Re: The Useful Tourist/Pilgrim Model
Jul 01, 1996 12:02 PM
by alexis dolgorukii
At 11:36 AM 7/1/96 -0400, you wrote:
>The tourist/pilgrim idea provides a useful model, and can be
>helpful in deciding how to deal with people coming to Theosophy.
>It describes something we see as happening all about us in life.
Eldon: In this you are completely wrong. The "tourist/pilgrim model" is not
simply wrong-headed it is entirely counter-productive. It is also, as JRC so
clearly indicated arrogant and exclusive. Who has a right to decide who is a
"pilgrim" and who is a "tourist".People, like theosophists/Theosophists who
THINK they have something of value to offer, something that will make
peoples lives better, have a self-selected obligation to share that thing
with ANYONE who expresses interest. It is not a matter of real importance if
the person they expose to their "thing" find's it of great interest or not.
It is truly a conceit to assume that because an individual does NOT become
dedicated to theosophy/Theosophy it means they are a "tourist" and not a
"Pilgrim". It probably simply means that the product offered was not to
their taste. Thee very terms used are "loaded for bear". "Pilgrim" is a word
with primarily religious connotation. However the record of America's
Pilgrims has added a social connotation. Neither of these connotations is
positive in my view.
>Any retail establishment can distinguish between the two types of
>customers. And the same can be true of membership organizations
>too. Even people offering professional services can tell between
>someone looking for their services and someone with an idle
>curiosity. Why any difference with the Esoteric Philosophy?
Well Eldon, the answer to your question is quite simple. It is because there
is a qualitative difference between "Esoteric Philosophy" and shoes! It's
very easy for a shopkeeper to tell if a person in their store is a "buyer"
or a "looker", but this is anything but true in presenting various esoteric
theories to strangers. With shoes a person can make an immediate decision.
"Buy or not buy" but with Philosophy (esoteric or otherwise) that's not at
all the case. With "Esoteric Philosophy" in particular it is entirely
hubristic to assume just how far simple curiosity will take someone. A
philosophy, and especially an "Esoteric Philosophy" must not be a store, but
rather a free buffet open to all who are even a little bit hungry.
>Note that this is *not* saying that there are two levels of
>people, one the "choosen" and upper class, and the other, the
>"outsider" or inferior class. We're talking about levels of
>interest, not how advanced a person is.
Eldon: That is both self-contradictory and disingenuous. That is exactly
what "Pilgrim" (good) and "Tourist" (bad) does and your apologium doesn't
change it even an infinitesimal fraction.
>We can expand upon the tourist and pilgrim analogy a bit, taking
>it to a deeper, more philosophical level of meaning.
>A tourist is someone visiting a distant land, perhaps, for
>personal enrichment, for escape from the routine of life, for
>enjoyment. The whole experience, though, is centered in the
>personality, is based on the notion of "enjoyment for *me*".
>A pilgrim, though, is someone motivated out of deeply-felt
>religosity, someone touched by the Path, someone motivated out of
>transcendence, self-sacrifice, and the call to serve others.
And those three paragraphs prove my point! It was written by a man who
obviously considers himself a very advanced level of Pilgrim indeed, and
displays nothing but contempt for those he considers to be "tourists".
Whenever anyone uses a phrase like "a deeper, more philosophical level of
meaning" (as you did and as you generally do), it means to say that the
writer is speaking from that clearly more advanced and desirable space. It
is impossible to know much about people we meet(unless we can see Auras, and
far more importantly, understand their meaning) and so, when we are teaching
something as slow to be appreciated as anything esoteric is, we must view
each inquirer as a possible "bright light".
Theosophy is, as it is presently incarnated and exclusive, and very
conceited philosophy indeed.
