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Re To Eldon

Sep 26, 1995 07:47 AM
by Jerry Schueler

Eldon:<. Every specialty of thought has its own
terminology, and Theosophy is not different in this respect. When we do
something like Trungpa in his Buddhist writings, and simply use English
terms, we force an unnecessary burden upon the reader.>

Very true. But in some ways, this fact does not sit well with me. I am
currently working in a Ph.D. program, and Ph.D.s like big words and
flowery confusing terminology. But you can often get your point across
without a lot of big words - i.e., without a unique terminology. I have read
critics of physics, for example, who show historically that specific technical
jargon was deliberately developed over the years to confuse the readers
and to make them seem mysterious and awesome in the eyes of the
public. Newton, for example, deliberately used fancy technical jargon
because he didn't want to be bothered by a lot of people asking him
questions. So he wrote in a way that only a few could understand. Galileo
deliberately used technical jargon to avoid church persecution. And so on.
I dropped my subscription to Gnosis because I found myself falling asleep
in midsentences. I have already written about this problem, which I called
the Fog Index, before. I think that theosophy will have a much broader
impact in the future if we KISS instead of hanging onto outdated jargon
that only a few other theosophists can decipher. But, this is just my own
opinion. Anyway, I will always try to put my thoughts into plain English
whenever I can. The real danger with doing this, is that then others will
be able to understand what I am saying, and can challenge me. IMHO,
HPB avoided a lot of arguing by deliberately throwing terminology at her
critics and obscuring her real message (not that I blame her).

I am still waiting for someone to explain to me what "the Rupa-
Loka of Deva-Chan" is, for example (I am sure that you could do this,
Eldon, but I especially want to hear it from Rich or Daniel). Lets not
forget, that specific terminology always separates a group from others,
and sets up an air of mystery and a sense of "I don't know what they are
saying, but it must really be important!" Now, virtually all of our scientific
disciplines deliberately wanted this kind of atmosphere. I don't think
its appropriate for theosophy, which after all, is really rather simple
and straightforward - both Judge and Purucker were able to put HPB's
teachings into more or less plain English. This loses the mystique
that is associated with HPB, but sure goes a long way to make her
ideas easier to understand. Do we want to mystify others, or do we
want to share our ideas? Also, I am not so sure that members of
theos-l all share in the same terminology, and all can follow what is
being said at times. If I am wrong about this, then I will return to
my quiet room.

Jerry S.

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