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Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2002 15:38:48 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerry Friedman 
Subject: RE: (urth) Gnostic Wolfe

--- Dan'l Danehy-Oakes  wrote:
> Nutria,
> > 3. Typhon is, IMO, much like the Demiurge, in that 
> > he forms his Whorl out of preexisting matter. Pas
> > rules this Whorl, so he is not a "demiurge" but
> > merely a "god."
> Okay, this is a distinction I had failed to make ...
> somehow, I have this tendency to think of Typhon and
> Pas as one entity. My bad. With this distinction, the
> analogy/allegory becomes much clearer ...

So when they say "Pas made the whorl", they mean Typhon?
> > But the Outsider, is just that: outside of it all.
> > He is the Creator, not a Prime Mover, and the cosmos 
> > is not made out of his substance. He is outside of
> > it, not the highest part of it.
> Part of the issue, of course, is that the Outsider is 
> Outside because the gods of the Whorl deliberately
> shut him out -- tried to erase all memory of him when
> they reprogrammed the original Cargo. But memory of the
> "long sun Whorl" religion, in trace form, remained, and
> became part of the Writings, in the few references to
> the Outsider ...

Is there textual evidence that that's the origin of the Outsider?

> > 6. Greco-Roman gods and myths were not much different 
> > from Semitic/Canaanite ones, and really, Nordic ones 
> > were not much different either. 
> There is _so_ much "point of view" to be taken into account
> here ... if you take the point of view of someone like Graves
> or Campbell, you find all manner of similarity, and uncover
> the Deep Psychic Structures of "all" religions. If you take
> the point of view of someone like Lewis, you perceive that
> they are quite different in orientation -- that the Nordic
> myths, for example, are deeply pessimistic in a way that
> neither the Greek nor the Middle-eastern myths are. According
> to the Norse myths, the monsters will win in the end, and
> heroism is simply a matter of dying well.

That's not unknown in the Greek myths, though they don't have such a
statement about the fate of the world (as far as I know).  There are
similarities that they don't share with "all religions": both the Greek
and Norse pantheons are ruled by father gods, and both have somewhat
shadowy earlier gods (Titans and Vanir).  And there are differences.  It
depends on what's important to you.

> Middle-eastern
> myth believed that the world was created well but became
> damaged or flawed in some ur-event; most Middle-eastern
> religious ritual was aimed at bringing back the prelapsarian
> time, or at least making the present more like it. (Israelite 
> religion, as was usual for Israel, took up this theme and 
> transformed it into something quite different -- yes, the 
> world had Fallen, but no amount of ritual was going to undo 
> that; you had to live in the world as it was. Religion was
> not aimed at bringing back the golden past but at present
> blessings.) I don't really see _any_ of these attitudes in
> "classical" myth.

I don't see a belief in Judaism that the world has fallen.  Adam and Eve
were punished, partly by being expelled from Paradise, but the world
wasn't changed.  (Their descendants didn't become sinful either.)  And in
the only other Middle Eastern myth I know, that of Gilgamesh, Paradise
still exists and is reachable by ship.

> > If I might put words in his
> > mouth, I would suggest that he
> > is saying that some kind of gnostic/polytheistic
> > understanding of the universe is what everybody naturally
> > thinks until or unless they come to a Christian "creational"
> > view of the universe; and that the psychological process of
> > moving from the former to the latter does not happen overnight,
> > but takes time. 
> Well said. 

I hope he doesn't believe that!  Polytheistic, yes, but not gnostic.  If
we can guess what everyone "naturally" thinks, it would be animism.  The
animistic religions I have "a little learning" about, mostly those of the
Navajo and Tewa, are far more this-world oriented than any kind of
Christianity, and in this sense more or less the opposite of (most?)

Jerry Friedman

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