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replies to AB and MS

Jan 24, 1995 03:23 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

Alan Bain,

AB> Regarding the writing of modern material, I have been
revising some of my own earlier work to this end.  My main
discipline, as others may have noticed (!) is Kabbalah, which is
theosophy in a non-HPB box, but theosophy none the less.  As time
goes by, I will get some of it uploaded wherever seems best.

Sounds interesting, and I look forward to reading it.  Of course
you are aware that HPB had her finger in the Kabbalah too, and
her collected comments on the subject would fill a volume.  Also
it turns out that Gershom Scholem was a friend of GRS Mead (HPB's
secretary from 1887-91), and attended the Quest Society meetings.
It is hard to get away from theosophical influence, even in

Murray Stentiford,

MS> I like that thought, yet there's an issue to do with the
"old" books that I haven't heard mentioned in the TS yet.  I
suspect that what younger people find off-putting about the old
books is not just the language.

You are on to something here, and the key is "younger people."
Younger people (and some older ones too) seem to have little
sense of historical perspective, and it negatively affects their
ability to understand what they are reading.  Historical
allusions, expressions alluding to other value systems all go
over their head.  Last year I had a group of twenty year old
freshman students reading a story about a young black woman
living in the 60's who wanted to join the civil rights movement.
When I found myself explaining what the NAACP is, it became
obvious that these kids didn't have a clue about what they just
read.  It is precisely because of that lack of sophistication,
that I feel that it is important to write those theosophical
books at least every ten years in order to keep the language

MS> I actually find much of HPB's language more accessible and
modern than that of some of her successors.  No, it is the
unexpressed values, bogies, taboos, hot buttons, joke points etc
etc that are part of the collective subconscious realm, varying
slowly with the passage of time, and differing more widely across
different cultures.

I'm glad that you find HPB accessible, but most people find her
too difficult to read.  The language is only part of it.  I've
been teaching theosophy for over twenty years, and I've noticed
that HPB's allusions to philosophers, religious figures and
scientists is overwhelming to the new reader.  HPB wrote for the
person with a classical education.  Except in a few private
schools, that kind of education is no longer done.  Today we
don't read Cicero in the University literature department, but
postmodern theory which is an interesting mix of Nietzsche and

MS> I actually find much of HPB's language more accessible and
modern than that of some of her successors.  No, it is the
unexpressed values, bogies, taboos, hot buttons, joke points etc
etc that are part of the collective subconscious realm, varying
slowly with the passage of time, and differing more widely across
different cultures.

Yes. So let's keep writing new books.

MS> Not only do these hot topics vary with time, but I think that
our generation is more self-aware in general than people of over
100 years ago, and we can sense in-built negativity better, and
have outgrown some of it.  This applies particularly to sex and
religion - both of them areas where there has been a strong
tendency to repression and self-flagellation in the Western
world, and both of which have been on THEOS-L a lot recently!

To use a Jungian paradigm, IMHO this is the TS's shadow side.
That is why it is so sensitive.

MS> People today therefore react sometimes with caution or even
aversion, to having recently or partially-outgrown negatives
brought into their field of consciousness, even if only by
implication or distant association.  This is probably a factor in
why some of the organizations younger than the TS appeal more
widely than the TS; they are relatively free of some of the
unstated negativity.  People call this being "up-to-date" without
necessarily being aware of why it is so.

The more modern organizations are carefully marketed to appeal to
certain audiences.  Certain ideas that bring positive emotional
response are brought out, while negative ideas are eliminated.
The TS was founded under a completely different mentality, and
originally appealed to seekers, not followers.  But that quickly
changed after HPB died.

MS> Which brings me to another point, an even more subjective
personal opinion than the last.  I think the TS, in a sense, has
been scarred at birth, because of the intense opposition that
forced it into defensive modes in its early days, as well as the
collective negativity I described above.  A defensiveness that to
this day darkens its collective aura, and cramps its intellectual
scope.  Look at the amount of space HPB devoted to refuting the
science of her day, in the SD etc.  She had to, of course, to
gain the foothold, but there is a price to being a pioneer.

