gnosticism would fit better into what he was trying to say. I think that legalism, fundamentalism, even religion in its worst sense would fit
          Message 4 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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            Thanks Malcolm. Gnosticism would fit better into what he was trying to say. I think that legalism, fundamentalism, even religion in its worst sense would fit better into what he was trying to convey. It just does not seem to me that virtue fits at all.
            Karlton

            --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi Karlton,
            >
            > I think he is correct about 'kindness'.
            >
            > His definition of 'virtue' is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very different. His definition of virtue is actually close to what Eric Voegelin referred to as 'Gnosticism'....although that term could use an update too. 
            >
            > This is a Catholic source, but I think the author does a fairly good job of explaining what Voegelin meant by Gnosticism. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/01/eric-voegelin-on-modern-gnosticism.html
            >
            > Malcolm
            >
            > .......................................
            >
            > --- On Sat, 9/1/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:
            >
            > I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?
            >
            > Thanks.
            >
            > Karlton
            >
            > Quote:
            >
            > "A kind personâ€"a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."
            >
            >
            >
            > â€"Alexander Schmemann
            >
          • Scott Rhodes
            Hello Malcolm , just for the record Jonas and Voegelin are not of much use to scholars any more. Their ideas are basically just a continuation of the Christian
            Message 5 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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              Hello Malcolm , just for the record Jonas and Voegelin are not of much use to scholars any more. Their ideas are basically just a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities, not so much toward religious ends but for a political agenda. I'm sure you are aware of Voegelins place in said spectrum, perhaps you are old enough to remember Bill Buckly warning us back in the 60's against the dangerous of trying to "immanize the eschaton". 

              The term "gnostic" was employed by so many divergent groups that the term "gnosticism"  just doesn't hold. Elaine Pagals says its just Christain varieties. So much has happened since Jonas and Voegelin that their work has to be retired.

              Politics aside if you are interested in the cultural pressures at work in late antiquity and the syncratism of Judaism, Platonism, Hermeticism and prolific chaldron of Alexandria check out some current scholarship like April Deconick, Karen King or a favorite of mine, Ioan Coulianu' s "Tree of Gnosis".

              Don't want to drag this out since its unlikely anyone here is interested, even thigh Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development.



              On Sep 1, 2012, at 6:13 AM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

               

              Hi Karlton,

              I think he is correct about 'kindness'.

              His definition of 'virtue' is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very different. His definition of virtue is actually close to what Eric Voegelin referred to as 'Gnosticism'....although that term could use an update too. 

              This is a Catholic source, but I think the author does a fairly good job of explaining what Voegelin meant by Gnosticism. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/01/eric-voegelin-on-modern-gnosticism.html

              Malcolm

              .......................................

              --- On Sat, 9/1/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

              I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?

              Thanks.

              Karlton

              Quote:

              "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

              —Alexander Schmemann

            • Malcolm Schosha
              Sorry Scott, but I do not see anything to support your argument that  Jonas and Voegelin books are
              Message 6 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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                Sorry Scott, but I do not see anything to support your argument that  Jonas and Voegelin books are <<a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities>>. That sounds like nonsense to me.

                Your claim that <<Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development>> seems absurd. Perhaps you would like to support that. It seems that all the schools of Greek and Roman philosophy considered Gnosticism to be defective in the extreme.  For example the neoplatonist, Simplicius, in his commentary on the Enchiridion (in his comments on Enchiridion xxxv), devotes about 14 pages (in the Brennan translation) to skewering Manichaeism.

                Malcolm

                ..............................................

                --- On Sat, 9/1/12, Scott Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:

                From: Scott Rhodes <flinch@...>
                Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue
                To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
                Date: Saturday, September 1, 2012, 9:52 AM

                 

                Hello Malcolm , just for the record Jonas and Voegelin are not of much use to scholars any more. Their ideas are basically just a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities, not so much toward religious ends but for a political agenda. I'm sure you are aware of Voegelins place in said spectrum, perhaps you are old enough to remember Bill Buckly warning us back in the 60's against the dangerous of trying to "immanize the eschaton". 

                The term "gnostic" was employed by so many divergent groups that the term "gnosticism"  just doesn't hold. Elaine Pagals says its just Christain varieties. So much has happened since Jonas and Voegelin that their work has to be retired.

                Politics aside if you are interested in the cultural pressures at work in late antiquity and the syncratism of Judaism, Platonism, Hermeticism and prolific chaldron of Alexandria check out some current scholarship like April Deconick, Karen King or a favorite of mine, Ioan Coulianu' s "Tree of Gnosis".

                Don't want to drag this out since its unlikely anyone here is interested, even thigh Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development.



                On Sep 1, 2012, at 6:13 AM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                 

                Hi Karlton,

                I think he is correct about 'kindness'.

                His definition of 'virtue' is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very different. His definition of virtue is actually close to what Eric Voegelin referred to as 'Gnosticism'....although that term could use an update too. 

                This is a Catholic source, but I think the author does a fairly good job of explaining what Voegelin meant by Gnosticism. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/01/eric-voegelin-on-modern-gnosticism.html

                Malcolm

                .......................................

                --- On Sat, 9/1/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

                I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?

                Thanks.

                Karlton

                Quote:

                "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

                —Alexander Schmemann

              • JIM GODDARD
                Just off the top of my head, Karlton, I seem to recall Epictetus 1) enjoining us not to stifle a generous impulse (if we are guided by reason, he suggests, it
                Message 7 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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                  Just off the top of my head, Karlton, I seem to recall Epictetus 1) enjoining us not to stifle a generous impulse (if we are guided by reason, he suggests, it will turn out OK) and 2) to listen to our friends when they are in distress, even if we shouldn't join them in that state of distress. Epictetus wouldn't recommend either course of action unless they fell within what he considered the remit of virtuous actions. Similarly, both of them would also fall within my sense of what kindness encompasses. 

