The Sethian Mythos

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Re: The Sethian Mythos

Postby Lúthien » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:14 pm

So, some replies. I hope it's not too fragmented.


Übermensch wrote:Well, don't think too hard about it Lúthien... these things are still very hotly debated.
...
...
(Many of the questions that have plagued philosophy have ended up being a ping pong match back and forth between the objective and the subjective.)

I'm well aware of how this has been the subject of philosophy since the dawn of time. I don't intend to add a new voice to that; I merely want to find an answer that satisfies me.

Simply put, being able to see beyond the dualistic mindset, in many ways, is the very condition of our Gnosis ;)

Yes. Simply put: I'm aware of that ;)

... and on to the next one ...

Übermensch wrote:And not to be controversial, ...

What would be controversial?

... but I think science can explain this.

This? ^
If you mean what I think you mean I think I don't agree - or actually, you disagree with it yourself, by stating that "such explanations are beyond the scope of logic" - to which I agree.


In terms of philosophy, my god, this subject has been so thoroughly covered throughout history, it's a wonder there's any mystery left to solve.

Well, maybe that's because everyone has to figure it out for themselves ... maybe to conclude that it really cannot be solved in dualistic terms.

John Beebe even pointed out in one of his lectures that as far back as the Enlightenment period, the tendency has been to persecute introverts.

I'm sorry, but what do introverts have to do with this??

In western culture there is no such thing as "enlightenment," because it's been stigmatized--it's taboo.

Is "enlightenment" (as in "the enlightenment period", not as in the goal of Zen meditation, I presume?) taboo?
Please elaborate?

<skipping a bit>

... Even the term enlightenment has been reduced to a platitude in our society, and if you mean anything other than that by it, it's met with hysteria.

Anything other than what (platitude)?

But call it Gnosis and (tada!) you're safe, it's recognizable as a Greek word, and no one knows what the hell you mean by that anyway.


All right ... let me see if I've got this straight: if you use the word "Gnosis" instead of "enlightenment" when NOT referring about the usual platitude, you can avoid hysteria because ... it's a recognisable Greek word?

:o

Seriously ... can you explain what you mean by "enlightenment"?
I've always understood "enlightenment" to mean something like as it is phrased in Wikipedia as well:

wikipedia wrote:The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy, and came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state.[3][4]In France, the central doctrines of les Lumièreswere individual liberty and religious tolerance in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Roman Catholic Church. The Enlightenment was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy – an attitude captured by the phrase Sapere aude, "Dare to know".


... but I'm afraid I can't figure out what you mean from the context.

So from the perspective of science it's no mystery, it's already been solved.

Sorry, I can't figure out how you arrive at that conclusion.

For science to take it upon itself to 'solve' this mystery rates right up there with the guy who solved the mystery of belly button lint--you know, it just doesn't care.

Good heavens man! You're not making it any easier, do you ;) - after stating that science considers it "already solved", you say that it doesn't care about it ...? Somehow those two things seem maybe not to contradict one another, but I've got a hunch that they don't go together very well either.

Übermensch wrote:Science already has a full time job trying to keep humanity from destroying itself, so let's not waste its time on trivial matters.

I don't think that Mr. A's bellybutton-gazing will keep any Mr. / Mrs. B from saving the world. On the contrary even: if I were a scientist engaged in saving the world I would rather see my bellybutton-studying colleagues deeply engrossed in their favourite pastime in a shack somewhere, than running around in my lab like crazy interfering with my experiments :)

Besides, you never know how a cow catches a hare. Maybe something insanely useful might come from that belly button study. You know, in one of those serendipity things. Sure, it's extremely unlikely, but still :p

Also: it's not so that most scientists are involved with saving humanity from itself. It would be a splendid idea if they would though. And much the same goes for political and religious leaders everywhere.

Übermensch wrote:But as for Jung this 'spiritual realm' would exist inside the collective unconscious, I believe.

"collective unconscious" != "you" ...?

Übermensch wrote:Because if it exists outside of you, then it's a problem.

Why?

Übermensch wrote:And I'm not sure about Freud's metaphysical leanings, but I know toilet training and dirty diapers are somehow involved.

Potty training: yes. Diapers: I doubt it.

Sorry, answering this made me a bit mischievous. But no disrespect intended! It's just my weird sense of humour.

