[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]


Nov 05, 1994 09:16 AM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Liesel and Arthur,

     L> My son, Bob, took my 14 year old grandson Chris to
see "Schindler's List". It was just another horror movie to him,
no different than "Frankenstein" or some such. Maybe for future
generations Simon Wiesenthal's work will serve as a reminder to
avoid another holocaust ... if they take it for real.

     I believe Wiesenthal has exactly this scenario in mind.  The
way your grandson experienced the movie is pretty typical and has
caused quite a stir.  Spielberg, I understand is trying to set up
special educational materials in order to counter this reaction.
Many school systems are also trying to respond to this crises.
Our educational system has a list of important things that an
educated person should know--but the list is too long and we
can't teach it all anymore.  Some things have to be dropped.
Wiesenthal is making sure that the holocaust is not one of them--
or else ~Schindler's List~ just becomes, as you say, just another
"horror movie."

LD> Incidentally, having been exposed to all this makes me very
 aware of civil rights issues, and what's happening to the
 underdog ... also of certain unsavory political maneuvers, which
 try to abridge civil liberties. Right now, I'm a little worried,
 because I heard on TV that the far right is getting into
 politics at the grass roots, running for school boards, etc.
 That was a Nazi tactic. When I worry about a congenital lier
 like Ollie North maybe becoming Senator, the only thing that
 consoles me is that Nixon did some pretty underhanded things
 too, & so did Joe McCarthy, & we survived both. I hope I'm not
 offending anyone by saying this. It's the truth. I spent most of
 my working life at the NJ State Employment Service, where most
 of our applicants were black, & poor. I think I went more out
 of my way to help them (though I wasn't the only one), because
 of my German Jewish background. It was a positive & tangible way
 of working out what had happened to us.

     Oh gosh, I could rant and rave for another twelve pages on
that one, but I also don't want to drift to far from theosophy,
which is what the theme of this net is supposed to be.  The issue
is representation.  According to my wife's research in this area
(she teaches political theory at the University here) The poor
and the working class are the very people who would stand to
benefit the most from the "liberals" in this country.  But they
are also the people least likely to vote.  The poor and working
class believe that their vote doesn't count and nothing can be
done.  The majority of voters in this country are a retired and
very conservative minority.  They want more jails to lock up the
young drug addicts who steal their "stuff" that they have
accumulated over their lives.  Their kids have grown up, so
education is not an immediate concern, in fact they are
mistrustful of it--consider it a failure--therefore they are more
than happy to divert funds from education to build more prisons.
     Ollie North was operating from the ethical value of
"loyalty"--"My country right or wrong."  Remember when the Senate
told him that they had evidence that he had shredded documents to
conceal the Iranian weapons deal from the Senate?  North didn't
deny it.  He didn't say "gee, that was illegal, and I realize I
shouldn't have done that"--no, he said: "Did I get all of it?
Did I miss anything?"  He was putting loyalty over law.  From the
Kohlberg scale of six, he was operating at stage three.  If he
was accepting payment and privileges (evidence shows he was,
though he denied it), then he was also operating at stage 2.  Our
country operates basically at a law and order level (stage 4),
but a sizeable part of our population is still at a stage three
level, and our Capitalistic system is based upon stage one values
(selfishness and greed).  Only a minority of people operate at
post conventional level of 5 or 6 (values of right and wrong--
good and evil that transcend considerations of selfishness,
greed, loyalty and law).  The Terry Wait, Barbara Walters
interview was a classic in that matter.  Wait, who operated at a
stage 6 was completely incomprehensible to Walters.  Wait after
being beaten and tortured described his passing up of an
opportunity to grab a gun and make an escape--and gave his
reasons for it.  It he was to stand on the principle of love and
non violence, then he had to model that behavior.  Walters was
flabbergasted--she didn't understand it.
     The other week, my wife and I spent the weekend in Carmel.
It is a little costal town near San Francisco that is the
playground for the very wealthy.  We were there because my wife
was running a weekend workshop on (ironically) ethics at the
Monterey Institute for International Studies, and we couldn't
find a motel in Monterey.  On our last evening, we took a walk
together in town (Carmel).  We stopped at a cafe for a capaccino
and slice of carrot cake (bill was over $13.00).  Most of the
businesses were bars, restaurants, artist's studios, and very
expensive junk shops.  I don't think there was another sober
person on the street other than us.  When I'm in a strange
environment, I like to keep my eyes and ears open, so I tuned in
on the conversations of the people as they passed us.  Without
exception, everyone was completely self involved and angry.
Three conversations in a roll ware venting anger at "those damn
liberals" , and "we have to get them out of office--they are
ruining the country."
     HPB's teachings focused upon altruism and self
responsibility.  What is going on today represents the polar
opposite of those values.  DePurucker, in ~Wind of the Spirit~
wrote that though the Theosophical Society is not itself a
political organization, theosophists have a moral obligation to
participate in the system to the extend of their conscience and
to vote.  I don't have much hope.