                  Regards,

                  Jim 

                  --- On Sat, 1/9/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

                  From: stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...>
                  Subject: [stoics] Re: Kindness vs. Virtue
                  To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Saturday, 1 September, 2012, 14:34

                   

                  Thanks Jim. As soon as I read the quote it hit me wrong. I think of virtue as the thing that fuels correct action, like kindness. It is hard for me to imagine it at the opposite end of the spectrum from kindness.
                  Karlton

                  --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, JIM GODDARD <jim.goddard1@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > No, you are correct. One only has to read Epictetus to see that kindness and virtue are entirely compatible. He gives several examples of actions that are both virtuous and kind. 
                  > Then again, the problem with the quote you give is that the definitions of both kindness and virtue are not ones that I would recognise. Each definition is highly problematic. Indeed, they are both plain wrong. 
                  > Regards,
                  > Jim 
                  >

                • Kevin
                  The virtuous person here falls short from the Stoic use of the word:   Obsessed usually means and irrational compulsion. Desire to impose, a stoic would
                  Message 8 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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                    The "virtuous" person here falls short from the Stoic use of the word:
                     
                    "Obsessed" usually means and irrational compulsion.
                    "Desire to impose," a stoic would desire no such thing, and impose means against anothers will. Would a stoic desire to make another believe a thing through force? No stoics relied on argument and reason, respecting the minds of others.
                    "Destroying and hating," this is the picture of a vicious person when someone stands in their way. You can't stand in the way of a stoic because the only person who can hinder him is himself.
                     
                     
                    Kindness here could have problems too. One could argue that to show kindness no matter what the person is like is also irrational.
                     
                    No I think the world would be better without such an idea of virtue, the idea it is OK to force other people as a means to my end. If kindness in this quote means to sacrifice myself as a means to someone elses ends then I oppose that equally.
                     
                     
                    Regards
                    Kevin
                     

                    From: stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...>
                    To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Saturday, September 1, 2012 2:34 AM
                    Subject: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue

                     
                    I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?
                    Thanks.
                    Karlton
                    Quote:
                    "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

                    —Alexander Schmemann



                  • Steve Marquis
                    Karlton – The author of your quote is probably thinking along the lines of Victorian virtue. He might be correct given the definitions he chose to use.
                    Message 9 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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                      Karlton –

                       

                      The author of your quote is probably thinking along the lines of Victorian virtue.  He might be correct given the definitions he chose to use.  This illustrates the problem of using common English words to represent any precise term let alone an ancient one from another language.

                       

                      I have tried to use arête rather than even ‘moral excellence’ for this reason although the later is much better than ‘virtue’.  The common English word ‘emotion’ is another one that causes us all kinds of interpretation issues since we come prepackaged with our own definitions.  My suggestion is to use the Greek words.  It is not that much trouble.  One book that is an easy reference for this basic terminology is Keith’s ’Epictetus’ Handbook & the Tablet of Cebes’.  There is a reference of key terms and (2) glossaries in the back that are invaluable.  Keith’s books in general are a combination of scholarly work _and_ an easy read for this subject matter, a preferred and rare combination.

                       

                      I chastise myself for not putting this more into practice.  It is just a matter of creating the habit.

                       

                      Our assumption is that the definition we have in mind when we use a word is the right one.  There really is no ‘right’ definition.  No one can take a copyright out on a word unless it is a proper name.  Anyone can define a word anyway they want.  The only way to have clear communication is to agree on the definitions we are using be it the first entry in the dictionary or something else.  Some common moves of sophistry, including ambiguity and purposeful equivocation, take advantage of our laziness to not use clearly defined technical terms.  Given the easy access to such terms for Stoicism we really have no excuse.

                       

                      What is in our control is choosing which words we use.  What is not in our control is the words other people use.

                       

                      Live well,

                      Steve


                      From: stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...>
                      To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Fri, August 31, 2012 11:34:30 PM
                      Subject: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue

                      I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?
                      Thanks.
                      Karlton
                      Quote:
                      "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

                      —Alexander Schmemann



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                    • stoic_thorn_bearer
                      Thanks Jim. I also found this quote: X. No one who is a lover of money, a lover of pleasure, or a lover of glory, is likewise a lover of mankind; but only he
                      Message 10 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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                        Thanks Jim.
                        I also found this quote:
                        X.
                        No one who is a lover of money, a lover of pleasure, or a lover of glory, is likewise a lover of mankind; but only he who is a lover of virtue. --Epictetus from the fragments.

                        --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, JIM GODDARD <jim.goddard1@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Just off the top of my head, Karlton, I seem to recall Epictetus 1) enjoining us not to stifle a generous impulse (if we are guided by reason, he suggests, it will turn out OK) and 2) to listen to our friends when they are in distress, even if we shouldn't join them in that state of distress. Epictetus wouldn't recommend either course of action unless they fell within what he considered the remit of virtuous actions. Similarly, both of them would also fall within my sense of what kindness encompasses. 
                        > Regards,
                        > Jim 
                        >
                      • stoic_thorn_bearer
                        Thanks Kevin. Good point about Kindness. One would not show kindness to someone standing there beating their child to death.
                        Message 11 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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                          Thanks Kevin. Good point about Kindness. One would not show kindness to someone standing there beating their child to death.

                          --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Kevin <kevin11_c@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > The "virtuous" person here falls short from the Stoic use of the word:
                          >  
                          > "Obsessed" usually means and irrational compulsion.
                          > "Desire to impose," a stoic would desire no such thing, and impose means against anothers will. Would a stoic desire to make another believe a thing through force? No stoics relied on argument and reason, respecting the minds of others.
                          > "Destroying and hating," this is the picture of a vicious person when someone stands in their way. You can't stand in the way of a stoic because the only person who can hinder him is himself.
                          >  
                          >  
                          > Kindness here could have problems too. One could argue that to show kindness no matter what the person is like is also irrational.
                          >  
                          > No I think the world would be better without such an idea of virtue, the idea it is OK to force other people as a means to my end. If kindness in this quote means to sacrifice myself as a means to someone elses ends then I oppose that equally.
                          >  
                          >  
                          > Regards
                          > Kevin
                          >  
                          >
                          >
                        • stoic_thorn_bearer
                          Steve, I can only imagine that the author of the quote had a very strange definition in mind of virtue, it certainly seems a misuse of the word. Yet you may be
                          Message 12 of 18 , Sep 1, 2012
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                            Steve, I can only imagine that the author of the quote had a very strange definition in mind of virtue, it certainly seems a misuse of the word. Yet you may be correct that he had a Victorian idea in mind.

