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re: Group project

Oct 17, 1995 10:31 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker

Jerry H-E:

>Much of the conflict on this internet comes from a lack of
>clarity of what this theosophy is that we are all interested in.

Not just a lack of clarity, but a lack of agreement. We have different
models of what Theosophy is about, and talking from different models,
we find ourselves unable at times to understand others.

The models different as to the nature of Theosophy. Some would say that it
is the intellectual product of HPB, others might call it a set of theories,
and yet others may credit it with fragments of occult knowledge from
the Masters. There is disagreement, then, regarding what Theosophy is.

A second form of disagreement is regarding the specific teachings
themselves. We have the HPB model, the Besant/Leadbeater model, the
Purucker model, etc. Talking from one model, we'll disagree on philosophical

"Lack of clarity" does not simply mean lack of agreement with your
definition of Theosophy nor your understanding of the actual doctrines.
Nor does it mean lack of agreement with *mine*, nor with any particular
participant in 'theos-l'.

>Only a minority of up have an historical understanding, while the
>interests of the majority is a-historical.

True. And only a minority might be interested in the scientific/chaos
theory angle. And yet another minority with the psychocentric approach.
And another minority with the the psychical research aspect. There are
many minorities, and we all belong to differing subsets of them.

>Paul Johnson, Dan Caldwell, and myself tend to look at the movement
>from this historical point of view.

That's fine.

>Thus we tend not to repeat the doctrinal answers but rather seek
>historical answers to questions concerning the teachings.

Would you prefer to tell me the year that the apple fell on Newton's
head, or the natural philosophy that his insights led to?

>From my standpoint, a study of history can allow us to examine the
external lives of others, but does not take us closer to making the
philosophy a living reality in our lives. There is a spiritual
practice that involves the theosophical doctrines. This practice
goes beyond an intellectual understanding, although that understanding
is generally a prerequisite. I'd rather not be an outside observer,
talking *about* the philosophy, as much as a participant, involved
in a real, dynamic process. This also involves a study of the
philosophy, and we talk about it, but in a much different way than
someone trying to be "objective" and creating a barrier within
through the artifical distinction of subject/object, a sense of
being an observer rather than a participant.

>Most others are doctrinal, and rely upon the teachings of their
>tradition to supply the answers.

The teachings are *the starting point* for answers, and leave much
work to be done by the student. If we think that we have the
answers, when we've first underlined our favorite passages in the
source books, we're fooling ourselves. But they are true, as far
as they do go in expressing the knowledge of the Masters. It may
not be *provable* as to what doctrines and what writers represent
the Masters, but that lack of provability should not be a barrier.
If someone is unable to prove to the satisfaction of others that
love exists, that does not prevent that person from experiencing
love. If we are given occult truths that are not provable in the
current scientific world, the truths remain true and useful for
us to study.

>But among them, they are divided by the traditions. Thus they have
>different views.

There is a bewildering assortment of different views offered to
the seeker in the New Age movement. The variety of views within
the theosophical community is few by comparison. But we are still
faced with the same problem of personally having to find what is
suitable for ourselves, and gradually work our way closer and
closer to an understanding of the real nature of life.

>Rich and Liesel would be the two who contrast the most I would think.

True. There's quite a contract in times in what they say.

>Then we have those who operate from revelation, but even they seem
>to be often following very different calls. Take Brenda on the one
>hand and Patrick on the other.

Yes. Someone cannot come to 'theos-l' and expect a single voice
regarding the real definition of Theosophy or a single description
of its teachings. But still we can learn from each other, and
practice our communication skills. There's value to our interchanges,
even in terms of a spiritual practice, where we develop various
virtues like patience, tolerance, and open-mindedness.

-- Eldon

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