Re: JRC to Eldon: Inner Abilities
Sep 16, 1995 06:46 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker
> [Paul commenting to JRC]
>I'd say dogmatists are not real
>intellectuals, because there is no real respect for
>intellectual inquiry, only intellectual justification of
>positions reached non-intellectually.
Being dogmatic means that one refuses to reopen the discussion and
explore ideas in areas that one has already arrived at a final
opinion in. Doing this is certainly somethat that we are repeatedly
warned against. One practice of keeping one from getting trapped in
rigid opinions Purucker was fond of calling "breaking the molds of
When are we dogmatic? When we say "The subject is closed. Period.
I won't talk about that anymore." When we won't discuss things
with people with considerably different views, with an open mind
and willingness to change our outlook every point of the way.
I'm trying this with JRC. Is this something that you and Daniel
Caldwell could do?
None of us are free of the tendency to be dogmatic, and I'm making
no claim to be an exception myself. How do we tell when it's
affecting us? When we fill with anger and want to strike out at
others, upon hearing their differing views and differing values
of what we hold dear.
Being dogmatic, though, says nothing of how we initially arrived
at our opinions. Being dogmatic means being "frozen in thought"
or closed to new inquiry. But it does not mean that what we have
already learned in life is without value.
>There are intellectuals
>in the movement, but IMO it's dogmatists masquerading as
>intellectuals who set themselves up as authorities.
I would find various motives behind people setting themselves up
as authorities. Some people may be sincere but misguided. Others
may have mixed motives. We cannot really tell what is going on
inside another, without actually asking them, and most of our
"authorities" are long since dead.
>Again, is this "knowing" intellectual or kama-manasic? I'd
>call it pseudo-intellect if it manifests as authoritarianism.
Presenting something in an authoritarian manner is not helpful
for purposes of teaching. Even in teaching something like
mathematics, the instructor teaches the student to learn and
think through the problems himself. Assistance is given, but
things aren't simply asserted on the personal authority of the
instructor. This would only apply to the most basic area of
teaching, where students memorize the numbers, counting, the
multiplication tables, etc. And this basic area of study is
percisely what the theosophical textbooks provide us.
>urge to institutionalize and define what's acceptable a result
>of belief unbalanced by reflective inquiry?
It could be due to narrowness of mind, due to people being
unable to appreciate ideas outside the limited scope of their
beliefs. But it also could be due to the attempt to define a
focus to a group, in order to be effective in teaching or training
the public in a specific body of material. It's like with a
theosophical lodge. Certainly anybook randomly taken off the
shelf from a bookstore could be a topic for study. But then
the students that come to the lodge don't learn anything about
Theosophy, and might as well not have come. Is is narrowness
of mind or clarity of focus that leads groups dedicated to
preserving and teaching a special body of knowledge to maintain
some emphasis on those teachings?
>The Masters Revealed ... One of my greatest joys has been
>seeing the book impact the "mainstream academic and
>philosophical world" in the direction of accepting the reality
>of HPB's Masters and the authenticity of her sources.
The closer that you make the Masters seem like common people,
the more popular their acceptence in the academic mainstream.
>From what I've read in "The Mahatma Letters," though, I'm lead
to believe that they did not particularly want to provide the
general public with proof of their existence and powers. They
refused, for instance, to materialize a current issue of "The
London Times" for Sinnett in India.
>attained this to some extent, I'd have hoped for more support
>from within the TS; or at least a less sweeping condemnation.
There are things that people don't want to hear, much less talk
about, if it conflicts too much with their closely-held beliefs.
We all do this. The questioning of an authority figure upon which
a person's beliefs may be based is often taken as a personal attack.
That's why we have to get beyond the reliance upon spiritual
authority figures, and open the dialog with our own inner teacher,
our own connectedness with the Teachings, our own rudimentary
ability to know things directly. Until we can know these things
directly, and open up avenues of exploration *within*, we are at
the mercy of external authority figures and the pronouncement of
others, at the mercy of the dead letter of the printed page,
photograph, and historic document, and remain unable to directly
perceive with the mind.
>There are other motives than desire for academic respectability
>afoot in the TS.
There's probably little motive for academic respectability within
the T.S. Some seek this as a goal. Others couldn't care less for
book-learning, being primarily devotional types. Others may be
concerned with religious respectability in their favorite religous
circles. In a theosophical class, if this subject came up, I'd
suggest that we forget the "respectability" of any community and
forget what people may think of us, and simple go after truth,
wherever it may lead us, because we love the truth, and the rest
really doesn't matter that much by comparision.
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