                            --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, Steve Marquis <stevemarquis@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Karlton â€"
                            >
                            > The author of your quote is probably thinking along the lines of Victorian
                            > virtue. He might be correct given the definitions he chose to use. This
                            > illustrates the problem of using common English words to represent any precise
                            > term let alone an ancient one from another language.
                            >
                            > I have tried to use arête rather than even ‘moral excellence’ for this reason
                            > although the later is much better than ‘virtue’. The common English word
                            > ‘emotion’ is another one that causes us all kinds of interpretation issues since
                            > we come prepackaged with our own definitions. My suggestion is to use the Greek
                            > words. It is not that much trouble. One book that is an easy reference for
                            > this basic terminology is Keith’s ’Epictetus’ Handbook & the Tablet of Cebes’.
                            > There is a reference of key terms and (2) glossaries in the back that are
                            > invaluable. Keith’s books in general are a combination of scholarly work _and_
                            > an easy read for this subject matter, a preferred and rare combination.
                            >
                            > I chastise myself for not putting this more into practice. It is just a matter
                            > of creating the habit.
                            >
                            > Our assumption is that the definition we have in mind when we use a word is the
                            > right one. There really is no ‘right’ definition. No one can take a copyright
                            > out on a word unless it is a proper name. Anyone can define a word anyway they
                            > want. The only way to have clear communication is to agree on the definitions
                            > we are using be it the first entry in the dictionary or something else. Some
                            > common moves of sophistry, including ambiguity and purposeful equivocation, take
                            > advantage of our laziness to not use clearly defined technical terms. Given the
                            > easy access to such terms for Stoicism we really have no excuse.
                            >
                            > What is in our control is choosing which words we use. What is not in our
                            > control is the words other people use.
                            >
                            > Live well,Steve
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • S Rhodes
                            Hey Malcolm. Thanks for pointing out that passage in Simplicius. The fact that he focuses on the theodicy problem is certainly a dynamic feature when comparing
                            Message 13 of 18 , Sep 3, 2012
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                              Hey Malcolm. Thanks for pointing out that passage in Simplicius. The fact that he focuses on the theodicy problem is certainly a dynamic feature when comparing religion and philosophies before Christianity made everybody just shut up.  

                               

                              The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency. Simplicius only treats "evil" arising within each person, as a matter of intention. You know the argument, "everybody wants to do good, they just make mistakes." Aside from the adequacy of that argument, some people see these "errors" perpetuated in life outside of any individual's intention. Of course the gnostics did not see these problems as we might, as sociology or political science, from where they stood injustices were perennial, a part of the world order. This is not necessarily pessimism as Jonas would have it, one might recognize an attempt to acknowledge the ultimately good divine fire that dwells within the human and a rather noble desire to maintain a native connection to the ultimately good god.

                               

                              When the Stoics conceived of the realm of the divine they simply dismissed all philosophical and religious speculation concerning the graduated stages between the world of the mundane and the one, Zeus. That was part of the strategy of doing away with all of the superstition and meta-helplessness that such a cosmological order sustains. Other Platonic thinkers dealt with evil differently. Such as


                              For the original One to have self knowledge it must project an image of itself outward so that it can then look back and observe itself. The Other that must be produced in order for the One to contemplate itself is inevitably different from the original undivided One doing the contemplating. As the One contemplates itself contemplating itself a kind of feedback sets in, wherein each returning gaze invariably differs more and more, much as we might find by making repeated copies of copies on a copy machine, In fact these emanating "others" were referred to as images. In the end, the production of the material world occurs so far down the scale of emanation that we are left with a significant distortion of the original One.

                               

                               

                              Of course this is irrelevant in Stoicism because Zeus is not a creator God. In fact the whole quest for origin is elided in Stoic thought. Nevertheless in other Hellenistic thinkers, emanationism provided a distance between creation and the One true good god,  an occasion for the problems and distortions to arise and reside without culpability on the part of the One true god-- nor on the part of humans. As you know this kind of speculation was not just Hellenist philosophy, angelology performed similar feats in various Semitic tradition.

                               

                              It is a gross oversimplification to read the Gnostic mythologies as a denigration of god or humanity. The Gnostics who engaged such theories were simply saying that the ultimate problem is, shall we say, bureaucratic. It is an admission that there is a limit to what one can expect to effect in this life due to this *realkosmik* . (As you can see this is at odds with what Voegelin does with the gnostic tradition.)

                               

                              As such many Gnostics could read the Stoic doctrine concerning impressions and false judgments not only for personal discipline and edification but see this interior phenomenon as metonymic to the whole of creation. To wit all sensory perception is suspect. The perceptible "world" is not the true world. "Gnosis" then opperates like the Stoic doctrine: one must be aware that there is a truth behind the phantasm of appearances in order to get at the truth, it requires a critical assessment, a logos. Those who don't "know" this are vulnerable to the mere appearances of things. 

                               

                              If you would like to read about Voegelins misuse of "gnosticism" here is an article by a friend of Eric Vogelin's, a colleague and collaborator, Eugene Webb. 

                              http://faculty.washington.edu/ewebb/EVgnost.pdf


                              Here is an article that touches on some more alinements between Stoics and Gnostics

                              http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/moore-origen.shtml



                              From: Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...>
                              To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                              Sent: Sat, September 1, 2012 9:32:44 AM
                              Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue

                               

                              Sorry Scott, but I do not see anything to support your argument that  Jonas and Voegelin books are <<a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities>>. That sounds like nonsense to me.

                              Your claim that <<Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development>> seems absurd. Perhaps you would like to support that. It seems that all the schools of Greek and Roman philosophy considered Gnosticism to be defective in the extreme.  For example the neoplatonist, Simplicius, in his commentary on the Enchiridion (in his comments on Enchiridion xxxv), devotes about 14 pages (in the Brennan translation) to skewering Manichaeism.

