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RE: theosophy 1995

Jan 12, 1995 10:25 AM
by jrcecon

Re: Abortion, Karma, Crimes against "nature"...

To chime in from another angle....

I personally would have to say that I simply have not been able
to come to a clear conclusion on the relative morality/immorality
of abortion, but have some thoughts about how Theosophy might
contribute in a positive fashion to the national debate.

First, I suspect its helpful to clarify the motive behind the
issue...the question of whether it is morally correct is seperate
from the question of whom ought to decide the question of
morality.  While the "pro-life" and "pro-choice" perspectives
both have fairly powerful lobbying groups and positions, and in
the public forum are seen as being opposite and opposed, most
public opinion polls show the large majority of Americans
(something like 70%-80%) are both pro-life _and_
pro-choice....that is, they say they would have qualms about
abortion itself, but that they have even more qualms about the
government, or any other outside agency imposing a decision upon
then.  In fact, in (I think) the Webster decision, Supreme Court
Justice Sandra Day O'Conner rendered an opinion that seemed, at a
superficial level, to lean far more towards pro-choice than a
conservative justice was expected to, but her argument was an
interesting piece of legal clarity: She rightly (IMO) argued that
the principle underlying much of the debate was the grounds upon
which a government might intrude in reproduction decisions of the
individual members of its populace...and that if that right is
conceded as belonging to the government, i.e., that it may impose
its will on reproductive decisions based on a prevailing
political or social norm, then if those norms change, the same
principle could well form the foundation for strikingly different
applications, in fact the same underlying principle is the
foundation upon which China virtually *enforces* abortion as a
public policy.  The gradual whittling away of private rights in
reproductive choices, in fact, is what is currently allowing what
would have been unthinkable only a few years ago: The public,
credible(?!) discussion of forcibly taking children from teenage
mothers who do not conform to a strict set of behavioural norms
set by the state.  Note that this is more than simply saying the
state will refuse financial support to teenage mothers, it is
bodily removing the children to orphanages.  The principle,
though, is the identical one: *That the government has the moral
and legal grounds to micro-manage the reproductive behaviour of
its citizens*.

Perhaps someday, if I marry and my wife and I are faced with an
unexpected pregnancy, I may have to enter with her in a decision
making process that would be one of the most difficult humans
could possibly experience, and I really don't know how I would
face it....but I'll tell you what, the personal opinions of Newt
Gingrich, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson or Paul Hill would *not*
be relevant issues in the decision making process.

Beyond that, however, there is the personal question of whether
it is or is not a moral/immoral act, and I suppose that depends
upon many factors, factors that become more complex instead of
simpler when one includes the spiritual dimension into the
discussion.  in fact, the spiritual dimension is what convinces
me that the choice ought to be absolutely personal, because of
the vast differences in spiritual perspectives.

If one presumes a trans-incarnational consciousness of some sort
that re-incarnates periodically, then you could say abortion
refuses a soul admittance into incarnation, but (as was mentioned
in a previous post) it is certainly free to seek another....and
even further, the assumption behind the argument is that the
moment conception happens the incarnating soul has absolute
rights while the incarnates have none...i.e., if a soul chooses
incarnation through two incarnate people who both do not wish it,
why is it wrong for them to refuse admittance, but not equally
wrong for it to attempt to impose *its desire for incarnation on
them*.  Yes, some would say "but the fact that they had sex is an
implicit invitation to an incarnating soul", but this really gets
us it raises the question of the "magical moment":
When does the choice of humans to have sex turn into fate? At the
moment of conception? Or is it (to be facitious) at the moment
when the gleam is in their eyes? Or three months after
conception? If the sexual act generates an energy that is the
attractive force, then is not any contraception as wrong as
abortion (as the incarnating soul would still be attracted to the
energies, but again, would be refused admittance)?

If one presumes every human life is a unique and singular event
(i.e., as some Christian perspectives hold, that a new soul is
created at every birth, that then spends one life incarnate, and
virtually the rest of eternity living with the effects of that
one life ...  which, while it seems horribly unjust to me, is
still a very widely held view on earth), then what does reason
suggest? That if a Mother, understanding that life in a ghetto
will make it extremely likely (or highly probable) that a child
will have little chance to grow up in a way that won't condemn
her/him to eternal hell...but that in aborting the soul it will
remain pure.......well you see the trouble such a perspective
leads to.

