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Re: Psychic powers

Sep 01, 1995 11:26 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to
> In the era in which HPB & etc. wrote, such abilities may have
> been "natural" to a much smaller number - and there may have
> been a good number of adults who were not born with such things
> attempting to force them into development through somewhat
> unnatural means, and perhaps this is the reason for the early
> Society's injunctions against fooling with this stuff.

In her letters to American conventions, HPB explicitly says
there will be an explosion of psychism in this country in the

> mostly unpleasent). I soon, of course, got in trouble. First,
> I heard all sorts of attitudes like "oh that is lower psychism
> and you must avoid the use of it because it will stop your
> spiritual growth"; and "the development of that `ability'
> is frowned upon"; and "that is the road of delusion and the
> path requires that such things be transcended"; ...along with
> a bit of suspicion that I had purposely done something spiritually
> "illegal". These *all* seemed like *really* bizzare attitudes -
> its hard to explain, but it was as though something I had
> considered somewhat neutrally ... it was, in the end, just
> another _sense_, and to me no more or less important than
> any other (imagine how puzzled you would be if people began
> waving cautionary fingers and speaking in dark tones simply
> because you could *smell* dinner cooking in the kitchen (-:)...
> was suddenly being contextualized as a "power" and being
> invested with all sorts of earth-shaking "spiritual" ramifications.

I suspect that there's an ulterior motive behind this, which is
to prevent "boat-rocking" a la Bailey. Paint a dark,
threatening picture of the topic, and you may intimidate people
into being good little Theosophists who project their own
power onto leaders or fantasy figures. Thus:
> I was young, and quite naive about human emotions when this was happening, and
> when I began giving my opinion of this stuff in TS meetings ... the reaction
> was not good. I did not realize that several of the older members were used to
> being the "teachers" in the group, and could hold forth at great length about
> the complexities of the inner worlds - because they had read so many of the
> *books* - and were quite used to positions of honor because of their knowledge
> of the inner worlds - and were not at all happy that someone was not only
> speaking in meetings at the level of experience rather than theory, but was
> disagreeing (often, gulp, in a terribly undiplomatic way) with the theory. In

> Point is, I guess, that there is a curious paradox that has developed over the
> years of Theosophy - on the one hand, the 3rd Object would seem to make it a
> natural place for the study of some abilities that may be moving *quite
> naturally* from latency to potency in a growing number of humans ... which
> invisible ...) etc., etc. - while on the other hand, there is
> huge and old pile of (IMO) philosophical baggage surrounding the
> possession of any such abilities.
> Theosophy *could* become a place (and there are really very few places that
> might even potentially serve this purpose) where such abilities might be
> studied, refined, clarified, and integrated into a service-oriented worldview.
> Perhaps even where modern science is also used ...

> Thing is, there is not even a glimmer of a chance of realizing
> this possibility so long as some of the attitudes towards such
> abilities still present in Theosophical circles (and mostly
> formed and propagated by those who do *not* have such senses
> open, and have not had to wrestle with all the ramifications
> inherent in them) persist. (as though one has an embarrasing
> secret) - and I suppose I'd like to, very respectfully, suggest
> to those that do not operate with those senses opened
> that they perhaps consider more deeply the attitudes and words
> they convey with their philosophical ideas ... simply because
> Theosophy *could* become a place where, in the future, people
> with abilities that are no longer "latent" might come to learn how
> to turn what is very often considered a *curse* into something
> that is not only validated, but refined into a tool for service.

John, you should write a book! All these things need to be
said, because people who approach the TS with these concerns
often get stones rather than bread.

One theory I can't help considering is that the ES has a lot to
do with ambivalence in the Adyar society toward the paranormal
and the devotional, for that matter. If there is a secret
inner group where the life of discipleship is pursued, this
sets up a "sheep vs. goats" mindset in which some things have
to kept out of the hands of those who have not entered the

Interrupted by work-- (drat!)


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