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Re: Phists vs. Phers

Nov 21, 1995 03:14 PM
by eldon


I'd partly agree with your posting if you substitute the term
"typical T.S. member" for "Theosophist" and "Theosophist" for

>Theosophists are passive; theosophers active.

To the extent that we allow our lives to be controlled by
external events and don't act with forsight and deliberation
we are passive. To the extent that we take control of our lives
we are active.

In another sense to the extent that we are unensouled and
asleep to the spiritual life we are passive. And the opposite
would be when we have awakened an inner "fire" and have
engaged a spiritual process within that makes wake up to
life for the first time.

>Theosophists see HPB as a unique mediator between humanity and
>the Masters a Messenger with a capital M. Theosophers see HPB
>as a role model someone who sought and found direct contact
>with sources of inspiration and information rather than taking
>anything 3rd hand.

Theosophists see HPB as *one* spiritual teacher in what might
be called the Mahatma-dharma lineage. There is a direct
transmission to her of the teachings of the Masters. But she
is a chela not a guru in this lineage and it is carried by
many individuals.

And she *also* sought and found direct contact with sources
of inspiration and information rather than taking things
third-hand. This is something we all should do. Reading the
dead-letter of the books falls far short of living wisdom.

It is possible to *go beyond the words* into a form of
direct understanding so a study of the books could be
considered a spiritual practice. But each individual is
responsible to take whatever is at hand and make use of it
including the theosophical books. If your house is burning
down you urgently look for something to put out the fire
you don't debate the merits or relative value of different
kinds of fire-fighting materials. The theosophical literature
has a particular use and it's up to the individual to
benefit by it or not.

>Theosophists when presented with a new idea ask "how does
>this fit with what I already know and believe?" Theosophers
>in the same circumstances ask "does this have the ring of
>truth regardless of my preconceptions?"

Both looking for the ring of truth with an unbiased fresh
mind and assimilation and integration of the new idea are
important. We don't learn anything new if we don't take both
steps. Both the new idea and what we knew before have to be
open and at-risk of change as we combine them in a new
understanding of life.

>Theosophists see the Theosophical Movement as central to their
>view of history. Theosophers are centered in the eternal now.

Theosophists don't typically care much for history even of
the Theosophical Movement. They appreciate the fruits of a
fellow student's life and try to kindly overlook character
defects. We do the same thing with classical music where we
enjoy great musical works without concern over the scandalous
nature of the composer's life.

We become centered in the eternal now when we become aware of
the timeless part of our natures of our highest principles.
The sense of "eternal" when applied to time is the same thing
as the sense of "empty" when applied to space or forms. In
either case it's the experience of emptiness or sunyata one
aspect or mode of experiencing life. The other approach being
of course the sense of fullness or absolute reality of life
with resulting compassion and concern for the karma of others.

Having a genuine experience of the eternal now -- and not just
an idea about it -- requires a spiritual practice. Unfortunately
Theosophists find no established practice to follow offered to
them by their various theosophical societies. They have to go
elsewhere to find a practice or have to device an ad hoc
practice apart from any spiritual lineage on their own.

>Theosophists consume theosophers produce.

We are all consumers -- that is required for existence. But life
is interconnected and the byproducts of our existence benefit
others. That means that we also produce. But do we do so
self-consciously? Do we produce to the fullest measure that we
are capable? Not I think until we have an awakened spirituality.
An awakened spirituality regardless of our state of advancement
leads us to become creative forces in the world. Compassion and
selflessness arise out of the spirituality. We produce all of
us each in our own unique way.

>Theosophists analyze; theosophers synthesize.

These are two sides to a process of understanding. Analysis is
a form of intellectual reductionism that reduces things to their
essential components so that we can better understand them.
Carried too far we kill the thing under analysis and lose all
sense of what it is about. Carried to just the right degree we
gain clarity and insight.

With synthesis we find how things fit back together again and
we reestablish an essential unified view of life.

>Just some variations on a theme.

You seem to be giving a "good guy / bad guy" theme where the
negative and less-developed aspects of a theosophical student
go under one term and the positive and more-advanced aspects
under another term. I don't see this dichotomy. We're all
students with various strengths and weaknesses students in
study hall with no guru or teacher to conduct the class. This
is the status quo of theosophical groups as they are currently
being run.

-- Eldon

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