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Re: One of JRC's comments

Oct 02, 1995 03:08 AM
by Eldon B. Tucker


Since I see my name showing up a few times in your posting, I thought
I'd make a few comments.

>On Fri, 29 Sep 1995 MGRAYE@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU wrote:

>> JRC writes: "I will not try to demonstrate their nature and status in an
>> areana where people have already reached conclusions prior to evidence even
>> being presented. There are too many others places containing a spirit of
>> genuinely open-minded inquiry."

>> Is this directed to the 100 + members of the theos network?

No one including myself questions the subjective reality of your experiences.
We will each have our own explanation, perhaps partially derived from our
study of Theosophy and partially from our own individual thoughts.

>Nope. It was directed at Eldon, who, despite the fact that I was
>making no claim whatsoever for the authority or status of a perspective I
>gained from a particular current of angelic energy (and in fact have
>always been exceedingly careful *not* to),

Your experiences are interesting to hear. Several people on the list have
expressed an interest in them. It's good to hear that you're not using them
to make claims.

>and was merely mentioning it
>as one of several purely personal reasons for remaining connected to
>Theosophy, still felt the need both to sound a cautionary note about such
>sources, and to say I needed to somehow back up such claims if I wanted
>others to respect the authority of the claims.

Agreed. What any of us says is an personal expression of view, just backed
up by our assertions, unless we find some way to authenticate it in the
eyes of others.

>Nonetheless, if you or anyone else read this as implying a
>judgement on any other individual Theosophist

My idea of what is going on is based upon a combination of my own ideas with
those I've derived from a study of Theosophy. Does it matter if I change my
mind about what is happening, when I hear your descriptions? Are you as open
to changing you mind about what is happening, as you talk about it, as you
expect others to be upon hearing you?

>(and upon reflection I can
>see how this could be done - Eldon tends to always speak in general terms
>even when things are personal, and I tend to speak in personal terms,
>even about general topics

If I'm writing about Theosophy, when does what I say become a personal view,
and when am I allowed to say that something is theosophical? If everything
becomes a personal view, we've rejected the body of theosophical teachings
and accepted in their place the rule of personal views. Perhaps I don't
make a distinction between my views and my literal understanding of Theosophy
enough. Do you also try to make this distinction, or do you discount the
value of talking of Theosophy apart from your personal views?

>... and I have been trying to mitigate this
>conversational disonance (as has Eldon) - but this, I fear leads to other
>confusions ... perhaps Eldon should have said "If you want *me* to accept
>input from the sources you've mentioned, you need to demonstrate them" ...

It's fair to speak of people in general in requiring some demonstration of
the validity of a source.

>and I should have replied "I didn't ask *you* to accept them, and have
>no interest in trying to demonstrate the nature of the angelic, or the
>reasons why I give them some authority in my own world, to one who
>already has a predrawn picture into which such experiences will be

The theosophical literature provides us with various concepts that describe
the outer and inner workings of nature. If I have a preexisting idea from
that literature, and apply it to what you say, am I wrong? Is there nothing
said in that literature, so everything I think is just my opinions? I don't
think the problem is with a "predrawn picture", but with an inflexibililty of
mind and unwillingness to be open to change. That openness to change, though,
does not mean that we will change, only that we're open to it.

> ... but this would have lead to the charge that I was attacking
>Eldon, and that "we" should all learn to be less judgemental and use
>our words better

Your job is to describe what you understand and believe in the best possible
manner, and in a flexible interchange with others compare your views. An
open exchange allows us to better understand our positions, but does not
necessarily mean that we'll change our views.

>... so I was left with either remaining silent and
>allowing Eldon to misuse my words to forward, yet again, his view of
>the use of inner abilities,

If you think I've misunderstood your words, you can clarify them. I can
write about a school of spiritual development where the psychical is
deemphasized, and you can write about your psychical investigations. Apart
from the two of us, there are many other different views being promoted on
'theos-l'. I'm also inclined to write about "inner abilities," but may refer
to something different that you might.