I just find this post very hard to follow, and where I do think I understand it, I think I disagree somewhat.
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Re: The Sethian Mythos

Postby Übermensch » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:50 am

Well Taurandir, I generally don't read Jung that way, but I think I know what you're referring to. Both Freud and Jung were interested in parapsychology and the paranormal before getting into depth psychology. But it would be a mistake to say that they were investigating the paranormal as an external phenomenon--like so many paranormal researchers do nowadays. (They were not ghost hunting [joke].) I do know that Jung's insight into the nature of these phenomena were that they originated in consciousness (or the unconscious, as the case may be). However, that does not mean these things cannot manifest themselves externally in various ways and very often they do. Whether or not you want to take these external manifestations as evidence for the existence of the paranormal as having an external reality beyond the psyche, quite frankly, is up to you. There are certainly some strange encounters with these types of phenomena documented in Jung's biographical material. Personally, I don't see any need to suppose the supervenience of the mental onto the physical in order to explain these encounters, but like anything they are open to interpretation. Regardless of your metaphysical leanings on the subject, Jung's stance was that these things originated in consciousness. (At least that much I'm sure of.) Jung's theory of synchronicity, you could say, was on the border of the supernatural, but even that would interpret such phenomena as originating within the psyche. Of course, Jung's theory of synchronicity is incomplete--he never fully developed it. So some make the claim that this was intended to be his theory for the supernatural (beyond the psyche)--but who knows? I think it is certainly plausible that Jung's stance on the matter may have changed at some time in his life--but, gee, I don't know. Regardless, I always thought of belief as not being particularly important to Jung, at least not as important as knowing. But there is nothing that I can see to rule out the possibility of the existence of the supernatural as having an external reality beyond the psyche. And I think most philosophers would agree that almost anything is possible. So I want to say, at the very least, there is nothing incompatible with such a belief in the supernatural pertaining to either Jung or Gnosticism.

As for the supernatural in the broader sense is concerned, the supernatural is simply that which is beyond science. Science is just a tool; not a philosophy nor a religion. The purpose of science is not to discredit supernatural phenomena, but simply to provide an explanation in light of existing evidence. Of course, I do not interpret Gnosticism as having a reality beyond the psyche, but I do think there are Gnostics who would agree with you that there is something more out there. As for me, however, it is simply more meaningful for me to talk about these things as existing within the psyche (within consciousness, the imagination, and the unconscious). Of course, that's just my opinion. So don't take my word for it; maintaining some skepticism is simply a matter of good health. I certainly have no compulsions about talking about the supernatural as if it were only a psychic phenomenon. So feel free to talk about these things in whatever manner you see fit... it certainly does not violate any of my beliefs, lol!
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Re: The Sethian Mythos

Postby Übermensch » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:16 am

[Made some edits just to clean up some ambiguities and bad puns. Well, I understand that you're largely being humorous, but I'll still attempt to answer your questions seriously. Because that's the only way I know how, I suppose. Here goes...]

Lúthien wrote:If you mean what I think you mean I think I don't agree - or actually, you disagree with it yourself, by stating that "such explanations are beyond the scope of logic" - to which I agree.

I understand your skepticism, in fact, I'm sure there are many philosophers who would agree with you. But science can go far beyond mere logical explanations, particularly in the way of empirical evidence. But trust me, between neuroscience and modern psychology, science has this thing covered. For the most part, it is not all that interesting to science. It is far more interesting to the individual than any area of scientific inquiry or research. Of course, I'm sure philosophers will continue to wrestle with this thing by way of logic and reasoning for another millennia or two [joke]--something which only philosophers would be content on doing. But the goals of philosophy are very different from that of science.

Lúthien wrote:I'm sorry, but what do introverts have to do with this?

Sorry, I apologize, I can see how this could be ambiguous. Well you see, introversion in terms of Jungian typology refers to a mode of consciousness that is conducive to things like philosophical reflection and introspection, and therefore self-knowledge. Beebe was simply pointing out that type prejudice, in particular, prejudice towards introverts has existed far back in history. Specifically, the Enlightenment is a period in history to which this type of philosophical reflection derives its name from, which is why Beebe used it as a reference.

Lúthien wrote:Is "enlightenment" (as in "the enlightenment period", not as in the goal of Zen meditation, I presume?) taboo?
Please elaborate?

Sorry, I apologize, there is definitely a double meaning thing going on here. Yes, the Enlightenment as a period in history is distinct from enlightenment as in self-knowledge (or Gnosis). But, in my mind, both largely refer to a particular mode of consciousness which is conducive to philosophical reflection (which is a primarily introverted trait). Again, I am simply highlighting western prejudices towards this particular mode of being conscious, which unfortunately is still very much taboo in western culture.

