Author Topic: Monistic Gnosticism and the Inside-Out Approach  (Read 229 times)

Olive

Monistic Gnosticism and the Inside-Out Approach
« on: April 12, 2018, 07:37:15 pm »
Hey everyone. I was making a reply to a post over in the thread "Discussing Beliefs" - but I think there is enough here to actually open this up to a separate discussion. I'll quote the post I was responding to (From our lovely Co-Founder/Administrator Xepera maSet), and leave my reply unedited. I would greatly enjoy hearing thoughts/arguments about the different approaches I've briefly sketched out here, and I'll be back to answer questions/continue the discussion. Without further ado,


So I think I've FINALLY narrowed it down to one single, connected, provable argument to confirm the Prince of Darkness for anyone willing to accept the evidence.

1. Consciousness is not the same as Nature and can go against it.

2. So, there must be something outside of Nature that chose to give life consciousness.

3. An intelligence outside of Nature is a God. (Done, but wait)

4. Consciousness is inherently opposed to Nature.

5. So there must be a God inherently opposed to Nature.

6. This God is what has been described in every tradition as "The Prince(ess) of Darkness.

7. Therefore the Prince(ess) of Darkness Exists. Could be Set, Odin, Ishtar, Satan or Lucifer, Prometheus, Quetzalcoatl, or and of the thousands of others, but It exists.


It's me again.  ;)  I'm sorry to keep doing this Xepera - I'm not trying to pick on you or your arguments. But I do like when you lay them out point by point, because it makes it really easy to see where our intuitions differ, and I think this is great kindling for conversation.

I agree with all of your big points. I think you have firm footing in saying that Consciousness is apparently different from Nature, and even that it is actually inherently opposed to it. In fact that is the very touchstone of Gnostic thought, which I'm sure you know by now that I am rather fond of. Heck, just replace the words "Nature" with "Demiurgos" and "Consciousness" with "Spirit," and the similarities become obvious. Most Gnostics would probably follow you all the way through this argument.

But Metaphysically/Epistemologically speaking, I can't grant you 5 - and I definitely can't grant you 2. Making a statement like 2 is what I would call taking an "outside-in" approach, because you are saying that something must have come into Nature in order to oppose it, or to sow the seeds of its opposition, or more explicitly to create us. But there really isn't anything we can point to, or test, or conceive of that would even suggest the possibility of something like this happening in the physical universe - other than our own apparent improbable excellence. (Which of course, is necessary for any observation to have been made in the first place, or any discussion to be had about it.) That doesn't mean it couldn't have happened, but there is no reason to think that it did and it is simply not evident to us now.

Personally, I think the "inside-out" approach is a little more sophisticated. That is to say, that something happened within nature that would lead to the opposition we see today. It is even harder to disprove this and say it must have come from outside when we consider that there is no way to prove that the opposition of Consciousness is actually a strict opposition to the goals of Nature, and not also a Natural process. Especially when we see that the very workings of nature at almost every level are opposition, consuming itself, and overcoming itself. The aggressive and self-destructive nature of man could very well be the flowering of these tendencies. From this perspective, the opposition is only visible from the point of view of the individual, who is faced with pain, death, and annihilation on every side. But from the perspective of Nature/Demiurgos, all is going well. This method doesn't lead us to speculating about another world and our mystical origin from it, or the beings/forms that might reside there. This way of thinking would consider the "outside-in" school to be taking a mythological explanation literally instead of symbolically. We could still say that there is a God of Consciousness/Prince of Darkness - but not in the sense that he actually exists somewhere, even if that place is outside of space/time, but in the sense that the Platonic Forms are abstractions or pure Idea Forms of the manifestations of Nature. That is, the Prince of Darkness is manifested through us, and does not need a greater level of existence than that.

Before I wrap this up, I just want to stipulate that what I've said above does NOT indicate that Nature/Logos is something to be praised and fused with. I think the critique of existence is still possible, and maybe even stronger from the perspective that our individual beings/body-souls are a product of that Nature. It also does not mean that it is impossible to truly oppose Nature. But to do that, it might be worthwhile to take a look at our true mystical origin, our true Father and Mother, the place that we really did come from that is apart from Nature - and that is non-existence. Our conscious experience really did arise from nothingness, which is nowhere in Nature and has nothing to do with it. It is likely we will return there some day soon. Therefore an Anti-cosmic approach would be concerned with what the unmanifest is, and how to know it, rather than to try and take action in this world against Nature; which in truth would only empower its own self-contained machinations.