LD> ...Certainly, when the first man touched the fire a lightning
 caused with his bare hands, he learned that fire hurts. But I
 don't think that today's method of trying to make learning fun
 for the kids is any less effective.

     I spend three hours a week in seminars discussing how to
more effectively teach.  You have touch upon a huge subject with
a lot of history to it.  We still have a lot to learn about this-
-but your right, school is a lot better place for learning than
when we were going there.  Yet, I wonder if learning that
Columbus sailed the "Ocean blue" in 1492 is the same kind of
learning being burned by a fire, or being "burned" by the
consequence of ones own dishonest actions?

AP> The edition I have is the verbatim edition by Theosophical
University Press 1992. Yes it does have end notes but not
footnotes. You have to jump to the back constantly so I have
transcribed the words in the margin.

     I like that edition.  I have a mail order book business
here, and that is the one I prefer to sell.  However, I agree
with you that end notes is a bad idea, and I wish HPB didn't do
it that way.  MLA has also adopted end notes for academic papers.
Sometimes I get fantasies of hanging the members of that
committee by the toes.  I think that had a better system in the
60's with their "op cits" etc.

JHE> ....HPB did not do translations in the ordinary sense of the
 word anyway....

AP> You have hit upon exactly what I was thinking. She is like
an oral interpreter rather than a recorder. Is she is taking
whatever she remembers of this text and doing spirituality around
it. That is making it move beyond its original intention into
something that is relevant to the concerns she and her world were
grappling with. I don't have any problem with this. I think it is
just one way to do spirituality.

The problem is that those who read her 100 years or so later will
do all kinds of things to her spirituality. This may not be as
bad as it first appears since they are only following her que.
How close or how far from the original documents HPB was I am in
no position to judge since I have never read the Golden Precepts
but how relevant her spiritual take on the material is, is
something that I am exploring for myself.

     HPB was trying to put across a spiritual philosophy. I'm not
sure if the technical correctness of her "translation" is an
answerable question, because her "Book of Golden Precepts"
doesn't seem to be identifiable to any known single text.  In the
end, it is probably just as well to treat it as an original work
that has been shown to be consistent with Mahayana Buddhist
philosophy.  She also does this with the Book of Dzyan in ~The
Secret Doctrine.~  The text that she was drawing from was unknown
in her time, and she was accused of making it up.  A friend of
mine, who has been researching this question for the past twenty
years, believes that it comes from the group of Lam Rin texts of
Tsong-Kha-Pa.  It seems that he has found the church, but is
still looking for the pew.

AP> I understand your reticence about channeling I am of the same
mind but when Zirkoff mentioned the Tulku, I couldn't resist
wondering if she is not having a prophetic experience similar to
Ezekiel of Jeremiah....While I don't really understand the above
quote it does give me cause to wonder about how to interpret
texts that are written through what I used to call "inspiration".
I suppose it involves a theory or revelation or some such thing.
Blavasky was obviously not just what her physical presence
suggested she seems to be a prophet of sorts. As such
interpreting her is tricky however awe inspiring.

     Boris is talking about part of the consciousness of a Buddha
like person(s) being present in HPB's consciousness.  I wouldn't
call this "inspiration."  To me, inspiration is when the "god
within us" is coming through.  I would consider inspiration a
higher state then tulku.

AP> I am going to try to paraphrase, with full recognition that I
am very new to all this, what I think HPB is speaking of:

AP>  The instruction is for those who need to learn the
     dangers of collectivity, animality, and living
     according to the lowest nature.

     I think also in this sloka is the warning against the
pursuit of "yogic practices" for the purpose of developing
"abnormal" psychic powers.

 AP> It is necessary to become detached from the objects of
     sense experience, the clutter of everyday life, in
     order to hear the voice of God or The Silence. This
     detachment require some sort of training.

