Yeats; discussions; autonomy; tone
Jan 07, 1995 02:24 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
JRC> 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).
It sounds here like you are wrestling against the opposing values
(n this case) of loyalty to an organization and taking a
principled stand against what you know in your heart to be wrong.
My own solution is to separate the Organizations from the
Theosophical Movement. My loyalty has always been with the
Movement, and my cooperation with the Organizations only goes as
far as I feel that their efforts are advancing the movement.
When an Organization suppresses information, deceives the
membership or works for its own ends, or takes actions that are
opposed to the greater good, I will not support it. Instead, I
work independently, or with groups of independents for the good
of the movement. When an Organization works to fulfill its
objects, and has the good of the movement and membership in mind,
then I become an enthusiastic worker for that effort.
JRC> 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.
You have demonstrated that you are not a "team player," but I
don't think you said anything to get you into any real trouble.
Perhaps your solution is to work for the first object and forget
about the Organization. When the Organizations do something
worth supporting, then that is the time to support them. As for
not being a "team player," frankly I find that to be a positive
trait. It means that you can think for yourself and act with
autonomy. We need team players for military organizations and
Corporations--because they need to "beat the competition." For
the Theosophical Movement, and the fulfillment of its objectives,
we need people who are skilled in making ethical judgements, and
can think and act on their own. Brotherhood is working for
humanity--not to try to beat it.
NW> Sounds like Y. and M. (says Russell) were not members of
the TS -- but I'm pretty sure Yeats *was*.
You're right. Yeats was a member of the Blavatsky Lodge T.S.,
and joined the E.S. around Christmas of 1888. He was very
involved with it and proposed a scheme for occult (clairvoyant)
research, which was approved by HPB. But after a few months of
experimentation, "a fanatical woman" pushed an official of the
E.S. to ask him to resign. He did so in 1890. It goes to show
that the closed minded attitudes of some members go back even to
HPB's day. What a tragic loss for the Theosophical Society to
have pushed out the greatest poet in the twentieth century
because he wanted (under HPB's approval and guidance) to "test"
Though members were too closed to allow Yeats to remain in the
Theosophical Society, he at least maintained a high admiration
for HPB. In his memoirs he writes:
"Madame Blavatsky herself had as much of my admiration as William
Morris, and I admired them for the same reason. They had more
human nature than anybody else; they at least were unforseen,
illogical, incomprehensible. Perhaps I escaped when I was near
them from the restlessness of my own mind. She sat there all
evening, talking to whoever came-- vast and shapeless body, and
perpetually rolling cigarettes- -humorous and unfanatic, and
displaying always, it seemed, a mind that seemed to pass all
others in her honesty."
The Occult Reich has been broadcasted twice that I know of in the
San Francisco Bay area. So you might contact PBS in San
Francisco. Our cable company doesn't tap into those stations, so
I'm yet to see it. If anyone has it, I would love to borrow, or
better yet, to purchase a copy.
LD> I hear you protesting loud & long, because I said I had some
unfvorable opinions about ULT and Pasadena, which I wasn't about
to air anywhere. The purpose of my saying this was because you
were hinting at not so nice Adyar affairs. I wanted to see
whether you'd protest as loudly as I did. You did. I rest my
What in the devil are you talking about? My only reference to
your "unfavorable opinions about ULT and Pasadena" pertained to a
question I asked you in an earlier post--which you never
answered. I asked you whether your "unfavorable opinions" were
based upon what you heard, or upon direct experience with these
organizations. Personally, I feel that my experience in working
with ULT, Pasadena and Adyar has been very expanding, and I have
a much deeper and broader understanding of theosophy then if I
had stayed with a single Organization. As for you wanting to see
whether I would "protest as loudly" as you, if you spoke
critically of ULT and Pasadena--how did you construe that I was
"protesting" your post, when I myself spoke critically of ULT and
Pasadena in my post to Martin Euser?
In the future, I suggest that you post the exact statement that
you are responding to--that way these mis-readings are minimized.
I don't mind dialoguing with you, but you need to make a
reasonable effort to track with me. If you don't understand
something--please ask for a clarification.
LD> I have a suggestion for our next concerted effort. Let's
design, print up & sell bumper stickers. I have 2 nice slogans
to get the ball rolling:
GET HIGH, MEDITATE
SIBLINGHOOD IS BEAUTIFUL!
When we've sold 100 of those, we can bicker about who the money
is gong to go to. I suggest the TOS.
Sounds like a fine project for you. If you want to do it, I'll
do the typesetting--you can have them printed and sell them. TOS
is fine. We also like to contribute to TBAB.
