reply to Eldon
Sep 22, 1994 04:21 PM
by Jessica L. Coker
To Eldon Tucker
From jt coker
Re Your posting on the recent `post modern' gathering
and your intolerance of any approach to theosophy
which isn't the one you, PERSONALLY, take.
You prattle on like a little old lady protesting loudly about
protecting her virtue - a virtue in which no one, other than
herself, is any longer interested. Jesus, Eldon! Lighten up,
man! Do you have some Mahatmic commission to protect the purity
of THE FAITH from heathen and infidels - or are you merely a self
appointed inquisitor? Why is it theosophy attracts so many people
who insist on an exclusively doctrinaire, if not downright
dogmatic approach? And why do they INVARIABLY insist that
everyone else interested in theosophy has to manifest their
interest in the same old tired, mono-culturally biased,
intellectual manner? Is there something inherently wrong with an
expression of theosophy that you don't personally care to take
part in? Who appointed you God, anyway?
Your snide, belittling tone and remarks are obvious and when you
strip away the rhetoric and arrive at the meaning of your
posting, your insistence that the approach you take to exploring
and expressing theosophy is the single intelligent, viable, RIGHT
approach in the whole known universe speaks quite loudly. Isn't
that a bit narrow? Seems there might even be a touch of hubris in
There are a number of theosophists who feel that the method you
pursue, of running up and down your mental scales and touching
each intellectual fetish every time you go by it is rather silly
and, at the least, spiritually counter productive. Nowhere have
I heard these people putting you down for `running scales'
instead of `playing music' - if I can be permitted the metaphor.
Why do you insist that those who wish to `play music', rather
than `run scales' with their notes are wrong. You don't have to
listen to the music, if you don't care to. And we don't have to
listen to you constantly `running scales', if we choose not to.
Do we have to start bad-mouthing YOUR approach to get you to back
off and act like a real person who is searching for truth instead
of some kind of theosophic Pope and holder of the REAL TRUTH?
Let's hope not. Too much of modern theosophic history has been
taken up with just that kind of counter-productive bullshit. Can
we PLEASE raise the level of discourse on the topic of theosophic
It is obvious to the most casual of observers of your behavior on
the Net that you are a `true believer' - seems you might even
have used that phrase about yourself in one posting. That's
fine, and nobody is putting you down for that. You feel that
theosophy is a belief system and behave accordingly. There are
others who feel, with at least as much intellectual rigor as you
can muster, that theosophy is a spiritual path, rather than just
a belief system.
Which is true? Ah, if we take that approach we'll get caught in
the old Western habit of the `Aristotelian excluded middle',
won't we? This is not an `either/or' situation. (MOST situations
aren't. Life isn't that mechanical, it tends more to a rather
messy organicity.) Both things are true - depending on who is
doing it. For you, theosophy is a belief system. Fine. Keep it
that way and grow as much as you can within that system. Can you
and your systemic limitations allow others the freedom to
practice theosophy in the way they find most meaningful? Isn't
that what you want for yourself? Why can't you let others have
the same `slack'?
Like most intellectuals (definition - intellectual: a person who
feels that what they think has something to do with an objective
reality, rather than merely their own mental and emotional
processes) - like most intellectuals you read about something and
feel that you KNOW THE THING ITSELF. You weren't even AT the
gathering and yet you didn't bother to question what went on -
you simply started dumping on it. Jesus, Eldon! Grow up!
If it had been reported that, beginning with the first
fundamental proposition from the S.D. and working outward, a
group had conceived and performed an extended piece of improvised
chamber music that demonstrated the viability of fundamental
theosophic principles in musical form (analogous to, say, some of
Scriabin's work) you would probably be thrilled. You would
assume, following your unexamined late 19th and early 20th
century American bourgeois cultural assumptions, that it was in
the cultural manner of Mozart, or some other European or
European-derived musician. Well, what if the cultural
assumptions were different? What if the cultural assumptions were
native to the Indian sub-continent (as your revered Mahatmas
are)? If the piece was based primarily on rhythmic expression,
rather than harmonic or melodic expression would you see it as
`non-theosophic'? Jerry used the phrase "Zen drumming" and you
IMMEDIATELY AND WITHOUT QUESTION felt that you KNEW what he was
talking about and could criticize and comment intelligently. For
those of us who actually EXPERIENCED what went on at the
gathering (compared to those of you who weren't there and had
formed some kind of twisted intellectual/emotional interpretation
of what happened as a threat to your belief system) your comments
were not only not intelligent, they were laughably ridiculous.
