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Re: Labels

Sep 29, 1995 10:24 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to
> Jerry S. wrote:
> > Rich reminds me of myself some 20 years ago in his theosophical
> > zeal. Back then, I wrote to Grace Knoche something to the effect
> > that I thought theosophy was the sole exponent of truth, and she
> > chastised me to the effect that theosophy was but one of many
> > paths. This, coming from the Leader of the Pasadena TS, made
> > me stop and think. I am sure that Rich will come to see this too
> > some day."

As you know, Rich, I have said exactly the same thing to you in
private-- that you remind me of myself at 26 in the way you
adhere to your understanding of Theosophy.
> I have never, EVER said anything like "Theosophy [or HPB] are the sole
> exponents of truth." I defy you to find one post or anything I've published
> that has hinted at this.

You convey an attitude that exalts "the lines laid down" and
dismisses everything else. It's a feeling you express, perhaps
unconsciously, not a thought you express directly.

 In fact, it seems so clear that I am not laying all
> authority for truth on Theosophy, that I can only understand it as willful
> distortion.

What motive would Jerry have for willful distortion? Please
TRY to understand it in some other way. What you believe is
clear in your communications may not be so; if someone else
misunderstands you, perhaps it's because your conscious
thoughts and unconscious feelings are in conflict and they're
responding to the latter.

> Rather, the possibility raises itself in my mind that what I write is
> threatening, because I stick to the original Theosophy that was presented.
> Because this is threatening, I must be dismissed with convenient labels like
> "fundamentalist" "too young" etc.

Why would anyone be threatened by your personal interpretation
of Theosophy? What's perceived as threatening (not to
individuals, but to our group dynamics) is your tendency to
bludgeon others with a know-it-all attitude that is typical of

> How long does one need to be in the Theosophical Movement before one is a
> "grown up"? While many others have been in Theosophy longer than I have, I
> should think that after my first decade in the Work, I am no longer a novice
> or unfamiliar with the basic texts, history, currents, etc. So the "too
> young" label really won't wash.

It has nothing to do with how long you've been in Theosophy and
everything to do with age. More on that later. In my 20s I
had a very high estimation of how much I knew about Theosophy;
it's been going steadily downhill ever since. Such is life.
> As for "fundamentalist," I ground myself on the original material, as tried,
> true, and lasting. All later students follow from HPH, Mr. Judge and the
> Masters who stand behind them. The original material is the foundation of
> modern Theosophy, and I don't apologize for standing on it, in order that I
> might see farther. This does not mean there is nothing else BESIDES this
> foundational material that is valuable, that is a nonsensical attitude. The
> 20th century is full of good, valuable work by solid, idealistic, and
> clear-seeing men and women.

Glad to see you say that.
> But if people find my opinions offensive, PARTICULARLY when I reference HPB
> or Mr. Judge as a source, I say, hit the <delete> key. I use it plenty, in
> most cases it works fine.

Not the opinions, but the fervent and intolerant way they are
> I also don't see that I spend a lot of time labeling folks. When Brenda and
> I argue, and we often do, I take her up on the ideas and arguments she puts
> forth. I don't try and nail her as a woman, or as a CWL fan, or as any
> "thing" else. That would be grossly unfair and de-humanizing. She is a
> student, I am a student, we argue.

For Jerry to say "I once had the same attitude toward Theosophy
that I see in you" is not unfair and dehumanizing as far as I
can see. If someone 30 years my senior said the same to me,
I'd be quite interested in pursuing the matter with them.

> Likewise, Jerry, I have never labeled you to my knowledge, trying to dismiss
> your point of view by fitting you in a neat little box like Orientalism did
> to Asian cultures last centuries.
> If you want to discuss ideas, sources, reasons, thoughts, texts, etc., let's
> go for it, but I see no need to attack me personally with confining labels.

To perceive age-specific behavior or attitudes and to thus
bracket them somewhat is not a personal attack. Although
whenever anyone said anything to me like "when I was your age I
thought like you but now I'm over it" I would certainly take it
as such. Yet another age issue.

More later

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