On Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 3:04 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

>  On 1/3/2015 4:15 PM, PGC wrote:
>      with the latter ultimately escaping our capacity to sort and analyze.
> You mean their assertion of that is clear.  It's begging the question to
> say it is clear.
It's clear to everybody who has read them beyond some wiki pages, including
you being exposed to Bruno's pov for years. Like any study in any domain.

>  So simple as to not permit these sorts of facile generalization,
> The "one" is the simplest of all ideas is a facile abstraction.

It is indeed too simple to talk about. Plotinus makes clear that his
talk/writing is to be taken with grain of salt, and merely "as if"; merely
some linguistic reasoning to encourage what is most important to him:
entering into union with the one. And yes, this kind of point *would* be
clear to any undergraduate reading some introduction text to negative
philosophy or theology of Plotinus.

>  or analysis as we know it (and this is consistent with inability to
> break something, which is the ultimate simple, down further), so simple as
> to elude people, try as they might to capture it or make it fit some
> personal agenda.
> I haven't noticed them having any difficult making it fit their personal
> agendas.  It's vague enough to fit anything.

It's not hard to find Plotinus quotes along the semantic lines: "negative
spiritual or theological path is a rational consequence of us not being
able to affirm positive attributes (implying exclusion) of the one. Any
thought or spirit directed at anything else than the one is under
enchantment of illusion of appearances." For Plotinus all practical action,
as well as thought associated with it in this world, is therefore dreaming
under enchantment and not fully conscious, not in full contact with the
one." (I could dig up precise reference, treatise/section/chapter +
translation of Enneads if you really cared, but it's Plotnius 101, I think
somewhere around 4,4 and somewhere around 40th Chapter with Chase's

Therefore "to have a personal agenda" is delusion at best, in Plotinus'
terms. I agree that mysticism is abused in various ways. But this abuse
highlights possibility of its rational use as well, and the negative
theology of ancient Greece did well here. And Plotinus didn't do and/or
even write much, again a subject of scrutiny for how to write about the
one, without missing the point? Frequent uses of "so to speak" and "as it
were" throughout the work are not weaseling in this case, but appropriate
to unspeakable subject matter, a negative theology therefore, and an open
admission of the limitations and strictures of language.

Once wrestled with, the theology stands as one of the simplest and
clearest. But getting there is, due to our cultural biases, a complex
matter. Not because Plotinus message is complex, but mainly because of all
the cultural baggage we habitually bring to the reading.

>  And this is also fits with beings sitting in the dark of some cave of
> forms, easily mistaking such forms for reality, truth, god etc.
> "Fits with" is vague enough to fit with assertion.

It just means a point for consistency, in asserting negative theology as a
whole. Like Plato's cave, we don't get a why-answer for the one's
existence, but we can query negative theology for the types of confusions
in belief/dream that might arise and decide for ourselves whether we get
closer to relating to a reality that these mystical propositions point
towards or not.

Value and precision with negation is asserted in a world of illusion in
platonic tradition. Another common rhetorical device to convey this as
reading that *forms* simplicity, rather than *informs* the reader with more
new facts, and therefore a firewall for excessive literal interpretation is
apophasis. This is not used as rhetorical trick, but reflects the "as if"
status of statements, pertaining to something so beyond our ability to
conceive (while also being under our noses) that it cannot be described in
or analyzed in discrete terms.

That is why questioning dialogue is appropriate to the pedagogical aspect
of relating this kind of content better than detached passive voice and
analytical exposition we have grown used to from western perspective,
sweeping the respective scientists' theologies under the rug in most
papers, from most domains of institutional scientific work, I come across
these days. It follows that our current habits would be arrogant and
excessive in Plotinus' view.

