Re: To Eldon
Oct 08, 1995 08:54 AM
by John R Crocker
On Wed, 4 Oct 1995, Eldon B. Tucker wrote:
> >Clearly you do not wish to=20
> >even slightly mitigate your attitudes about "psychic" abilities, and=20
> >clearly you will forward them as often as you like.
> How about your attitudes about them? How open are they to mitigation?
=09They come from 20 years of reading, contemplating, and needing to=20
match philosophy with experience. They are open to alteration and growth,=
but you have not mentioned anything that I haven't heard over and over=20
again in Theosophical circles.
> >This does not please=20
> >me, but I have no standing or ability to cause you to re-think anything =
> >say, or your manner of saying it. Neither, however, can you cause me to=
> >cease responding when you do this,
> When we see something that we don't agree with, after a while, we feel it
> necessary to say something. Since we disagree, there will be that tendenc=
> for either of us to respond to what we see written, offering our alternat=
> viewpoint. You seem to be saying that I should do all the rethinking, and
> don't admit to any being necessary on your part. This sounds like you're
> coming from a fixed position.
=09Do you remember how this conversation started? I did not begin by=20
asserting "psychic" powers should be developed, or that psychic=20
experiences should be spoken about, or that they were higher than any=20
other experience. I responded to an initial post of yours in which I=20
heard the oft-repeated Theosophical dogma about "psychic" powers being=20
forwarded. I began by saying that this position, to me as well as to=20
others I know, effectively suppresses the willingness of people to=20
discuss experiences that are relevant to their spiritual lives, and=20
further, that to myself and to at least some others I know, that dogmatic=
model is not sufficient to explain actual experience. Several others on=20
the list, since the discussion began, have mentioned that this dogma, in=20
Theosophical circles, *has* stopped them from even bringing the topic up.=
=09My position may be "fixed" every bit as much as yours, but it=20
does not close conversational doors.
> >and to respond with my own perception=20
> >- which is that some of the ideas you speak do serve to supress the=20
> >pursuit of the Third Object.
> For purposes of science, we may investigate things that are known to be
> dangerous, like perhaps doing medical experiements with radiation and
> x-ray equipment, even though human subjects may be harmed. When the
> subjects are informed of the risks, and their participation in the experi=
> is for the purposes of scientific investigation, an execption to the
> "don't do it -- it's dangerous" rule might apply.
=09I don't know where you've learned of these dangers you mention,=20
but I have experienced none of them. In fact, to myself, and to the=20
others I research with, there seems to be an obsession in Theosophical=20
circles with darkness and danger and all manner of spooky things. To me,=20
however, this is the equivilent of telling someone I'm going to New York,=
and then being warned that there is dirt in the gutters and that I might=20
be deluded by its inhabitants - to which my response would be, so what? I=
have no desire to walk in the gutters, and I'm certainly not gullible=20
enough to believe everything someone says simply because they are from=20
New York anyway - to me a lot of the Theosophical dogma about such things=
seems like anachronistic superstition.
> >While you may not evaluate the Objects=20
> >highly in your own understanding of Theosophy, this list, while=20
> >inviting contributions from members of all three Theosophical=20
> >organizations, was nonetheless begun as a discussion list for the TS -=
> >to whom the Objects are publically stated goals. =20
> Here you seem to be asserting some control over the unrestricted nature o=
> discussions on 'theos-l' by appeal to authority, the authority being perh=
> some wording or early ideas of what the list could be used for. The list =
> a group with its own dynamics and has taken on a life of its own.
=09No, I am not - I am merely=A0referencing something you said=20
earlier, and I do not especially like being characterized as attempting=20
to control the unrestricted nature of discussions - you have made=20
continual appeals to the "authority" of "source" teachings as the=20
foundation for justifying your position on inner abilities ... and in=20
fact seem to assert the point that the development of abilities is not=20
part of the "path" we are offered in Theosophy. In response, I mentioned=20
that the Third Object seems to make both the discussion and use of inner=20
abilities valid "Theosophical" pursuits. You mentioned, both in my=20
original response, and in this one, that apparently the Third Object is,=20
in your mind, no foundation that means anything to you. In what way is=20
using the Third object as a foundation, in the same way as you use quotes=
to back up your position, an attempt to "restrict" the list?