                              Malcolm

                              ..............................................

                              --- On Sat, 9/1/12, Scott Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:

                              From: Scott Rhodes <flinch@...>
                              Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue
                              To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
                              Date: Saturday, September 1, 2012, 9:52 AM

                               

                              Hello Malcolm , just for the record Jonas and Voegelin are not of much use to scholars any more. Their ideas are basically just a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities, not so much toward religious ends but for a political agenda. I'm sure you are aware of Voegelins place in said spectrum, perhaps you are old enough to remember Bill Buckly warning us back in the 60's against the dangerous of trying to "immanize the eschaton". 

                              The term "gnostic" was employed by so many divergent groups that the term "gnosticism"  just doesn't hold. Elaine Pagals says its just Christain varieties. So much has happened since Jonas and Voegelin that their work has to be retired.

                              Politics aside if you are interested in the cultural pressures at work in late antiquity and the syncratism of Judaism, Platonism, Hermeticism and prolific chaldron of Alexandria check out some current scholarship like April Deconick, Karen King or a favorite of mine, Ioan Coulianu' s "Tree of Gnosis".

                              Don't want to drag this out since its unlikely anyone here is interested, even thigh Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development.



                              On Sep 1, 2012, at 6:13 AM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                               

                              Hi Karlton,

                              I think he is correct about 'kindness'.

                              His definition of 'virtue' is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very different. His definition of virtue is actually close to what Eric Voegelin referred to as 'Gnosticism'....although that term could use an update too. 

                              This is a Catholic source, but I think the author does a fairly good job of explaining what Voegelin meant by Gnosticism. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/01/eric-voegelin-on-modern-gnosticism.html

                              Malcolm

                              .......................................

                              --- On Sat, 9/1/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

                              I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?

                              Thanks.

                              Karlton

                              Quote:

                              "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

                              —Alexander Schmemann

                            • Malcolm Schosha
                              ... Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What
                              Message 14 of 18 , Sep 3, 2012
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                                S Rhodes wrote:
                                >
                                >The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency.
                                >


                                Yes, that is  where the Gnostics made their fundamental mistake, and introduced the concept of 'cosmic evil'. It would be difficult to imagine that anything could be more contrary to Stoic concepts. In comparison even the differences between Stoics and Epicureans seem rather minor. Your claim of an evolution from Stoicism to Gnosticism is nonsense.

                                Malcolm

                                .............................................. 

                                --- On Mon, 9/3/12, S Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:
                                Hey Malcolm. Thanks for pointing out that passage in Simplicius. The fact that he focuses on the theodicy problem is certainly a dynamic feature when comparing religion and philosophies before Christianity made everybody just shut up.  

                                 

                                The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency. Simplicius only treats "evil" arising within each person, as a matter of intention. You know the argument, "everybody wants to do good, they just make mistakes." Aside from the adequacy of that argument, some people see these "errors" perpetuated in life outside of any individual's intention. Of course the gnostics did not see these problems as we might, as sociology or political science, from where they stood injustices were perennial, a part of the world order. This is not necessarily pessimism as Jonas would have it, one might recognize an attempt to acknowledge the ultimately good divine fire that dwells within the human and a rather noble desire to maintain a native connection to the ultimately good god.

                                 

                                When the Stoics conceived of the realm of the divine they simply dismissed all philosophical and religious speculation concerning the graduated stages between the world of the mundane and the one, Zeus. That was part of the strategy of doing away with all of the superstition and meta-helplessness that such a cosmological order sustains. Other Platonic thinkers dealt with evil differently. Such as


                                For the original One to have self knowledge it must project an image of itself outward so that it can then look back and observe itself. The Other that must be produced in order for the One to contemplate itself is inevitably different from the original undivided One doing the contemplating. As the One contemplates itself contemplating itself a kind of feedback sets in, wherein each returning gaze invariably differs more and more, much as we might find by making repeated copies of copies on a copy machine, In fact these emanating "others" were referred to as images. In the end, the production of the material world occurs so far down the scale of emanation that we are left with a significant distortion of the original One.

                                 

                                 

                                Of course this is irrelevant in Stoicism because Zeus is not a creator God. In fact the whole quest for origin is elided in Stoic thought. Nevertheless in other Hellenistic thinkers, emanationism provided a distance between creation and the One true good god,  an occasion for the problems and distortions to arise and reside without culpability on the part of the One true god-- nor on the part of humans. As you know this kind of speculation was not just Hellenist philosophy, angelology performed similar feats in various Semitic tradition.

                                 

                                It is a gross oversimplification to read the Gnostic mythologies as a denigration of god or humanity. The Gnostics who engaged such theories were simply saying that the ultimate problem is, shall we say, bureaucratic. It is an admission that there is a limit to what one can expect to effect in this life due to this *realkosmik* . (As you can see this is at odds with what Voegelin does with the gnostic tradition.)

                                 

                                As such many Gnostics could read the Stoic doctrine concerning impressions and false judgments not only for personal discipline and edification but see this interior phenomenon as metonymic to the whole of creation. To wit all sensory perception is suspect. The perceptible "world" is not the true world. "Gnosis" then opperates like the Stoic doctrine: one must be aware that there is a truth behind the phantasm of appearances in order to get at the truth, it requires a critical assessment, a logos. Those who don't "know" this are vulnerable to the mere appearances of things. 

                                 

                                If you would like to read about Voegelins misuse of "gnosticism" here is an article by a friend of Eric Vogelin's, a colleague and collaborator, Eugene Webb. 

                                http://faculty.washington.edu/ewebb/EVgnost.pdf


                                Here is an article that touches on some more alinements between Stoics and Gnostics

                                http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/moore-origen.shtml



                                From: Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...>
                                To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Sat, September 1, 2012 9:32:44 AM
                                Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue

                                 

                                Sorry Scott, but I do not see anything to support your argument that  Jonas and Voegelin books are <<a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities>>. That sounds like nonsense to me.

