Re: Bleat and Howl
Jun 03, 1996 05:34 PM
by Jerry Schueler
>Well, I don't know about this "sheep and wolves thing." If it were anyone
>other than Jerry S. touting the wolves, I would probably animadvert in more
>strenuous fashion; however, in Jerry's case I have learned that waiting with
>my objections often turns out to be the best policy--since my gainsayings
>usually disappear on their own.
I am sorry if I gave you the impression that I prefer wolves
to sheep. They both have their good points and bad points. I actually
would consider myself a sheepish-wolf.
>Still . . . for the time being, number me with the sheep, or better yet the
>lambs (or better yet, a semi-shepard of myself, at least). . . .
You are way too modest. A sheepish-wolf if I ever saw one.
Meditation (which you espouse) is a sure way to turn any sheep a
bit wolfish. A true sheep steers clear of meditation for fear it will
change him (or her) -- which it will.
>I don't know . . . all a person has to rely on in the end is or her own line
>of development, isn't it?
Yes. But if we rely only on our book-learning, then what
happens to us after death, when we go through Devachan and all
our mental baggage is dropped? At birth, we must start all over
again, bringing with us, perhaps, but the love of books.
> Certainly, the result of my own is the reverse of
>what has been suggested: It seems like much more the case
>that I started out as a wolf and turned into a--
This could only happen if your meditative experiences
totally confimed your understanding of the literature. An
interesting idea. In my own case, this is true to a very large
extent, but there is a small portion of the literature that just
won't jive, and I simply have to let it go.
>Well, who knows? All I can say is that I have now become far too gentle to
>be a proper wolf any more.
As Alexis has noted, wolves are actually gentle. Sheep
can be as nasty as anything, you know. My use of the terms, spawned
by Bjorn's horror at what he called the theosophical "wolves," was not
directed at gentleness vs nastiness but rather at sheepishly following
the literature, or using one's experiences to wolfishly shift the chaff from
the theosophical wheat. Eldon's use of the metaphor of mining gold is
apt, because for every nugget of gold there is a lot of coal and dirt that
must be cleared away. And what, but meditation, can we possibly use
to accomplish this filtration in any meaningful way?
> If I do inflict pain, the awareness of the fact
>that I have done so usually makes me suffer more than my victim.
Me too, but a wolf is actually a sensitive animal, while
most sheep are relatively insensitive to the pain to others. The
analogy here is applicable primarily because from the sheep's
point of view the wolf is a walking horror with no compassion
at all, while from the wolf's viewpoint we have an entirely different
situation. This idea may be seen more clearly from the Zen
viewpoint. When a student says something to his Master that
the Master interprets as too much reliance on literature, the Master
may respond by hitting the student with a stick. While this act
can be seen as lacking compassion, it just may be exactly what
the student needs to bring about satori. Now, I am not suggesting
that the wolves are Masters and the sheep are students. That is
where the Zen analogy breaks down. But otherwise the idea is
pretty close. The wolf vs sheep is really a case of book-reading
vs experience, and the wolf's message is that without experience,
one is simply a follower of what someone else has said. Even
when our experience confirms what we have read, the information
itself becomes a felt-knowledge rather than just head-knowledge
and the sheep turns into a wolf. Our head-knowledge is discarded
during the Devchan, while felt-knowledge is brought with us into
our next life. Thus the importance of distinguishing between the
>This might turn out to be a bad thing to do, and naturally it is predicated
>on the completely unsupported assumption that for some reason I think I have
>the "Vantage of Perspective" on the other person's psychogenetic condition.
Agreed. This is the inherent danger of the wolf's attempt to
"change the sheep or else." The fact is, some sheep (like Eldon) prefer
to remain so, and are quite happy with themselves, and I agree that those
don't need changing. But what about all of the sheep who have responded
in ugly and mean-spirited reprisal? What happened to the compassion
that they themselves are supposed to manifest? If such sheep would
look at themselves in the mirror, they might not see the gentle and loving
souls that they envisioned themselves to be. The wolf's message to
those, is simply to lighten up, get a sense of humor, learn not to take
things personally, learn to control your ego, and so on. Sheep, the real
sheep, are living in a fool's paradise that will come crashing down on
them at some point. They see the world in an image of how they want
it to be, rather than how it really is (my days as a Christian Scientist
proved to me that Christian Scientists are sheep). For this reason,
I would say that Eldon, and doubtless others, are not real sheep. Now
personally, I don't want to set myself up as any sheep's karmic agent.
I am simply pointing out what is going on here on theos-l. Alexis and
Chuck, however, must speak for themselves.
>Nevertheless, my continuing hope, naturally, is that we have no ***holes on
>this list and that everyone, no matter how wolfishly abrasive, does what he
>or she does with high purpose and helpful intent.
My hope too.
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application