Re: Theosophy is a Coined Term
Jun 09, 1996 12:04 PM
by alexis dolgorukii
At 11:41 AM 6/9/96 -0400, you wrote:
>>>Richard Ihle writes>>
>>>John even seems to want to make the ~Theosophical~ in
>>>~The Theosophical Society~ officially stand for just this
>>>definition; Eldon has never actually gone that far, but
>>>one suspects that this development would not disappoint him.
>>I would see a use for a diversity of specializations
>>among theosophical organizations, including one or a
>>few with a -- gasp! -- actual interest in preserving and
>>passing on the source teachings of Theosophy.
Eldon: I think that when one sets out to "preserve and pass on" one runs a
truly awful risk of "crystallizing, setting in stone" and thereby denying
the SPIRIT of the teachings to posterity. It is this that is the great
danger to the theosophical ideal at this time. In any philosophy the worst
fate is the preservation of the "Letter" at the expense of the "Spirit" that
destroys the viability of the structure.- A.D.
>Does an organization based upon THE THREE OBJECTS seem like the natural
>candidate for specialization?
Richard: You're absolutely correct. The Three Objects are a prescription for
almost unrestrained generalism, especially when they are combined with the
Motto. What people like John Algeo, and perhaps Eldon, are doing IMHO, is
turning the motto into the usual "There's no truth higher than my
>Anyway, I do not believe that an ever-shrinking Society made up of experts on
>the source teachings, semi-experts, and some confused people who think they
>might want to be experts someday will help preserve or pass along HPB's
>writings. In my opinion, the genius of the Founders' original plan ~must~ be
>understood and followed--viz., attract a large number of Truth-seekers and a
>certain "elite" percentage will naturally start gravitating toward HPB's
>writings. The "HPB percentage" is never likely to change; the actual number
>it represents can only grow when more general Truth-seekers are attracted.
If I may, I'd like to say that Boris de Zirkoff has already done the
definitive job of preserving HPB's writings. What mustn't be done is their
iconization. She wrote for her time in the semantics and context of her
time. Today we are five years short of the beginning of a new century, time
changes, context changes, and semantics change. I repeat it is the spirit of
HPB's ideas that must be preserved and passed on, it's substance NOT its
form. That's what I've been talking about all along when I complain about
"Hassidic Theosophy" by which I mean to say a religious approach totally
oblivious to changes outside of its too rigid parameters. I am also fearful
lest in preserving every word of Blavatsky's in stone, we fail to ascertain
what she actually said and what others put into her mouth post-mortem. -A.D.
>I would not even object to the E.S.'s continuing control over the general
>Society if only they had some grasp on the original organizational idea and
>the forebearance and finesse to keep it in proper operation. You, Jerry S.,
>and John Algeo are not the first to come up with the idea of trying to turn
>the ~entire outer Society~ into a simulacrum of the inner Society by means of
>further defining the doctrines that the outer is to be officially associated
I have to say I do. In my experience, the Pasadena society, in which James
Long was courageous enough to shut the E.S> down is a group that is far
freer, and far more devoted to the three objects than either the TSA or the
TS(Adyar). The electoral "hankypanky" that has poor Doss so rightfully
distraught is a product of the E.S. "Inner" and "Outer" societies are hardly
a hallmark of the coming century. That may have been O.K. in Queen
Victoria's time (or Edward VII's for that matter) but it no longer suits our
society. It clearly repels the young. The tail mustn't wag the dog. In this
case the "tail" desperately needs cropping. If the T.S. is to survive, the
E.S. needs to be disbanded. - A.D.
>At this stage in its history, the Theosophical Society should almost be
>synonymous with general Truth-seeking of a spiritual and metaphysical nature.
