Blind Spots, Fundamentalism, and the Mystical
Aug 05, 1996 07:34 AM
I appreciate you taking the time to write the lengthly response to
my last posting to you. My initial posting of a few words
regarding the T.S. losing its "uncola" nature by being overrun
with coke drinkers seemed to have hit a raw nerve with you,
evoking a harsh response. And then, instead of writing something
to calm things down, I replied with an equally hard position,
which just intensified things.
You mention that I express contempt for people that do not
adequately appreciate the same things as me, that I show scorn of
heretical Theosophists. But I don't say that people are inferior
for not finding something special in Theosophy. And I don't say
that the approach offered through Theosophy is exclusive, and that
anyone unable to undertake it is backwards in things spiritual.
I will continue to work on new and different ways to express what
I've learned and experienced. (As I'd hope that everyone else is
doing as well!) Certainly I'd agree that an approach that leaves
others seeing red, missing the meaning of what I'm talking about,
and only hearing "I know more than you and you're lacking!",
becoming ready to respond to me with "Go to Hell!" -- this is not
Speaking of blind spots is like evoking the mantra of "there is no
religion higher than truth!" It's easy to find a "blind spot" in
someone that sees things differently. It's another way of saying
that the only possible explanation that someone else does not
agree with you is that they're simply blind to certain essential
truths, that they have a blind spot. But the reverse could be just
as well true, where the reason they don't agree with you is that
they see something that you're still blind to, and that's why
their disagreement is so hard to understand.
There are a number of areas where we can play word games, using
semantics to somehow make our approach special, unique, and better
than others. One is to call an idea an "hypothesis", if it's ours,
and a "belief" if it's someone else's. Another is to call one's
favorite set of ideas as a body of occult "doctrines", and
someone else's as "dogmas". Apart from all the word games, it
comes down to "This is what I think, and that is what you think."
Apart from that, the semantics attempts to rate people in terms of
other qualities like flexibility of mind, and does not address the
merit of the ideas themselves.
I appreciate the fact that you and many others have taken the
philosophy seriously and have explored it. And that there is a
general interest in the spiritual and a desire to learn about it
among T.S. members. We just get into a problem when moving beyond
the status quo of Theosophy as offered in the T.S.
Some people believe that everything is subjective, that there is
nothing that can be talked about regarding the Path. Everyone has,
from this standpoint, to speak as a complete beginner, unsure of
everything and as someone that echoes the words of others thought
to be advanced, like HPB. How could a mere student be qualified to
speak of something as being real? Wouldn't doing so be saying
"mine's better than yours" and be elitism?
I would say that there is something more than what we read in our
books, and that it may be proper to write about it at times.
Anything written, of course, stands or falls on its own merits,
and not because of any claims anyone may make. The value is in the
philosophy, regardless of the person it may be expressed through.
(Some choice words, for instance, that I may read on theos-l,
may convey as much as a key citation from the source literature.)
You mention that fundamentalists are constantly harping on the
spiritual inadequacy of others. That may be so, because they need
to convert others in order to reaffirm their shakey beliefs, to
give some external validation to beliefs that are attacked by
gnawing doubts within.
This is the opposite of the mystical, and of the spiritual as I'd
find it in Theosophy. There is no need to convert others, because
the beliefs are consistent with life -- both inner and outer --
and are in harmony with Nature. The emphasis here is the desire to
*express*, not the desire to *convert*. The higher contents of
consciousness seek expression in the world.
The important thing that we may all agree to would be that there
be ways for us to talk about the spiritual, the magical side of
life, and share deep things without alienating others by appearing
to judge them. This is both as individuals and as theosophical
organizations. When we think we've found doorways to special
things, we can talk about them humbly, in subdued voice, without
the glare of neon lights and billboards. And then we can let
people choose what they find of value, and think none the less of
them if they pass us over, going on to other things instead.
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