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The Future

Jan 04, 1995 11:01 PM
by jrcecon


This is a *long* post (2-3 pages) but I hpoe its content
justifies its length.

Jerry wrote (greatly abbreviated):

> What I have observed in Organizations and individuals inside and
> out of theosophy is that we cannot live in denial and still
> proceed in a more "mature way." The old controversies keep coming
> to the surface to pollute more worthwhile efforts.  Every time
> the controversy comes to the surface, that much energy is sapped
> from worthwhile activities in order to push it back under the
> surface.  New controversies take even greater tolls.  The recent
> Bing Escudero struggle for instance--his being fired and the
> change of bylaws that disqualified him from running for the
> national presidency, etc.  directly correlates with the
> membership of the Wheaton Society dropping from over 5100 to less
> than 4000 (a 20% drop).  This is just one more issue for
> historians to investigate fifty years from now--and to be
> chastised for bringing it up.
> One of the reasons I wrote my last mail, was to point out
> that there are very strong characteristics dominating the
> Theosophical Societies, preventing or blocking cooperation. If
> more people from several societies were to participate on this
> list, it could have a benificial effect in clearing some of the
> messes of the past.  Couldn't you try to get some more of these
> people involved with this list?

I have hesitated saying much of anything about the current
controversies in which virtually all of the strange gloomies
existing in the basement of every TS seem to have been brought to
the surface.  Perhaps what I've been wanting to express will be
appreciated, perhaps not, but it seems now worth a shot:

I am now 37, and joined the TS (out of Wheaton) when I was around
25.  I did not join because of any relatives, or friends, but
simply because I was experiencing access to worlds of perception
that I could find no explanation for, and had no cognitive
configuration within which to give these perceptions order.  I
was looking, in short, for people to talk to and a worldview that
at least vaugely could explain my perceptual reality.  As I
joined and participated in many of the discussions, and came to
appreciate the scintillating brilliance of the Objects
(especially the First Object, which to this day I consider to be
one of the most concise, magnificent statements of not only the
personal spiritual path, but of a balm for today's bloody &
selfish society) thoughts naturally turned towards the
possibilities of arriving at a formulation of theosophy tuned to
the generation of which I am a part...and if the founders,
different as they were, and the Master's (different as *they*
were), had anything in common, it was that they were deeply
attuned to the most current thinking of their age.  These were
not abstract mystics...or rather, they had adjusted abstract
mysticism in such a way as to make it continually and exceedingly
practical.  Even further, they were not simply following in the
mainstream thinking of their era, but were aware at the most
cutting edge of the sciences, arts, social movements, spiritual
movements and etc.; and if there was controversy...well that
simply goes with the the crest of the wave is
always more turmoil than in the peace of the trough.

I did go through a phase of reading large quantities of the
writers of the first generation, and understood many of the
controversies...but at the same time kept attempting to
understand a larger point: How would the awe-inspiring intentions
embedded in the Objects look if adjusted to the cutting edge of
*these times*? I meet, in day to day living, many of my age and
even much younger...who stun me with the spiritual development
their lives have made present.  There are children being born
today who are almost magical (is this perhaps the first real wave
of "sixth sub-race" incarnations?), I talk to teenagers who speak
in terms that show an understanding of emotional complexity that
is not achieved by many 60 year olds I know...I meet truly
powerful, loving men and women who simply have cleared the vast
majority of petty bickering out of their energy fields, they
don't deliberate about it, it just would not even *occur* to them
to engage in it.  I see these people and wish they could
appreciate theosophy...wish that the TS could become a place
where they could combine their magnificent traits in mutual
service...BUT, I can rarely talk them into joining or becoming
involved.  As I attempted to analyze this, most objections would
probably fall into one of three catagories:

1.  Process.  In this, I would include *current* controversies as
being highly relevent topics for discussion/*clearing*.  There
has been, for as long as I've been involved, a tight circle of
people controlling (at least the Wheaton) TS...most of them
first/second generation...who control discourse, control the
national publications, control who is cultivated for leadership
roles, and engage in really ridiculous power struggles between
themselves.  From the point of view of many of the dynamic ones
of my generation...those who would lead theosophy into a 21st
century is not that Bing won or lost a power
struggle, nor the even tighter control that was clamped on
leadership after the affair (what are there now, 30 or 40 people
even eligible to run for president? out of 4000 or so?) was
the fact that that kind of situation is (or seems to be) SOP at
headquarters.  Tell me why a thirty year old who had spent ten
years very delibrately, with intense spiritual effort, cleaning
large amounts of that kind of garbage out of their personal
energy-systems, ..and reaching the understanding (that such a
clearing leads to) that service to the larger world is where
their life lies...tell me why would they want to join an
organization in which power is held tightly to the chest, in
which the *process* of struggling itself seems to belong to a
past era.  As a friend said to me, after dropping out of the TS
after the first year..."I feel like any energy I give the TS just
disappears down a black hole...that serving the TS is *not* a way
of serving the *world*." With increasing numbers of people the
commitment to service is no longer a question, it is core to who
they have become...and to these people the dominant question is
which of the many avenues of service claiming their attention
will do the most good.