Lúthien wrote:All right ... let me see if I've got this straight: if you use the word "Gnosis" instead of "enlightenment" when NOT referring about the usual platitude, you can avoid hysteria because ... it's a recognisable Greek word?

Sorry, I apologize for the ambiguity, but this clearly was an attempt at levity. (I always forget to add the little smiley faces: :).) But even though it was a jest, there is at least some sense that it is true. Of course, that largely being that the word 'Gnosis' is free from the kind of prejudices or negative connotations that even the word 'enlightenment' seems to invoke in the minds of westerners, simply because it is more obscure. There are still a lot of strong, negative emotions surrounding these esoteric terms and ideas in western culture. And, unfortunately, they still have the power to produce fears, prejudices, and hatred in others, if one is not careful.

Lúthien wrote:Seriously ... can you explain what you mean by "enlightenment"?
I've always understood "enlightenment" to mean something like as it is phrased in Wikipedia as well:

Well, to quote Miguel in a recent intro: "Secularists want to keep the Enlightenment period the domain of the rationalists and atheists. Rationalism was just one tool to bring down orthodoxy to the point that it lost its political stranglehold on the west."

(I really do apologize, I thought I was being clear, but the history is really complicated. All I can say is, there is a scholastic answer and then an answer no one will talk about. It's something you'll have to look into for yourself if you want the 'gory deets.' But the latest episode of Aeon Byte on 'The Gnostic Legacy on History' with Richard Smoley would be a great place to start.)

Lúthien wrote:Sorry, I can't figure out how you arrive at that conclusion. Good heavens man! You're not making it any easier, do you ;) - after stating that science considers it "already solved", you say that it doesn't care about it ...? Somehow those two things seem maybe not to contradict one another, but I've got a hunch that they don't go together very well either.

In many ways, I thought of my original posting somewhat as an apology to enlightenment in the west (persecution and all), but I can see from your comments that I failed at that attempt. So I just want to apologize again that any of this may come as a shock to you. But I want to reiterate that science largely does not care about this as a serious area of scientific inquiry. It is largely meaningful and has implications [largely philosophical implications] for the individual, but not for science. I'm not going to point to any specific evidence or research [largely because I wish I never looked there myself--neuroscience is very scary my friend], but the film 'Neurons to Nirvana' will at least give you enough to let you know that science has this area covered (in the sense that it knows about it and can explain it from a scientific point of view).

Lúthien wrote:Also: it's not so that most scientists are involved with saving humanity from itself. It would be a splendid idea if they would though.

Well, I'm very sorry you feel that way, (and perhaps you're just being humorous) but if you don't think things like pollution and climate control are a serious threat to humanity and are real problems that need to be addressed by science (not to mention all the diseases science is working on a cure for), then no, science is doing nothing to save humanity.

[Of course, any questions I didn't answer directly should be made clear somewhere in this post. Again, sorry for all the ambiguities, I hope I made myself perfectly clear this time. Perhaps it would be best just to think of this post as a form of therapy (I know that's largely the benefit I get out of it, lol!), instead of a contentious debate (as that was never my intention). Of course, I know you were just being humorous, but if you don't feel this was therapeutic for you, at the very least, humor me! :)]
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Re: The Sethian Mythos

Postby Taurandir » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:27 pm

Übermensch wrote:As for the supernatural in the broader sense is concerned, the supernatural is simply that which is beyond science. Science is just a tool; not a philosophy nor a religion. The purpose of science is not to discredit supernatural phenomena, but simply to provide an explanation in light of existing evidence.

That is the ideal of science, but I think often science does rise to the level of philosophy or religion as "scientism", so to speak. Look into the modern skeptical movement. The core mistake that they make is assuming that anything that science cannot prove (i. e. God, etc.) does not exist. It's a form of hubris. The general belief among these people is that science almost has the entire fabric of reality described, and is just mopping up a few loose ends here and there. If I'm not mistaken, Lúthien used to be affiliated with this movement in some way, which is perhaps why she gets a little prickly towards this attitude.

