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Re: All Pilgrims

Jun 26, 1996 09:38 PM
by JRC

To Alan, Bee & etc.:

> I agree, there is no need for this sort of rudeness.  Please may it
> cease on all of the lists.  We can be rude to each other in private
> postings easily enough.  If this sort of stuff keeps going back and
> forth, our own part of the universal human family could become a family
> at war, we will be defeating our own purposes, and denying our ideals.

I beg to disagree - but not without foundation (-:). I'd much rather see
reality revealed - in fact we *are* a family at war ... but for quite
some time the war has been driven underground, supressed, avoided and
denied. Issues have festered instead of being resolved. Animosities have
been have been forced into the closet - those who have disagreed with an
enforced party line have been either silenced or (quite often) simply
forced out of the organized societies altogether.  And the chief means by
which this has been done is through the institutional leadership's
virtually complete control over the avenues of communication. It is not
surprising that having now, for the first time, obtained a means of
communication that *cannot* be controlled by any single person or
faction, a good deal of the initial effects have been to have very
intense explosions of what *appears* to be "unfamilylike" behaviour.

Look, for a moment, at the old Soviet Union. For decades it had the same
sort of "peace and harmony" the TS has: a strong, centralized,
authoritarian force governed virtually absolutely - there was a *surface
appearance* of peace, "elections" were held, the media reported only rosy
pictures of achievement, scholarship was permitted so long as it supported
the established order. One would have believed there *were* no ethnic
disputes. The moment, however, that dominant force was cracked, however,
suddenly violence - intense ethnic violence (some of which continues
even today) broke out all over. It turns out that decades of high-minded
rhetoric and spin doctoring had done *nothing* but mask conflicts ... the
parties now at war are, in fact, *closer* to peace than they were when
they were dominated by the Soviet order - because the *genuine*
differences are now out in the light of day; when harmony comes about it
will be something that arises out of the participants, not something
*imposed* on them. (And if three millenia of political history teaches us
any single fact, it is that harmony *cannot* be *imposed* on a population
- only the *appearance* of harmony can ... and it always winds up not
only being temporary, but resulting in greater disharmony in the long
run.) The situation in eastern Europe is currently extremely
discomforting, but in the long run many groups and factions who see the
world radically differently from one another now have the first genuine
chance in decades of actually discovering *among themselves* how to come
to terms with one another - how to live in something resembling peace.

So on this list. The institutional point of view - the Theosophy that has
been permitted by organizations - is certainly present here on the list
.. with very strong and vocal advocates. But for the first time perhaps
since the early days this point of view has not been able to *control the
avenues of communication*. There have *always* been sharp criticisms of
the perspective - but these criticisms have been completely banished from
TS circles - *have not been permitted*. People want to complain about Alexis
calling Joy Mills a "bitch"? Goodness gracious, that is *one line* in a
post maybe one hundred people will read. Look, though, at *what she did*
- and even further at the fact that the power she had in the organization
meant she could not only do it, but make sure *no one else heard about
it*. Her *actions* were a scale of magnitude worse than *any* words.

