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A delurking introduction and other stuff ...

Aug 07, 1994 01:55 PM
by bill

Hi all,

I've been lurking around on this list since May.  Although I
haven't seen it done on this list, several other mailing lists I
belong to have been gently nudging the lurkers to introduce them-
selves to the list's population to promote more and different in-
teractions on the lists.  So I thought I would take a moment (ac-
tually, considering the length of one of my typical posts,
several moments) of your time and introduce myself and talk about
a couple of things that have been on my mind recently.

I attended Miami University of Ohio back in the early 70's
studying Engineering Technology and Systems Analysis but never
graduated.  2 years in one degree program and 2 in another don't
make for earning enough credits to convince anyone to give you
that all-important piece of paper that says "you made it!"

As my signature will tell you, my name is Bill Parrette (rhymes
with barrette -- a hair clasp).  I am a trainer based in
Cincinnati Ohio who travels around quite a bit teaching about
Unix, C, shell programming, Motif, and so on.  I have been doing
this for ten years and have two books published on related sub-
jects through McGraw-Hill.  Although I am a heavy Unix user, my
home machine is a Mac IIvx.

Without sounding like a personal ad, I am 6', 240 lbs, brown hair,
hazel eyes, sparse beard and moustache (I *always* try to
visualize what the various poster's look like on the mailing
lists I belong to -- it makes things more personal (warm and fuz-
zy) for me -- so in case anyone else has this "problem," I like
to try and help).  I used to play drums in a rock `n roll band, I
am currently studying the work of Robert Monroe and his Hemi-Sync
technology, and I am also trying to grasp the fundamentals of
Theosophy.  My favorite book of all time is Heinlein's
_Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land_.  I usually try to post things that
make people think a little bit usually trying to use a dash of
humor here and there (as my randomly generated signature usually

My introduction to theosophy was kinda' through the back door.
After a minor out-of-body experience some six years ago, I start-
ed researching this unusual phenomena by looking for books in
every book store I entered into -- I am sort of a book-a-holic! I
still remember the visit pretty clearly -- a small out-of-the way
book store in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN.  I was looking on,
what at the time was still called, the occult bookshelf.  There,
almost invisible, wedged between several other, unrelated, larger
books was this plain-looking, small book with a rather non-
descript dark green, paper, dust-jacket entitled
_The_Bodies_of_Man_ by Annie Bessant.  I had no idea if it was
related to my OOBE research or not, but it somehow seemed relat-
ed.  So, on a whim, I bought it, took it back to my hotel room,
and read it.

Inside the book was a small reply-card which I filled in and sent
off to Wheaton.  The literature that came back fascinated me.  I
didn't understand much of what was in the book, and I didn't
understand much of what was said in the literature, but somehow
it *felt right*.  Since, I have been studying OOBE's I have been
trying to pay a lot of attention to my intuition and my intuition
told me here to join the TS.  So, I did.

So I have been a member of the Theosophical Society in America
for about five years now.  First a Member at Large, then when I
found that a local study group was available, I became a member
of the Cincinnati Study Center.  Originally formed by Diana Saf-
fron, the group was led for a long time by Nathan MacGregor.
When Nathan left for Wheaton to work at headquarters he asked me
to take over the reigns.  Unfortunately, because I travel
frequent- ly, and because the regulars tended to be more of what
I would call "new-age addicts" and a very few actual TS members,
when I tried to focus the group's attention on the study of
Theosophical concepts and literature, the majority of the
regulars lost in- terest and the group is currently disbanded.

Anyway, this leaves me with a couple of questions.  First, is it
my imagination or has every theosophical mailing list message
been coming through Theos-L? When I first signed up for the
mailing list, it seems to me that there were supposed to be four
of them:

Theos-L: This lists serves the Universal Village of Theosophists.
No topic is too profound, too insignifi- cant, too old, too new,
or too used.  Here we find our community of ideas and friends.

Theos-News: This list is for the dissemination of News-items
only.  If you are a reclusive Hermit, you will love this list.
No discussions Please.  Just send announcements.  News on
Conferences, Lectures, (news) of Theosophists, (news) about
Theosophists, and possi- bly a prayer, or meditation, or poem.
Please send com- ments and responses elsewhere, or in private

Theos-Roots: This list is meant to (un)cover the Roots of
Theosophy.  History, Existant writings, or dis- cussions on
distinctions and nuances of ideas and in- terpretations.  As the
old growth of the tree of life sends the sap to the new buds,
here we savor these sources of wisdom.  An inferrent branch of
the Movement in evolution.  Look within to see where you come
from and where people have been.