                                Your claim that <<Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development>> seems absurd. Perhaps you would like to support that. It seems that all the schools of Greek and Roman philosophy considered Gnosticism to be defective in the extreme.  For example the neoplatonist, Simplicius, in his commentary on the Enchiridion (in his comments on Enchiridion xxxv), devotes about 14 pages (in the Brennan translation) to skewering Manichaeism.

                                Malcolm

                                ..............................................

                                --- On Sat, 9/1/12, Scott Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:

                                From: Scott Rhodes <flinch@...>
                                Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue
                                To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
                                Date: Saturday, September 1, 2012, 9:52 AM

                                 

                                Hello Malcolm , just for the record Jonas and Voegelin are not of much use to scholars any more. Their ideas are basically just a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities, not so much toward religious ends but for a political agenda. I'm sure you are aware of Voegelins place in said spectrum, perhaps you are old enough to remember Bill Buckly warning us back in the 60's against the dangerous of trying to "immanize the eschaton". 

                                The term "gnostic" was employed by so many divergent groups that the term "gnosticism"  just doesn't hold. Elaine Pagals says its just Christain varieties. So much has happened since Jonas and Voegelin that their work has to be retired.

                                Politics aside if you are interested in the cultural pressures at work in late antiquity and the syncratism of Judaism, Platonism, Hermeticism and prolific chaldron of Alexandria check out some current scholarship like April Deconick, Karen King or a favorite of mine, Ioan Coulianu' s "Tree of Gnosis".

                                Don't want to drag this out since its unlikely anyone here is interested, even thigh Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development.



                                On Sep 1, 2012, at 6:13 AM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                                 

                                Hi Karlton,

                                I think he is correct about 'kindness'.

                                His definition of 'virtue' is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very different. His definition of virtue is actually close to what Eric Voegelin referred to as 'Gnosticism'....although that term could use an update too. 

                                This is a Catholic source, but I think the author does a fairly good job of explaining what Voegelin meant by Gnosticism. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/01/eric-voegelin-on-modern-gnosticism.html

                                Malcolm

                                .......................................

                                --- On Sat, 9/1/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

                                I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?

                                Thanks.

                                Karlton

                                Quote:

                                "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

                                —Alexander Schmemann

                              • flinch@flash.net
                                You are so funny Malcalm. I never claimed gnosticism was an evolution from Stoicism. It most certainly was not an evolution from stoicism. Dont worry about
                                Message 15 of 18 , Sep 3, 2012
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                                  You are so funny Malcalm. I never claimed gnosticism was "an evolution" from Stoicism. It most certainly was not an evolution from stoicism. Dont worry about it though. I doubt anyone on the list is interested and by all means you are probably the last person I would expect to be interested in that kind of abstracted comparison. 

                                  The important point I want to emphasize is this: Eric Voegelin's idea of gnosticism has nothing whatsoever to do with the ancient literature. Even Hans Jonas said Voegelin misunderstood Jonas' own view--- which itself was a misappropriation. No respectable scholar uses Jonas. His book was outdated 60 years ago. 

                                  Read the article and you will find that Voegelin himself admited later that he should not have called the modern sensibility that he was condemning "gnosticism".



                                  Sent from my iPhone

                                  On Sep 3, 2012, at 4:38 PM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                                   

                                  S Rhodes wrote:
                                  >
                                  >The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency.
                                  >


                                  Yes, that is  where the Gnostics made their fundamental mistake, and introduced the concept of 'cosmic evil'. It would be difficult to imagine that anything could be more contrary to Stoic concepts. In comparison even the differences between Stoics and Epicureans seem rather minor. Your claim of an evolution from Stoicism to Gnosticism is nonsense.

                                  Malcolm

                                  .............................................. 

                                  --- On Mon, 9/3/12, S Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:
                                  Hey Malcolm. Thanks for pointing out that passage in Simplicius. The fact that he focuses on the theodicy problem is certainly a dynamic feature when comparing religion and philosophies before Christianity made everybody just shut up.  

                                   

                                  The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency. Simplicius only treats "evil" arising within each person, as a matter of intention. You know the argument, "everybody wants to do good, they just make mistakes." Aside from the adequacy of that argument, some people see these "errors" perpetuated in life outside of any individual's intention. Of course the gnostics did not see these problems as we might, as sociology or political science, from where they stood injustices were perennial, a part of the world order. This is not necessarily pessimism as Jonas would have it, one might recognize an attempt to acknowledge the ultimately good divine fire that dwells within the human and a rather noble desire to maintain a native connection to the ultimately good god.

                                   

                                  When the Stoics conceived of the realm of the divine they simply dismissed all philosophical and religious speculation concerning the graduated stages between the world of the mundane and the one, Zeus. That was part of the strategy of doing away with all of the superstition and meta-helplessness that such a cosmological order sustains. Other Platonic thinkers dealt with evil differently. Such as


                                  For the original One to have self knowledge it must project an image of itself outward so that it can then look back and observe itself. The Other that must be produced in order for the One to contemplate itself is inevitably different from the original undivided One doing the contemplating. As the One contemplates itself contemplating itself a kind of feedback sets in, wherein each returning gaze invariably differs more and more, much as we might find by making repeated copies of copies on a copy machine, In fact these emanating "others" were referred to as images. In the end, the production of the material world occurs so far down the scale of emanation that we are left with a significant distortion of the original One.

                                   

                                   

                                  Of course this is irrelevant in Stoicism because Zeus is not a creator God. In fact the whole quest for origin is elided in Stoic thought. Nevertheless in other Hellenistic thinkers, emanationism provided a distance between creation and the One true good god,  an occasion for the problems and distortions to arise and reside without culpability on the part of the One true god-- nor on the part of humans. As you know this kind of speculation was not just Hellenist philosophy, angelology performed similar feats in various Semitic tradition.

                                   

                                  It is a gross oversimplification to read the Gnostic mythologies as a denigration of god or humanity. The Gnostics who engaged such theories were simply saying that the ultimate problem is, shall we say, bureaucratic. It is an admission that there is a limit to what one can expect to effect in this life due to this *realkosmik* . (As you can see this is at odds with what Voegelin does with the gnostic tradition.)