The perspective I have outlined for you here, is in its most basic form, Monistic Gnosticism. Those who oppose the course of Nature without admitting another Supernatural world as the source of this conflict, other than the non-world of nonexistence, from which we as individuals were born, but that Nature is forever removed from. I'm not saying this is the gospel truth, but an equivalent argument for the POD from this side might run something like this:


1. Consciousness/The Conscious Experience is inherently opposed by Nature.

2. Our Bodies and Minds are Products of that same Nature

3. But our Consciousness is not. It arose from Nonexistence, which Nature does not know.

4. The Prince of Darkness is a God inherently opposed to Nature, and is manifested as beings that are separate and opposed to that Nature.

5. We are manifested beings who are opposed to Nature, and are separate from it since our point of origin is beyond this world, and our consciousness of the world does not exist in the world.

6. Therefore the Prince(ess) of Darkness Exists. Could be Set, Odin, Ishtar, The Serpent, Lucifer, Prometheus, Quetzalcoatl, or and of the thousands of others, but It exists.


But of course, this formulation shows the POD hypothesis to be ancillary and sort of unnecessary, since the biggest ideas are in points 1-3. Once it is understood that POD is the Platonic Ideal that connects these manifested adversarial beings, then of course it exists- since we exist. We don't need it to 'exist' more than that. Someone more passionate about this point of view might feel it more useful to extend it otherwise, like so: (Remember, Demiurge/Demiurgos is Nature. It's not a being, though we may talk of it that way sometimes.)

1. Consciousness/The Conscious Experience is inherently opposed by Demiurgos.

2. Our Bodies and Minds are Products of that same Demiurgos

3. But our Consciousness is not. It arose from Nonexistence, which the Demiurge does not know.

4. Our Minds and Bodies prevent us from realizing this, as they are products of Demiurgos and are not concerned with/cannot comprehend that which is beyond its possibilities and those that it suggests.

5. Salvation from the hellish world of the Demiurge requires lessening attachment to it.

6. One who has broken his enchantment with Demiurgos can at last turn inwards to the infinite and timeless Origin, which was before and remains unblemished by, this fallen creation.

etc etc

« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 07:39:20 pm by Olive »
    Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
     Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Xepera maSet

Re: Monistic Gnosticism and the Inside-Out Approach
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2018, 08:59:01 pm »
I can't respond more than in brief right now unfortunately. It's interesting that you separate mind and consciousness, and considering unconscious is an aspect of mind you're likely correct in doing so. I'm curious though, as you understand Platonism are the Forms "just" ideals and concepts? So far as I can tell most platonists and therefore many Setians believe the Forms are indeed outside of and greater than the natural, material world. I'm just wondering if you disagree with that?

CLEARING MY HEAD, WILL LIKELY RETURN

Xepera maSet

Re: Monistic Gnosticism and the Inside-Out Approach
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2018, 09:00:18 pm »
And don't apologize for arguing, I wouldn't post arguments if I didn't want to see where they fail, contradict other positions, etc. :)

CLEARING MY HEAD, WILL LIKELY RETURN

Olive

Re: Monistic Gnosticism and the Inside-Out Approach
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2018, 11:46:48 pm »
Right, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Platonic Form of something is just an idea in the mind of a man - I'd like to give my man Plato a little more credit than that :D   Although the human mind is very good at finding and recognizing the forms, which I think contributes to the confusion implicit in the "Mental Abstraction" critiques of Plato's Forms.

The easiest way I can describe it, is that the Platonic Forms are complex inevitable results of the inherent properties of the Logos. Some might call them possibility fields - even that I think is a little too confusing to take at face value. I can describe it by analogy to the DNA of a creature, say, a squirrel. Now, the DNA of a squirrel is not outside climbing trees and burying nuts; an instance of a squirrel is doing those things. In fact, we don't see the DNA of a squirrel anywhere in that form - we only see squirrels. So the DNA is not literally a squirrel, but the squirrel is somehow implied by the data in the DNA. And not only is it implied, the DNA is completely necessary for the squirrel to exist. Likewise, Platonic Forms themselves are not present anywhere in the manifestation - but the possibilities they represent are. And the manifested beings could not have existed except for the Platonic forms. [Fully understood, this understanding actually defeats Aristotle's Form of Perishability critique]

Now let me try to make it a little clearer. This manifestation is not Chaos or Chaotic, no matter how it may seem at times. It is not something totally new in every moment, it is an extremely ordered progression with certain unchanging elements. What I am claiming, is that these unchanging elements, in a way imply each of the Platonic Forms, and all of the myriad forms of existence we see today, and many more. It is much like Mathematics - where only a few axioms are set in stone, and then for the rest of history all sorts of wondrous discoveries have been and will be found in the possibilities represented in those few axioms. It is like writing the first page of a book, only to turn the page and find the rest of it completed. (If only, right?  ;))

