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An Intro to TI

Jul 05, 1996 06:57 PM
by Dr. A.M.Bain



I have called this a personal view because Theosophy International,
   by its very nature, does not have a corporate view beyond the
   commitment of its members to its three objects.  At the same
   time, each member's perception of the significance and
   interpretation of them will almost certainly vary in some
   measure or another, partly because of the understanding of the
   language used, and partly because each of us is likely to have
   different priorities, and different emphases.

I begin, as is natural with the objects themselves.  Those sections
   of what follows which are in quotes are from the Theosophy
   International statement of intent as it stands at the time of
   writing.  Words or sections contained between asterisks are the
   Internet equivalent of *italics* in print, and are used for

"THEOSOPHY INTERNATIONAL comprises men and women who, of their own
   free choice, subscribe to the spirit of the three objects first
   formulated by the Theosophical Society, but in a more up-to-date
   form based on suggestions by members of the Internet community,
   and expressed thus:

"1. To form a nucleus within the universal human family, without
   distinction of sex, sexual orientation, creed, class, or color."

The original Theosophical Society version of this object used the
   words "... a nucleus of the Brotherhood of Humanity" and a
   reference to "caste" which applied at the time to the people of
   India, but in which country the caste system is now illegal, and
   so the expression is redundant for the twenty-first century.

The *concept* of a "Brotherhood of Humanity" and the spirit which
   lies within it is as noble now as it was in 1896, a hundred
   years ago.  In direct proportion to the success of the ideal
   which does not discriminate against a person on grounds of their
   sex, the word "brotherhood" has lost its former connotation
   whereby the founders of the theosophical movement men and women
   alike, would all have understood the term to include both (or
   all) sexes.

The importance of what is to me a spiritual principle inherent in
   the scheme of things, and which is the essence of the original
   concept of "brotherhood" lies in the recognition that all life
   is one, and all life is inter-connected.  It is a *fact* in the
   scheme of things rather than a concept or ideal to be achieved.

That does not mean that there is nothing to *be* achieved, far from
   it.  If this view is accurate, the achievement lies firstly in
   *recognising* this fact, and secondly in putting the
   implications of it into practice.  How this is to be done will
   vary from individual to individual, and there for now I will
   leave the matter.  The question that does arise from this
   however, as another member of TI recently remarked, is the
   validity of seeking to "form a nucleus" - which could be seen as
   exclusive rather than inclusive, or even elitist.  This could
   well be a matter for further and ongoing discussion.


"2. To encourage and engage in the study of comparative religion,
   theosophy, philosophy, and the scientific method, according to
   individual ability and inclination."

The founders' second object was less specific, confining itself to
   encouragement, but lacking a commitment to *engage* in study.
   It seemed, when formulating the TI statement, that to encourage
   study without engaging in it could, in theory, lead to a
   situation where there existed a large number of people busily
   encouraging others to study, while precious few engaged in study
   themselves - a charge that has been levelled, with some
   justification, against the Adyar-based Theosophical Society as
   it stands today.

Where TI has "scientific method" - seeking to indicate a disciplined
   approach to study - the original wording contented itself with
   the single word "science" - which in 1875 or 1896 had more value
   as a term, but what we *now* call "science" is in reality a
   conglomerate of very many *sciences* some of which bear little
   or no relation one to another.


"3. To investigate mysteries of nature and unrealized human
   potential and abilities, with an underlying respect for all

This is the object which, in its original form, has been most
   frequently the subject of disapproval.  It spoke of "unexplained
   laws of nature and the powers latent in man."

Again, the term "man" has lost its nineteenth-century inclusive
   character, and is seen by more and more people as a direct and
   *singular* reference to the male sex.  To continue using it
   today would be in direct conflict with the intent of the first

"Laws" of nature have, during the past century, been shown to be
   variables, not constants, so that one person's explanation of the
   "unexplained" will vary from another's explanation of the same
   observed phenomenon.  We even know that some apparent "laws" are
   directly modified by the fact of their observation!
   Nonetheless, there are still a great many mysteries, and the
   need to investigate them remains.

As for "powers" latent in "man" - well, we have all seen, by means
   of one disaster or another, where the obsession to acquire
   "powers" has led the human race, through two major world wars
   and the Nazi holocaust, to the insidious, invisible and creeping
   horror arising from the effects of nuclear energy getting out of
   control, whether deliberately, as with Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
   or by accident, as with Three Mile Island in the U.S.A. or
   Chernobyl in the former U.S.S.R.

So, in Theosophy International we recognise that there exists
   "unrealized human potential" and ability, but we - or I - do not
   wish to see their development used as control mechanisms to make
   one person bend to another's will.  And we include a reminder from
   the spirit of the first object to the effect that all life is
   one, by adding the words, "with an underlying respect for all

"THEOSOPHY INTERNATIONAL is a voluntary network, whereby it is
   sufficient to declare one's sympathy and/or allegiance to the
   three objects, and to be registered as having done so.  No
   belief system is required - nor assumed to be held - by any
   member.  All have the right to choose, without trace of
   coercion, the path by which they seek understanding.

"There are no fees, no subscriptions, although voluntary donations
   and/or contributions could be made to specific projects or even
   individuals for particular and specified purposes.  As THEOSOPHY
   INTERNATIONAL does not have and does not need rules, whether
   anyone participates in or supports any such activity is an
   entirely personal matter.

"We hope to be of service, and to share what we have in amity with
   other theosophical, occult, and esoteric organizations, as also
   with like-minded individuals."

Precisely because of the emphasis on *power* which has become the
   dominant impulse within the Adyar (India) based Theosophical
   Society from which other theosophical movements, including this
   one, owe their origin, and more especially because of the
   perceived *abuse* of that power, Theosophy International
   developed a non-hierarchical approach from the very beginning.
   Where there is no "leader" there can be no "followers" to
   manipulate.  We seek to work through co-operation and consensus,
   as part of the inter-connectedness of the human family of which
   we are all members.  And while we recognise that we are all
   brothers and sisters (or sisters and brothers!) within the
   family, we also recognise that family members do not always
   agree, and do not have the same needs or desires in life.

We have set ourselves a daunting task in more ways than one.  If we
   are to establish a genuine unity, it will be unity in diversity,
   not unity that depends upon faith in a creed, or allegiance to
   charismatic leaders.

What I personally hope we shall be able to do is the *celebrate*
   our differences, to find joy in the diversity of human and
   indeed all life.  To end on a personal note, my friend and I
   have a shelf on the window ledge outside the living room of my
   top floor apartment where food is placed for the birds.  Some of
   the birds in this part of the world are seagulls, and there is
   one who, if there is no food ready when he arrives, taps
   insistently on the window pane until the lack is remedied.

   We call him Cyril.


To join Theosophy International, send an e-mail message asking to
   be registered to

or give your name and other details you wish to share to whoever
   introduced you.

"TI" has members in eight countries.

Alan Bain

Ancient Wisdom for a New Age

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