This is a very interesting point.  I think we can identify three
distinct varieties of "intense opposition": The first was HPB
verses 19th century science; the Spiritualists; the Christian
Churches.  HPB took the heat of this onto herself, and I think
the theosophical literature was enriched by these polarities.
The second is HPB verses her detractors.  I'm thinking of those
people who turned against HPB and tried to create a Theosophy of
their own.  Most notable are A.P.  Sinnett and T.  Subba Row.
Post HPB Theosophy syncretised these divergent ideas into a
larger self contradictory system.  The lack of awareness of most
students of this syncretism creates confusion and animosity
between the "Back to Blavatsky" and the "neo-Theosophy"
advocates.  The third variety of "intense opposition" concerns
the Organizations and their manipulating information, so that
members polarize according to their loyalties and/or their
feelings.  This infighting is bringing about the slow self
destruction of the Theosophical Organizations through infighting
and power struggles.  Witness the expulsion of the Yugoslavian
section, the Danish Section and the Canadian Section.  The bases
of these struggles most directly concern power, but more
indirectly they are just further chapters of earlier struggles
that concerns history that has been misrepresented to the
membership, so that most of them will never understand what is
going on--though many will take passionate stands on what they
think they know.  The Leadbeater scandal and the Escudero issue
both fall under this third variety.

MS> So, we could give a thought or two to the collective healing
of the TS, and be prepared to shake off any bits and pieces of
murky stuff whenever we detect them hanging on to the collective
energy field.

I agree.  But to heal, we must expose the wound.  To expose the
wound, one must first convince the patient that the wound exists
and where it is located.  As you have observed from the
Leadbeater discussion, it is an uphill battle.

MS> I'd agree we have to strive to be objective here and
elsewhere, yet to do it without sacrificing the heart side.
There's a mighty challenge here.


MS> So I come around to a plea to be objective in criticising CWL
as well as in supporting him.  Let's also discuss the issues in
themselves without necessarily referring them to one person.
Somebody has already said that.

MS> Emotional blackmail is an extreme form of this, seen only too
often in abusive adult/child relationships - "don't tell your
mother or I will kill you" ...  whatever.  Even without
blackmail, I think that unnecessary tension and fragmentation of
the child's allegiances can result.

MS> Whether CWL got into the blackmail area, I cannot say.  It
would be difficult to reconcile with the other characteristics of
the man, but then, would he have that on his own? People can be
self-blinded where strong desire exists, whilst wonderfully
perceptive in other areas.

The Issue here is that CWL (at least) gave sex consultation to
twelve and thirteen year old children, even in one case putting
that consultation into a coded note.  CWL did not inform the
parents of his intentions to "instruct" (or even "advise") these
children in this area, and the children were made to swear
secrecy concerning it.  Without even getting into the issue of
whether or not he also "touched" the children, he had already
violated two moral obligations.  First, he interfered in an area
that was the responsibility of the parents, and they did not
abdicate that responsibility to CWL.  Second, by swearing the
children to secrecy, he created conflict of trust between the
children, CWL and the parents.

I wouldn't call it "blackmail" because that suggests that a
threat was made such as the one that you suggested: E.g.  "don't
tell your mother or I will kill you".  He was never accused of
that.  But the children were put into a state of emotional
conflict, fear, guilt and shame just the same.  The scenario
seems to be more like this: The parent's message to the children
was that CWL is a great spiritual teacher in whose wisdom we have
faith.  CWL's activities were clearly in violation of the
children's sense of right and wrong, yet they took an oath not to
consult their parents--thus they were put into a moral conflict.

Before CWL became involved in the TS, he was a cleric in the Low
Anglican Church.  The care and "teaching" of the children was one
of his duties there also.  CWL's defense that his activities with
the children and his philosophy concerning masturbation was
accepted in the Anglican Church left his audience stunned.  But
it suggests that CWL was just carrying on something that he had
been doing for years before coming into the TS.  When one does
something wrong long enough, perhaps after a while, one begins to
believe it is right.

MS> The whole psychic aspect of sexuality needs to be considered,
too, but not here and now.  I have in mind the pathways that
universal creative energy may be considered to flow through the
several planes or principles of a person, and how those pathways
can be formed or deformed in childhood, to the anguish of the
person who may feel trapped in a pattern of feeling and behavior
that they and the rest of society may detest.

Yes this would be an interesting topic, but let us not confuse
CWL's moral violations with theoretical occultism.  It is not a
question of the validity or invalidity of CWL's "advice" or
actions, but the appropriateness of his teaching or of doing
these things to twelve and thirteen years old children without
parental permission, and binding the children to secrecy.

MS> This IS a painful area to contemplate and I've seen close at
hand how people can or can not believe that somebody they know
and love has done something they would consider impossible for
that person to do.

How painfully true.  And that is why the motto of the TS no
longer has meaning for it.

MS> As a consequence, I try to steer clear of judging or accusing
CWL because, even with the documentation that we have, we can
only get a very partial view of the relationships and motives all

The documentation is clear that his actions were morally
questionable, and illegal.  I can't imagine any motives that
would justify his actions, but I'm open to suggestions.

Jerry Hejka-Ekins

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