> It is not. Thank you, certain present and former members, for you have now
>almost won your great battle to purge the Society of the little ~t~
>theosophists. All the little t's wanted was to belong to a Society which
>championed the validity of theosophical ~epistemology~--i.e., the idea that
>valid knowledge is possible by transcendental, mystical, or intuitive insight
>or higher perception--and the idea of the personal Quest, wherever it might
>lead. Now, as you are preparing to give the little t's their hats and coats
>and politely explain that the T.S. is really not meant to be as general as
>that, where will you suggest that they go--the Unitarians?
Well one would hope they'd not go to the Unitarians. What they'll probably
do is go to some new context (for example theosophy international) and the
small "t" theosophical movement will continue on its generalist "three
objects' path, while big "T" Theosophy will live precisely as long as the
big "T" theosophists do. AS it stands right now, I'd be very surprised if
the Adyar based society lasts out the century.
>Indeed, as if it were not bad enough that you, certain present and former
>members, have almost succeeded in making the term ~Theosophy~ stand
>specifically for (or "be consistent with") HPB's understanding and
>articulations of the doctrines, you also want to make the very name of the
>Society officially ~stand for~ these doctrinal articulations as well. You
>want all foreheads clearly stamped with ~T = HPB~ before they enter the Tent.
> Paradoxically, the doctrines in question are my primary interests as well;
>however, my forehead is stamped with ~t = I'll See~.
Mine too Richard and there are many such. - A.D.
>Let me hasten to say, Eldon, that I do not believe you and Jerry S. have the
>full-coagulating attitude which may well ultimately be responsible for the
>demise of the Society. (At this point, the Society's will-to-clot seems so
>inexorable that perhaps only direct intervention of the Masters can get it
>back on track toward becoming the pre-eminent organization for the type of
>Truth-seeker who is willing to consider the validity of theosophically based
>knowledge.) I am more-so thinking of others at the moment. . . .
Question: would the "Masters" not have to have a motive for "raising the dead"?
Does big "T" Theosophy give them a motive? I doubt it. - A.D.
>For example, those responsible for the possible passing of QUEST MAGAZINE.
> Is it really the money issue, or is it that the publication has too much of
>the traditional outer-Society, little ~t~ orientation for the liking of
>certain individuals? The Fog Index has been offered as another explanation.
> Yes, it might have been hard for some people to read, I agree; however,
>compared with the subjects that you, Jerry S., and many others want to more
>strictly identify as ~Theosophy~, QUEST may possibly live in people's
>memories as having had the reading ease of a tabloid. Extended discourses on
>swabhava, the mechanisms of Devachan, etc.: these will have to be analyzed
>with the new Fog-on-Fog Index. . . .
>Sometimes I cannot help but wonder whether the Theosophy-really-means-this
>people really want thousands of new, freely Questing people for the Society,
>or whether they just want a relatively few more individuals in
>student-bondage to themselves. Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but have
>you noticed that many of those who want a strict doctrinal definition of
>~Theosophy~ often include primarily those subjects they themselves are expert
>in? If you defined Theosophy, I would have to show up at your feet to learn
>what it is; if I defined it . . . well, you could give me a shine while I
>pontificated. . . .
Unless I am totally wrong the idea of "showing up to learn at someone's
feet" would make HPB nauseous. Just as it obviously nauseates you.- A.D.
>>I think that Jerry S. is indicating that there is something
>>to the theosophical ideas themselves. Perhaps he recognizes
>>that there are definite doctrines to be written about and
>>presented to the new student, and that there's more to
>>Theosophy than a seeker's club where people compare opinions
>>but have nothing to come together to study apart from
>>playing "show and tell".
There's a very great deal of value in theosophical IDEAS, but when ideas are
totally encapsulated in orthodoxy and become an insensible repetition of
WORDS then the ideas wither away and die, lost entirely in form rather than
>Richard Ihle writes>
>If Theosophy (the org.) truely became a seeker's club, there would be a great
>renaissance. Right now it seems moving in the direction of becoming even
>more of a speaker's club for the approved and a sleeper's club for the rest.
Richard's words are very very true.-Alexis Dolgorukii.
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