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Re: CWL - two sides

Jan 22, 1995 08:13 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain

In response to Murray Stentiford:

While I agree that phrases such as "no more than" and "is nothing
but" can be construed as pejorative, they are used in my posting
as comment which I would also apply to the posting itself, which
is "no more than" my opinion, and "nothing but" my point of view
- which, as I mentioned, is also shared by others.

Leadbeater's psychism *was* peculiarly his own, as was that of
Hodson, and as is also my own.  It is a very individual thing.
My objection to CWL in this particular book is that he presents
his own subjectivity as being valid for the entire Christian

> Is the history of the Christian church the best place to look?
> Re "fantasies" - granted this is your opinion, but how do you
> support it?

Believe me [or not] that Xtian Church writings throughought
history have come up with "psychic" material and "results" which
make the efforts of even novice theosophists look like experts!
As it is the Xtian church about which CWL wrote in the book
mentioned, it is the obvious source for a comparison.  I doubt
you will find anything comparable to CWL's visions among its
literature, canonical or otherwise.  Among the Syriac/Aramaic
literature of the early centuries there is some truly _fantastic_
material - in the popular sense of the term! Makes CWL and others
look quite turgid .  .  .

I use the word fantasies in the dictionary context of "imagining
[or imaging] in a visionary manner" and not the usual colloquial
and unfairly derogatory sense.  I would place Jungian archetypes
in the same category.  I do not intend to devalue - I would
maintian vigourously that when CWL states that he psychically
"saw" something, then that is what he saw.  The interpretation of
the vision is another matter, whoever has it.

So, I do accept CWL's work as a point on the graph, remembering
that it is the nature of graphs to rise and fall .  .  .

>> he wrote merely re-hashed standard theosophical "dogma" ...

Delete "merely" if it seems reductionist!

In a sense, we can overdo the CWL aspect of all this.  He is
being used in this context - as I see it - as an example of how
things can get out of hand, with people becoming "followers"
instead of "discoverers" (see second and third objects of the

Selective editing of any historical work with a view to making it
conform to a current "party line" or "politically correct"
presentation should have no place in theosophical studies.  There
may well be a need to restate the ancient wisdom in modern
language, and I applaud those who try to do this.  I can even see
a case for paraphrasing the work of a previous author (such as
CWL) if this will help today's students, so long as it is
described as what it is.  I am myself currently working (on and
off) on an interpretive rendering of Ptolemy's _Tetrabiblos_
(Astrology) of which the English version (Ashmand, 1822) is
itself a translation of a Greek paraphrase, and according to
some, not the best available! But the contents are valuable, and
need preserving, IMHO.

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