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Author Topic: "A Brief Practical Guide to Handling Personal Gnosis" by Elizabeth Vongvisith  (Read 3099 times)

Lokabrenna

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I found this article on UPG just now and I thought it might be of interest to some: http://twilightandfire.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/practical-guide-to-personal-gnosis/

I agree with much of what was said in there, and I think it elaborates on my own perspective on UPG/PCPG.

Note: It is from the perspective of a non-reconstructionist hard polytheist so I can't promise it will appeal to everyone. Still, I think it's worth a read.

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Quote from: Lokabrenna;17893
I found this article on UPG just now and I thought it might be of interest to some: http://twilightandfire.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/practical-guide-to-personal-gnosis/

I agree with much of what was said in there, and I think it elaborates on my own perspective on UPG/PCPG.

Note: It is from the perspective of a non-reconstructionist hard polytheist so I can't promise it will appeal to everyone. Still, I think it's worth a read.

 
It does for UPG very much what Darkhawk's essay On Eclecticism does for eclecticism.

On reflection, I think I would have liked to see a bit more attention to what UPG is and isn't.  From time to time we see a rash here on TC of people using the term to refer to stuff that, while it's definitely unverified and personal, and may well meet the standards of usefulness referred to in Vongvisith's article, really isn't gnosis unless one broadens the definition of "gnosis" into near-meaninglessness - it's not simply a synonym for "opinion" or "idea" or even "insight".  While Vongvisith is clearly, from context, using "gnosis" precisely, not broadly, she doesn't explicate that precise meaning - in this respect, her article falls somewhat short of the standard of DH's (of which about half is devoted to ways in which eclecticism can be done poorly - I would class sloppy and over-broad usage of gnosis/UPG as "how to do UPG poorly").

I'd venture that Vongvisith is more accustomed to, or at any rate was thinking more about, places in which UPG, as a concept/approach, is much more contentious - TC, after all, is where the acronym was coined, and forum culture itself mitigates against both the worst misuses of the concept and the reflexive rejection of it - so I'm not by any means saying she slipped up; it's a relatively minor point beside the major ones she's focused on.  I may, though, drop her a comment suggesting it be addressed in a followup article, or be included in later revisions.

I wasn't familiar with PCPG - in fact, I anticipated asking you about it in my reply - but it comes up in the article (Peer-Corroborated Personal Gnosis, for those who aren't clicking through).  I confess to being rather attached to TC's usual term, SPG (the "s" is Shared), but I suspect that's from familiarity; the more I think about it, the more I find "peer-corroborated" to be a more precise term, and thus preferable in many contexts.

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Quote from: SunflowerP;17957
I wasn't familiar with PCPG - in fact, I anticipated asking you about it in my reply - but it comes up in the article (Peer-Corroborated Personal Gnosis, for those who aren't clicking through).  I confess to being rather attached to TC's usual term, SPG (the "s" is Shared), but I suspect that's from familiarity; the more I think about it, the more I find "peer-corroborated" to be a more precise term, and thus preferable in many contexts.

 
To elaborate:  the article says, 'two people with the same conclusions may be a matter of coincidence, but three people sharing the same bit of previously unknown information, independently of each other, makes it “verified personal gnosis,” or sometimes “peer-corroborated personal gnosis.”''  I definitely don't care for the "VPG" construction, which implies a simple binary of verified/unverified (complete with all the baggage, both denotative and connotative, of "verify"); it seems more nuanced and useful to speak of corroboration, and of various different means of corroboration that have different implications (lore of the literary sort, compiled long after Christianization and quite possibly reframed?  physical archaeology?  etc).

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RandallS

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Quote from: SunflowerP;17959
To elaborate:  the article says, 'two people with the same conclusions may be a matter of coincidence, but three people sharing the same bit of previously unknown information, independently of each other, makes it “verified personal gnosis,” or sometimes “peer-corroborated personal gnosis.”''  I definitely don't care for the "VPG" construction, which implies a simple binary of verified/unverified (complete with all the baggage, both denotative and connotative, of "verify"); it seems more nuanced and useful to speak of corroboration, and of various different means of corroboration that have different implications (lore of the literary sort, compiled long after Christianization and quite possibly reframed?  physical archaeology?  etc).

I agree, "peer-corroborated personal gnosis" seems like a much more accurate term than "verified personal gnosis".
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Quote from: RandallS;17974
I agree, "peer-corroborated personal gnosis" seems like a much more accurate term than "verified personal gnosis".


I also prefer "PCPG", to me "verified" implies that it's received *someone's* "stamp of approval" or that it's somehow "true" now because a bunch of people have come to the same conclusion. PCPG/SPG makes it sound more like a collaborative effort.

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Quote from: Lokabrenna;18027
I also prefer "PCPG", to me "verified" implies that it's received *someone's* "stamp of approval" or that it's somehow "true" now because a bunch of people have come to the same conclusion. PCPG/SPG makes it sound more like a collaborative effort.

 
You put it so much more straightforwardly and comprehensibly than I did.

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Garnet

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Quote from: SunflowerP;17957
 While Vongvisith is clearly, from context, using "gnosis" precisely, not broadly, she doesn't explicate that precise meaning


I found it interested that her definition excluded direct communication from deities and Others - that's always been included in how I understood the term.

I found the article useful overall, especially the discussion about sharing UPG.

SatSekhem

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Quote from: Lokabrenna;17893
...

I agree with much of what was said in there, and I think it elaborates on my own perspective on UPG/PCPG.

Note: It is from the perspective of a non-reconstructionist hard polytheist so I can't promise it will appeal to everyone. Still, I think it's worth a read.

 
I thank you for having posted this. It definitely gives some food for thought.
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Quote from: Garnet;19650
I found it interested that her definition excluded direct communication from deities and Others - that's always been included in how I understood the term.

 
Well, she's including direct communication in her definition for the purposes of the article (which is probably why I didn't especially notice that bit and had to go back and reread).

But, yeah, it appears that she excludes it, or at any rate doesn't wholly include it, in other contexts.  From what she says, that's because she sees direct communication as functioning differently for the recipients from other sorts of UPG - but it seems to me that's not a genuine difference in function, it's more an artifact of people applying the very things she's talking about more rigorously to other sorts of UPG than to direct communication (it's not like some of the other sorts never function as incontrovertible personal truth for people).  Which is exactly why it's so necessary to include direct comm in these guidelines - if she'd excluded it here, I would have been heaping scorn rather than praise.

Possibly there's something there that I'm just not equipped to get - I don't do "incontrovertible"; I have to function in terms of usefulness and "acting as if".

Sunflower
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Garnet

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Quote from: SunflowerP;20187

Possibly there's something there that I'm just not equipped to get - I don't do "incontrovertible"; I have to function in terms of usefulness and "acting as if".


Same here. I try to be *more* rigorous about how I deal with direct communication, especially if it's going to have a big impact on my life. There's also a bit of a false dichotomy here, as part of what I consider "direct communication" includes things like kinesthetic impressions, not just words, and might not fall under that category for someone else.

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