Friday, July 26, 2019
3:10 a.m. So let’s see if we can’t wrap up our examination of the Gospel of Thomas. I believe we were going to look a little more at the final saying, which looks to have been added on at some time after the initial compilation.
We remind you of the difference between spirt and soul. Spirit is eternal, unchangeable, not essentially human. It is the electricity that powers the system, so to speak. Soul is very much rooted in time, very much malleable by circumstances and one’s reaction to circumstance, and is absolutely human. Soul is the specific human character(istic).
I started to write “characteristic,” which wasn’t right, but I’m not sure “character” is right either.
In any case, the two words, so carelessly confounded in your time, are different aspects of the compound being that is a human.
Yes. Peter Novak’s book The Division of Consciousness, that I published long ago, that I said may have been the most important book we published. That’s where I first learned the difference between soul and spirit.
The peril here is that in Jesus’ time, the distinction was known, and there was a question as to whether women had a soul. This wasn’t asking if they were human, as ignorance of the difference between spirit and soul would suggest. It was saying that spirit and soul manifested differently in men and women, or so it was thought.
I or you – one of us is muddling this.
No, it is that you are trying to keep it straight – in essence, trying to keep us from making mistakes – and so you not only get lost, you get worried, and the connection wavers.
An old, old problem.
Not “old, old” from our point of view: You’ve only been doing this a little while; it is natural for you to still wobble as you ride the bicycle.
A little while, in this case, means since 2005 if you count one way, since 1989 if you count another way. But 14 or 30 years doesn’t amount to much in your eyes, I understand. In any case, I’ll try to stop wobbling. Go ahead; I’ll put my caveat right out in front: I don’t know if it is you or me and don’t know if this is true or false or a little of each.
That might be said of anything and everything, and all the better for you to remember it. Nothing human deals in infallibility.
[As a reminder, Saying 114: Simon Peter said to them: Mary should leave us because women are not worthy of the life. Jesus responded: Look, I’ll lead her in order to make her male so that she can become a living spirit as you males are. For each woman who makes herself male will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.]
The question is, what did Saying 114 mean? When Simon Peter said “women are not worthy of the life,” Jesus did not correct him and say, “Oh yes they are.” He said, I will show her how to make herself male “so that she can become a living spirit as you males are.” That is an important statement that would clarify something if you and your time and your prejudices would let it.
Our prejudices? It looks to us like their prejudices.
Prejudice always looks like someone else’s blindness to the obvious.
Well, that’s a different slant on it.
You think, “They didn’t see that men and women are of equal worth,” and that’s true enough. But perhaps they would reply that you don’t see that equal worth does not mean identical in nature. There is hardly a culture on earth, now or ever, including most in yours, that would fail to recognize that men and women are different.
When I was in college a thousand years ago, one of the college officials was mocked for saying just that, in exactly those five words. It was taken as a simple-minded statement.
Perhaps in his case it was, or perhaps college students are not inclined to judge fairly. In any case, hear us now: Men and women are different.
Not that each sex does not include characteristics of the opposite sex, in degrees that vary according to the individual. Not that male equals masculine or female equals feminine, else sexual orientation would be a simple binary division, which of course it is not. Nevertheless – and it is striking that so simple a point should need stating and even defending – men and women are different from each other. And everybody knows it except when they are defending a theory or are entangled in a political or ideological struggle that requires them to pretend otherwise lest they concede or seem to concede a vital point. That is, the fight for equality of rights, equality of opportunity, equality of regard, one might say, brings in its wake the need (or rather the perceived need) to pretend that the essential differences between men and women are not essential but accidental or socially induced or – in extreme arguments – non-existent. Yet every moment of your lives reminds you otherwise.
This won’t be a popular argument, I imagine, but you won’t get disagreement from me. I’ve been saying it for years. You see that same thing in questions of color or culture or religion or anything, really: The attempt to say “Different is not inferior’ leads to “Different is non-existent, it doesn’t exist.”
This is more time than we would prefer to spend on a political point, but it has become necessary just because of this point about men and women. But we had better make plain our position.
Any society that values men above women – or women above men, for that matter – is in error, and demonstrates that it is over-identified with only one point on a polarity. But any society or part of a society that declines to recognize essential differences for fear of reinforcing those who do value one over the other is sacrificing perception and truth to tactical advantage; in short, to propaganda, which is always to greater or lesser extent lies.
But, conceding the difference exists, what is the difference? You can feel it (or some of it) but you cannot define it. so which should you believe, your feelings and perceptions or your thoughts and categories?
Rhetorical question again.
The fact that you take it as rhetorical shows that for you it is self-evident, but we assure you, many people feel quite differently. You know that many people choose to believe their ideas and categories over their knowings. They call it being rational.
And I call it being half-blind, I guess. But I can see that they might think I’m reacting irrationally in listening to my feelings.
Not ir-rationally, but non-rationally, and there’s a big difference between the two!
We’re burning minutes, here. Nearly an hour.
We aren’t delaying not straying, and if we don’t finish today we can finish another time. but we see your impatience. So let’s leave it at this for the moment Men in Jesus’ time were considered to be of a nature essentially different from women, and (erroneously, but naturally) they considered men to be superior rather than merely differing. Your productive line of inquiry ought to be, not, “How far wrong were they?” but “What were they seeing that we are missing or denying?”
And I get that you could tell us that fairly easily, if not for my resistance.
It isn’t your fault and it isn’t within your control (two ways of saying the same thing), but yes, that is the problem. If you didn’t have your own opinion, we would have smoother sailing. It isn’t just that you don’t wish us (or you) to be misunderstood. You still prefer that we stay safely within the bounds of received opinion.
I don’t know how to loosen up any more than I have done.
Return to your feelings mid-session when you did loosen – beginning, say, at “Any society that values men above women” – and perhaps you can recapture the loosening. But meanwhile it is our hour, so perhaps we will need to continue another time. This is actually a more important point than first appears, worthy of yet another approach.
If you say so, okay, till next time. And our thanks as always.