Nova Logos: Reification

March 14, 2009 at 2:52 am ("Like it says on the tin.", Prodigal Valentine) ()

New feature on the Gos.of.Mikjij blog: Whenever I run across a new word or concept, it will go under the Nova Logos tag/byline. Bad pun yes, and yes, I am unrepentant about that fact. Deal.


Reification (also known as hypostatisation or concretism) is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a “real thing” something which is not a real thing, but merely an idea. For example: when one person “holds another’s affection”, affection is being reified.

Note that reification is generally accepted in literature and other forms of discourse where reified abstractions are understood to be intended metaphorically, for example, “Justice is blind.” But the use of reification in logical arguments is usually regarded as a mistake (fallacy). For example, “Justice is blind; the blind cannot read printed laws; therefore, to print laws cannot serve justice.” In rhetoric it may be sometimes difficult to determine if reification was used correctly or incorrectly.

Pathetic fallacy or anthropomorphic fallacy (in literature known as personification) is a specific subset of reification, where the theoretical concepts are not only considered alive, but human-like and intelligent.

The discussion of reification of interest to this blog can be found here, as to how reification is used as a fallacy of ambiguity as it relates to atheism/agnosticism.

Of course, it should be noted that hypostatization is really just the use of metaphor – but, as a fallacy, it is metaphor which has been taken too far. It can be very useful to employ metaphors and abstractions in what we write, but they carry a danger in that we can begin to believe, without realizing it, that our abstract entities have the concrete attributes we metaphorically ascribe to them.

How we describe a thing has a great influence on what we believe about it, which means that our impression of reality is often structured by the language we use to describe reality. Thus, this fallacy teaches us to be careful in how we describe things, lest we begin to imagine that our description has an objective essence beyond the language itself.


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Changing it up.

March 10, 2009 at 11:03 am (Praxis)

I am trying to resume praxis. I am still using this rosary of the ascent, but have found more effect using the Sophian mythologies with the decades. I haven’t remembered the Ascent of the Seven Spheres completely yet, so when I am away from the computer, I fall more easily into the Sophianic myth-cycle than the Poimandrian one, anyway.

When I first began praxis, it was very much a matter of distracting the language centre of my brain, so that the visualization centre could be left to its own devices to free-associate and, hopefully, provide insight. The last couple of rosaries I have used in praxis, however, I have tried to not engage the language centre at all, i.e., I try not to sub-vocalize the prayers, instead to only “think” them. Much easier said than done! (sorry)

When it “works”, I note a sensation of pressure in the exact centre of my forehead, extending almost as far back as my temples. It is neither pleasant nor unpleasant, but it is a tangible physical sensation, subjective or not. Changing the position of my head has no effect on the sensation, it only disappears when I begin to subvocalize again. Perhaps this is a portion of my cerebral cortex that will function more effortlessly once it is better-developed?

The visuals are becoming much more varied and loosely randomized, but I get the distinct impression that they are noise and NOT signal, and as such are distractions, that must be discarded. I am following this hunch, which seems for the moment, to be correct.

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The gnostic book of….Romans?! And the Johannine “Comma”

March 6, 2009 at 12:22 am ("Like it says on the tin.", Gnostic Texts, my funny valentine, Reading)

Say it ain’t so! But look what I just stumbled across:

(Following has been taken from the NKJV, with the NU Text footnotes preferred and insert words removed.)

Rom. 14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, not to disputes over doubtful things. 2 For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables.

Hah! Yeah I’ve been there before. You wouldn’t believe how popular vegetarian restaurants were, amongst the members of the church, back in the day. Best way to “know for sure” after all. 😛

3 Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5 One person esteems day above another; another esteems every day. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

“Men create gods. That is the way it is in the world. Men create gods, and worship their creation. It would be better for gods to worship men!” Gospel of Philip

6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.

Presumably these verses are where the universalists take their dogma from.

9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

The NKJV footnote reads: “NU-Text omits and rose.” This would be consistent with the metaphysically-manifesting christological figure in The Secret Book of John, and perhaps an oblique reference to the ascent through the spheres from the Faith of Wisdom texts? Compare also with this passage from On the Exegesis of the Soul: “Now it is fitting that the soul regenerates herself and become again as she formerly was. The soul then moves of her own accord. And she received the divine nature from the father for her rejuvenation, so that she might be restored to the place where originally she had been. This is the resurrection that is from the dead.”

10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.

The NKJV notes, once again, that “of Christ” was a later addition, and the verse initially read as above. I no longer see this verse in an apocalyptic light, nor do I see this verse  as prophesying some future Great White Throne Judgement. I believe now that this verse exhorts an ongoing self-judgement (“men create gods”) that it would benefit us all to undertake. See also “Baptism by Fire”.

Now on to “the Johaninne Comma”, which I didn’t even realize existed. Here we have Version A, the popular form of the verse that is extant in all of the literal fundamentalist Christian world today (“The Empire never ended.”)

John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 “And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

Let us examine the text without the added “comma”:

John 5:7 “For there are three that bear record, 8 the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.”

This maps quite nicely to the neocortex, the cerebral cortex, and the paleocortex, although surely the verse could not have been understood in those terms two thousand years ago.

They would not have understood (except perhaps dimly, the way the author of the Gospel of Philip did) that the narratives they gained such powerful transformative effects by, actually came from within themselves, and were not bestowed by some literalized, anthropomorphized externalized entity. Or maybe they did understand that, and it has just unfortunately been lost in translation, three thousand years on.

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