Jan 05, 1994 08:20 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
Your communication today came as quite a surprise concerning
two of the three items you covered. My first surprise is that
Nicholas Weeks had written you. We saw Nicholas and Dara while
passing through Los Angeles during our vacation. I almost fell
off the chair when he mentioned you by name! But he later
explained that he really didn't know you, but that Brenda had
been coming to him for S.D. quotes to use in our discussion
group--therefore he was aware of what we are doing. I briefed him
on the nature of our discussion group, and expressed an
appreciation for anything he could contribute. That he wrote you
directly is quite a surprise. How did he get your address? If
you are going to post your response to him, will you be able to
post what you are responding to also? Otherwise, we will only be
getting one side of the conversation.
My second surprise is your writing that I "suggested that
HPB uses `psychology' as the `modern day psychologists' use,
namely devoid of the idea of soul." Where did I suggest this?
If I ever wrote this, it certainly does not represent my opinion
on the matter. In fact, in the very statement you quoted from
me, I said exactly the opposite:
> Therefore HPB in the footnote on page 620 was trying to
> direct the reader back to the older, pre-modern-scientific
> understanding of psychology as a study of the mind or soul,
> and *not* as it came to mean by 1879, as a branch of the
> biological sciences.
To my own re-reading of my quote, I am saying that HPB *is* in
this instance using the term "psychology" as a study of the mind
or soul. This is the older use of the term. In other places she
uses the term in the modern (for her time) sense, i.e. as a
branch of biology. If all depends upon the overall point she is
trying to make.
My point is that HPB, as far as I have been able to tell,
does not have a special definition for the word "psychology."
Instead, she assumes the dictionary definitions. In the footnote
on p. 620, she is only directing the reader to an earlier
dictionary definition, that would have been known to anyone over
twelve years old at that time. That definition therefore, was
hardly esoteric. I can't think of a good parallel for this
today, because language isn't changing as fast as it was in the
1850's though 1880's. Perhaps a bad example that might get the
point across is a Theosophical lecture I attended in Los Angeles
in the 1960's. The speaker was the Australian Clairvoyant,
Geoffrey Hodson. He talked about the "fairies" that he knew and
spoke to. The younger members of the audience chuckled all
through it. Hodson, being of a much earlier generation, and from
another English speaking country, didn't realize that "fairy" had
obtained to very different meaning here--especially in Los
On the other hand, I have pages of notes citing where HPB
has made a point to define key words in a certain way, rather
than depending upon dictionary meanings. This she does with
foreign words of course, but also sometimes with English words.
These definitions usually look more like encyclopedic entries.
For instance, look on page 48 vol. I of the S.D. Here, she goes
into a long drawn out discussion defining the words "alaya" and
"paramartha." This is a pretty typical example of the type of
thing she does for key terms. Instead of giving a ten word or
less definition to memorize, she will discuss the various
meanings in different philosophical schools. After the reader
has gone through the pain of reading and digesting all of this, a
working idea of her use of the word will emerge. In the case of
the word "psychology," I have never found such an instance,
because it is in itself, not a key word in the S.D. However,
there are lots of discussions on such terms as "consciousness,"
"soul," "mind," etc. and they all get their own special
Regarding the quote that Brenda found using the term
psychology--this was in context with the discussion concerning
the existence of a psychological key--not in defining the word
psychology. As I recall, Brenda had offered that quote as
evidence of the existence of this key as mentioned by AAB. I
thought I had sufficiently addressed this issue, and had shown
that HPB was *not* referring to a "psychological key" in Brenda's
quote. Brenda appears to have been satisfied with my response.
If you are not, what still needs to be discussed concerning this?
I understand that you are still convinced that somewhere in HPB's
writings, she discusses a "psychological key." I can't say that
she doesn't--I'm only saying that I have never seen it, nor has
anyone I have studied under, ever made reference to it, nor has
anyone I have talked to ever seen it. Therefore I deeply doubt
that such a reference does exist, and I will be very surprised if
it turns up.
Regarding your reference to Isis Unveiled (I: xxvii-xxviii),
I think that my comments above also cover this. But in context
with this reference, I should add that her definition here is
also very standard. "Psychology" is the combination of two
words: Psyche; meaning "soul," and ology; a suffix meaning "the
study of." Thus to define psychology as "the science of the
soul" is a truism, *not* an esoteric definition. If you read
immediately beyond where you ended your quote, you will see that
she also discusses the modern use of the word:
In modern science, psychology relates only or principally to
conditions of the nervous system, and almost absolutely
ignores the psychical essence and nature. Physicians
denominate the science of insanity psychology, and name the
lunatic chair in medical colleges by that designation."
So, as you see, even here she makes the same distinction of there
being two definitions of the term, just as she did in the
citation you gave in the SD.
As for the other references you have found. I agree with
you, she is in these instances using the word "psychology" in the
old sense, and does so most of the time. As I pointed out above,
this definition is neither esoteric, nor uncommon.
I hope this clarifies things.
I will make you a xerox copy of THE PSEUDO OCCULTISM OF
ALICE BAILEY, as I only have a personal copy, and I don't carry
it in stock. But if you prefer a published copy, I will order it
for you. The pamphlet is solidly against Alice Bailey's writings,
and I understand it caused quite a stir when it came out. Victor
Endersby did an updated annotated republishing of it in
THEOSOPHICAL NOTES the 1960's or 70's.
I have shipped your books today. Two are on back order and
I will send them as soon as received.
Your message today was aborted halfway through and jammed my
machine while I was trying to download it.
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