Jan 09, 1995 07:04 PM
by Jerry Schueler
The following are some comments and ideas, all in the nature of
presenting my own view of theosophy as I understand it:
JRC: "...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." This is a very good
point. I think that this point crosses into the CWL controversy
somewhat also, because he tried to do just this. I hear
opposition to CWL (almost exclusively from J. H-E) not only in
terms of his sexual preferences, but also in terms of his
"differences" from HPB (whose jargon is way out of step with
today, no offense to her intended). To a large extent, I prefer
CWL's termonology simply because it is more relevant to today).
JRC: "...my thoughts naturally turned towards the possibilities
of arriving at a formulation of theosophy tuned to the generation
of which I am a part."
I agree. I have faught for a long time against the old
termonology, for example. It is not only confusing and sometimes
inaccurate, but also differs between authors. Everyone knows it,
and many feel that something should be done, but no one wants to
do it. Part of the problem here is that many theosophists are
wary about all new writers, especially if they differ in any way
from HPB. I give a lot of credit to the "neo-theosophists" or
"second generation" theosophists who have tried to modernize the
teachings. Adyar, for example, is currently modernizing HPB's
Key, which so far looks quite good. I don't see any problem with
doing this as long as the student knows that it is a revision and
that the original is available if needed.
JRC: "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."
To some extent this is true. HPB spent considerable effort on
challenging the Newtonian idea of the world as machine. In this
she has succeeded. Few physicicts today still hold to the
Newtonian view. But her ideas of a spiritual & material
evolution, and of our inner spiritual natures, the Gupta Vidya
Model of the cosmic planes, and of the basic equality of all
living beings, remains important today. I am especially
sensitive to the language issue. I argued a lot about language
on PeaceNet and here as well. I am all for dropping the archaic
Oriental termonology and adopting English (which CWL did to some
extent). James Long is a good example of one who was able to
successfully put theosophy into plain English.
Eldon: "The Zen approach is closer to the theosophical scheme of
While this is true, I wonder why Zen is singled out? I like Zen,
and have studied it for many years. But all the Mahayana
Buddhist denominations agree that matter and spirit are two sides
of the same coin - a duality. I think that what you say for Zen
is also true for the whole Mahayana. The Bodisavattva (not
especially emphazied in Zen) remains in the lower worlds out of
compassion, true, but also because he/she Knows that samsara and
nirvana are not two separate states, but rather two ways of
seeing one reality.
Eldon: "the other approach gives us a vacation to other planes
and a visit to the higher consciousness, but upon our return to
physical life it is lost to us again."
Here I think Eldon is missing the point that I made above. You
won't lose spiritual consciousness by returning to your physical
body, per se. In fact, such mystical experiences should give us
a far better appreciation of our material world. Matter and
spirit are two viewpoints of reality, not two separate
things-in-themselves. I fully agree that anyone who seeks the
spiritual realms as a balm to their daily problems or as an
escape from mortality is totally missing the point. I have never
advocated this kind of thing.
Eldon: "What is the purpose of evolution on this plane of
I am already on record with my answer to our purpose in life, and
so it should come as no surprise that I disagree here. The
notion that we evolve through a planetary chain of globes in
order to develop self-consciousness is naive, in MHO. It is
purely exoteric. It satisfies the desires of the ego, who finds
itself in time and thus is fraught with anxiety over something to
do within it all. The notion that time can be wasted, for
example, is only true in a very relative sense. We all are
inherently divine monads or life-sparks, and absolutely need no
other motivation for our pilgrimage through spacetime other than
our own inherent urge toward creativity and self-expression. My
true spiritual nature is already self-conscious, and it certainly
does not need to go through all of this nonsense in order to gain
what it already has. But it IS adventurous, and life, above all
else, is a great adventure. The problem with evolution is that
it must have a starting point in the past. This is the basis
delimna of those who advocate the Big Bang theory, for example, -
what happened before the primeval explosion? No one knows, nor
can even guess. What were we before entering this planetary
chain - an unconscious god-spark? What the devil is that?
Divinity, in my view, implies consciousness as a given. Also,
the notion advocated by G de P is also inadequate - that we
spiral rather than cycle. It is inadequate to me, because the
spirals are themselves just a larger evolutionary process and
still demand a beginning at some point. Beginnings are simply
meaningless notions that can't be proved one way or another.
They just don't inspire my intuition. I would rather believe
that we are divine, have always been divine, and will always
remain divine. Spirit and matter are polar opposites. So are
beginnings and endings. So are evolution and involution. I
don't believe that we can have one without the other. (divine
and demonic can also be a dualism, and this is a big problem with
language - there are no words for nonduality or for a nondual
Eldon: "We harvest the precious crop of self-consciousness,
something only possible *here*. This opportunity is lost when
the exit the physical world, between lifetimes."
These are the "ground rules" of the game that we play on this
Globe D, and so it seems that way to us. I believe that we dream
on Globes E and C. Sometimes we are self-conscious in our
dreams. We can also be self-conscious in yogic trance, on higher
globes. In other words, I think we can be self-consious on all
of the planes, but our self-identity, or sense of self, differs
according to who we think we are at the time. When we return to
physicality, we usually forget our experiences, and thus think
that we were not self-conscious, when in fact we were.
Eldon: "At the lowest point, on Globe D, when then Descend Arc is
ending and the Ascending Arc is beginning to start, there is a
point of failure in the system, and some Monads fail to make the
Ascending Arc; they descend further to yet lower planes."
