Sep 02, 1994 02:42 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
O>I believe "ethics" is "in" because right here we have a strong
> movement of revaluation of the T.S. activities and methods,
> mainly toward the members. Last week, in our lodge we made a
> panel abouth diferent ethical perspectives, including
> professional, religious and theosophic.
> Whith the survey questionnaire we included a "manifest", whose
> main objective was to set the minds of the new theosophists
> generation to the perspectives of the T.S. work in the next
Sounds like you have a good group of enthused people. I
hope Adyar listens to you.
JHE> We have a very close friend in Bolivia who has a
> theosophical center there. Her name is Dora Crespo. Have you
> heard of her?
O> No. Is she on the net?
> If not, give her address, please.
I will get it to you.
JS> Jerry H-E read between my lines that I am
> downright hostile toward the notion of
> ethics; perhaps not 180 degrees away, but
> pretty close.
Looks like you might be reading between the lines. I was
asking why you why the subject of ethics "pushes a button in
you?" I asked "what the underlying issues are with you that you
are so resistant to having people talk about ethics other than
condemning the subject." I suggest that you re-read my post.
JS> I find it interesting that theosophists deplore
> anyone forcing the development of psychic
> abilities, and yet extoll the virtues of
> forcing ethics down their own and other's
How is discussing ethics forcing the subject on anyone?
You discuss magic on this net. Using your argument, are we to
understand that you are "forcing" magic yours and others throats?
JS> What seemed to me to be such an
> obvious notion - that by cultivating
> compassion and spiritual insight, we can let
> both psychic abilities and ethics come into
> our lives quite naturally whereas when either
> is forced, grave physical and psychological
> dangers can arise - got lost in the desire to
> see ghosts where none existed.
I see your point, but don't agree. I don't separate ethics
from compassion and spiritual insight. Neither do the great
spiritual works, as Brenda had pointed out in an earlier post.
Perhaps you might want to write one that does.
B> The thing that I *am* trying to work over in my personal be-
> lief systems is the difference between Blavatsky's theories and
> teachings and those of Annie Besant. Since Leadbeater was a
> contemporary of Besant, I guess that crosses over to his
> theories as well. I don't have all of the details that I would
> like to have but the differences are something that I have
> spent a little time mulling over on more than one occasion. In
> particular (again), my special interest is in the theories of
> the bodies of man -- their constitution, purpose, and usage.
> And these two theosophical notables seemed to have very
> different "ideas."
Interesting. We just had a three hour discussion on this
very topic last night. What have you concluded?
L> "I see!" cried the blind man. Thank you. It is a bit clearer.
> I guess my nature is to fight injustices, so assumed that was
> being discouraged. However, if I understood you, it is only so
> if it is your own karma you are fightining. It being perfectly
> acceptible to take up someone elses defense, as suggested in
> the Golden Stairs
> ...a valiant defense for those who are unjustly attacked..
> Would you agree with that?
Keep on fighting those injustices Lewis! I agree--it is
our duty to defend those unjustly attacked. But it helps to know
for sure who has been justly and who has been unjustly attacked.
BT> Here is what H.P.B. had to say about the kind of justice
> available in England. "Women are to this day - in England,
> before the law at any rate - merely the goods and chattels of
> their husbands, and mere objects of lust but for only too many.
> Slanders-private or public-are rarely, if ever, save in cases
> of blackmail, directed against wealthy men; thus, the rich
> alone have a chance of being "reputed pure" as the prophet has
> it.... [and lots more deleted].
Yes, women had a bad time of it in England in the 19th
century, and it wasn't much better here either. But even in my
own life time I have witnessed major changes in attitudes and in
the justice system concerning woman. We have a long way to go,
but at least we seem to be going in the right direction.
BT> Since you, Jerry, are always in such agreement with H.P.B.,
> I'm sure that this is the same picture you meant to portray
> when referring to C.W.L.'s treatment. He wouldn't be treated
> fairly there either.
I'm not sure what you are driving at here. But my guess is
that it has to do with my mentioning that if C.W.L had made the
same confessions in court that he made in the closed hearing
among his friends, he would have been put in prison for a very
long time. Well, Brenda, I not sure what this has to do with the
treatment of women, but I think my statement was a fair one. It
may be true that jail sentences for mistreating children are much
lighter now (to the chagrin of many), but I don't think the
courts have changed in the basic procedure of finding guilty
those who admit to all the charges against them. As I said
before, Mr. Leadbeater had admitted to all of the charges, and
tried to convince the committee the his actions are condoned in
the church. Well, recent news items and laws suits have shown
that a lot of "hanky panky" has indeed gone on between young boys
and Priests in the churches, and has been going on for
generations, while people pretend that it wasn't happening. But
I'm yet to hear of a Church publicly announcing that they condone
these things. I don't buy it, and his committee of friends
didn't buy it either.
BT> Elsewhere in my reading, H.P.B.'s selected spokesperson for
> Europe has said that Europeans will not ever strive for the
> ethics of the Eastern Initiates, that a European's temperament
> is too active, etc.
I don't know about "H.P.B.'s selected spokesperson", but HPB
speaking of the little treatises that make up her translation of
Nor could they be all translated and given to a world too
selfish and too much attached to objects of sense to be in
any way prepared to receive such exalted ethics in the right
spirit. For unless a man perseveres seriously in the
pursuit of self-knowledge, he will never lend a willing ear
to advice of this nature. (From the Preface).