                                   

                                  As such many Gnostics could read the Stoic doctrine concerning impressions and false judgments not only for personal discipline and edification but see this interior phenomenon as metonymic to the whole of creation. To wit all sensory perception is suspect. The perceptible "world" is not the true world. "Gnosis" then opperates like the Stoic doctrine: one must be aware that there is a truth behind the phantasm of appearances in order to get at the truth, it requires a critical assessment, a logos. Those who don't "know" this are vulnerable to the mere appearances of things. 

                                   

                                  If you would like to read about Voegelins misuse of "gnosticism" here is an article by a friend of Eric Vogelin's, a colleague and collaborator, Eugene Webb. 

                                  http://faculty.washington.edu/ewebb/EVgnost.pdf


                                  Here is an article that touches on some more alinements between Stoics and Gnostics

                                  http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/moore-origen.shtml



                                  From: Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...>
                                  To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Sat, September 1, 2012 9:32:44 AM
                                  Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue

                                   

                                  Sorry Scott, but I do not see anything to support your argument that  Jonas and Voegelin books are <<a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities>>. That sounds like nonsense to me.

                                  Your claim that <<Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development>> seems absurd. Perhaps you would like to support that. It seems that all the schools of Greek and Roman philosophy considered Gnosticism to be defective in the extreme.  For example the neoplatonist, Simplicius, in his commentary on the Enchiridion (in his comments on Enchiridion xxxv), devotes about 14 pages (in the Brennan translation) to skewering Manichaeism.

                                  Malcolm

                                  ..............................................

                                  --- On Sat, 9/1/12, Scott Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:

                                  From: Scott Rhodes <flinch@...>
                                  Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue
                                  To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
                                  Date: Saturday, September 1, 2012, 9:52 AM

                                   

                                  Hello Malcolm , just for the record Jonas and Voegelin are not of much use to scholars any more. Their ideas are basically just a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities, not so much toward religious ends but for a political agenda. I'm sure you are aware of Voegelins place in said spectrum, perhaps you are old enough to remember Bill Buckly warning us back in the 60's against the dangerous of trying to "immanize the eschaton". 

                                  The term "gnostic" was employed by so many divergent groups that the term "gnosticism"  just doesn't hold. Elaine Pagals says its just Christain varieties. So much has happened since Jonas and Voegelin that their work has to be retired.

                                  Politics aside if you are interested in the cultural pressures at work in late antiquity and the syncratism of Judaism, Platonism, Hermeticism and prolific chaldron of Alexandria check out some current scholarship like April Deconick, Karen King or a favorite of mine, Ioan Coulianu' s "Tree of Gnosis".

                                  Don't want to drag this out since its unlikely anyone here is interested, even thigh Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development.



                                  On Sep 1, 2012, at 6:13 AM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                                   

                                  Hi Karlton,

                                  I think he is correct about 'kindness'.

                                  His definition of 'virtue' is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very different. His definition of virtue is actually close to what Eric Voegelin referred to as 'Gnosticism'....although that term could use an update too. 

                                  This is a Catholic source, but I think the author does a fairly good job of explaining what Voegelin meant by Gnosticism. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/01/eric-voegelin-on-modern-gnosticism.html

                                  Malcolm

                                  .......................................

                                  --- On Sat, 9/1/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

                                  I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?

                                  Thanks.

                                  Karlton

                                  Quote:

                                  "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

                                  —Alexander Schmemann

                                • Malcolm Schosha
                                  Idiot! On Sat Sep 1, 2012 you wrote:
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Sep 3, 2012
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                                    Idiot! On Sat Sep 1, 2012 you wrote: <<Don't want to drag this out since its unlikely anyone here is interested, even thigh Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development.>> That was your claim, that Gnosticism developed from Stoicism. Then on Mon, 9/3/12, you wrote: <<I never claimed gnosticism was "an evolution" from Stoicism. It most certainly was not an evolution from stoicism.>>

                                    You need to work on developing and understanding that maintains consistency. (Or is that why you have two user accounts for this list: one for each side of your mouth.)

                                    Good luck figuring things out.

                                    Malcolm

                                    ..................................................


                                    --- On Mon, 9/3/12, flinch@... <flinch@...> wrote:

                                    From: flinch@... <flinch@...>
                                    Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue
                                    To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
                                    Date: Monday, September 3, 2012, 6:57 PM

                                     

                                    You are so funny Malcalm. I never claimed gnosticism was "an evolution" from Stoicism. It most certainly was not an evolution from stoicism. Dont worry about it though. I doubt anyone on the list is interested and by all means you are probably the last person I would expect to be interested in that kind of abstracted comparison. 

                                    The important point I want to emphasize is this: Eric Voegelin's idea of gnosticism has nothing whatsoever to do with the ancient literature. Even Hans Jonas said Voegelin misunderstood Jonas' own view--- which itself was a misappropriation. No respectable scholar uses Jonas. His book was outdated 60 years ago. 

                                    Read the article and you will find that Voegelin himself admited later that he should not have called the modern sensibility that he was condemning "gnosticism".



                                    Sent from my iPhone

                                    On Sep 3, 2012, at 4:38 PM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                                     

                                    S Rhodes wrote:
                                    >
                                    >The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency.
                                    >


                                    Yes, that is  where the Gnostics made their fundamental mistake, and introduced the concept of 'cosmic evil'. It would be difficult to imagine that anything could be more contrary to Stoic concepts. In comparison even the differences between Stoics and Epicureans seem rather minor. Your claim of an evolution from Stoicism to Gnosticism is nonsense.

                                    Malcolm

                                    .............................................. 

                                    --- On Mon, 9/3/12, S Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:
                                    Hey Malcolm. Thanks for pointing out that passage in Simplicius. The fact that he focuses on the theodicy problem is certainly a dynamic feature when comparing religion and philosophies before Christianity made everybody just shut up.  

                                     

                                    The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency. Simplicius only treats "evil" arising within each person, as a matter of intention. You know the argument, "everybody wants to do good, they just make mistakes." Aside from the adequacy of that argument, some people see these "errors" perpetuated in life outside of any individual's intention. Of course the gnostics did not see these problems as we might, as sociology or political science, from where they stood injustices were perennial, a part of the world order. This is not necessarily pessimism as Jonas would have it, one might recognize an attempt to acknowledge the ultimately good divine fire that dwells within the human and a rather noble desire to maintain a native connection to the ultimately good god.

