[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

New ground

May 29, 1996 06:18 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Dear Bjorn,

My experience has been that Theosophists in local groups are
delighted to break new ground.  I have spoken to groups in
Virginia Beach, DC, Baltimore, Charlotte, Atlanta, and
Berkeley, every time on some aspect of my current research.
For years, that research has been groundbreaking on some aspect
of Theosophical history or other.  Reception of it has been
uniformly enthusiastic, warm, friendly-- just what would lead
one to think that the Theosophical movement is an incredibly
open, receptive place for new ideas, even about very
fundamental issues.  Even after publishing my most unorthodox
conclusions in a self-published book, there was very little
hostile feedback and a preponderance of good reviews.

But since I was published by SUNY Press in 1994, I have seen
another, and very dark, side to the Theosophical movement.  My
first SUNY book generated some extremely angry, hostile mail
from Theosophists, more email of that description, and some
disdainful and dismissive reviews.  The second has been totally
ignored.  Worse, Joscelyn Godwin's The Theosophical
Enlightenment, a truly wonderful book that is the best written
in decades on Theosophy, has been also totally ignored by the
Theosophical establishment.  There has been a circling of the
wagons around Sylvia Cranston's biography of HPB as *the only
acceptable approach to HPB* and a complete stifling of any
less worshipful approaches to her.

In short, members are hungry for new groundbreaking ideas, by
and large.  But a minority of members and the majority of those
in power positions are determined to squelch anything but an
orthodoxy that they won't even admit to having.  Things really
look grim in the short term.  But I keep wondering how long the
holding pattern can last before organized Theosophy dwindles down to a
small remnant of true believers and everyone who *was*
interested in new ground finds it somewhere else.

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application