The thing is, there is no definative fact only a
cacaphony of different opinions as wide and varied as religious,
ethical and social perspectives are in our race...(which is what
disturbs me so much about trying to "solve" the problem
politically/ arrive at a solution would imply
that a particular underlying spiritual paradigm was being
implicitly chosen as "correct").  It is my opinion, then, that if
Theosophy is to be of assistance in the public debate, that
assistance must come as something other than as the decision to
take one side or the other...which, in fact, it couldn't do
anyway...because while freedom of thought is not very popular
among a number of current political factions, it still *is* the
cornerstone of Theosophy...and I would expect to find
Theosophists all over the whole spectrum of positions on the

I think, however, that we might have two powerfully positive
things to add to the debate:

1.  Process.  Seperate from the details of the argument is (IMO)
a much deeper, more dangerous problem...the increasingly degraded
state of virtually all of our public debate.  Our political and
social leaders on all sides are tripping over each other in
competition for the least common denominator.  Both parties now
practice virtually nothing but the politics of division.  Both
attempt to stir the entire population into turn
neighbor against neighbor, race against race, gender against
gender and religion against religion.  Our deepest, most profound
philosophical questions (and abortion is certainly one, but
certainly not the only one), questions that literally seem to beg
for thoughtful, careful discourse, are being argued at a purely
emotional level.  Socratic dialogue has degraded into talk radio.
Well reasoned arguments are meaningless if they cannot be reduced
to sound-bites (which few of them can).  Perhaps, if we wish to
know what Theosophy can offer to the abortion debate...perhaps we
can offer it something no other organization in the debate can
offer: *A model for an elevated debate*...and its something we
already have seen a hint of: We haven't avoided the issue, and
even the few comments up to now have demonstrated that both ends
of the spectrum exist, but the discourse on this list has had a
stunning *tone* underlying keynote of respect for one
another's perspectives, an understanding that we are all more
than just what we think about this particular
ability to call one another's _ideas_ into question without
calling one another's _character_ into question.  The national
debate probably does not need yet another group deciding to come
out either for or against abortion rights, but what (IMO) it
desperately needs is a transformation of the debate...needs, in
fact, the intention *embedded in our First Object* demonstrated
as a living thing, as a whole new mode of approach to public
discourse and the resolution of issues.

2.  The second thing we might offer is an entirely new conception
of conception (sorry, couldn't resist).  Imagine perhaps...a
future picture...  in which the growing spiritual abilities of
the human kingdom make conception and child-rearing a *fully
conscious agreement between the two parents and the incarnating

I believe we are already seeing the beginnings of this.  Fully
healthy, relatively integrated human souls will tend to choose
mates based on sound and solid criteria.  These couples, and they
are a minority, but a growing number...these couples can jointly
tune to intuition at an extremely clear level.  In fact, I have
(as an example) a couple of friends right now that just had a
baby girl...and it was really awe-inspiring to watch how they did
the process of pregnancy.  The woman felt several months before
conception the presence of a soul, and began actively attempting
a sort of silent discourse.  She and her husband rather
matter-of-factly went about preparing for the pregnancy, and once
pregnant, devised some meditations in which they would join their
energy-systems and invite the soul to interact with them.  After
several months, it became strikingly *specific*...both came away
one day, for instance, with the strong intuitive impulse that a
particular _color_ of room would be preferred by the
they painted the child's room that color and got blankets & etc.
Well, you get the point.  While we don't have to insist on
Theosophical dogma (i.e., the esoteric Hinduism, karma,
reincarnation, etc., etc.,) in the public sphere, we might raise
the issue of "conscious conception" and explore it in detail.
Whether Christian, Theosophist, Buddhist, or etc., I think
growing numbers of men and (especially) women are starting to
have much clearer, more specific sensations preceeding and during
child-bearing times...but most simply would not talk about it
publically 'cause it would sound "crazy".  Could not Theosophy
offer, to our culture, the work of making it OK to discuss such
things? This is far larger than the abortion debate, but
relates...abortion only exists to the extent that conception is
an *unconscious* process...and down the distant road I think it
not at all unlikely that incarnating souls, in active
communication with potential parents...may reach mutually agreed
upon decisions that would make abortion irrelevent...imagine
parents _requesting that the soul wait until they can provide for
it better, more optimal conditions for its incarnation_.  A
century ago Theosophy helped lead the way...attempted to
articulate and practice the first forms of what are now common,
mainstream ideas and concepts.....and perhaps, at the end of This
century, its time to do that again.

Well, enough, in fact, probably way too much, for now,

                                        With love,           -JRC

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