When I first came across polyvalent logic, I thought to myself, what a cop-out. So you are telling me that you believe in X, but you also believe in Y, and sometimes you believe in XY? Of course my thinking on matters was still quite concrete at that time. I wanted to write this blog for the person who was just as confused as I was, in a hope that I can explain it in some simple terms.
Polyvalent logic isn’t an all encompassing acceptance of a million truths. What it does teach us is that just because we believe that bunnies are gray, doesn’t mean they can’t be white. It is very closely linked to the idea of monolatry – the idea that god is made up of thousands of individual parts that can exist on their own, combine with each other, and sometimes even combine into one.
The easiest example of polyvalent logic is the Kemetic Creation stories. We have multiple myths: Atum rising from the Nun, the Ogdoad rising from the primordial waters, Ptah crafting the universe, and other tales involving Khmun, Khepri, and Amun. All these stories are different and have a specific focus. So which one is true? The easiest answer is all of them. Which one is false? Well, all of them. That is were the polyvalent logic emerges. What is important in these myths is the message in that story at that moment of life you are presently in. One message may be what you need right now. The others may be at a later or earlier date.
Believing in more than one concept at a time is not that far fetched. All we need to do is look at science and see how a combination of multiple theories leads us into a more accurate understanding of a subject. Take psychology for example. If we focus on just one theory, such as Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory, we can see several places where a complete understanding of the mind cannot be achieved. However if we take Freud’s theory, combine it with Piaget’s Cognitive Development, Erickson’s Development, Sullivan’s Interpersonal Theory, and Beck’s cognitive theory, we really start to see something fascinating develop. We also begin to have an understanding of the mind that each theory individually cannot express. This is the same way with many of the myths and beliefs of Kemet.
Unverified personal gnosis (UPG) is frequently talked about in the pagan community. To be frank, all UPG states is personal opinion. It is unverfied because it is not proven fact. This means it has not undergone the tests of scientific rigor and is just something we notice. It is personal because what might be true for me may not be true for you. I know Wesir loves my mom’s potato salad (and who wouldn’t? It really rocks!) but that doesn’t mean if I give you my mom’s potato salad and you give to Him that we will like it at all. A mother kissing her child’s “boo-boo” may make it feel better than someone else kissing it. Gnosis is just a spiritual insight, and as everyone’s spirituality is different so are our personal spiritual insights. It creates a culture of spiritual diversity.
So when someone says Nebt-tet likes cheetos and coke, that is a UPG. You may or may not get a good reaction from Nebt-tet, but don’t scorn someone else who does. Yinepu would slap me clear into the Duat if I ever thought about giving Him a toy, but that doesn’t mean Shemsu Roscoe wouldn’t get an overly thrilled reaction. So when it comes to UPG, remember that it is Unverified, Personal, and one’s personal gnosis. It works for them. Thank the gods for diversity.
These two items were important for me to discuss because they do affect my belief system frequently. It also affects my paths into vodou and freemasonry as well. Without these two major milestones I do not think my current spiritual life would function. Instead of being built like stone, it flows more like water. It merges where it needs and forms around everything it needs to. Polyvalent logic and UPG gives each of us that personal edge we need. It gives us a connection with god that is difficult to achieve when your thinking is concrete and absolute. It expands our consciousness and allows our souls to be filled with all possibilities.