I'm definitely not promoting the supernatural in any way. Keeping the whole thing inside the psyche seems plausible enough, but based on my brief forays into neuroscience it seems to me that they can't pinpoint the source of self, resulting in the (to me) absurd conclusion that there is no self. We are simply automatons reacting from a background of genetic predispositions, instincts, past traumas, and what have you. In a sense we are just complex pinballs without any free will. I know that's what the science suggests, but it seems that it could also just be a ludicrous conclusion based on not enough knowledge. Perhaps this is an area where science just can't penetrate, but who knows?

For the record, I appreciate some free and open discussion, and I don't mind considering opinions which may be different from my own. You've been doing an good job trying to explain a complex subject that I don't know that much about. In the end there might be some fundamental points we disagree on, but maybe you'll be able to change my mind. Keep up the effort.
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Re: The Sethian Mythos

Postby Lúthien » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:45 am

Übermensch wrote:
Lúthien wrote:Also: it's not so that most scientists are involved with saving humanity from itself. It would be a splendid idea if they would though.

Well, I'm very sorry you feel that way, (and perhaps you're just being humorous) but if you don't think things like pollution and climate control are a serious threat to humanity and are real problems that need to be addressed by science (not to mention all the diseases science is working on a cure for), then no, science is doing nothing to save humanity.


No need to be sorry, and I wasn't being humorous there.
You just misread me: "that I don't think that most scientists are involved in saving humanity".
I'm neither saying that they shouldn't (I think they should), nor denying that some are.


Taurandir wrote:The general belief among these people is that science almost has the entire fabric of reality described, and is just mopping up a few loose ends here and there. If I'm not mistaken, Lúthien used to be affiliated with this movement in some way, which is perhaps why she gets a little prickly towards this attitude.

That's right, I've been involved with The Brights until some 10 years ago. Most were pretty decent folk, but there were indeed quite a few 'skeptic fundies' (Dawkins-fans and the like) among them, especially on the forum.
Those experiences have certainly contributed to a certain "oh no, here we go again" knee-jerk reflex that doesn't bring out the best in me. It's altogether remarkable how similar that is to the reflexes born from experiences with the seemingly opposite: the crackpots, conspiracy thinkers and over-inflated ego's that haunt every place that's associated with spirituality, even if ever so slightly.

That's why I was so glad to have found people like Stephan Hoeller or Miguel Conner, who manage to maintain a healthy dose of humour and self-reflection together with an open mind (though not so wide open that their sense fall out) :)

I don't necessarily agree with everything they say, but the good thing is that they don't expect that either - or even, they would discourage it and tell you to think for yourself. It's the attitude that counts!
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Re: The Sethian Mythos

Postby Übermensch » Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:51 pm

Lol! Sometimes I forget I've been living in a bubble for most of my life (that can happen with us introverted folk who live in our heads all the time)... up until probably 3 years ago I didn't know what a Christian fundamentalist was or even a scientific materialist. (The world got a whole lot scarier once I opened my eyes--I wish I could close them again, lol!) As for me, I was brought up with the notion that religion just was psychology, I guess that's why I identify so much with Jung and Gnosticism. Perhaps, naively, I assume many others share my perspective, but I certainly don't want to push that perspective onto others. You know, that's just my trip, those are my hang-ups, so to speak. But I am certainly sensitive to the whole spiritual perspective on the matter, in fact, I have a kind of Victorian Era Romanticism thing going on in relation to the paranormal. I find it charming, in some ways, when people can come together and discuss these types of phenomena openly (as they did back in the Victorian Era). In fact, I see a lot of this ghost hunting and recent interest in the paranormal as a kind of revival of that. But if there is one paranormal phenomenon I "believe" in, I would say it has to be astral projection. If I had to bet, I'd place my money on that somehow being a real phenomenon. Of course, most of the talk about astral travel nowadays simply refers to lucid dreaming or playing with the "physics" of the dream world (of which, I have had my fair share of lucid dreams--but I would not say that I was astral traveling). Now astral travel as a paranormal phenomenon would mean the actual projection of consciousness to another physical location. There have been some compelling accounts of this type of phenomenon in the recent past, which leads one to wonder: is it possible?

But, wow, we have gotten way off subject somehow. Last I remember we were dealing with some, strictly, theoretical concerns, which seems to have snowballed from there. Allow me to steer this back around to the topic of myth. So next post will be the second installment of the Sethian myth (which deals with the actual myth itself and has, really, no theoretical concerns for us). (That will be forthcoming in the next week or so, I have like 3-4 posts I am working on at once, which I am hoping will lead to a lot of fun and interesting discussions.)

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