Sorry, I've been buried in doing papers. The last one was a
Lacanian analysis--very tedious. I don't like Lacan that much,
but he is on the cutting edge in this field, so I feel that I
have to master it. What critical approaches did you use?
As for the "content blind but not tone deaf" issue, I think you
have the tone right, but yes, you are missing a lot of the
AP> I see beneath the flinging of "facts" something more subtle
going on. It is the clash of values and loyalties.
Yes--and more too. That is what I was trying to say--that if we
can keep up a dialogue, then we can get to these deeper issues.
AP> It is very helpful that in a group of predominantly
intellectual types, we have members who are concerned with
Feeling values. These values are not driven by purely subjective
emotions but by deeply felt convictions.
AP> Equally important are those dedicated to pushing this
historical business through and not avoiding, or changing
Reality, to suit our loyalties. These people are valueable
contributers to the process. I see them as historical physicians
perhaps even Bards who wield the mighty power of the historical
Yes. There is no integration without the facing of the Shadow.
AP> People of great giftedness can be paradoxically people with
great weakness such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. etc.
One does have to look to great leaders to see that we are
treasures in clay vessels.
Yes. Society does seem to reluctantly accept leaders whose
sexual weaknesses leads to multiple relationships outside of
marriage. King and Kennedy will survive their "indiscretions."
CWL's indiscretions, however, are not so tolerated in society,
because they involved under aged boys. His actions would put him
in prison--even today. That is why his true activities were
never made public, and the membership was told instead that he
advised children concerning masturbation.
AP> Those who believe that if a person is morally weak, his or
her insights are blighted and beyond any value are similarly
naive. CWL could speak the truth even if he had the failure that
I personally cannot believe that a person with real spiritual
powers on the level claimed by CWL would interfere with the bonds
of family trust by creating feelings of guilt and fear in these
children. These children, already confused by the changes going
on in their bodies, were compelled to do things, and have things
done to them, that created within them feelings of guilt and
shame. Further, they were not allowed to tell their parents
about what was going on--thus creating even more inner conflict.
That is a very cruel bind to put a child into. The two boys who
independently broke their bond of secrecy were both very
frightened and angry according to the parents. If CWL had
superior spiritual knowledge, it failed in its moral application.
AP> I should think that the value of his spiritual teaching
should be judged apart from this moral question entirely.
Moralism is not the filter through which to view spiritual
I think there is something to this, but it can be taken too far.
Would you argue that Hitler even with his "weaknesses" could have
been a spiritual teacher? If so, should we encourage Jews and
Gypsies to be his students? Of course CWL didn't kill anybody,
and If he was involving himself with adults, then I would say
that it was his business. But 12 to 14 years old boys are too
young to "consent" in my opinion.
AP> The moral effect of the teaching confirms the spiritual truth
but weakness doesn't cancel truth out since spiritual teaching is
Yes, and CWL claimed that his activities with the boys was an
application of his spiritual teachings. Therefore, in this case,
I think we are justified in evaluating his spiritual teachings
with his morality.
AP> In conclusion, I think that the values we hold should be
mutally affirmed and understood in dialogue with one another.
Second, recognize that any idea of human perfectability is liable
to lead to illusion. Third, CWL's spiritual teaching should be
evaluated apart from any attempt at moralism. Fourth, that the
character of CWL should be open to critical investigation by
historical methods and not be seen as in any way invalidating the
gifts that his teaching has bequeathed on those who honor him.
I'm almost in total agreement. (1) Yes, I think we should look
at and affirm the values we all hold in our dialogue. (2) Yes,
any idea of human perfectibility does lead to illusion. People
have warts, and we need to accept them. (3) I have reservations
concerning moralism. I feel that one's moral character is not
completely separate from one's teachings. CWL claimed to be an
"Arhat"--that is a spiritual state where one is practically
omniscient--he was supposed to be fully conscious 24 hours a day.
I think when one claims that kind of spiritual superiority, we
need to consider their moral development too. I don't agree with
the argument sometimes given that such a spiritually superior
person is "above morality." Such a person, in my book, is still
bound to the same moral responsibilities as anyone else; and
*because* of their spiritual superiority, I would expect them to
be even more capable of maintaining a high moral character. (4)
Yes, I agree that CWL should be open to critical investigation by
historical methods. I also think that his teachings should also
be open to critical investigation.
I have remained vague concerning the charges against CWL out of
courtesy to those who are not interested in being exposed to this
kind of discussion. I suggest that any deeper discussion on
CWL's morality should go on to theos-roots. I volunteered to do
a cooperative FAQ file anyway, but no one has volunteered to co-
write it, so I might have to do it alone. Theos-roots would be a
good place to work out which aspects of this issue require the
most focus and clarification.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application