> >The words "psychic" and "spiritual" have so=20
> >many different meanings as to almost be meaningless here.
> We've talked about what respective parts of our nature that they refer
> to. We can go over that discussion again. Perhaps another approach would
> be to break apart all the different things that might be labelled as "psy=
> and discuss their individual merits and shortcomings, so that they aren't
> all lumped into a single category.
=09Actually, this is my last post on this subject for now. I was=20
making an attempt, as I have periodically over the years I've visited=20
Theosophy, to assert a particular position that might perhaps make some=20
people more comfortable to discuss particular aspects of their spiritual=20
life within the Theosophical current ... an attempt to put a crack in=20
what I perceive to be a very thick wall (and I understand those who=20
uphold that wall do not perceive things this way ... but I do.)
> >We are offered=20
> >not one, but many paths - some of them that may involve what you refer t=
> >as "psychic" abilities, and others that focus purely on what you call=20
> I've said this too, that there are many paths. Some schools may involve
> the psychic in their training. I'd still want a Mahatma or Chela to overs=
> my training, if I were to enter such a school, and not experiment on my o=
=09Yes, but you may not be one of that growing number of people to=20
whom such things are arising quite naturally.
> >The notion that there is some single approved=20
> >method of travelling the path is not one that I agree with, and smacks=
> >(to me) of the uniquely modern, western predilection to universalize=20
> >every personal perspective into a general principle.
> Each of us travels the path in his own way, although we don't get far wit=
> adopting a tried-and-proven practice. We need to associate ourselves with=
> of the many spiritual practices, and there are many. The spiritual/intell=
> approach is not an exclusive one. It's one that is often spoken of in our
> theosophical literature, and one that I find valuable. Sometimes when you=
> you seem to deny that there is such a school, and I feel inclined to offe=
> an alternate view.
=09This seems to be rather re-doing the history of this discussion a=20
bit. Where, precisely, have I even *implied* that your approach does not=20
exist, or even that it is not valid? All I've ever said is that it is not=
*exclusive*, and not the only valid path for Theosophists to follow. You=20
are the one saying that it is *the* one being spoken of in Theosophical=20
literature. To somehow cast this discussion as one in which I've been=20
trying to deny the existance of the "spiritual/intellectual" approach,=20
while you are simply humbly defending it and offering an alternative=20
point of view is disingenuous - you have said that as a general rule=20
elements of what *I* consider to be my path are to be discouraged,=20
because Theosophy offers us another, "higher" path. =20
> >This "body of thought" or belief system=20
> >is based upon a particular perspective on Theosophical sources - but it=
> >is not necessarily the only valid perspective.
> You're free to have your personal interpretation, as am I. But apart from=
> personal views, it should be possible to see what is plainly said in the =
> with the exception of deeply esoteric truths.
=09But this gets into the "Christian" problem. The founders wrote so=20
much that one can enter those "writings" from any angle one wishes, and=20
by selectively quoting, can justify many different, and very=20
contradictory, positions. Both the Pope and Jerry Falwell read the same=20
Bible. They would both say they are seeing "plainly" what is said. My=20
view of what Theosophy is includes this current incarnation ala HPB, but=20
goes considerably beyond it. I would, for instance, include the writings=20
of some neo-Platonists (as HPB herself did as well) , and many of them,=20
as well as the Gnostics, showed signs of advanced levels of the=20
development and use of inner abilities.=20
> I'm not saying that my ideas are fluidic and yours are fixed. I agree tha=
> the experiences that you have are real to you, and don't attack the exper=
> When I disagree with you explanation of your experience, I'm not attackin=
> the experiences, I'm only disagreeing with the explanation. You feel your
> experiences are under attack, when they are not. The same is true with Da=
> When I might disagree that Jesus is literally speaking to him in a spirit=
> experience, I'm not attacking his experience, only his explanation that t=
> experience involved Jesus personally speaking to him.