>to respond in general terms and risk
>insulting other members of the list, or to respond to Eldon personally
>and risk getting lectured about not being nice

The two of us speak for different views that are not exclusively our own.
We come from different backgrounds and approaches, which are shared by others.

>...) ANYway, if you [Daniel C.] or
>anyone else took my words as a personal judgement, I do genuinely apologize.

You're being too sensitive here. People are interested in hearing your
experiences. We're all allowed to apply the thesophical tenants to them for
purposes of study and understanding. The reactions that you will always get
will vary from uncritical, gushing acceptance to harsh rebuke.

>> [Daniel C.]

>> How do you KNOW that people in this "arena" have already reached conclusions
>> about your experiences with angels prior to evidence even being presented?

You can expect a fair, polite hearing, but cannot expect in advance that we'll
come around to your way of thinking. Do you keep the same openness with regard
to things that I might, for instance, say, pending further discussion?

>Was not going to write about this anymore, but perhaps I will.

Several people are looking forward to this.

>After a couple of weeks of attempting to see whether a large set of
>attitudes about the use of inner abilities had altered since the last
>time I had said anything in Theosophical circles, I have concluded that
>they have not.

Are you assuming that your views are true and the views of others are not?
Do you assume that you just have to tell us what you've seen and experienced
and we'll all see the light and agree with you? You cannot expect an open
dialog unless *your* views are as open to change as you would have others be.

>It was not Eldon I was interacting with, nor simply for my
>own sake that I was speaking ... rather it was a discourse between two
>larger ideas circulating in Theosophy.

And this is why our discussions are useful, as a microcosm for what happens
with large numbers of people in the theosophical groups.

>One of the points I was attempting
>to get across (and that I completely failed to, judging by your post), is
>that there is a growing number of people who do not fit any of the
>catagories a few on this list clearly put "psychism" into,

Psychism is something that is put down because the attempt in most of the
theosophical books is to stress a more-direct path to spiritual unfoldment.
There is not denial of the reality of the experiences. People are encouraged
to not seek to develop latent psychic faculities, but those with naturally
arising abilities are an exception to the rule.

>who are predisposed not to talk about their experiences, but to remain silent
>about them, but who nonetheless expend effort, engage in research, and do
>very real service

It is possible to use our faculties to do good in the world. We can use
our fingers to type, our mouths to speak, our eyes to see. The psychical
is a natural extension to our existing senses, which will be the birthright
of everyone in some future race.

When we consider *what* we would express, we have a different question.
Our creativity is based upon self-expression and insight, and we can
express it through whatever senses are at our avail.

>... and it does not take 100+ people arguing against
>them, but merely a few voices, to cause these people to choose silence -

The experiences are valuable for us to hear. It would *also* be interesting
to hear of spiritual experiences, and those involving some form of
enlightenment -- except that most such experiences are even more difficult
to put in words, were it possible and wise to speak of them.

>Theosophy is rejecting these people without even realizing it ... you
>must understand that they become *used* to being rejected, disparaged,
>demeaned -

Blavatsky has some harsh words to speak of Spiritualism, with mediums and
spirit guides. We read of elementals and spooks that impersonate people and
confuse the unwary. We're taught to be skeptical. A critical standpoint is
needed in an area that is filled with so much uncertainity. This does not
mean that we need to be unkind, nor to flatly deny things without even hearing
about them. The need for caution does not need to translate into rejection of
others and demeaning them.

>during the two week conversation with Eldon, there was also,
>for instance, a meeting of scientists in New York, meeting for the
>express purpose of committing to being more public in their denouncements
>of "anti-scientific" thinking ... and one of the specific things they
>mentioned was the "shocking" rise in the belief in "angels" among
>otherwise "intelligent" people.

I also believe in "angels", but I'd call them elementals, and would not
choose to consult them for information and advice. Perhaps I'd change my
mind if I talked to some? It's hard to say. My approach is to go for
sources of "knowing" where there is no sense of "dialog" in the mind, but
rather a sense of "source of information", a source that is not personified.