So then. The unchanging elements of Logos, which we can describe with ever more granularity (the properties of physical elements -> the properties of atoms -> the properties of subatomic particles -> the properties of the four fundamental fields -> the properties of the ever-present Material Substratum), actually concretely imply Stars, Planets, Elements, Shapes, Life, Warfare, Love, and even Rap music. And many more things which we have not yet the intelligence to piece out. And to the Logos, it was not necessary to step through time in order to find all this out. The Form of the Triangle has always existed with the Logos, as long as it has had the inherent property of describing at least two dimensions. The Form of a Galaxy has always existed with the Logos, as long as it has had the inherent properties or possibility of space-time deformities, and expansion. The Form of Perishability has always existed with the Logos, as long as it has had the inherent property or possibility of Time - since time by definition brings all limited things to their end.

HOWEVER, the Form of the Galaxy does not exist anywhere in the manifestation itself - except in the hundreds of billions of Galaxies that have manifested here. The Form of the triangle does not exist anywhere, but countless triangles have manifested themselves here. The Form of Consciousness, Set, does not exist himself except as the billions of beings who have come into being by consciousness being manifested. Although he is inherent in the makeup of the Logos and does not rely on our existence for there to be a reality to him. Humanity could go extinct, and for millions of years there could be no conscious beings in the Galaxy - but still the possibility of individual consciousness would remain in the inherent properties of Logos, and thus Set, the Form of Consciousness, would exist in that sense.

But I can't say that the Forms are actually hanging out at some Astral Bar in another world somewhere, having a drink or two. I wouldn't even really say they have an existence apart from the Logos. Now, I wouldn't dispute those who call the Forms Gods, because they are ever-lasting. But I wouldn't put them at the level of the Unmanifest, which is actually eternal in timelessness, and therefore could not even conceivably end.

I began this description of my understanding of Platonic Forms by saying that they are not merely ideas in the mind of man. I think I have sufficiently shown that they do not rely upon a mind to suss them out and give them a name. But it would be closer to the truth, to say that the Platonic Forms are Ideas in the Mind of God, which will always manifest themselves in his creation.


Theologically, we could speculate on Set being such a unique/powerful form, that he really did tear himself from the unchanging womb of God's mind, and enter into time and the physical universe. But we have no reason to believe this, other than it being cool as heck. But this is already getting fantastical. Plus, I don't think it would actually change much for a Human whether Set was still in the timeless mind of God, or if he had freed himself and exists as some super powerful being/entity somewhere. (Unless you were to meet him, in which case - give him my regards.) The result would be the same - the individual consciousness we all know confronted with a hostile and demonic world.


Quick Checklist

PLATONIC FORMS
Everlasting?                                       
Independent of Man?                         
Outside of the Material World?           

Have their own agency and world?      X
Independent of Logos/Demiurgos?     X
    Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
     Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Xepera maSet

Re: Monistic Gnosticism and the Inside-Out Approach
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2018, 12:31:37 am »
This seems like the type of Idealism I was toying with a month or so back, which you commented on here: http://orderoftheserpent.org/forum/index.php?topic=485.0

CLEARING MY HEAD, WILL LIKELY RETURN

Olive

Re: Monistic Gnosticism and the Inside-Out Approach
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2018, 01:10:39 am »
Indeed, you can find a throughline of Olive-thought from that thread to this. It's sort of difficult to call it Idealism though, when we assert the primacy of matter over mind, and deny dualism, while asserting that the Forms are potentialities inherent in the logic of this manifestation. And yet there is a hint of idealism when we discuss the characteristics of Demiurgos. This type of thing is what led me to say "Idealism and Materialism don't seem to be mutually exclusive - the more I contemplate both" some time ago.

If you don't mind me asking, do you have any challenges for this line of thought for me to chew on? What turned you away from it? I've read some of your posts about property dualism but I haven't seen anything that would be a critical blow to the position I've sketched out here.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2018, 01:15:54 am by Olive »
    Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,
     Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever-changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Xepera maSet

Re: Monistic Gnosticism and the Inside-Out Approach
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2018, 01:39:44 am »
I have to wrap my head around it more, which probably won't happen for a bit longer. New job is crazy stressful and I can't even respond on a laptop because I'm waiting on a new charger. But I will when I can!

CLEARING MY HEAD, WILL LIKELY RETURN