Authority & Controversy
Dec 24, 1994 08:00 AM
by Arthur Patterson
I sent this message for the third time going back to another
program to do so. The disappearance seems providential.
Many of the questions that I have been wanting to understand have
been addressed in the discussion on CWL and the excellent
resources on the Masters that have come thought our group member.
A beginner thanks you. I am hoping that the reflection below
will at least in terms of paradigms for establishing authority.
In historic Christian terms the model I am proposing is presented
by John Wesley , but I think it is not limited to Christian
authority issues. I would really appreciate your response to the
ideas of Authority as Binding in the areas of Personal
Experience, Revelation, Tradition, and Culture. If anyone could
apply this model to the CWL issues I would be grateful, it would
illuminate both the theory and the practicality of the model.
Subject: Mahatmas & the TS
Paul: Having descended collectively into madness (I speak here
mostly of CWL and the Krishnamurti messiah craze, but not
exclusively) the movement has emerged sadder but wiser.
Art: I am familiar only with the name and a bit of the biography
of Krishnamurti. He himself seems to have denounced any claims
to messiahship. Who is CWL? I am not familiar with these
initials. Regardless of the details messianic movements point to
deep need in people what were the current needs that were being
projected onto these leaders and what did it say about group
Art: Excuse the ignorant question but did Blavatsky believe in
Masters? Did she think it important to obey them or to consult
them in decision making? Was there a means of doing so that was
recommended? Are there parallels between seeking the guidance and
direction of the masters to seeking the guidance of the "saints"?
Or are the Masters like angelic beings? One of my greatest
problems is sorting out the metaphysics of these questions. Are
we speaking in metaphorical language, or is there some referent t
hat is beyond the mythic construct?
Art : The question of Authority, I would imagine is central to
the understanding of Masters, and goes in my opinion to the very
heart of the issue. Authority, in my estimate, is a
quasi-religious term which, if I remember some Latin, means "to
bind to"; i t is similar to the word religion. What, who or how
I bind myself to something is a spiritual matter. In my life I
find that authority tends to come in four forms: Revelation (the
Scriptures or Priordial writings), Tradition (the Enlightment of
Interpreto rs), Experience (direct personal) and Cultural
(society's questions and issues).
The way that these components are arranged is very important to
what I bind myself to. If, for instance, I tend to bind myself
to Culture then the political agendas become foremost in my mind
and I am sensitized to the external historical issue in my sett
ing. The questions come from here must be addressed cultures
concerns cry out for response and that is authorative in the
Cultural sense. If on the other hand, I am concerned with direct
experience then my own inner development takes precedence and I
bind myself to that. For instance a vision or a dream my become
a determining influence in life's decisions. The dream or vision
may become the filter through which all of live is view and that
would certainly be authorativie in the experiential sense. I
have first hand experiencial knowledge of how dreams and visions
have given me the personal "authority" to take certain steps in
leaving my past religious perspective and other such decisions.
In experiential authority it is not mere the idea of my own
attitu des or thoughts but the idea that a transcending and
living reality working on me.
When I choose not to bind myself to either culture or to personal
direct experience I often seek out traditions on which to rely
for interpretation. So instead of being autonomously self
reliant I may appeal to the great traditions of Christianity,
Celtic Spirituality, Western Mystery Tradition , Theosophical
thought etc. A Canadian song- writer, Bruce Cockburn, puts this
well - he says the we are given courage when "we walk in the
steps of a thousand generations." Powerful and authoratative
image that one.
Lastly, binding oneself to revelation is close to tradition but
usually it is relying on the mediated text that is considered
divine revelation: Koran, The Bible, Torah etc. I have wondered
if the Secret Doctrine is in the Tradition or the Revelation cate
gory. It is interesting that for an ex-preacher this is the
authority I am concerned with most. Trite appeals to Scripture
or a Divine Teaching can easily reduce living situations and lead
to dogmatism. To bind yourself to the divine word may appear
laudable but I fear it more than the other authorities since
there seems to be little principle of critique. After all what
can you say against a "Divine Revelation".
I have been viewing the disaggreement between Liesel and Paul
from the vantage point of binding authority. If I could be so
bold as to suggest, with no intention of fueling the flames, that
the arguement appears to be about the difference of appealing to
direct experience on one hand and to the Tradition on the other.
I appreciate both approaches tradition and experience. Of
course, I may be talking nonesense since I understand virtually
nothing of either the experience or the tradition. But it just
makes sense of what I am reading from my beginner's mind
Under the Mercy,
Canada R3E 1Y5
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