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Re: Re To Eldon

Sep 26, 1995 06:34 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

Jerry S:

>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 find this true in computer programming too. It's easy to design some
software that seems quite complicated and advanced, but with additional
work can be simplified to the point that an apparently-difficult problem
is made to seem quite simple.

With any attempt at formulation and communication of deep occult truths,
we are faced with the same problem. Our initial attempts at description
are more complex than needed, and can be reworked and improved. But
there is a limit to this process, and we can go only so far before the
simplification turns into cutting out features from programs or information
and occult truths from our descriptions.

>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.

Perhaps. We would want to do the opposite.

>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impact in the future if we KISS instead of hanging onto outdated jargon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

We're novices at communicating occult truths. The Masters have said that
their knowledge cannot be simply imparted by writing or telling someone
something. When we try to do what they say cannot be done, we're bound to
meet limits on what we can accomplish. We quickly come to the point where
further simplifications require cutting out some of what we would say.

>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).

The arguments come when a "debate mode" is engaged, and one is trying
to prove his ideas, and discredit the differing ideas of the other person.
Another mode of communication may be that of sharing views and ideas, where
we are in a "descriptive mode" and others can freely disagree, but don't
have to challenge and oppose what they don't want to hear.

>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!"

This is a side effect, but certainly not the intent. With every field of
study there comes a specific terminology, and that arises from the richness
of thoughtlife in an area that is not publically explored. The terminology
expresses a wealth of understanding, it does not exist as a smoke screen
to hide pretentous and false claims of special wisdom from others.

>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

They did some good work in making the ideas more accessible to the reader.

>Do we want to mystify others, or do we want to share our ideas?

To share, of course. But a terminology is needed to carry the ideas, and
its purpose is to improve clarity, not to mystify and reduce the clarity
of expression.

>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.

That's a problem that we continually face. If we take a term used by
Jinarajadasa and show that it differes from how Blavatsky used the term,
it would be good to know, so that someone first reading one of his books
would not be mislead when subsequently reading one of Blavatsky's.

>If I am wrong about this, then I will return to my quiet room.


-- Eldon

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