The current leadership certainly has the tools and ability to
control the structure of the TS, but if it continues to control
process in the way it has it will become increasingly irrelevent
to the dynamic spiritual entities we wish (I wish, anyway) to
attract.  The Democratic congress was just thrown unceremoniously
out of power for behaving in much the same way...but in the case
of the TS people won't try to transform it...they will just take
the urge-to-serve to organizations that are dynamic and alive.

2.  Topics.  The spiritual issues of HPB's time are *not* those
of our time.  The language of our time is not that of HPB's time.
A friend of mine is fond of saying that every generation
incarnates with a bag of rocks and a bag of seeds, and has done
its part if it dumps the rocks and plants the seeds.  In my
opinion (again, shared by many in my peer group) one of the most
profound *spiritual* projects of this age is the fundamental
re-balancing of the masculine and feminine principles, considered
both metaphysically and in the most down to earth, day to day
socio-economic terms.  The TS has not even bothered to update the
wording of its objects.  Again, it is not that we still call the
intention of our creation a "Brotherhood"...which in these times
*sounds* like it has both sexist and elitist overtones...or that
arguments go on about it...which the current leadership has won
(saying that if people don't like it they should have its
original intention explained to them) is that it is even
still a topic of argument.  Perhaps the older Theosophists cannot
understand why it would be such a big deal...I simply want to
convey (to anyone who wants to listen) that I know a good number
of truly spiritual women of my generation...and these women are
*powerful* in a way that has not been seen on this planet for a
long, long time...and language *matters* to them...many will not
only not join a "Brotherhood", they will simply laugh at it as an
anachronism, and ignore it in favor of organizations that welcome
them and the fullness of their power...not only with words, but
with topics, with language.  This gender topic, by the way, is
not the point, only an illustration.  A transformation of the
nature of spiritual education is going on...and if I could sum up
something so large, it would be to say that for growing numbers
of people, education is not about the impersonal conveying of
information, as we now have a positive Glut of information, but
rather has to do with MODELLING the truths one purports to hold.
The TS leadership may not like it, but society has changed, and
to *not* change the wording of our Objects is perceived as a
*positive statement of orientation*.  That is, the _statement_
expressed in the First Object...a statement that seems to imply
gender equality, is now being contradicted by the wording of the
Object itself...we are speaking in terms of equality, but we are
*modelling* something that looks like a Christian fundamentalist
organization.  This point applies to many other arguments in the
current TS.

As this enters the current debates, I would perhaps say this: I
stand between the two extremes being posted: I think that for
people whom the CWL controversies & etc.  still contain large
emotional charges it is right and proper...even a spiritual process and release those densities...but for every
intense conversation about the *past* on an open forum (such as
this list) my personal desire would be to then see an equally
intense conversation about the application of theosophy to the
cutting edge of this world's issues.  The group equivilent of the
injunction to "retreat within, advance without" might be phrased
"clean up the past, animate the future".

3.  "Just do it".  This phrase, almost the motto of younger
American generations, contains much that is often
connotes a fundamental lack of any reflection...but, in it is
also a remarkable contribution to planetary spirituality: This
generation lives on Earth, and much of its spirituality is
action-orientated in whole new ways.  Much of today's youth are
powerfully attached to the life-side...and have no use for the
endless disputes of the form-side (a certificate-granting
"Institute of Theosophy" for goodness sake! Geez, can we squeeze
the living spirit of Theosophy into a shell any tighter than
*that?).  Give youth a structure and they'll knock it down...give
them a hierarchy and they'll toss it out the window...tell them
to sit quietly and listen to their elders deliver long, ponderous
discourses on the nuances of a model whose very language sounds
quaint and archaic, and they're likely, if they stay around at
all, to say upsetting and sometimes obscene things...and these
are the *spiritual* people.

