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Oct 31, 1995 04:23 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

For those who have observed the ongoing drama of Daniel
Caldwell's attacks on my work and my intermittent defenses
thereof, some background:

I have never met Daniel, and first contacted him in early 1993
while revising and condensing In Search of the Masters for
submission to publishers. He ordered a copy of it, and I then
wrote to him asking for specific suggestions about the
methodological flaws he had condemned in his annotated
bibliography for The Occult World of Madame Blavatsky. At the
time I made it clear that this was a revision in progress, and
that to be useful his critique needed to come fairly soon.
Unfortunately, it came several months later, just as the
manuscript was ready to send off to SUNY. Instead of a
personal letter suggesting improvements, as I had expected, I
got a lengthy, elaborately printed document copies of which had
been sent to quite a number of other people. It was full of
boldface, exclamation points, numbered challenges: a
confrontational, adversarial work if I ever saw one. Still,
that was no reason not to try to use it in my revision, so I
wrote a section (it being far too late to actually revise the
ms. with it) responding to his points. This was inserted in
the ms. that was sent to SUNY, and a copy was sent to Daniel.
Many weeks later, after SUNY decided to publish, Daniel sent
another lengthy reply, even more adversarial and
confrontational in tone, indicating total dissatisfaction with
my response. At this point, in consultation with the
publisher, I decided to delete the entire section, and wrote
Daniel to tell him so-- apologetically.

The next contact I recall was when I signed on to theos-l in
early 1994 while The Masters Revealed was in production. A
friend of Daniel's announced that he was distributing an "Open
Letter to Paul Johnson" which I had never even heard of. I
protested that this was not very open, and Daniel decided to
withdraw it.

Last fall (I think, maybe winter) there was an extended
exchange between Daniel and me here on theos-l. He posted his
criticisms of The Masters Revealed, and I tried to respond.
But for every point that I defended, he attacked with increased
vigor. This escalated, with me more and more defensive and
Daniel more and more aggressive, until the whole list got sick
of it, asked that it be moved to theos-roots, and I got off
both lists while working on the new book.

After several months off the lists, I got back on last summer.
Within two weeks, Daniel was back on with additional critiques
of my work, and challenges/demands for me to defend myself.
This time I declined to participate. But by then I had written
thousands of words in response to his complaints, and spent
many many hours worrying about it. How many authors,
confronted with a clearly hostile critic whose attacks had only
escalated over time, would have devoted as much time and energy
as I did to trying to respond to his complaints? My guess is

Now we have an eleven part series unfolding on theos-roots, and
a couple of recent attacks on theos-l. Again, Daniel seems to
think I owe it to him to reply to these; he and his admirers
take my refusal to do so as evidence that his complaints are
unanswerable. But it is abundantly clear that his will to
attack and challenge is stronger than my will to defend. At
this point, the actual word count of Daniel's critiques of my
identifications of Morya and Koot Hoomi must be well ahead of
that for the sections of my book that discuss this.

The email I just forwarded gives some evidence of how much
personal hostility is motivating him; I feel like the victim of
a stalker. The man is clearly obsessed in a very negative way
with me and my work. This despite acknowledging that it has
some positive value for historical research, even going so far
as to call it a "treasure trove."

Some comments to Daniel's admirers. The person who called me a
"psychological basket case" is right on the money in the narrow
sense of describing the turmoil that Theosophical attacks on my
work have caused in this one area of my life. However, the
vast majority of people with whom I deal haven't a clue that
any of this is happening. In my worklife, family
relationships, friendships, I'm a pretty well-adjusted guy.
(Something about having a stressed ninth house moon means that
religion, publishing, etc. will be where the emotional turmoil
is felt). To the person who complained of my "pissing and
moaning"-- is it or is it not true that I have become the
target of more hatred from Theosophists than anyone in living
memory since CWL? But don't worry, you'll hear no more
complaints about it because my ability to care about it is
just about gone. To those who think that I should respond in a
substantive manner to such critiques, I suggest that you read
my forthcoming response to John Algeo's lengthy review in
Theosophical History.

Finally, a suggestion to Daniel. Get a life. You have devoted
a tremendous amount of time and energy to attacking, not just
one man's work, but one particular part thereof. Do you really
want to go down in history as someone who, instead of
creatively coming up with his own solution to a mystery,
obsessively attacked someone else's work for several years?

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