Re: Theosophy is a Coined Term
Jun 09, 1996 05:06 PM
by Jerry Schueler
>...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.
I would love to see Theosophy become a haven for
"truth-seekers." It has always attracted these folk, but has never
seemed to be able to hold them for long. The problem? In a word,
technique. When a valid truth-seeker learns that the acceptable
techniques are karma-yoga, altruism, jnana-yoga, and perhaps a dab of
raja-yoga, they soon leave. Jnana-yoga is basically reading and
studying, and what you wind up with is a intellectual reading society.
Karma-yoga and altruism are not valid techniques IMHO, but rather
what we should be doing as a matter of course. Raja-yoga is fine,
but again not terribly efficient or effective for most. Magic and real
occultism are forbidden. The 3rd Objective is talked about through
the writings already given us, and new material and research are
discouraged. So, what are these truth-seekers supposed to do?
What has been happening so far is that theosophists who stay
tend to read and study a lot. This is fine for Eldon's intellectual-
spiritual approach, but it only attracts a certain type of person,
and leaves many others out.
>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.
Yes it should, and no it is not, and for the reasons I gave
above. Perhaps we can get Eldon to expound on the intellectual-
spiritual approach in some detail? The bottom line here is that if
we want to attract, and keep, truth-seekers, then we have to give
them more than books to read.
> 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
The problem with this is that it smacks of psychism, the dreaded
p word. How are members to know if you are drawing your information
from "higher" insight, or from kama-manas? The obvious answer here
is that, by definition, "higher" insight will agree with HPB and the MLs,
and anything that differs must be psychism. I have played this little game
too many times, and am tired of it. I agree with you, Richard, but I am
tired of fighting the establishment. The party line is that everyone's
insight must agree with the TS literature, and if so, then why bother to
channel or use intuition, when the information is already written down
for us? So, we're back to reading and studying again.
> 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?
Personally, I have never felt that little t's were welcome.
I do most of my own truth-seeking in Magic and Occult circles,
not in the TSs. As I have said before, the TSs provide a lot of
worthwhile background and theoretical material in their libraries.
But we have to look elsewhere for practical application and
direct experience. There are doubtless a few people like Eldon
who can do very well with an intellectual-spiritual approach. But
this path is not for everyone. I know that for myself, I feel the
need to experience the ideas, not just to think about them.
>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.
If the society dies, I will have a clear conscience, Richard.
>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
The little t aspect of Quest was its best aspect.
>The Fog Index has been offered as another explanation.
IMHO this is what killed it.
> 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. . .
Different audiences, Richard. Eldon and I, and Jerry HE, and others
who discuss detailed material are doing it for each other as long-standing
members. If the Quest had articles about Rounds, Globes, Swabhava,
and so on, it would have died long ago. One must write for one's audience,
and the Quest audience (the general public) has a 7th grade reading level.
>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.
What I want is a Theosophy-means-this, as a small subset
of theosophy, however you want define little t theosophy (I like your
definition just fine, but only for t, not T).
> If you defined Theosophy, I would have to show up at your feet to learn
>what it is;
I don't see it ever going that far. Why come to my feet
to learn what reincarnation or karma are? They are already defined
in the literature. I have tried to define them as I experience them,
and this is different, a bit, from the exoteric defintions in the literature.
For my efforts, I have caught flack and flame, and had to grow a
thicker skin. But I keep on trying.
>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.
What is the difference between a "seekers club" and the infamous
"halls of magic" that HPB warns us against? If you mean intellectual
seeking, then we already are.
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