Re: Group Project
Sep 19, 1995 02:14 PM
I found the J.J. van der Leeuw article you posted very, very interesting
indeed. I didn't agree with all of it, maybe about half, but each and every
paragraph made me think -- HARD -- about where ULT is, and where the movement
as a whole is going.
First off, J.J. van der Leeuw is certainly right about the difference between
Theology (he defines it as "discussion" about the divine) and Theosophy
("experience" of the divine). That is a good distinction, and emphasizes
that Theosophy is to be applied, and not just studied and then we all sit
around saying How Marvellous, How Beautiful! It's so lovely!
I also think J.J. van der Leeuw's point about pseudo-tolerance is a good one.
We cannot refuse to criticize, and simply say "I'll take the good and leave
the bad." That means the bad is accepted, allowed to remain, and probably to
grow. For instance, we apparently have blackballed discussion of CWL's "bad
side" from this board, which I find perfectly ridiculous. If we can't hold
up ideas and events to scrutiny, then we have no right to say "we pursue the
What I didn't appreciate about J.J. van der Leeuw's article was his demand, a
very scholarly one, that we make everything verifiable to reason. Theosophy
is certainly reasonable, and much in it is perfectly logical, uniform under
the law of analogy, etc. But if there is anything truly SPIRITUAL in
Theosophy, we cannot expect it fo conform to the logical constraints of the
lower mind. This doesn't mean that we have to fall prey to constant
revelations, Lo! here and Lo! there.
It means we can be sensitive to intuition and mysticism and personal growth
(a point J.J. van der Leeuw himself makes) and not expect everything to be
publicly verifiable. If I get a flash during meditation or whenever, it is
worth looking at even if not verbally expressible. But I don't have to go
around parading before everyone Look At Me, I Got A Flash! It Must Be From
The Masters! We must not force our own mysticism upon others -- including
our psychic adventures!
I also question J.J. van der Leeuw's idea that life is meaningless and has
meaning only in the experience. Reflection is valuable, I believe, to
understand our experience. He is right, I think, to help us avoid being
controlled by OTHER PEOPLE's systems, to let Theosophy dictate to us what
single thing our experience means. But the ideas of Karma and Reincarnation,
for instance, help explain many things to me, and I don't need a dictator or
a prophet to apply them to myself.
J.J. van der Leeuw is surely right in criticizing the constant revelations of
the old Adyar Society, and even though much of that has stopped, and the
Krishnamurti INSANITY is over, there is still the distinct air that the
teachings have all been given, all we need to do is ingest what has been
delivered. There is little space for individual creativity and insight.
That's really a shame.
At the same time, revelation is not ALWAYS contradictory to self-knowledge.
J.J. van der Leeuw presents the Masters as demanding complete, unquestioning
obedience. I don't read that at all in HPB and Mr. Judge's works. The
guidance of the Masters is hardly continuous, rather a chela is left alone
for years at a stretch with no communication at all. HPB was continually
left to her own resources as to how to found a society for Theosophy, she had
to organize everything herself, she and Mr. Judge and Olcott spent countless
long evenings considering options, going over plans, wracking their brains
figuring out how to make the movement successful. Of course they weren't
alone, and knew they had Master's help, but it wasn't as if the Masters told
them what to do each morning.
Working with the Masters does NOT mean giving up self-reliance or
self-knowledge. The problem is that today, perhaps we rely overly, not on
the Masters, but on their substitutes, our LEADERS, letting them do our
thinking for us.
J.J. van der Leeuw is very insightful and I very much appreciated the study
and hearing people's comments.
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