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Re: Bitter/Sweet

Sep 05, 1995 06:47 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to
> The greatest protection, perhaps, which works well for many, is to receive
> praise and blame indifferently and impersonally, and to concentrate on ideas.
> If people feel the need to attack YOU rather than your ideas and work, that
> is their delusion.
This is hard for people to separate, especially when they're
emotionally invested in a subject. I suspect that even the
most virulent personal attacks I've received have been from
people in denial about what they're doing. Sort of a "I have
no choice but to react this way because what you did was so
awful" kind of justification.
> If you feel the need to perceive attacks on your works and IDEAS as attacks
> on you, that is YOUR delusion, and the only one you can do something about.
No need to interpret as personal that which is not. Sometimes
people ask me "didn't you realize that you were asking for trouble in
discussing this topic?" Somehow, I realized that the title was
controversial, the subject was controversial-- yet was
oblivious of the fact that the author was bound to become
controversial too. If anything, I started out foolishly naive
about the impersonality and openmindedness of Theosophists--
perhaps setting me up to become embittered.
> I myself find your work purely theoretical and hurtful to the Movement in the
> sense that the public will have additional reason to suspect that H.P.B. was
> a liar and a charlatan, making up her Masters for purely personal and
> political reasons, and thus will cease to believe in or emulate Perfected
> Beings as real and living men who can teach and inspire.

Purely theoretical? No comprendo. It's a series of
biographical sketches, which is not a theoretical literary
form. Anyhow, my main response to this is that I never portray
HPB as "making up her Masters" but rather telling as much of
the truth about them as she felt she could without endangering
their privacy. Beyond that, she was obliged to use blinds and
to mislead people, but rather than personal and political
reasons I believe that the main motivation was ORDERS-- the
Masters did not wish for her to reveal their identities. The
hurtfulness you cite interests me--- that this book will cause
people to cease to believe in or emulate Perfected Beings. I
don't think it would hurt Theosophy if people did, since the
Masters never presented themselves as perfected (or deserving
of capitalization). This might actually be helpful.
> But my opinion of your work is not a personal opinion of you. You sound
> deeply sincere and dedicated to Theosophy, and you must truly believe that
> your work HELPS the Movement, or you would not have attempted it. To this I
> can only say congratulations for following your high motivations and noble
> intentions. Perhaps they will bear fruit in ways I cannot perceive.
They may be well on the way to doing so. My main goal was to
demonstrate (to quote the thesis as defined in my response to
Dr. Algeo's TH review) that "Theosophy is genuinely derived from
HPB's contacts with adepts of various religious and occult
traditions, but her portrayal of them combined fact with
fiction to protect their privacy and the neutrality of the TS."
Heretofore, the received theory outside the ranks of
Theosophists has been that she invented the Masters and their
teachings. My work goes a long way toward undermining that
skeptical consensus. Henceforth, I think outside writers will
be much more likely to accept my approach than the
Meade/Washington etc. "all lies" approach.
> In any case, I hope you experience no more pain, and I hope that people will
> confine themselves to discusses the positions and attitudes you present, and
> leave off attacking you personally.
Thank you, Rich.

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