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A House of Cards? (Reply to Paul K.)

Jul 29, 1996 07:28 AM
by uscap9m9

Paul K:                                                                         

The basic approach that you seem to be taking is based upon the                 
rule that the simplest explanation is generally the best, as                    
illustrated by the story of ocam's razor.                                       

 From the standpoint of a westerner, brought up in a certain                     
culture and educated a certain way about the nature of the world                
and how life works, the simplest explanation would be the one                   
that fits in the most easily with what you already know and                     

What is simplest, though, is not always true. The simplest, most                
direct explanation as to why someone acts differently than a                    
Fundamentalist Christian thinks proper might be "the devil made                 
him do it." To the Fundamentalist, that is the application of his               
ocam's razor. But it is false.                                                  

When someone reviews the theosophical literature, and finds                     
references to science, and they appear obviously wrong, the                     
simplest explanation *to him* might be that the whole thing was                 
made up. That may satisfy him, but again I'd say it was not the                 

How does one tell if there's something to be found in the                       
theosophical literature, in the various metaphysical doctrines                  
that are expounded? One way is an innate deja vu, a recognition                 
and inner accord with what is taught. There's a sense that one                  
has known these things before, and that they have the ring of                   
truth to them.                                                                  

A second approach is through a study of various religious and                   
philosophical traditions of the world. Does Theosophy offer a                   
key that unlocks their meanings? Does it reveal a common thread                 
of thought behind the many approaches? Blavatsky makes a case for               
this in THE SECRET DOCTRINE. The theosophical materials are                     
consistent with or have ties with other great traditions.                       

When I pick up a book by Kalu Rinpoche, I find materials that are               
in perfect accord, for instance, with what I might find in                      
Theosophy. I could also read something by Manly Hall, talking                   
about the Mysteries, and hear of the same thread of teachings,                  
this time from someone without any organization seeking                         

Yet a third approach comes from "living the life". It comes from                
inner changes that result from treading the spiritual Path. One                 
grows in both experience, knowledge, and ability to perceive                    
life, and the teachings grow on one, they both aid one in                       
understanding life as well as help put into words what one is                   

The theosophical literature is not based upon scientific                        
pronouncements, and does not need to distance itself from them.                 
The reason, I think, certain writers need to have their material                
reviewed, and subject to revision, is based upon how they arrived               
at what they said. Leadbeater, in his books like "The Inner                     
Life", was giving materials arrived at by psychical                             
investigation, which is highly unreliable.                                      

This is different than Blavatsky's materials, which were arrived                
at by study, training, and intellectual means. In one case,                     
someone is writing down as scientific fact whatever they perceive               
from out-of-the-body experiences. In the other case, someone is                 
passing on knowledge from a mahatmic Wisdom Tradition.                          

I also like the motto "There is no religion higher than truth".                 
It was, I recall, the motto of the Maharajah of Benares, and                    
adopted by the T.S. I don't think, though, that the first person                
to invoke the motto has the upper hand on reality, truth, and                   
insight into life.                                                              

You mention a few highly judgemental terms like "cover up". This                
term, for instance, implies the hiding of something, with perhaps               
some element of wrong doing. I don't think the term is                          

Perhaps there is some element of it with regard to Leadbeater's                 
writings, where his attempts to use psychical abilities to                      
advance science have since been shown to have been off the mark.                
But not with regard to what Theosophy is about, its real core,                  
its essential meaning: the philosophy, worldview, and status as a               
genuine path to the Mysteries.                                                  

There is no evasion, no unwillingness to put Theosophy to the                   
test. But the test *is not* a scientific report card. The test                  
is something that can take years, or even lifetimes. It is in                   
undertaking the study and living the life.                                      

You might say that since this is not readily apparent, and it is                
not provable in your life and in the lives of your coworkers,                   
that it is untrue. You're entitled to that view, and in a free                  
marketplace of ideas, I'm equally entitled to my dissenting view.               

If you had no education in mathematics, and were shown a complex                
mathematical proof, covering a half-dozen pages, and knew no                    
geometry, trigonometry, calculus, etc., you might be inclined to                
dismiss the whole thing. If the only verifiable bits of the                     
proof you could relate true were obviously untrue to you, it                    
might be possible that you'd dismiss the whole thing.                           

In this case, you'd have a situation where the person of average                
education would not be able to verify the proof, but would have                 
to reserve judgment, and defer to the opinion of those recognized               
to be knowledgable in the field.                                                

In the field of spiritual development, dealing with the hidden                  
side of life and the Mahatmas, the most advanced of humanity, we                
have a similar situation.                                                       

It is very possible, and in accord with the idea that truth comes               
before all religions, that any of us, with regard to certain                    
occult truths, "have the wrong background and can't be a useful                 
judge of these weighty matters." That is, there *are* things in                 
life that we do not have the background to comprehend, but have                 
to defer to the views of experts, *until we acquire the necessary               
background ourselves*, and see for ourselves the truth of the                   

This is true for all of us, in many fields of study and in many                 
areas of experience. I'd have to defer, for instance, to what a                 
chemist says about chemistry, having no formal training in that                 

Theosophy won't collapse like a house of cards, as someone finds                
a few references to science to discredit. It may sway the                       
interest of a few borderline seekers, people without a strong                   
draw to the philosophy, but apart from that, I see little                       

The biggest draw is to those with an inner recognition, an                      
attraction that does not care how sloppily a book is written or                 
how highly it is disfavored by public opinion. The draw is the                  
inner evolutionary urge, the urge to move beyond the present                    
human condition. This is something that no amount of words will                 
"prove" nor evoke in someone. Each of us is responsible to                      
create our own necessary state of "inner ripeness" for this, to                 
make ourselves fertile to the germination of the spiritual.                     

In the eyes of some, Theosophy is a priori proven false, and no                 
amount of philosophical discourse will change things. In the                    
eyes of others, Theosophy is a (non-exclusive) source of an inner               
Wisdom of life that is precious, priceless, beyond compare.                     
Either might claim that "truth" is on their side.                               

The latter, those finding a connection to the Wisdom Tradition,                 
have a obviously greater benefit. Is their benefit real? Is what                
they study based upon the actual way that life works? I'd agree                 
with them. But each of us has to make his own way through life,                 
and that includes doing, studying, and being those things that                  
appeal to them.                                                                 

If Theosophy seems nonsensical and simply confuses things, the                  
best advice for the person seeing it that way is: stay away,                    
forget this stuff, don't return until or unless your heart tells                
you that something is being missed. On the other hand, if it                    
seems to be a wide open doorway, leading to a whole new world of                
experience, I'd say: don't hesitate, jump in and do it!                         

-- Eldon                                                                        

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