                                     

                                    When the Stoics conceived of the realm of the divine they simply dismissed all philosophical and religious speculation concerning the graduated stages between the world of the mundane and the one, Zeus. That was part of the strategy of doing away with all of the superstition and meta-helplessness that such a cosmological order sustains. Other Platonic thinkers dealt with evil differently. Such as


                                    For the original One to have self knowledge it must project an image of itself outward so that it can then look back and observe itself. The Other that must be produced in order for the One to contemplate itself is inevitably different from the original undivided One doing the contemplating. As the One contemplates itself contemplating itself a kind of feedback sets in, wherein each returning gaze invariably differs more and more, much as we might find by making repeated copies of copies on a copy machine, In fact these emanating "others" were referred to as images. In the end, the production of the material world occurs so far down the scale of emanation that we are left with a significant distortion of the original One.

                                     

                                     

                                    Of course this is irrelevant in Stoicism because Zeus is not a creator God. In fact the whole quest for origin is elided in Stoic thought. Nevertheless in other Hellenistic thinkers, emanationism provided a distance between creation and the One true good god,  an occasion for the problems and distortions to arise and reside without culpability on the part of the One true god-- nor on the part of humans. As you know this kind of speculation was not just Hellenist philosophy, angelology performed similar feats in various Semitic tradition.

                                     

                                    It is a gross oversimplification to read the Gnostic mythologies as a denigration of god or humanity. The Gnostics who engaged such theories were simply saying that the ultimate problem is, shall we say, bureaucratic. It is an admission that there is a limit to what one can expect to effect in this life due to this *realkosmik* . (As you can see this is at odds with what Voegelin does with the gnostic tradition.)

                                     

                                    As such many Gnostics could read the Stoic doctrine concerning impressions and false judgments not only for personal discipline and edification but see this interior phenomenon as metonymic to the whole of creation. To wit all sensory perception is suspect. The perceptible "world" is not the true world. "Gnosis" then opperates like the Stoic doctrine: one must be aware that there is a truth behind the phantasm of appearances in order to get at the truth, it requires a critical assessment, a logos. Those who don't "know" this are vulnerable to the mere appearances of things. 

                                     

                                    If you would like to read about Voegelins misuse of "gnosticism" here is an article by a friend of Eric Vogelin's, a colleague and collaborator, Eugene Webb. 

                                    http://faculty.washington.edu/ewebb/EVgnost.pdf


                                    Here is an article that touches on some more alinements between Stoics and Gnostics

                                    http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/moore-origen.shtml



                                    From: Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...>
                                    To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                                    Sent: Sat, September 1, 2012 9:32:44 AM
                                    Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue

                                     

                                    Sorry Scott, but I do not see anything to support your argument that  Jonas and Voegelin books are <<a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities>>. That sounds like nonsense to me.

                                    Your claim that <<Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development>> seems absurd. Perhaps you would like to support that. It seems that all the schools of Greek and Roman philosophy considered Gnosticism to be defective in the extreme.  For example the neoplatonist, Simplicius, in his commentary on the Enchiridion (in his comments on Enchiridion xxxv), devotes about 14 pages (in the Brennan translation) to skewering Manichaeism.

                                    Malcolm

                                    ..............................................

                                    --- On Sat, 9/1/12, Scott Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:

                                    From: Scott Rhodes <flinch@...>
                                    Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue
                                    To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
                                    Date: Saturday, September 1, 2012, 9:52 AM

                                     

                                    Hello Malcolm , just for the record Jonas and Voegelin are not of much use to scholars any more. Their ideas are basically just a continuation of the Christian heresy hunters' simplicities, not so much toward religious ends but for a political agenda. I'm sure you are aware of Voegelins place in said spectrum, perhaps you are old enough to remember Bill Buckly warning us back in the 60's against the dangerous of trying to "immanize the eschaton". 

                                    The term "gnostic" was employed by so many divergent groups that the term "gnosticism"  just doesn't hold. Elaine Pagals says its just Christain varieties. So much has happened since Jonas and Voegelin that their work has to be retired.

                                    Politics aside if you are interested in the cultural pressures at work in late antiquity and the syncratism of Judaism, Platonism, Hermeticism and prolific chaldron of Alexandria check out some current scholarship like April Deconick, Karen King or a favorite of mine, Ioan Coulianu' s "Tree of Gnosis".

                                    Don't want to drag this out since its unlikely anyone here is interested, even thigh Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development.



                                    On Sep 1, 2012, at 6:13 AM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                                     

                                    Hi Karlton,

                                    I think he is correct about 'kindness'.

                                    His definition of 'virtue' is problematic because it confuses with ancient uses of that word which are very different. His definition of virtue is actually close to what Eric Voegelin referred to as 'Gnosticism'....although that term could use an update too. 

                                    This is a Catholic source, but I think the author does a fairly good job of explaining what Voegelin meant by Gnosticism. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2006/01/eric-voegelin-on-modern-gnosticism.html

                                    Malcolm

                                    .......................................

                                    --- On Sat, 9/1/12, stoic_thorn_bearer <kdskald@...> wrote:

                                    I believe the quote below is nonsense and defies common sense. That virtue is not opposed to kindness, but empowers it. In the Christian tradition kindness is a virtue, one of the seven virtues. So I cannot accept the argument that a person of kindness is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the virtuous person. Am I wrong?

                                    Thanks.

                                    Karlton

                                    Quote:

                                    "A kind person—a virtuous person. Between them, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating… in this world there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."