I don't know how you feel about it, but that statement
hardly sounds like an endorsement of Western culture to me.
BP> Well, I cannot speak for all of the readers and posters in
> this very tiny segment of the net -- I can only speak for
> myself. But personally, I *do* have a real interest in
> theosophical teachings.
Glad to hear it!
BP> Well, as to not being well read, I guess I plead "guilty!"
> However, in my own defense, I'd also like to say it's not all
> my fault. A while back, I developed an interest in the
> psychology of C. G. Jung (and I believe that there are some
> tie-ins to theosophy there somewhere) and I started by trying
> to read him directly. Big mistake! I became quickly
> overwhelmed and resorted to reading "translations" of his ideas
> by other authors. I had a similar experience with Einstein
> recently as well.
Jung's secretary, Anelia Jaffe, is a long time member of the
Theosophical Society. Jung was also friends with the late
Laurence Bendit, a Jungian psychiatrist and member of the T.S.
Dr. Bendit told me that Jung was very interested in Theosophy,
but didn't like most theosophists very much. When Jung discussed
his ideas with Theosophists, said Bendit, most of them took a
condescending attitude and told him that he could have saved
himself a lot of trouble by just reading theosophical books and
found the same thing. Bendit had some really interesting stories
concerning his relationship with Jung, but I'll save those for
I never tried Einstein's theories of relativity in the raw,
but I don't think his essays are so bad. Are they?
BP> With regard to theosophy, until recently, whenever I asked a
> question of someone on some theosophical topic, I was almost
> always replied to with "You need to read the _Secret
> _Doctrine_." Unfortunately, reading Blavatsky directly, like
> Jung, is almost impossible (for me). I don't want to get into
> the terminology issue again in all of the detail that I have
> previously, but (to me) this is one of the most frustrating of
> all issues.
I've been teaching ~The Secret Doctrine~ since 1972. One
study group I started in 1980 is still going. How can I help
As for terminology, just keep in mind that she eventually
runs out of words and starts using them over again. I know it is
tough to begin, but it gets easier with practice.
BP> As a related side note (I believe I have already mentioned
> this possibility in a previous post), some of the people that
> encounter theosophy do so from some type of "new-age" angle. I
> have some direct experience with this from my brief association
> with the now defunct Cincinnati Study Center. Some of these
> "new-agers" hear about the occult phenomena produced by
> Blavatsky and others and equate it with channeling,
> crystal-power, angels, shamanism and other things that they are
> familiar with. When they find out that theosophy is more than
> occult phenomena and that no theosophist currently in
> incarnation is producing these phenomena, (IMO) they lose
> interest. I don't know if this fits anyone that reads this
> list but I have seen it in action else-where.
Yes, it's par for the course.
BP> Again for me, personally, I find the things that you, Jerry
> H-E, Eldon, Brenda, and others post simply fascinating. I've
> really enjoyed recent posts about karma. And those posts about
> mans constitution -- this is my absolutely most favorite topic
> -- were absolutely wonderful.
Then, you might want to start a discussion on it and see
where it goes.
BP> The arguments and disagreements I've seen here are certainly
> not supportive of the concept of the universal brotherhood of
> man, but isn't that one of the reasons for the list? ... to
> discuss and share opinions?
Yes--to discuss and share opinions. But I don't think that
for Universal Brotherhood to be a reality, we all have to agree
BP> With respect to my lack of posts to the list I can only say
> that with all of the obvious history and theosophical knowledge
> being posted I feel (as my favorite work of fiction would put
> it) that "I am only an egg" in these matters. It sometimes
> feels like I am out of my league.
I know of less than a dozen people in the entire world who
really know theosophical history well. So don't feel left out--
you are really in the majority. It is a very specialized area.
If you are interested in this field, however, I recommend that
you start by subscribing to the journal, ~Theosophical History.~
It's a fascinating and quickly growing field.
BP> However, it sometimes feels like I am reading the _Secret_-
> Doctrine_ when I am reading posts from this list. I don't want
> to criticize -- I don't like doing that and it is not my intent
> here at all. But my one disappointment with the list is that I
> don't always understand everything that is being written. I
> somehow had this idea that, since I was going to be using the
> computer to discuss theosophy, I would be discussing it with
> other people who use computers day-in and day-out like I do.
> And if they used computers that much then I would be able to
> communicate with them better than I could with non-computer
You might start a dialogue with someone. Or just ask
questions. Also, there are several people with whom I dialogue
with off theos-l. You are welcome to do that too.
BP> It seems to me, as an instructor of computer-related topics,
> that what is needed is an new educational initiative for
> theosophy. This initiative should start from the bottom and
> put together a brand new set of educational materials, using
> modern educational techniques and methods, to help educate
> adults (primary- and secondary-based theosophical education is
> a completely different matter and has at least started to be
> discussed here) in the fundamentals of theosophy.
Absolutely! We've been experimenting with that for fifteen
years. Back in 1990 when we produced a 72 minute introductory
video on Theosophy with a 140 page video guide. We have had some
very good feedback by those who have used it in study groups and
Lodges. We tried to make it so that it would be equally useful
to the Adyar, Pasadena and U.L.T. Societies. Wheaton and
Pasadena Societies sell it, and U.L.T. is now interested in it.
Since then, our ideas concerning theosophical education have
radically changed, and we are experimenting with other teaching
models and techniques that have been very successful. My wife
teaches professionally, and I'm just entering the field.
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