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Re: Acceptance and Resistance

Nov 27, 1995 03:40 PM
by eldon


>Eldon said in reference to JRC that he seemed to want others
>to accept his reports of inner experiences without question.
>Thus when the climate was not receptive to this expectation
>JRC was disappointed.

Not his *report* of experiences but his theories about and
explanations of them. The experiences are subjectively true.

Apart from describing those experiences when JRC gets into
his metaphysics then we can have a discussion. The opening
position for someone with a theosophical background would be
the theosophical doctrines along with one's own unique ideas.
The opening position for JRC would be whatever system of
thought he accepts along with his own unique ideas.

>In reference to me Eldon commented that
>my personal attachment to the contents of my books were at the
>root of my disappointment with Theosophists' reactions. This
>seems to put the burden of responsibility entirely on those who are
>disappointed rather than acknowledging that some responsibility
>rests elsewhere.

If you're stuck in a traffic jam over which you have no
control you can feel miserable or not. You have control
over how you react to the situation even if you cannot
control the situation. This is not a burden of responsibiliy.

Granted it is not always possible to control oneself but
at least there's a possibility of control even when external
events are unyielding. Like anyone you feel pain when you are
hurt. But there does not have to be a sense of suffering to
the pain.

In mentioning your books I'm not trying to say that it's your
fault that you feel bad when you're criticized and attacked at
times. Rather I'm suggesting that the books could be treated
like children. You give birth to them see that they make it
into the world then move on to other creative activities. There
comes a point where you can say of a creative effort "it's done"
and move on.

Unless you plan to make a life work of reforming of theosophical
groups to believe in the Masters as you see them you need to
let go of the subject and move forward to new projects.

>It's risky speaking for someone else but I feel sure that JRC
>would agree with what I say: it's not that we want or feel
>entitled to *acceptance* by virtue of Theosophical membership.

We're all entitled to hold our individual views and to openly
discuss them. But we shouldn't become so sensitive about the views
that we feel we're being brutally abused when they are questioned.
And it's only naturally in a theosophical group that the more
different our views are the more discussion and potential disagreement
that we'll face. That puts the burden upon us to refine our words
and explanations in order to make a persuasive case.

>No one is obliged to accept any doctrine or point of view
>neither the "orthodox" views of Eldon nor the "heretical" views
>of JRC or myself.

True. We are not compelled to believe in anything.

Each group sets its limits on discussion. On theos-l we have
limits much wider than any theosophical group or journal. The only
time I recall seeing our limits straining was with Daniel H. when
people were calling for his explusion from the list for his
Fundamentalist hellfire talk.

>I was never foolish enough to think that
>Theosophists would *accept* my work in the sense of saying
>"let's all agree that this is true"-- and I doubt that JRC ever
>expected anything like that for his ideas.

We're all in this situation to a degree. There's also ideas that
I've had that aren't specifically stated in any theosophical text
that I'd consider true profound and significant. But I still
need practice with expressing them and don't expect to be able
to make a strong enough case to win over everyone's thinking.

Lack of acceptance though does not mean that an idea is therefore
profound and beyond the conception of everyone. It can also be the
case that one is confused or one's idea is not so good after all.
We cannot infer anything from the fact that an idea is not accepted;
there could be many reasons. Each idea has to be considered on its
own merits.

>But does one have a right to expect Theosophists not to
>practice a particular kind of *resistance* to new or
>"heretical" ideas?

A new idea has to dethrone the old. It has to win over the minds
and hearts of people. If the idea is fantastic it can win over
people regardless of the words it is clothed it. It won't need
fine garments it's beauty shines forth even clothed in mere rags.

Generally though skillful communication is needed to make a
case for a different viewpoint. Expressing metaphysics in clear
language is an art and can have powerful effects.

The problem that I mentioned in an earlier posting though is
different. It is not related to the difficulty in expressing
one's experiences and insights. It relates to open communication.

>Resistance that says "this can't possibly be true because it
>conflicts with books I consider authoritative."

If you come to a discussion with the idea that you know the
truth and others are in darkness and ignorance and that your
role is to "push the envelope" of the thinking of those poor
unenlightened folk you're likely to find a certain reaction.
The reaction is different that if you were writing out of a
genuine love for what you say with no judgement one way or the
other about the people that you are writing to.

>Or "your contribution to the discussion can't
>weigh very much because you're mired in `lower psychism'."

The issue of psychism comes to bear in our analysis when we
talk about what might be happening and try to see what
Theosophy says about it. We also have our personal views
and can agree or disagree with the textbook answers.

JRC's contribution to the discussion is based upon the ideas
that he presents and the logic and intuitive appeal that he
brings to bear. He can use reason and philosophy as much as
any of us. If he wants to make an appeal to authority though
we can arrive at our own conclusions regarding that authority.
If he makes a statement based upon what he says an angel told
him and someone else quotes HPB to support a position we can
each decide for ourselves the relative merits of the two sources.

>In essence resistance that is fundamentally lacking in
>respect for alternative points of view?

But what does resistance mean? Daniel H. would tell us that
we resist God's word and fail to see the absolute truth in his
Bible quotes. When we don't immediately see things from his
viewpoint are we lacking in respect or is it possible sometimes
for us to actually know something more than someone coming to
us with other ideas?

>That seeks to "put them in their place" with chapter and verse?

When someone mentions their unique ideas the first step in
a discussion would be to contrast the ideas with textbook
Theosophy. That is the starting place for contrasting the ideas
comparing them side-by-side and seeing if there's some possibility
for benefiting from the new ideas.

>There's a kind of *non-acceptance* that is not resistant
>either; that simply says "I'll put that on hold for the time

That is what we do with the deepest metaphysics like perhaps
certain passages in "The Secret Doctrine". We have accepted HPB
as an authority. Because of the special respect that we accord
her we are willing to suspend judgement on certain teachings.
We operate from the idea and hope that we'll later be able to
understand and appreciate the deeper truths. Until then we
study them and suspect judgement on them.

Your use of the term "suspend judgement" seems to refer to
something different. In this case we are not talking about
a spiritual teacher offering us truths so high that we have
to withhold judgement on them until we've progressed further.

In this case we are allowing to pass ideas from someone that
we'd otherwise be likely to reject. We allow the ideas to
pass assuming that the other person will get more skillful
and be able at a later date to present them more attractively
so that they may later seem useful and worth considering.

In the first case we are not progressed enought to receive
the lofty teachings of a guru. In the second case the person
talking to us is not skillful enough to make his ideas
appealing and needs more experience in articulating his

>But when the non-acceptance comes across as resistant
>and more emphatically after years of feeling resistance to
>one's contributions the natural reaction is to say "enough
>already I'll waste no more time here" which is what JRC seems
>to have done.

Daniel H. seemed to get this feeling after a month of preaching
hellfire to us. In his case the resistance he felt was due to
the fact that we knew more than he did and not because we were
stubbornly staying in darkness persistently resisting his efforts
to bring us to the light.

If anyone comes along with ideas that are considerably different
it's only natural for them to expect the same reaction. If they
won't discuss their metaphysics and approach us with an attitude of
"pushing our envelope" they should not feel surprised if they
fail to win converts.

For real communication to occur both parties must be open and
not trying to win converts and save the other from darkness
ignorance etc. Both parties must be willing to contrast and
compare ideas and peacefully coexist with others that consider
one's ideas as untrue. The emphasis should be on lucid writing
not on condemnation of the ignorance and folly of others. And
most importantly not to take one's ideas too seriously! It's
through a too-personal identification with one's ideas that leads
to anger hurt feelings and the breakdown of communication.

-- Eldon

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