>The conversation about inner abilities was not my attempt to find
>a place in Theosophy to talk about what *I* was doing (in fact, I am far
>more a researcher than a writer

I'd say that it's important to tie our personal experiences back into
Theosophy. We need a philosophical context to our views and experiences.
Any new research ties in with the existing body of knowledge.

>... there are others who like to write about the stuff)

The writing about the "stuff", if it involves a deep exploration of
the philosophy, is as real an experience on the astral plane. I'd suggest
that it can be *more real* in the sense that it may involve higher parts of
our nature.

>... but to argue a larger principle: That attitudes
>about inner abilities like those voiced by Eldon (and they articulate
>very well a set of attitudes held by many people ... especially in the
>Theosophical leadership) effectively *do* chase away people with valid
>abilities who are doing serious work.

The emphasis that I've usually seen is on "inner abilities" involving
higher faculties of consciousness, rather than higher faculties of
sensory perception, and upon one's inner ability to know rather than
dialog with beings of the astral plane. That emphasis may discourage
people if their interest is strongly in the psychic, because apart from
the interest they may not be attracted to the theosohical philosophy.
(I'm writing here about "many people", and not of JRC particularly.)

We have a question about what is "valid abilities" and what is "serious
work". It is allowable for a Theosohical Psychical Research Society,
but this is *in addition to* the spiritual work, as a form of coexistence,
and not in replacement of it.

>I am not arguing that Eldon, or
>anyone else, is not free to assert any perspective they wish - merely
>trying to suggest (and this is often difficult for people primarily
>intellectually based to understand) that to some, these are not just
>abstract positions, but have ramifications ... and can very well serve to
>choose *on behalf of the whole list* to cause people to remain silent,

This can happen for any type of material. If people get enought criticism
they'll keep quiet on a topic. We'll all challenged to be diplomatic and
to coexist with others of dramatically different viewpoints on theos-l.

>by creating an environment that cannot help but be perceived as judgemental.

I'm not sure that anything that I've said regarding the psychic is new
with me, but can be found in the theosophical textbooks. There are reasons
for the ideas, and we can discuss the pros and cons of them.

>The people I work with would certainly not say a word of what they were
>doing in that meeting of scientists (even though some of the scientists
>may well have privately accepted the possibility of angels), or in their
>workplaces (and, curiously enough, most of them actually *are*

Nor would I speak of Theosophy generally at work, because the people there
may not have the background to appreciate it. Just because we keep silent,
though, does not demonstrate that we're in possession of a higher form of
wisdom that others aren't ready to accept.

>or in a host of other places, *including* Theosophy ... why
>*should* they? In the meeting of scientists, they would just be
>condescended to, and told the abilities they have simply don't exist -

There's a tendency in us to deny what we haven't experienced, things that
challenge the status quo of the way that we see things.

>Theosophy may be worse ... they might be told they are choosing "cheap
>thrills" instead of "real" spiritual growth, accused of talking about
>such things for ego reasons

When you speak of spiritual growth lightly, you're denying a reality
experienced by others, and you are doning the very same thing you don't
want those without psychic experiences to do with you.

>to try to somehow get adulation of some sort

Some psychics do this. You and your friends may not.

> warned about all sorts of weird danger they are placing themselves in,

Some warnings may not be realistic. You can't say, though, that because you're
experienced no ill effects from what you've done that there are no dangers.
Your exploration of the psychic is a personal choice, and if it comes out of
naturally flowering abilities, and not forced psychic development, it may not
be as bad for you as it would be for others.

>and encouraged to avoid such things until their "moral" natures are developed

This is a definite path of spiritual development. You can choose another
path -- that's your choice -- but the path still exists and is of value to
many people.

.. and may even be given the inestimable gift of essays from "source" writers

Some of us may be working on our writing skills, trying to put the philosophy
in our own words. This is different than saying that we know better than the
sages of humanity, including Blavatsky, because we've developed astral sight.

>- i.e., to be *condescended to* every bit
>as much as they would in the roomful of scientists.