=09Ah yes, but I've said virtually nothing about my actual personal=20
experiences. This has been a general discussion ... and before I've even=20
offered personal experiences, you've already stated clearly the=20
theoretical construct in which they would be placed - and what I've been=20
saying all along is that to myself, and to others, this appears as=20
prejudgement. You have evaluated my experiences, and are stating your=20
right to hold your evaluations, before I've even submitted any specific=20
> >This, perhaps, is the source of much of=20
> >what may seem to be my anger - I do not think I have ever placed your=20
> >inner experiences into my paradigm (save to say that what you call=20
> >"higher wisdom" is just as subjective as what you call "psychic"=20
> >experiences and label as unreliable)
> The problem here is the distinction between art and philosophy. With art,
> you may write a poem, and it has a certain feeling, and it stands without
> explanation. With philosophy, we attempt to describe and understand the
> things before us in life. Your experience may be akin to a poem, and you
> resentment comes from a philosophical analysis of it.
=09No. My experiences have not yet been discussed. To paint me as=20
the poet and yourself as the dispassionate philosopher seems a bit=20
condescending. I have been arguing a philosophical position about the=20
place of inner abilities in people's spiritual lives. The point I was=20
making here is that you do *not* seem to be doing a philosophical=20
analysis of my experiences, but rather that you seem ready to catagorize=20
experience before experience is even presented - which is *not* philosophy.
My position has been a philosophical one: I've been saying that, from the=
point of view of both myself and others who are working with them, the=20
*catagories* and *assumptions* at the root of the standard Theosophical=20
dogma badly need to be re-thought, as they may not match experienctial=20
reality. If you wish to be the dispassionate philosopher, (IMO) you must=20
be as willing to open your catagories and assumptions to question as you=20
are to fit the experience of others into them. =20
> >And even using this idea to say some activities are related to that path=
> >while other behaviour is not?=20
> For a particular school, there may be a method that one is taught to foll=
> Followers of another school, or non-students may take different approache=
> Even though each school has its own methods, though, we cannot say that
> all behavior is good.
=09Modern Theosophy, however, is not a "school" ... the Masters may=20
run schools, HPB may have run a school, but Theosophy is a large set of=20
writings, a number of different philosophical perspectives, and was=20
intended (IMO) to be a vehicle (one of very many) the Masters could use=20
to serve humanity *through*. Theosophy is not a school with "a" method.
> >... and hence=20
> >the first reaction from you is "We must not generalize" - but Eldon, wit=
> >all due respect, you generalize almost continually.
> Generalizations naturally arise when we -- you or I -- try to write about
> general laws or principles of life, like when we discuss the nature of ka=
> The opposite of generalizations is writing little descriptions of persona=
> experiences, saying "this is what I saw, thought, and felt." Both types o=
> writing are helpful.
=09But there is a difference between the philosophical=20
generalization and the institutional generalization. The philosophical=20
is, as you say, the opposite of the speecific - where one may say here is=
a particular rose, and here is Plato's "ideal" rose, that exists as a=20
pure form seperate from any particular manifestation. This is different=20
than saying something like "Theosophy teaches a path, and that path is to=
avoid development of the psychic and follow the intellectual/spiritual=20
path" ... this is not a generalization of a specific event in nature into=
a general form, but the generalization of a particular view of Theosophy=20
into a general (or "the") view.=20
> >It seems clear you have no intention of altering the way you=20
> >communicate, regardless of anything I've said.
> You can let me decide about that.
=09Didn't say you wouldn't, but up to now you haven't.
> >both you and Rich seem to be continually commenting on how I communicate=
> >Neither of you likes it. Fine. There are also others that seem to=20
> >actually appreciate it.
> That's your decision. Are you willing to try different approaches at
=09I'm not upset about conversational styles. I'll accept the=20
differences ... and will from here on in only comment when someone first=20
> >Again, when you say "Perhaps *we* can keep the=20
> >passion but find more useful ways to convey it" - don't you mean *me*? -=
> >as the rest of that paragraph seems to imply yourself to be demonstratin=
> >the "correct" way to convey passion.
> In this case you, and perhaps Rich, when the passionate nature of the mes=
> leads to defenses going up and communication being obstructed.
=09However I do not agree with your view of what "appropriate"=20
expressions of passion are. It was the defenses that your initial posts=20
sparked in me that began this whole discourse ... yet you would say you=20
did nothing inappropriate.
> >I suppose we must learn to live with=20
> >this (and to me, it actually isn't that important) ... and perhaps try t=
> >mitigate the sparks for the sake of the larger list.
> Yes, because someone else can see us as being at each other's throats, wh=
> we're sipping tea, having cookies, and having a lively chat.
=09Good point (-:).
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