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Re: Art group prject I & II

Sep 24, 1995 11:06 AM
by John R Crocker

On Mon, 25 Sep 1995 wrote:
> JRC writes:
> > I think one of the problems with spiritual and religious
> > organizations (and Theosophy is no exception) is that most are founded by
> > either one individual or a small group of individuals who do have
> > virtually unlimited authority while alive, but after they go, their
> > spiritual descendants then institutionalize that original authority (or
> > at least attempt to) - but the personal magnetism of the founder(s), from
> > whence their authority derived, is not present.
> Is that where authority is derived, from personal magnetism? Or is that just
> where people THINK it is derived?
> RIch

Well, two things ... I am not personally saying that the
founders' personal magnetism might not have a source other than the
person themself - it is clearly (IMO) within the range of possibility
that connection with a larger inner current/tradition may give the
person's personal energy a huge charge ... but either way the person
themself is imbued with a powerful magnetism that is an attractive force
(that is, attractive to some, repellent to others - point is, people will
react strongly). Probably (IMO) the source is a combination - as in
Theosophy where HPB continually gave all the credit to her Masters, who
in a couple of different Mahatma Letters stated that she was being rather
too humble, and that she had considerable strength of her own (that, if I
remember right, they chided her for using to the point of her own

Secondly, if we are talking about foundations for authority in
the generations succeeding that wherein the founder lived (which is what
the post was about), then where people think it was derived from is quite
as important as where it really did flow from. Especially since most of
the people *within* a tradition do *not* think it is just personal
magnetism, but almost invariably claim their particular founder was
connected to a "higher" source.

The main point is that wherever the source of the magnetism lies,
in virtually all major religions on the planet it at least *focussed*
first through an individual energy-system - the founder - and virtually
no one in the succeeding generations ever manages to be able to compel
the authority that the founder did. Hence, the problem I was pointing out
- that great arguments concerning the legitimate source of
organizational authority after the founder has gone generally ensue.

It is clear that from whatever the source, HPB *herself* was
powerful enough to get a number of people to believe in Masters that
almost no one (other than a few others) saw, a philosophy that makes
enormous assertions about the nature of almost everything in the arts,
sciences and religions of the time ... assertions most of which are
completely unverifiable - and it is further clear that since she has
gone, no one in Theosophy has been able to gain the standing she did.

All three formal organizations (in the US) seem to have different
ideas about where the proper post-HPB authority lies (and in fact this
issue may be at the root of *why* there are three different
organizations), and within each there are cells, and local groups, and
factions that differentiate even further ...

The very interesting thing about this list is that almost
everyone that comes here comes with assumptions about what "real"
Theosophy is, and I have seen, over the last year or so, almost every
different foundation for authority (mentioned in the list in the previous
post) be asserted (often in charmingly, if subtly, demeaning tones), but
ultimately be put in its place - as a thing *partially* legitimate, but
not universally compelling ... as individuals can dominate a specific
lodge, and specific mindsets can dominate institutions, but as of yet no
one's been able to dominate the list - and I actually believe I'm
starting to witness here an unusual thing ... an emergent concept of
what 21st century Theosophy will have to become (if it is to survive):
Open and tolerant of vastly different opinions and types of people in
practice as well as in words.

 Cheers, JRC

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