Those who want to complain about the "negativity" on the list - *please*
consider for a moment what its *source* might be. I agree that it is
extremely uncomfortable at times. That it perhaps *appears* to be
anything but the demonstration of our ideal - but I would submit that
	1. It may well be a *necessary* release of pressure, a venting of
pressure that has built up for quite some time - even decades - and that
it has been *made* necessary, and perhaps rendered superficially far more
vicious because *all avenues of calm, reasoned criticism have been
controlled and often completely sealed off*. Debates about the most
fundamental nature of what Theosophy is and how it ought to be presented
to the world are going on here - IMO they *should* be going on in the
organized societies themselves, but to this day they are *not permitted*.
	2. Please understand that those who may sometimes appear most
passionate in their condemnation are *not* simply unevolved cretins who
cannot control their emotions, and are incapable of reasoned discourse.
The motivation, the outright *anger* comes, at least in some, from a
*deep love for Theosophy, a powerful desire to see it become a credible,
effective force in the world, and a terribly uncomfortable feeling that
unless something changes drastically it will soon be little other than a
little dead shell*. A hundred people, having been treated as Alexis was
treated by Joy, or having withstood what K. Paul Johnson had directed at
him from Wheaton, would have simply *left*. In fact, the *reason*, I
think, the current cliques can keep getting elected is that they have
pretty much chased away anyone too opposed to their perspective. I am
*not* saying that those who *do* have power are any less passionate. I
believe Joy, and for that matter JA and RB do love and care about
Theosophy, and they believe that what they are doing is for its betterment
- but I do *not* think that gives them standing to control or supress
others who see things very differently, but are just as concerned about
Theosophy and its future. Bee, you may not like the intense criticisms
here, may label it "paranoia" - but please consider that if it seems
sometimes too intense, it is because this place is the *only* place in
the entire theosophical world where it is allowed - and is only allowed
because there is no way anyone can forbid it. In the United States, I
believe it was one of our Presidents (John F. Kennedy) that once said
"where peaceful revolution is impossible, violent revolution is
inevitable". There is (IMO) a profound truth behind that statement. Those
who *are* comfortable in current mainstream organizations, *please*
consider for a moment that possibly good numbers of people, really
*committed* people, people who would have expended great amounts of time
and energy *within* the organizations and on behalf of them *have* been
made to feel that their ideas were unwelcome (or even called just
outright wrong), their energy unwanted, their contributions meaningless.
Please consider, if even for a moment, what it means to trashed, ignored,
diminished and outright delibrately abused by organizations purportadly
acting on behalf of a philosophy your deepest heart is drawn to ....
	3. The surface and the depth. To take even the first steps
towards the realization of the first Object means that surface
presentation, communication *styles* will have to be simply seen through.
There (IMO) *is* no way a *global* community, with people from a whole
variety of different cultures, backgrounds, and personality types, will
*ever* agree on some single "correct" standard for discourse. This is
(again, IMO) the first great stride towards the First Object ... the
understanding that everyone assumes their notion of what is "correct" or
"polite" or "reasonable" is *universal*. As a for instance, I have some
Italian and Turkish friends (and this is not to generalize about those
cultures) to whom Alexis would seem *very* tame. But I also have Chinese
friends (whose conversation ceaselessly amazes me - so multilayered and
nuanced) to whom the discourse of Eldon and Bee would often appear
outright violent. Some people are overt. Others can say "F*** You" in
words that sound like they are taken from the Psalms of David. *Intent*
matters. Bee, with all due respect, I read your post to John Mead. Please
do read it ... what *really* was your intent, your motivation? It was
clearly not to John ... but was directed at others on the list. The whole
thing seemed to be intended to say "up yours" to very specific people. Am
I wrong? Clearly you were angry - but can you perhaps understand that the
*cause* of that anger is the same thing that caused Alexis to call Joy a
"bitch", the same thing that causes me to periodically use language like
a razor rather than a flower, that causes Doss to keep up a calm but
unrelenting effort to make Wheaton HQ accountable - etc., etc?

Anything, from a single person to a whole organization (or indeed even
nation) that *supresses*, that avoids, necessarily over time forms a
larger and larger shadow ... and must increasingly find carriers for that
shadow. Theosophy has, IMO, developed a *huge* shadow, but (again, IMO)
the healthiest thing in the world will be for it to actually have to
begin *facing it*. And that is *never* either a pretty or comfortable
process. But again, (IMO) *studying* Theosophy is easy - doing the *work*
is terribly difficult, takes tremendous courage - and is (IMO) *for the
first time* being done on this list. Theosophy is, here, beginning the
painful process of *claiming its shadow* - a process that takes, simply,
full engagement on the part of both the dominant and repressed voices of
the entity.

My own personal preference - my notion of what's best for Theosophy? ...
Alexis, keep swearing, spittin' and cursin' like a longshoresman, but
*unfilter* your mail - open totally to the process; Bee, Liesel, Rich,
etc., etc., *please stay on the list*; Eldon, *keep* articulating the
party line; Doss, keep politely hammering; Chuck, please continue to
scare the shit out of people; Alan, keep up the ceaseless promotion of
TI; well, I could go on and on, but the bigger point is this - I believe
that if we all stay *engaged*, have the courage and willingness to each
articulate *powerfully* our positions, and *give up* any attempts to
control either the style or thoughts of others, have the heart to not
give an inch on our positions (unless we are voluntarily compelled to by
the correctness and force of the argument of another) but also the heart
to completely hear and withstand all responses to those positions, we
might (or might not ... who knows? (-:) see a *genuine* nucleus of a
"Universal Family of Humanity" emerge of its own accord out of the
discourse - and it may not look like anything *any* of us currently
conceive it to be.

finally, the single thing I think I've discovered after my time here is
that when I *look for* the intent behind the words - the often covertly
or overtly violent words - spoken by almost everyone on the list, I
believe I hear the same thing ... all the speakers here have a *profound*
love and commitment to Theosophy ... and a desire to see it survive and
thrive ... in fact, *without* an underlying common foundation the fights
could not get as passionate and nasty as they do.

I guess, in my opinion, *there is absolutely nothing wrong with this
list, nor anyone on it*. I would not want *anyone* to leave, do not want
to close my ears to any voices, nor want anyone to alter or supress one
iota the expression of precisely what they think or feel at any moment,
nor wish anyone to change their style or mode of expression. I want to
*see what the truth of modern Theosophy is* - in all its glory and
horror. And even further, I am becoming not just curious, but downright
excited about what it might become, about what it might evolve into,
about what might emerge, about what *strange and beautiful fruit tree
might grow out of the seed HPB planted if it is finally allowed to grow
of its own accord, in its own directions, and according to its own
				I love you all very much.      -JRC

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