I have a real problem with this notion of "failures." These
monads are only "failures" in the relative sense of "success"
being specifically defined as swinging up the upward Arc.
Perhaps they wanted to go lower? Anyway, this whole theory sounds
like a boogyman approach to making us do good. We have to
remember that HPB taught stuff on several levels; both exoteric
and esoteric materials, with different viewpoints, theories, and
phrasologies. I am not saying that she is wrong in what she
says, only that she is speaking from a specific and very relative
viewpoint in the regard of "failures." There are some
chauvinistic men who would say that to be born a woman indicates
a failure in the past life, for example. They seem to forget
that every monad needs to experience the feminine role, and are
predjudiced in their opinions as well. Lets not get too wrapped
around the axle with the idea of pass or fail.
Eldon: "There is a supreme gratification to giving outer,
tangible expression to the divine."
This is exactly my whole point in the question of the purpose of
life. Why would we need anything else?
Eldon: "No matter how high we go, there are yet higher planes.
We never reach a top."
This is the logical result that we must arrive at when we
hypothesize infinity. However, as we ascend the planes, we will
soon leave rationalism and logic far behind. Once we leave our
spacetime continuum, it no longer makes any sense to talk about
higher or lower.
Eldon: "We reach it by both a realization that it is as much an
integral part of our consciousness now as it ever will be. The
realization comes that the connection is never lost, never
missed, and not subject to approach over time."
With this piece of mystical wisdom, Eldon has layed to rest the
whole notion of evolution for the purpose of self-conscousness or
anything else. Evolution is, after all, an "approach over time."
What I can't understand, and perhaps someone will be good enough
to explain it to me, is how we can see this beautiful idea that
Eldon expresses so well in these lines, and still talk about the
need for evolution. I see a need for waking up, or for seeing
more clearly what is right before us, rather than a need to
develop something we are supposed to be lacking. We already are
perfect. The real problem, it seems to me, is that few of us are
aware of it.
con$ebt: "In order to consolidate his power over the society,
Long cancelled memberships and required a signed statement
professing loyalty to him of anyone that wanted to rejoin. Under
Long, the Esoteric Section was closed. He wrote about the
esoteric becoming exoteric and the exoteric becoming esoteric.
There were not lodges nor public work. Everyone was considered
as in direct partnership with him; he stood as personal guru and
agent of the Masters for each individual member. The thoughtful
journal "Theosophical Forum" was replaced with "Sunrise," where
even the word "theosophy" did not appear."
I do not believe that Long's purpose was to "consolidate his
power over the society" although this may have been one of the
fallouts. The idea of obtaining assurances of loyalty from
members goes back to HPB. Whenever friction and bickering are
evident in an organization, something must be done to prevent it.
It stiffles energy and wastes time, and is self-defeating for the
organization itself. An organization, especially one like the
TS, can't afford a lot of internal bickering. To make everyone
profess loyalty to a leader is one way to eliminate the "riff
raff" and get rid of the hangers on and ne'r do wells, etc. If
Eldon, Jerry H-E, and I belonged to a headquarters at some
location, it would only be a matter of time before we brought the
organization to its knees or one of us was expelled - because we
simply have too many conflicting viewpoints to be able to live
harmoniously together. We can get together on this net and
discuss and talk amiably together, but we are miles apart and we
can let our feelings out in private. In short, Long found
himself in an impossible position, and did the best thing that he
could for the good of the organization (obviously this is my own
personal opinion here, but I am convinced that it is the truth).
As a matter of fact, James Long did *not* stand as a personal
guru or agent of the Masters. I can personally attest to this,
because I flat asked him to be my guru in 1969, and he flat
refused. He did, though, help me in my spiritual progress
trememdously, mostly by patiently answering my dumb questions,
and I love, admire, and respect the man greatly. I always
considered him to be my personal spiritual guru, even though he
did not like the idea. By the way, he never once spoke to me of
having any conscious connection with Masters (unconsciously, I
believe that we are all interconnected). His letters to me are
all written with a one-on-one tone between equals, never
condescending or as if he was in possession of any secret
knowledge that only he knew. Someday I hope to get his letters
published. The Pasadena TS has no ES. The idea of an ES implies
that there exists a secret knowledge or teaching that is only
given out to a few. Long felt that this ancient way of teaching
was no longer applicable today, and that it only lent itself to a
feeling of division (those in the ES were a step above the others
and thus were given to egotism, while those outside were being
deprived of something and thus were given to envy). While HPB
may have had actual knowledge to give out, few of us today have
such knowledge. If they do, it should be given freely to all.
We no longer have inquisitions or witch trials, and therefore
have no need to remain close mouthed. In short, I believe that
Long did the right thing by closing the ES. Removal of the word
'theosophy' from Sunrise was a deliberate attempt to put
theosophical perspectives into the plain English of today.
Sunrise was never intended for theosophists to study. It was,
and still is, used mainly as a forum to attract new people to
theosophy. I can't recall how many articles of mine that Grace
has rejected over the years saying they were too complicated for
the intended readership. Those that she did publish were geared
to the average reader, not theosophists. One of my early
objections to the Pasadena TS is that they had no real vehicle
for seasoned theosophists to communicate. This is still a
problem today (the new Theosophical Link doesn't really allow
alternate views and is limited in scope, in MHO). Fortunately, I
can vent my spleen on this network.
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