Re: Problems according to Campbell
Aug 02, 1996 01:16 PM
by Maxim Osinovsky
On Fri, 2 Aug 1996, K. Paul Johnson wrote:
> Reflecting upon the statement that "the only problem" in the
> Theosophical movement was too many members with too little
> knowledge of/interest in the source writings, I reread Bruce
> Campbell's section on "Inherent Dilemmas" in his Ancient Wisdom
> Revived. He lists five, which I will summarize below:
I believe Campbell is pushing the theosophical movement (TM) in a wrong
direction. His analysis is relevant if TM is going to survive as a movement.
This is not a top priority, IMO. TM is to be a means subordinated to a
certain end. If we clarify the end, maybe we will see that we do not need
a new 'theosophical religion,' or even the movement as it is exists now.
As to the end, I need to turn again to the three objects--sorry about it...
Human brotherhood? - Looking around I do not hear any theosophical voices
helping relieve racial tensions, etc. (on the contrary, I suspect that
people of color consider theosophy a 'dead white male' thing absolutely
foreign to their concerns); I
think an army of social workers and certain public figures is doing it,
and they are doing a wonderful job. Comparative philosophy and religion?
- Again, theosophists (after HPB) are hardly known for their
groubdbreaking contribution; what I see is that scholars are doing
wonderful job of translating scriptures and making them available to the
wide audience, and it is not unlikely that in due course of time,
applying their analytical tools, they will arrive at a realiable synthesis.
Also, I believe--I do know for sure since I was not in
this country in '60s and '70s--theosophy contributed virtually nothing in
counter-culture and synthesizing movements like new age, human potential
and transpersonal psychology. (On the contrary, when theosophy
really encounters the new age philosophy it tends to yield as The
Quest magazine evidences.) Exploring unknown laws of nature and human
nature? - This is a hard nut! But again, a slow progress being made in
this area was achieved by scientists, not theosophists--see Journal of
Scientific Exploration, Journal of Subtle Energies, etc.
The real problem is that theosophists solemnly voice their allegiance to
the three famous objects, but in real life they are doing something else.
A part of the problem is that we did not have after HPB any high
initiates to lead the movement. So what we need to do is to look and see
where we are, to reformulate the objects accordingly, and to build the
movement accordingly, too.
TM had a great beginning; we possess a unique body of sources--primarily
Mahatma Letters, HPB's writings, and like, and I
believe we are charged with a responsibility to develop and enrich it,
forgetting about dreams to form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood
and to outsmart scientists and scholars.
Here is my concrete suggestion: what theosophists may do and what they
are already doing well, is working at a better formulation of a synthetic
ESOTERIC knowledge that could unify various Western and Eastern
perspectives into a coherent whole, plus related practical work (study,
meditation, group work).
I agree with Campbell that we "need to reexamine" our "ideas periodically
and to reformulate them to speak to the needs of different generations."
This is what I call for.
As to the lack of "a strong core of sociallly bonded members"--it's
obsolete in this age of the Internet.
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