The negative attitude works both ways. Our expectations affect how we react
to others, and that reaction changes the nature of the interchange. An
condenscending attitude would be bad for me, you, or any of us to take. We
are not judging people, but exploring philosophy, widening our understanding
of both inner and outer life about us.

>> IF I had what seems to be such a low opinion of this Theosophical group, I
>> wouldn't waste my time; instead I would go to those "many other places" where
>> there is "a spirt of genuinely open-minded inquiry"!

>Again the either/or attitude. The current theos-l list has many
>different discussion threads, about a whole wealth of different topics

And this diversity of topics allows our different discussions to coexist.

>.. and if you want to characterize my opinion for theos-l as "low"
>that's certainly your choice ... but that is your characterization, not mine.

I think it's a good place too. It provides us with a good opportunity to
both express our understanding and experiences in writing, and to exchange
views with those of quite different backgrounds. Hopefully we're learning
from each other -- JRC and Eldon -- and not just defending fixed positions.

>What I *have* said, several times and in a number of different
>ways, is that there definately *are* some attitudes, asserted strongly by
>more than one person on this list, that, *in the area of the use, for
>research and service, of inner abilities* create an environment that *to
>those who possess them and might discuss such things* seems to be
>filled with something considerably different than a spirit of genuine and
>open-minded inquiry.

Again, you're using "inner abilities" to apply to the psychical, and classing
yourself among "those who possess them", and excluding other abilities or
faculties that you don't recognize or aren't going after.

>This does not mean the topics that are discussed do
>not have value, but it hasn't been me that has believed that there is some
>sort of contradiction between the "intellectual/spiritual" path and the
>use of inner abilities.

It's not a contradiction. Extensions of the senses and ability to act
non-physically are useful, as is the ability to type or drive a car. But
these are powers of senses, and not of mind, or of buddhi. We can train
to ice skate or work on acquiring self-knowledge and wisdom about life.
Acutal experiences in life lead to the acquisiton of wisdom, but those
experiences don't have to be non-physical. And a form of "deep study" is
a second source of wisdom. But I would be skeptical about talking to
non-physical entities for reliable information. Perhaps if you write more
about your experiences, I would hear something to help me change my mind?

>My point has always been that there is a growing number of people
>exercising inner abilities in this world, doing it in a fashion that
>integrates spirituality into this exercise,

If they're developing spirituality, they don't particularly need paranormal
senses nor dialog with astral entities. I'm not saying they shouldn't use
any special "gifts" that naturally arise.

We have three models of development here. (1) Awaken the spiritual and the
lower powers will naturally arise of their own accord. (The model I most
approve of.) (2) Awaken the lower powers and belittle or ignore the spiritual.
(3) Awaken the lower powers and work on the spiritual. (What you're mentioning

For the path that you mention, you'd have to describe what you mean by
"integrates spirituality into this exercise" to see if we are talking
about the same thing.

>to whom warnings about "delusion" or "mistaking the psychic for the
>spiritual" are really incredibly condescending,

Most of what I've heard about the nature of astral senses and perception
is that it is very subjective, where we see things according to our expectations
and to obtain some degree of "objectivity" is highly difficult. If you have
experiences to the contrary, it would be useful for us to hear of them.

>who are engaged in all sorts of very
>interesting research and service with those abilities,

That research presumably duplicates the abc's of inner powers that the
Mahatmas have long ago mastered. They presumable had a reason for not simply
making publically available information on the occult arts. If it is in the
public good to keep such knowledge secret, should we work to uncover and
reveal fragments of that knowledge?

>and whose service is as valid and empirically demonstrable as that
>of any MD, or psychologist, or physicist. And that this entire range of
>activity has been, for a number of years now, effectively suppressed and
>excluded from Theosophy.

There are useful skills that aren't discouraged. Mesmerism, for instance,
where raw prana is used in healing, is considered good. And using a mild
form of "mind reading" is helpful in knowing the right thing to say to
family or friends.

Respectfully, though not always in agreement,

-- Eldon

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