>Some may feel anger and resentment at the tourist/pilgrim
>analogy, but this is not the fault of the analogy itself, which
>is highly useful in describing things that actually happen in
>life. The resentment may be against anything that seems to put
>Theosophists into two classes, with those that don't believe in
>the philosophy considered tourists and made to seem somehow
The "Tourist-Pilgrim analogy" is, while not the disease afflicting theosophy
itself, nonetheless, an egregious symptom of that disease! Eldon, you use
the expression "those who don't believe in the philosophy" and that
perception is also symptomatic of the disease. A "Philosophy" of any kind,
is speculative and hypothetical, one CONSIDERS it. One "believes" in a
religion, and that is a vitally important difference. It is here that the
so-called "Core doctrinal Theosophists" (i.e. those who view some people as
mere tourists)make their major error. they believe, religiously, in what is
, and what never was intended to be more than, a speculative hypothesis.
That leads them to assumptions of spiritual status that are entirely untrue.
>But there's no judgement, nor rating of individuals involved! It's
>always been simply "Here's some fragments of the Wisdom Religion,
>take what may benefit you, with the only obligation being to share
>it with others, as you may, in its pristine form." There's no "I'm
>better that you are because I believe in the *true stuff* and you
Eldon, I doubt very highly if you believe that yourself. It's totally
untrue, because: "I'm better than you are because I believe in the "true
stuff" and you don't" is exactly the attitude that "Core Doctrine
theosophists" display to others, and nowhere is it better displayed than in
the "Pilgrims and Tourists" analogy.
>There are many approaches to getting people engaged on the Path,
>which is the true *process*. Each such way has an associated
>*content*, and the content and process are inseparable. The
>theosophical approach involves the Mystery Doctrines. There are
>many other approaches that each provide their own structure,
>beliefs, and knowledge that their respective students study.
In this at least, Krishnamurti (The Pathless Land) was completely correct.
There is absolutely no such thing as "THE Path", there are almost six
billion people on this planet, and many other sentiencies as well and for
each one of them there is "A path" and that may very well mean that there
are more than six billion paths. People study what interests and attracts
them, but they clear their own path while doing so. Every single sentient
being is BORN on their own private path, they may not know it, but they are,
and every experience in their life throws more light on that path.
>The important thing is in bringing people to the Path, starting
>with oneself. Without getting serious about it in one's own life,
>one is only a promoter of the theories and ideas of others, or a
>weaver of fanciful tales.
Eldon: Anyone who thinks they have a "mission" or a "duty" especially one
for which they assume others are "waiting" is a "weaver of fanciful tales".
>It's not important if someone approaches the Path through the
>approach or approaches offered through the Theosophical Movement.
>One could approach it from a thousand different ways. The
>important thing is *doing it*, not denying there is such a thing
>nor claiming it is such a difficult thing to do that it would be
>the height of arrogance to even consider it.
>The Path is a real and important part of life, and is awaiting all
>of us, in due time, if only we'd grow towards and approach it. It
>is, in the longer run, the next step forward in human evolution.
>(And it symbolizes all future such forward steps.)
Eldon, belief that one has a path that is superior to that of others, and
it's extremely clear that you do, is simply an ego-trip.
>We each must decide for ourselves if we'll be pioneers, if we're
>ready to be Pilgrims and visit uncharted terrorities in life, or
>if we'll simply go with the mob, and enjoy the status quo of
Now, if that is not an entirely judgmental, and arrogantly so, comment I
don't know what is.
>We can approach the *real work* from two directions. Approaching
>*from with*, we are doing inner work, dealing with our states of
>consciousness and *content*. Approaching *from without*, we are
>doing external work, dealing with activites in the world for the
>betterment of others. Both within and without are important, both
>process and content, and the process is not really engaged until
>both are going equally strong.
>Let's get to the real work at hand, which is awakening both
>ourselves and others to this inner reality. As to the angry
>rhethoric and bitter words, we'll have to take turns taking out
Eldon, you just keep proving my point. Is it possible that you don't realize
how smug, self-satisfied, and monstrously self-righteous those two
paragraphs are? This is not a "bash" or even a "flame" just a statement of
serious, and in fact total, disagreement.
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