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Laws of Accident and Fate

Jan 24, 1995 04:24 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

There is a concept found in the teachings of Gurdjieff that I
often find myself returning to in thought.  It may shed some
light on contemporary responses to CWL, Krishnamurti, and other
past controversies.  Gurdjieff distinguishes between the Law of
Accident and the Law of Fate.  If one falls under the former law,
his/her experiences are "random" and devoid of personal
significance.  But if one falls under the Law of Fate, his/her
experiences are necessary, educative, and filled with individual
significance.  One can determine which law one falls under by a
conscious decision to be ruled by the Law of Fate.  This entails
accepting each experience as fated, trying to learn as much as
possible from it, and taking a general orientation to life as a
teacher rather than an indifferent and random series of events.
One "chooses" to fall under the Law of Accident by assuming that
life is governed by an indifferent and random Chance, and
behaving on the basis of this assumption, which makes it into a
self-fulfilling prophecy.  In other words, one's attitude
actually attracts experiences that confirm one's expectations.
Locus of control is a crucial issue in this.

Now, what does this suggest about the current Theosophical
attitudes toward history? If we regard what happened with
Krishnamurti as having been under the Law of Accident, we are not
oriented to taking responsibility.  If we choose to fall under
the Law of Fate, this means that we have to assume that the K.
snafu happened to the TS not randomly, but because he was exactly
what we needed as a learning experience.  But what has been
learned? I can't see any consensus about that, which suggests
that we aren't learning much from our own history.  Some things,
like censoring books without acknowledging it, or evading all
discussion of TS history's controversies, seem almost designed to
keep us under the Law of Accident.  He who does not know (and
understand) history is doomed to repeat it.

On the other hand, there is a rising tide of scholarship in
esoteric history which will provide us all with abundant food for
thought in the coming years, and which may enable us as FTS to
reinterpret our own history so as to yield the wisdom which is so
plentifully concealed in its apparent accidents.

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