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Re: All Pilgrims

Jun 26, 1996 11:13 PM
by Bee Brown

JRC wrote:
> 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

For the moment I still seem to be here but I am serious and will
unsubscribe via the listserv as John may not have caught up with his mail.
Do you think that being rude & jumping on others like a ton of bricks is
revealing reality?
- 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.

War has never solved anything just take a detached look at history. If I
spoke to my lodge members in the tone you take here they would have deposed
me long ago and then what good would I have been able to do then? I don't
have the god-given right to speak to others as if they are gormless idiots.
Leadership problems will always rise untill we all grow to be less
self-interested because then power will have no meaning.
> 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.

Likening Theosophy to USSR is also spin-doctoring. It is taking an extreme
situation and using it as a sort of batter-ram and insinuating that there is
a parallel to be drawn. I cannot accept such a comparison so whatever point
you were trying to make, it has not succeeded in my case.
> 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*.

I didn't think this was a TS circle and it always seemed to me that people
should be able to express their opinions, what ever they may be, without
having rude and uncivil comments directed at them. If someone disagrees with
me then fine, it causes me to question my opinion but it may not necessarily
change it. If I get shouted at rudely then I won't even think on it, I will
just get either ignore the whole thing or settle further into my opinion and
it will all have been a waste of time. I am too old now to be frightened into
 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.

I have no idea what she did and I didn't expect to have to indulge in
recriminations and politics on a theosophy discussion list. OK that is my
problem and so I sort it out by leaving. I get enough gossiping and bitching
outside of theosophy to last me several lifetimes and I do not like making
judgements on others who I really know very little about. I have encountered
Joy at conferences and found her pleasant to me so what she may have done to
others I do not know. I believe in the theosophical idea that returning evil
with evil only perpetuates evil, returning evil with good difuses it. Liesel
talks of ahimsa and I reckon Gandhi got more done that way than going to war
with Britain, to use your sort of analogy.
> 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*.

Sorry but I can find no excuse for viciousness in theosophy.

>         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.

I haven't heard anyone say that but I understand that most of the teachings
recommend control of emotions if one wants to see straight and achieve
respect from others.
> 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*.

I have a deep devotion to theosophy and have tried to gain an understanding
of what it teaches. Shouting at others and trying to force them to see it my
way isn't what it is about. I have no doubt about your love of theosophy, it
is not my place to even question it regardless of how you wish to express it.

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 ....

You are saying that 'they' are all to blame for the various problems people
are having with 'them'? Committed theosophists are such no matter where they
are and there are many people who do not have a Lodge or such like in their
vicinity and they 'do theosophy' just the same. Laying blame on
organizations for failing to take heed of our needs is a bit like whistling
in the wind. Anyone who has the patience and a quiet balanced outlook, can
change an organization from within, without it realising it has been changed.
A little lobbying here and a whisper there. Many small compromises leads to
the goal easier than a sledgehammer and the change becomes permanent.
>         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?Yes it was and it was done that way in reponse to Alexis' remark that people
threaten to do so and then don't. As mentioned earlier, I will have to do it
properly via the listserver.
 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?

No you are not wrong and it was to John. Yes I was intending to indicate that
I had enough of it all.

 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?

As I don't subscribe to bad language I have the choice whether I let it
darken my doorstep or not. :-) It was not just Alexis calling Joy names this
time, it is an accumulation of that sort of thing that has caused my
decision. It is not that I am angry in the way you get angry, it is painful
to me to read posts that smack of oblivious thoughtlessness to others
feelings. OK you persons have had your feelings hurt and trampled on and so
you pass it on. This happens to others but they deal with it in their own way
so that it doesn't hurt others.
You are fond of the word suppression. After nearly a year on theos-l I feel
so suppressed by the stinging critisms flying around that it takes me all my
courage to say anything. Just now I don't care any more and will be leaving
anyway so certain persons can get as nasty as they like.
> 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.

Here again I disagree as I don't think 'facing it' with such emotional
overtones will do more than keep the fires burning for longer than necessary.
I know people who cannot live without a large emotional content to their
lives. If nothing is happening, they go out and create a scene to get their
emotional fix and cannot understand how life can be so cruel to them. That's
fine for them but I do not wish to be the catalyst that gives them the fix so
I don't play the game.
> 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*;No thank you. If I am required to spit and curse to keep up with these
theosophical discourse, I pass. Not the way I do business.

 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,

That is the bit I have been complaining about and if that ever becomes the
norm on here then I shall be happy for you all.

 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)

Fine words but how many times have I seen outright attacks by certain persons
on theos-l that were uncalled for, just because someone disagreed with what
was said
 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 shall go and love my theosophy in a less violent climate, thank you.
Bee Brown
> 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
> predilections.*
>                                 I love you all very much.      -JRC

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