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Re: science + religion = theosophy

Jun 27, 1996 01:33 PM
by alexis dolgorukii

At 09:02 AM 6/27/96 -0400, you wrote:

>Chris: in addition I'm curious as to what *arguments* 'process' theosophists
>have to dismiss core-theosophy (HPB & Mahatma Letters) as irrelevant.

Martin: I dismiss the "Mahatma Letters" as irrelevant because , having
studied them over a course of some 30 years I have found them to be so
mutually contradictory and lacking in real content that it is not simply
that I consider them to be irrelevant but that I don't consider them to be
valid. In other words I believe them to be not frauds, but not real either.
I believe the HPB produced them and apported them whenever she needed
particularly unarguable support in a particular goal of hers. If she could
apport tea cups (and I believe she could) then this would be a really simple
feat. Basically I also have to say that I don't find the "Mahatma Letters"
particularly intellectually or ethically impressive. While I am very
impressed by "Isis" and some of HPB's other writings, the Secret doctrine is
just far too flawed a document to become part of any "core belief" of mine.
But as you know I am planning a book on that particular subject.

>The point is, the 'process' theosophists are sorely lacking in arguments
>*or* just not presenting them (I'll except Jerry Schueler with whom
>I've had interesting discussions on chaos, karma, etc. - but even
>chaos can fit into the framework of theosophical teachings about conflict
>of wills and Shiva/Vishnu/Brahma aspects of the cosmos)

I would have supposed by now that you would know that I, at least, consider
discussions on "Karma", "Skandhas", "Devachan", Nirmanakaya Buddhas" and
"Shiva?Vishnu?Brahma" to be aspects of the Buddhist and Hindu religions and
as such perhaps interesting in a 'Second Object" comparative religion sense,
but I don't believe them to be intrinsic to small "t" theosophy of what I
call "Process  theosophy". If you define our discussion in terms of an a
priori acceptance of those religious aspects, then how can we have a
discussion when I, at least (I can't speak for others) reject the religious
approach to theosophy absolutely?

>To make my point a little bit clearer I will point out that no-one
>has made a real case against the doctrine of cycles, of which reincarnation
>is one example only. Well, I submit that it is next to impossible
>to do so, because cycles abund in nature. Your own heart-beat and
>respiratory process are clear examples of that.

What I see you as doing here is reversing the old metaphysical axiom of
Hermes Trismegistus and making it "As below, so above". As I see it your
heartbeat and respiratory cycle and male-female and day-night and life-death
are all physical plane phenomena and have absolutely no correlation within
the greater and totally non-physical realities. Sure cycles and duality
abound in nature, but nature is physical and the greater reality is NOT!
That kind of thinking, and imaging of non-physicality by projecting physical
phenomena onto it, is entirely solipsistic and anthropocentric. As far as I
am concerned, in post-physical reality dualism doesn't exist.

>Accepting the working hypothesis that there is One Life that is the basis
>for all, and that all is part and parcel of the Universal Soul implies,
>when we accept the validity of applying analogy, that this Soul manifests
>periodically, just as everything in (visible) nature manifests periodically.
>Accepting this working hypothesis implies more, but I'll leave it with
>this example. Plato's ~Phaedo~ is excellent stuff in this regard.

But when one views that all that exists is part and parcel of the Unified
Field of Energy-Intelligence it comes our differently.
>Another intricate topic is that of structure-function-order in the universe.
>There are people on this list, myself included, who have some experiences
>of seeing angels (not merely devas),elementals etc.

Well as a Shaman, I've certainly had my share of experiences of that kind.
BUT I prefer to call them energy or light beings, and to differentiate them
by their energy levels rather than some imaginary religious hierarchy. As a
Shaman, I find the "(not merely devas)" aside to be a little egotistical.
What do you mean by it? I find a physical person trying to socially grade
non-physical centers-of-consciousness just a hair pretentious.

>Now, what does this mean? When we see beings from certain planes/spheres
>of life what can we imply? That there is more to nature than what is visible
>to our ordinary senses. But what is it all about? Many acknowledge the
>existence of other planes/spheres of life. So, there is some *structure*
>or *order* there, how else could it function? Nobody on this list has
>drawn publicly (on this list) any conclusions about that, as far as I know.

Martin: Most people, and I include most theosophists/Theosophists in that
category, don't ever in their life"see' a non-physical
center-of-consciousness. But, that we all believe there is more to the
nature of reality that which presents itself to our physical senses is why
most of us, if not all of us, are addicted to theosophy?Theosophy. It seems
to me though that it is important not to impose physical level only notions
of things like "order and structure" on a reality to which physicality is
entirely irrelevant.

>This is to my *amazement*. How on earth (heaven, hell) can there be no
>structure in this universe. And if my point is acknowledged, why not
>discuss some of the implications of this??

Martin: Does the "structure" and reality of the non-physical universe have
to conform to the physical perceptions of a human being? No it doesn't.
Human Beings are of a really low order of reality, their views of the
greater reality are entirely limited by their lesser reality.
My primary complaint about "Core Theosophy" is that it tries to impose human
conceptions of order and structure on a reality to which those things may
very well be entirely irrelevant.
>To summarize, I see a lot of groaning on this list, but I am downright
>*amazed* that none of the  conclusions such as I did are drawn by
>'process' theosophists. This is no flame of course, but a serious
>attempt to evoke some sensible response from those who consider themselves
>as 'too smart to believe in any of this core theosophy nonsense'
>Arguments and alternatives, please !

Martin the trouble is that I somehow feel, especially after reading that
last paragraph that you don't take either us, or our arguments seriously. In
view of our new determination to try to keep things amicable on the list,
I'd like to ask you to retract that "Too smart to believe in any of this
core theosophy nonsense" remark. It's irrelevant to our discussion and
hardly either an "argument and alternative".
It makes you sound defensive and as a psychologist you should know that is
totally counter-productive. Despite your disclaimer it sounds an awful lot
like a "flame".
>Lastly I want to say that I regard the division of theosophists
>into two kind of categories as a very simplistic one. It may have
>some value, but I know a lot of people who just study Theosophical
>teachings very seriously and try to gain some understanding of these,
>try to correlate these with their experiences. They would not like
>to be called 'religious adherents' regarding Theosophy. Nor do I.
>In fact, I consider this labeling as a kind of *insult* to these people
>who try to think for themselves.

Martin: You may thank the administrations at Adyar, and of the TSA, and the
uLT and the Pasadena Society for that "division" it's an official
theosophical thing. It was meant to cast people who REALLY think for
themselves out into "outer darkness" and I suppose out of "Theosophy" as
well. No offense meant but I do not see parroting someone like G de P's
opinions (or Leadbeaters, or even Blavatsky's) as thinking for one's self. I
think it very important to keep in mind that all those books represent
merely the opinions of their writers, it's when people treat those opinions
as "received truth" or "Gospel" that I begin to think of those people as
religious. I think this is one of those very frequent occasions when we have
to say "If the shoe fits...wear it".
Alexis Dolgorukii>

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