There are growing numbers who don't want to be "educated" about
spiritual entities by those quoting books...they already work
with these beings on a day to day basis (and I'm not talking
about those who selfishly think "angels" care about their
personal lives...I'm talking about people developing types of
interior communication and co-working abilities that simply do
not fit within the rigid structures of 19th century formulations
of inner abilities or inner beings).  Growing numbers to whom
thought is irrelevent unless matched with experience.  Growing
numbers who are rightly cynical about organizations that have
global visions of peace and harmony but that in action are tiny,
self-involved, functionally closed (despite words about being
"open"), and not turning the vision into actual achievement in
the world.  There are, in fact, large numbers of such
organizations all over the place these days.

*Is the Theosophical Society one of them?*

Many currently in the TS organizations would say "no!", but, is
this an empirical truth? And, if it is not, then why do so many
of the most dynamic young spiritual humans, people whose fire and
passion match HPB's and whose wisdom, in time, might, why do they
not agree?

Well, this has gone on probably too long.  I need, however, to
end with some words to wrap this into context:

I do not mean this to be an indictment of older Theosophists.
While I've been critical of the current Wheaton leadership, I
know that some on this list are connected to it and honor it and
agree with what it does, and I mean no disrespect or invalidation
of that perspective.  It is a definate comfort zone...but it is
far from mine, and many of my generation...I am simply concerned
about the end-of-the-century "wave" now sweeping the planet...a
wave of dissolution, of the freeing up of over-structured
forms...and this is sweeping everything from politics to
economics to academics to cultures, religions, social
institutions etc., etc.  I believe there are spiritual reasons
for this, but be that as it may, the past few years seem to
indicate that those organizations that volunarily loosen their
structures and control enough to allow transformation are
surviving, and those that tighten control, in response to this
disturbing current, are being fractured, cracked, and

Not only do I wish this post to be construed as an "attack" on
anyone, I don't even think it is "correct" in any absolute sense
of the word.  It is probably partially motivateed by intense
frustration...because I have tried over the years to expand
theosophy into my generation, to my closest friends, to my
co-workers in service, and wind up all too often defending the TS
against charges that, I must ultimately admit, are indefensible.

I wrestle daily with the decision to even remain connected to the
TS.  I've gone for one or two years at a time ignoring it
altogather (as there *are* a lot of dynamic organizations where
service seems to manifest as good in the larger world).  I have
tried to articulate not only my own frustration, but that of many
of my generation and the generation younger than myself.  I may
be wrong about a lot of things, and many on this list may take
exception to some of what I've said...but there are two seperate
issues...first, the relative truth of these sentiments, and
second, if they are not true, why would a good number of younger
Americans possibly agree with them? Why would so many of the few
who have even heard of us simply group us into the catagory of
just another self-involved cult obsessed with our own internal
quibbling...a catagory now containing literally hundreds, if not
thousands of groups in our current world?

I fully expect to be nailed for much of what I've said.  Most of
those I've tried to engage in theosophy don't bother to
articulate why they leave, they just leave.  The only real reason
I've bothered is because...I still hold in my heart a sense of a
remarkable possiblity hidden in this small, quiet society...its
buried deep within the First Object, and if unleashed, I still
believe the TS could have as profound effect on society as it did
when HPB stomped the terra.  Some sociologist (I don't remeber
who just now) noticed that spiritual organizations seem to have
almost predictable life-cycles...most are begun by one or two
people of huge magnetism generating the organization, and the
followers that outlive them then tend to formalize the
organization, and another generation that still personally knew
the first then fights a lot over interpretation and formalizes a
"history"...but the organization then reaches a crisis point
where *most* die: The last of those who knew those of the
founding impulse die...and the fundamental test is then to see
whether the ideas of the organization are more powerful than the
magnetism of the founders.  Either the organizations re-opens its
arms to the world, and begins to adjust the presentation of its
ideas to harmonize with the times, or ...  it remains in
"formalization" mode, thinking and talking of the glory days of
the past, the philosophy of the past...and quietly dies, though
often the outer structure will remain for some years after the
life has gone out of it.  The TS now stands at that crucial
juncture...and perhaps I feel passionate about this because I am
one of the transitional generation...when I joined many who
actually knew (e.g.,) CWL were still alive, if I belong for my
whole life and die as a Theosophist no such personal link will be
left...and the TS will still be alive because it transformed into
something truly effective and relevent to the times.  I fear at
this point I do not see the alterations in attitude or
orientation required to make that transformation...

...but I would absolutely love it if anyone wished to compel me
to believe otherwise....

With great love to you, my brothers and sisters on the road...

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