Don to John and Eldon
Sep 29, 1993 00:13 AM
by Donald J. Degracia
I would like to comment to both Eldon and John Mead regarding
the discussion of late:
To Eldon: First, I want to thank you for your open minded response
to my comments. That is very much appreciated. I would however, like
to suggest that there is an interesting dichotomy to your thought
regarding the issue of bringing theosophy more "up to date". Or at
least, I perceive in your statements a dichotomy. After explaining to
you what I mean, you can tell me if my perception is correct or not.
You make comments such as:
<It is important to not be swept along by the currents of popular
thought, even along New Age lines, but seek out that timeless,
eternal, unchanging source of wisdom within.>
<The value I find in Theosophy comes from what I find *within* it,>
<And that experience cannot be passed on with a written or spoken
I would suggest Eldon, that perhaps you are confusing the ineffable
(i.e. unspeakable) with the effable. What I mean by this, is that,
of course, there is an eternal, unchanging reality that pervades all
existence. The Hindus call this reality "Brahman" or "Atman". One can
directly experience this reality and such an experience is called
variously "enlightenment", "nirvana", "samasamadi", "cosmic
consciousness", etc. This experience is ineffable. It cannot be
contained in words or symbols. Yet, this reality is an utter paradox
for, though no words or thoughts can capture this reality, this reality
is the underlying reality behind all things, including words and
thoughts. All Maya is Brahman.
So, on the basis of your quotes above, it is clear that you have
at least some comprehension of the ineffable in Nature.
But then you make comments such as:
<...simplified version of Theosophy, which could be
called "theosophy lite", become interblended with popular thought
and have its moment in history. I personally prefer to study the
more-complete version, something that is not really suited for
the general public.>
<Theosophy is a limited, exoteric expression of something that is
timeless, something far removed from the ephemeral changes on the
<and to cling to anything that is seen physically is to
grasp a maya, to choose the unreal over the truly real.>
It seems to me here that you are trying to say that Theosophy has
some type of grasp upon the ineffable. In spite of changing human
fashions, there is some eternal aspect of theosophy that never changes.
What I would suggest, Eldon, is that "maya" is an absolute term. Once
maya always maya. Anything that can be expressed in a form is maya.
Theosophy, the theosophical society and all that has come from it; all
these things are from the realm of form. They are forms that point to
the ineffable, but forms nonetheless. Thus, they too are maya.
I guess my point is: how can you distinguish amongst the maya? Was
not the theosophical society the peak of fashion in the late 1800s?
The point I'm getting at is that it seems to me to be highly
arbitrary to attempt to single out something, anything, and say
that this something is more an expression of the ineffable than
anything else. Sure, "Theosophy is a limited, exoteric expression
of something that is timeless..." But I ask you, Eldon, what is not?
All things are an expression of the ineffable. This is the essence of
what I mean when I say "a holistic viewpoint". From a holistic point
of view, there is *no* preferred frame of reference, not in any
absolute sense. Any preference you have for one piece of the maya over
any other piece of the maya is purely an athestic judgement, a
subjective value call. There may be perfectly understandable reasons
for your preferences, whatever they are. But they are *only*
preferences, and you can't act like there is anything special going on.
As I said, looking at the history of the TS, it is but a microcosm
of the history of Humanity, with all the goods and bads thrown in.
We have brought up this idea of the descent of divine impulses and
asked if we here on the list are willing to attempt to determine
the character of the impulse that is today transforming the
world. If there is one word to define this impulse it is the
word "inclusive". Inclusive means "containing all things".
Or as Michael put it, a positive affirmation for all the things
in the world. John's word for this idea was "eclectic".
This impulse *levels* things, makes distinctions go away, and makes
things equal. This impulse has been operative since Buddha, and has
taken many forms as it's manifestation has grown: Alexander the
Great, the Roman Empire, Jesus Christ, the modern physicists' quest
for a "grand unified field theory", mass production, the movement
towards democracy some 200 years ago: All of these and many more
examples are all illustrations of the key note of the impulse that has
been trying to be born on the Earth. Again, the key word is
"inclusiveness". The opposite of "exclusive".