     "God" is another word that I have problems with because of
the Judeo-Christian view of a personal God-the-creator-of-the-
universe with whom one can have personal intercourse.  Such a
concept is not in Mahayana Buddhism, nor is it in HPB's writings.
There is however, an inner "god" whose voice is "The Silence."
But that god is to "God" as the ray is to the sun.  For God, I
prefer terms like "the unknowable", or "the rootless root".  I
have had this conversation with many students of theosophy, who
reply by swearing to me that by "God" they do not mean a
"personal God", then In the next breath refer to this "God" as
"He".   See HPB's three fundamental propositions in ~The Secret
Doctrine~, p. 14 etc.

AP>  Let the Disciple slay the Slayer. This reminds me of
     Kierkegaard and his story of Abraham and Issac as
     symbolizing slaying of the rationality on the mount of
     revelation. This is what I find so dangerous about most
     forms of literalism when it comes to interpreting
     spiritual texts. So I read this as slay the need to
     control what you are experiencing through the subtle
     and illusionary use of words and ideation.

     Interesting.  For "control" I would use the word "overcome."

AP>  We are ready to understand when we see our waking life
     as a dream. I take this seriously. I think that when I
     view the personality that I think is myself as my Self
     then I am deluded. My personality is a dream, it is not
     the totality of me but the way I present myself to
     myself in the dream drama I call life.

     Great!  I think I can do that for about ten seconds.

AP> Lesson One is be silent, still the irritation, and listen to
the sound of the Silence.

     That's my understanding too.  In meditation, I find that
"blocking" the interference magnifies it.  Acceptance of the
interference yet focusing on "the silence" works better for me.

AP>   The earthly nature of the soul is revealed by our
      affects, our emotions, either positive or negatively
      hued. To be caught up in the emotions is to severe the
      tie to the Divine.

AP> I am a little afraid of this emphasis because I would like to
incorporate passion and love in my understanding of
 spirituality.  I think that the object of that passion and love
 needs to be discerned but the actual "feelings" seem to me a way
 toward spirituality. If feelings are seen as more than fleeting
 emotional responses. "Spiritual hedonism" where a person goes
 from spiritual or intellectual high quickly is indeed dangerous.

AP> I have experienced this many times.

     "Spiritual hedonism" is what is being talked about here.
Feeling are closely tied to the demands of our physical body.
Feelings involving "altruism", "spiritual love", "compassion"
"spiritual understanding" are something else, and she encourages
their development.

AP> Even the fact that I am "excited" about studying Theosophy
 could be a reflection of severing the tie to the inner teacher.
 I appreciate the fact that the Silence implies that when you
 burn yourself out on the external issues you will eventually
 withdraw inside like a "turtle within the carapace of Selfhood".
 It is then that you can encounter God. This is truly gracious
 since it implies that even when caught there is something that
 draws us down into the Silence.

     There is an interesting statement in ~The Mahatma Letters to
A.P. Sinnett~ where K.H. writes "We have no patience with the
Sunyasis"  These sunyasis are the Yogis who escape to the forest,
sit in a cave to obtain enlightenment then die.  The Mahatma saw
it as a waste.  One becomes enlightened for the service of
humanity; otherwise it is just spiritual selfishness.  Later in
the ~Voice~ we will come a section on the Pratyeka Buddha that
will cover this.

AP> The Dualism that is discussed in the Silence is evident even
 to the extent of merging the human personality with the divine
 essence. I have always struggled with what that means. I have
 often declared "This is I" to myself. This declaration has had a
 variety of effects; first off, it has helped me not to over
 identify egotistically with the Wisdom that comes from a higher
 source. Secondly, it has had the effect of creating enough
 distance from the One in order to have what I call a
 relationship to the Divine. When the Silence says that this is
 part of the web of delusion, I would like to know more about
 what that means.

AP>   In order to become the Knower of ALL SELF thou hast
      first of Self to be the knower.

     This is because dualism is the bases of objective existence.
Can we know darkness without knowing light?...  The great
delusion is the ignorance of oneness.  But how do we experience
oneness when the mind itself is dual?

AP> I guess I am stuck for a while with the question as to why
 the beauty of knowledge and relationship "ensnares" the
 Disciple. I know that there is some truth to that but I am not
 totally convinced of Absorption either.

     Neither am I.  I like this world too much, and don't know
enough about any other.  But that is precisely why we are
"ensnared" here.  I don't believe our next step is "absorption"
anyway.  I think our next step is to better learn to be in this
world, but not of it.

LD> The only thing I'm suffering because of that, is that I'm
 having such a good time jivin' with you brothers, I'm neglecting
 other things I'm supposed to be doing. But I'm planning to catch
 up on some of them in the next few days. At my age, I'm entitled
 to some fun.

     Welcome to the club.  I'm supposed to be writing papers and
correcting homework.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application