That you might infect others with YOUR VERSION OF REALITY is a
bit disturbing, though. Give us a break, Eldon! YOUR PERSONAL
AND/OR CULTURAL PREFERENCES ARE NOT THE END ALL AND BE ALL OF
EXISTENCE, THEOSOPHIC OR OTHERWISE. Why do you have such a
difficult time accepting differences? Why do you insist that YOUR
PERSONAL PREFERENCE IS ULTIMATELY RIGHT FOR EVERYONE?
It's just this kind of bullshit that has kept the theosophic
movement small, insular, exclusive, and of such limited use in
and to the world. Sure, you feel that you, and others with
preferences analogous to yours, hold the only piece of the `true
cross' and the rest of us, at best, are `children' who are
`playing' at theosophy while you, mighty, spiritually advanced
being that you are, can lock yourself in your insulated thought
processes and brave the dangers of TRUE initiation while you hide
from the give and take, the very messy process, of life itself.
Give it up, guy! THERE IS NO ONE TRUE WAY - yours or anybody
else's. (And if you DO finally achieve some initiatory
experience or spiritual enlightenment then your words and
behavior will surely indicate it. Until then, you're just one
among many of us, my friend.)
Many of those who attended the recent gathering have their
theosophic doctrinal skills so well honed that they no longer
need to fetishistically touch and recite every one of them every
time that particular principle is applicable. Rather than having
to constantly restate the articles of faith, those articles were
taken as `givens' - the ground of being, if you will - and we
proceeded from there to apply them to many of the areas of daily
life (art, psychology, meditation, death & dying, etc., etc.,
etc.) that we as a group found (and MANY, MANY non-theosophists
find) important. This was NOT a gathering of theosophic
beginners, nor was it a gathering of upholders of a theosophic
belief system who could do nothing more creative than `tell their
theosophic beads' for the entire time they were there. Not
wanting a pre-digested, carefully defined party line as to the
meaning of theosophy and life, the group eschewed sponsorship by
an established Society. Seems it was the right thing to do,
wasn't it? You aren't even a factotum of an established Society
and LOOK WHAT YOU DID.
There WERE a number of differences of opinion on the
interpretation of some specific theosophic doctrines, to be sure.
But they were dealt with in a spirit of acceptance of the other
person's OBLIGATION to find meaning in life in whatever way
suited them best. In other words, OPENNESS. Some things some
people thought were `theosophy' others thought weren't. That led
to some GREAT exchanges in which all parties grew in
understanding and the ability to accept divergent points of view.
That this private gathering should so upset you is quite
interesting and, if one looks closely, quite indicative - of
WHAT, each of us will have to decide on our own, won't we?
I feel that Jerry Ekins' posting of the notice was a mistake. To
make doctrinal reactionaries aware of such an event is to insure
that their doctrinal knees will jerk. It might be best to simply
let word spread among friends quietly, that way we wouldn't have
to deal with the unwarranted crap people like you automatically
dump on whatever they don't understand and/or disagree with.
One of the advantages of electronic communications is that one
can easily ignore boors without seeming to be too rude. This is
my usual procedure when you post one of your doctrinal diatribes.
A NUMBER of other Net users have said they do the same. On this
one I was asked by a third party to reply to you. I do NOT wish
you to change your mode of theosophic exploration and expression.
Far from it. The more approaches we can have to that which we
all love so much, the healthier the Movement will be. I only ask
that you not insist on the primacy of your approach and stop
judging all others by criteria which you feel comfortable
applying to your own life and search.
If that which is spiritual is, by theosophic definition, that
which is the most inclusive, then I leave you with that yardstick
by which to judge your behavior on the Net.
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