This is what Michael and John and I all mean when we talk about
"making theosophy modern". We mean eliminating the exclusivistic
mentality that permeates theosophy, a mentality you yourself are
displaying. And replacing this exclusiveness with a mind-set of
inclusiveness, of inclusion. Not a mentality that says, "these
things are right, but these things are wrong", but a mentality that
says, "all things are right". Not a mentality that says "everyone
is entitled to their own beliefs", because even this opinion is
caught up in the illusion of exclusiveness, the exclusiveness of the
individual ego/personality each with their own beliefs and opinions.
No, this is not what is meant by "holistic". Holistic implies
transcending the purely personal ego level of existence, transcending
opinions and coming to a level of total embrace: my opinion *is* your
opinion, my belief *is* your belief. There is no exclusion, only
At this point, I don't want to go too deeply into the mentality of the
holistic mind. That is not my point. Again, Eldon, like I said at the
start, it appears to me that there is this exclusiveness to your view
of theosophy as if it's some special form of maya. And like I said,
I'm not pointing a finger as much as I'm asking you if this is what you
are indeed saying.
I will always stand open to correction. So let me know your thoughts.
Next, on to comments to John Mead:
John is correct: technology has brought us to a global world,
a unified humanity. Not theosophy, but technology has accomplished
this. The world may not be unified in spirit or in mind, but it is
unified in physical fact. John asks:
<Is the Next Generation to take a Theosophical approach
to life, and if so what is it?>
Perhaps this is where a changed theosophical society could make
a difference. Instead of being an exclusivistic, fragmented set of
sects, a revitalized and 21st century theosophical society could
be an exemplar of a unity of human spirit by opening up to and
embracing all that is in human spirit and mind.
And there is no question that a very firm foundation in this
direction has been laid down already. From Blavatsky, through
Besant, through Rudhyar, through all of the very prominent
theosophical authors, again and again it is illustrated the unity
of all religions: "all paths lead to the same end". But this is only
in the books. The history tells a different story.
I'd like to say to John that I agree with Eldon that looking
at history is important. I don't think we need to tone down on
discussing it here. I think we should look both forward and backward,
not only with regard to theosophy but again, how theosophy fits into
the rest of the world.
At any rate, the history of the TS tells a different story.
Krishnamurti did not blow off the TS for nothing. He saw an incredible
amount of hypocrisy and in-fighting, ego games and all the other
disgusting things that make humans less than animals. All of the
branchings listed by Eldon and Jerry represent *ruptures*, fissions,
not organic outgrowths in the TS. As I implied formerly, this is
really something to be embarrassed by, or definitely not proud of.
Take a contrary situation, for example in science. A branching of
thought in science is a step forward, a good thing. So, someone
runs a current of electricity through a salt solution and form two
old sciences, chemistry and electricity, a thind, new science
of electrochemistry is born. We see here not a fracturing
or fission, but a *synthesis* or *fusion*. Through such a fusion
growth occurs, and this is good. It is a positive advancement of
knowledge, and this is the kind of thing the theosophical society
needs to start doing amongst all its various sects.
So, what is the prescription for bringing theosophy into the 21st
century? Fusion, synthesis, inclusiveness. Not in ideas written
in books, but in actual fact. The TS could be an incredible
clearing house for an all embracing eclectic spirituality. In a
sense it is this already, at least all of the necessary framework
is in place. But for all the words and talk, the real challenge is:
can the members live up to this ideal? Can they manifest this ideal
before theosophy and the TS become but a forgotten fragment of
history, a mere passing fad, much as the 19th century concept
of "the ether" did.
Eldon does not think it is important to keep up with the changing
"fads" of history, but, that is all history is is changing fads!
Time marches on and you can either march with it or not. If you
don't, you sink back into the subconscious oblivion from whence you
came. Its not a matter of "passing fads", its a matter of being
sensitive to the changing needs of Humanity around you.
So, nuff for now. Good night all.
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