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Is "Tradition" really impregnable?

Nov 21, 1995 09:15 PM
by K. Paul Johnson

> I read JRC's comments with some empathy for obvious reasons
> but also some concern that theos-l may be taken as
> representative of the entire Theosophical movement when it is
> not.
> This will be somewhat rambling and personal but relevant I
> hope. Bill Clinton's mother used to say that she and her sons
> shared a characteristic: if any of them were in a room with 100
> people 99 of whom adored them and 01 who hated them they'd
> spent 100% of their time worrying about the 01 person. While
> allowing that more than 1% of Theosophists-- perhaps 10%-- feel
> something for my books that walks and talks like
> hate although of course they'd deny that it IS hate-- I
> must admit that the amount of time I've spent worrying about
> them has been grossly disproportionate to their numbers. In a
> way it is unfair to the great majority of FTS I've known who have shown
> openness and encouragement for me to give up on the whole
> movement because of a few. But why are those few so vivid in
> my thoughts and feelings and the many seem to fade into the
> background? Because people who hate a book are 100 times more
> likely to express their reaction to an author than are people
> who like it perhaps. Similarly I'd suggest that the silent
> majority are more supportive of JRC than he realizes.
> JRC has had bad experiences here and elsewhere with
> Theosophists who tend to pooh-pooh or at best patronize
> discussion of inner experience. Not knowing about the Montana
> Theosophists I can only guess that they are not any more
> dogmatic than the ones here in the East. Which means if my
> observation is correct that no more than one in ten is a
> know-it-all out to stifle and humiliate anyone with new and
> different perspectives. Unfortunately human nature being what
> it is the other nine are not very likely to challenge that one
> authoritarian dogmatist and may thus be misinterpreted as
> supporting him/her. This is especially likely when the
> dogmatist is a member of long standing well-connected
> articulate and inexhaustible. People go along to get along
> not because they agree.
> The good news is that even the worst offenders in this regard
> have some glimmering of understanding that the Movement has
> some bad habits to unlearn and that the reflex of stifling
> condescending humiliating etc. is a long-term bad habit. But
> while it's easy to recognize when it's directed
> against us it's also horribly easy to direct the same energy
> at others with blithe disregard for its destructiveness.
> So JRC the bottom line is that *most* Theosophists have room
> for you and your experiences in their hearts and minds. Those
> who have excluded you in various ways are excluders by habit
> and it's nothing personal. You may be right that the
> rigidity and dogmatism has gone too far to be reversed; there
> may be too much resistance to creativity to make it worthwhile
> to stay. But theos-l is a self-selected microcosm and
> therefore not a very accurate mirror of the overall Movement
> Perhaps those on theos-l who regret JRC's departure might let
> him know by private email since he won't be reading the list.
> Namaste

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