>> Unless you are the devil.  Unless you don't want to obey God's orders to
>> stone adulterers and conquer unbelievers and tithe to the priests.
>> Brent
>> "You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns
>> out that God hates all the same people you do."
>>              - Anne Lamott
> The very idea of "people's relation to god => who we should hate,
> superiority, politics etc." is already too low and worldly to start with,
> that it itself cannot be divine. So those comments and the quote don't seem
> relevant.
> Concerning the devil, I think the Yazidis have a noteworthy take on who
> they see as Peacock Angel. It makes one ask whether the vain Peacock
> Angel's tears of remorse would soften the harsh truths or not: e.g. will
> some benevolent future Star Trek force defrost Clark's awesome ice cube
> head or judge that he spammed too much and is taking too much disk space
> for the money he spent?
> And thanks Brent for the Castaneda article to show how mystical types are
> all the same. I would say that our naive theological attitude, equating all
> theological questioning with some fear-based cartoon in our heads
> It's not in our heads, it's in this culuture

Which one are you referring to now?

> and written in the sacred books which Bruno referred to: "I think that the
> theology of the christians and jews reflect the monism of those who believe
> in an unifying truth."
 (instead of sincerely trying to parse and test them rationally), is what
> made the western reader ideal prey for this kind of manipulation. Your
> anti-mystical posts, in this regard, repeatedly make this rather irrational
> point,
> What "irrational point"?  That all mystics are the same? that's not a
> point I've ever tried to make.

Theology in any form, specifically Plotnius' rational mysticism in this
case, is not a part of scientific enterprise, right? Isn't this what your
posts in this thread point towards? The point of the rather sensational
tabloid Castaneda post?

I'm not advocating platonism here; merely that I'm undecided on these
issues, and argue Platonism for fun. Especially since it's so easy to argue
the materialist side. All you have to do is argue that your theology and
state of the world are in line with each other: inner beliefs fit with
outside appearances. Finished, done, clear.

Taking up immaterial side is much harder. That we experience matter but
assert reality counter to what our senses suggest... this puts every
platonic reasoner in a sort of hypocrisy defense mode by default. The
platonic side of the ontological coin is thus much more vulnerable to

I'd say 1 to 10: Ten materialist posts well reasoned are equivalent to one
platonic post well reasoned, because the platonic reasoner has to go
counter their primary conviction that this kind of argument/thought is
waste of time in view of the one in the first place, which the materialist
is not bound to, being enchanted by everything that bounces along. The
platonic thinker has to account for the complex illusion of appearances
while the materialist can just "well, that's how it is, as you can see".

>  when all it needs is reason: if the western reader had had sufficient
> mystical experience with techniques of trance and ecstasy, that book would
> have never made the bestseller list.
> How is experience the same as reason?  That's the attitude that
> charlatan's prey on: "If you don't believe in my magic you're just
> prejudiced, you have to try it first."  Your theory seems to be that if
> people had sufficient experience with travel to other planets and
> remembering their time in the womb they wouldn't be taken in by
> Scientology?  I can think of a lot easier and more efficient ways of
> avoiding nonsense than by indulging in it.

Then all victims of manipulation are idiots. As are the people "who indulge
in nonsense".

That's too easy but not easy enough ;-) I can relate to people's ignorance
on many levels because of my own. Especially regarding the issue of
poison/medicine. That's for people to decide themselves. Keep in mind that
before we had test tubes and rats, people had to "indulge in nonsense" for
the birth of pharmacology.

The "indulging in nonsense argument" sounds quite puritan. Sometimes you
don't sound like this. Indulging in nonsense is part of experiment and
inquiry, especially when new fields open and open problems abound.

>  People would have thrown it into the trash, ridiculing the inept and
> naive consumption of poisons, as well as the experiential results that the
> book points towards.
> Exactly what I did with it after reading a few pages.  So why wasn't I
> "ideal prey for this kind of  manipulation"?

Two lines ago you "can think of a lot more efficient ways of avoiding
nonsense than by indulging in it", and now you are the authority on
mystical experience and associated poison use? That doesn't seem to fit.
Which is it then?

Summing this up, Bruno's use seems quite standard, although Plotinus' use
of various terms is not always consistent, purposefully vague, which is why
he criticizes analytical engagement of content of his writings; indeed why
he avoided writing until convinced otherwise, according to various sources.
This, along with some problems in his use of beauty can be looked at
critically if we want to play sharp. But this stuff here is just basics.

Also, what does it matter that majority interprets some transcendental term
like xyz inaccurately? We should aim for the best interpretations with
rationality as tool. PGC

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