Theos-Buds: The Commencement of the Theosophical Movement.
Evolution, Future trends, Movement, Growth, and even pruning.
Here we discuss ideas within the em- mergent growth of the
Theosophical Movement.  The ef- ferent movement of the evolution
of Theosophy.  Here we discuss our misfourtune of living in
interesting times.

I don't know, maybe I haven't been reading the headers care-
fully, but it seems to me that all of the theosophically related
mail that I get has been coming through Theos-L.  Is there any
reason for this?

Second, I always look at the membership statistics in every issue
of The American Theosophist -- always hovering somewhere around
5000.  It also seems to me that in one issue of The AT, the
president at the time (I don't now remember if it was John or his
predecessor) was bemoaning the fact that membership, although not
declining, was not expanding the way that it could and that we
should all try to find ways to let other people know about the
ideas and philosophies behind theosophy to perhaps encourage the
many like-minded people in the country to give it a try, join The
Society, and see what it is all about.

Well, after five years of frustration myself, I think I may have
an answer for why membership hasn't taken off.  Its a two- fold
problem I think.  First, since many of the concepts and phi-
losophies have their roots in Indian and other Middle-Eastern
religions and philosophies, there are many terms from those ori-
ginal languages that are used by Theosophists on a daily basis.
Second, to make matters worse, when an English word is used for a
particular idea or concept, there is little if any *plain En-
glish* definition of what is meant by the term.  This has frus-
trated me to no end in my study of the bodies of man -- especial-
ly when an article I wrote comparing the theosophical idea of
multiple bodies to the more American idea of an OOBE was turned
down for publication by The Quest.  And, when I gave the same ar-
ticle to Joy Mills (on a visit to Krotona before she left for
Australia) to see if she could tell me why it might have been re-
fused, she complemented me on my depth of research but told me
that I had a little more understanding to gain on the theosophi-
cal concepts.  Very frustrating!

Any book written by any of the original theosophists has this
problem.  Whether it is H.P.B, Bessant, Ledbetter, Sinnet, anyone
-- they all "speak" using concepts and words that assume a level
of understanding by the reader.  Where is this understanding sup-
posed to come from? Where is the theosophical dictionary or en-
cyclopedia that defines these concepts and philosophies in a way
that an ordinary 20th-century American can understand.  I thought
this mailing list might help me but all of the contributors seem
to have access to that "dictionary" that I can't find and so far
this list, while it has certainly been interesting, has been
frustrating for me as a "fifth-year beginner" trying to under-
stand some of the things that are being talked about.

Someone posted recently about putting together materials for
theosophical-based primary- and secondary-level education.  What
about some materials for us "out-of-schoolers," people out in the
work-force of America trying to earn a living for a family while
at the same time trying to become more spiritually enlightened
with theosophical concepts? I've read some of the current "edu-
cational" material from The Society sometimes 3 and 4 times.  I
have tried to use that same material to get my local Study Center
interested in studying real theosophy (which eventually disbanded
the group) -- all the materials have the same problem!

Just as a minor example.  I believe it is H.P.B.  and I believe
it was in _The_Secret_Doctrine_ who uses the term "The First
Cause." It sounds important, it sounds like it has to do with the
beginning of everything, but exactly what is it? (If the other
list members don't mind too much, this forum is the only
mechanism I have for getting terms defined for my
understanding. From the list description above: "No topic is
too profound, *too insignificant*, too old, too new, or too
used." So when I encounter a problem in understanding, I may
post a request for definitions to the list.  I hope this is okay.)

Anyway, as you can tell, I can get a little verbose and long-
winded -- perhaps caused by my vocation as an instructor and an
intense desire to help people understand what I am trying to
teach.  I apologize for the length for those of you that stayed
with me to the end.  Thanks for "listening." I will appreciate
any and all input you may have.  May you all grok in fullness ...

|William A. (Bill) Parrette|4000 Executive Pk. Dr., #310|
|bill@[Zeus.]      |Cincinnati, OH 45241-4007   |
|** I do not speak for ITDC--all opinions are my own ** |

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