                                    —Alexander Schmemann

                                  • flinch@flash.net
                                    Obviously this thread called kindness vs virtue has come to an end Sent from my iPhone
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Sep 3, 2012
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                                      Obviously this thread called "kindness vs virtue" has come to an end

                                      Sent from my iPhone

                                      On Sep 3, 2012, at 7:23 PM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                                       

                                      Idiot! On Sat Sep 1, 2012 you wrote: <<Don't want to drag this out since its unlikely anyone here is interested, even thigh Stoicism is certainly ancestor to the gnostic development.>> That was your claim, that Gnosticism developed from Stoicism. Then on Mon, 9/3/12, you wrote: <<I never claimed gnosticism was "an evolution" from Stoicism. It most certainly was not an evolution from stoicism.>>

                                      You need to work on developing and understanding that maintains consistency. (Or is that why you have two user accounts for this list: one for each side of your mouth.)

                                      Good luck figuring things out.

                                      Malcolm

                                      ..................................................


                                      --- On Mon, 9/3/12, flinch@... <flinch@...> wrote:

                                      From: flinch@... <flinch@...>
                                      Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue
                                      To: "stoics@yahoogroups.com" <stoics@yahoogroups.com>
                                      Date: Monday, September 3, 2012, 6:57 PM

                                       

                                      You are so funny Malcalm. I never claimed gnosticism was "an evolution" from Stoicism. It most certainly was not an evolution from stoicism. Dont worry about it though. I doubt anyone on the list is interested and by all means you are probably the last person I would expect to be interested in that kind of abstracted comparison. 

                                      The important point I want to emphasize is this: Eric Voegelin's idea of gnosticism has nothing whatsoever to do with the ancient literature. Even Hans Jonas said Voegelin misunderstood Jonas' own view--- which itself was a misappropriation. No respectable scholar uses Jonas. His book was outdated 60 years ago. 

                                      Read the article and you will find that Voegelin himself admited later that he should not have called the modern sensibility that he was condemning "gnosticism".



                                      Sent from my iPhone

                                      On Sep 3, 2012, at 4:38 PM, Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...> wrote:

                                       

                                      S Rhodes wrote:
                                      >
                                      >The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency.
                                      >


                                      Yes, that is  where the Gnostics made their fundamental mistake, and introduced the concept of 'cosmic evil'. It would be difficult to imagine that anything could be more contrary to Stoic concepts. In comparison even the differences between Stoics and Epicureans seem rather minor. Your claim of an evolution from Stoicism to Gnosticism is nonsense.

                                      Malcolm

                                      .............................................. 

                                      --- On Mon, 9/3/12, S Rhodes <flinch@...> wrote:
                                      Hey Malcolm. Thanks for pointing out that passage in Simplicius. The fact that he focuses on the theodicy problem is certainly a dynamic feature when comparing religion and philosophies before Christianity made everybody just shut up.  

                                       

                                      The Stoic insistence on an ultimate divine good is one of the most important points of overlaps with what is generally called Gnostic dualism. What distinguishes them is that the Stoics are satisfied finding the origin of all of our problems within the mind and activity of the subject. The gnostic/dualist view is that there is are conditions of injustice found in many areas outside of the individual agency. Simplicius only treats "evil" arising within each person, as a matter of intention. You know the argument, "everybody wants to do good, they just make mistakes." Aside from the adequacy of that argument, some people see these "errors" perpetuated in life outside of any individual's intention. Of course the gnostics did not see these problems as we might, as sociology or political science, from where they stood injustices were perennial, a part of the world order. This is not necessarily pessimism as Jonas would have it, one might recognize an attempt to acknowledge the ultimately good divine fire that dwells within the human and a rather noble desire to maintain a native connection to the ultimately good god.

                                       

                                      When the Stoics conceived of the realm of the divine they simply dismissed all philosophical and religious speculation concerning the graduated stages between the world of the mundane and the one, Zeus. That was part of the strategy of doing away with all of the superstition and meta-helplessness that such a cosmological order sustains. Other Platonic thinkers dealt with evil differently. Such as


                                      For the original One to have self knowledge it must project an image of itself outward so that it can then look back and observe itself. The Other that must be produced in order for the One to contemplate itself is inevitably different from the original undivided One doing the contemplating. As the One contemplates itself contemplating itself a kind of feedback sets in, wherein each returning gaze invariably differs more and more, much as we might find by making repeated copies of copies on a copy machine, In fact these emanating "others" were referred to as images. In the end, the production of the material world occurs so far down the scale of emanation that we are left with a significant distortion of the original One.

                                       

                                       

                                      Of course this is irrelevant in Stoicism because Zeus is not a creator God. In fact the whole quest for origin is elided in Stoic thought. Nevertheless in other Hellenistic thinkers, emanationism provided a distance between creation and the One true good god,  an occasion for the problems and distortions to arise and reside without culpability on the part of the One true god-- nor on the part of humans. As you know this kind of speculation was not just Hellenist philosophy, angelology performed similar feats in various Semitic tradition.

                                       

                                      It is a gross oversimplification to read the Gnostic mythologies as a denigration of god or humanity. The Gnostics who engaged such theories were simply saying that the ultimate problem is, shall we say, bureaucratic. It is an admission that there is a limit to what one can expect to effect in this life due to this *realkosmik* . (As you can see this is at odds with what Voegelin does with the gnostic tradition.)

                                       

                                      As such many Gnostics could read the Stoic doctrine concerning impressions and false judgments not only for personal discipline and edification but see this interior phenomenon as metonymic to the whole of creation. To wit all sensory perception is suspect. The perceptible "world" is not the true world. "Gnosis" then opperates like the Stoic doctrine: one must be aware that there is a truth behind the phantasm of appearances in order to get at the truth, it requires a critical assessment, a logos. Those who don't "know" this are vulnerable to the mere appearances of things. 

                                       

                                      If you would like to read about Voegelins misuse of "gnosticism" here is an article by a friend of Eric Vogelin's, a colleague and collaborator, Eugene Webb. 

                                      http://faculty.washington.edu/ewebb/EVgnost.pdf


                                      Here is an article that touches on some more alinements between Stoics and Gnostics

                                      http://www.quodlibet.net/articles/moore-origen.shtml



                                      From: Malcolm Schosha <malcolmschosha@...>
                                      To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Sat, September 1, 2012 9:32:44 AM
                                      Subject: Re: [stoics] Kindness vs. Virtue

                                       

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