Aug 28, 1996 03:45 PM
>It's not clear if TS's sticking to the original HPB programme
>would contribute into growth of the membership. But it is
>certain, as has been shown by others on this list (esp. Jeryy HE), that
>deviation from the original programme did contribute into its decline.
Richard Ihle writes>
Max, may I ask you to elaborate further on what you mean by "original HPB
programme" and what the "deviation" from it was? Are you talking about her
ES instructions? If you are talking about the general TS, I can see how THE
THREE OBJECTS could be considered an original programme, but not really how
it could be considered an HPB programme.
I have the impression that many of the early people were substantial in their
own right and felt that they were coming together more or less on equal
footing to form a society rather than to become HPB's disciples. HPB and her
"Master-derived" doctrines soon became dominant even in the general TS, of
course, but it seems to me that she would not have bothered setting up an ES
if she had thought the outer organization would be better off by dumping its
broader Truth-Seeking character. (In other words, she was probably in a
position just convert the whole thing if she had wanted to.) I believe it
was JRC who once listed the topics discussed at one of the early meetings,
and they certainly seemed to have ranged far and wide.
My own opinion is that decline in membership etc. is the result of the Outer
Society's gradual "deviation" over the years from being the natural "nucleus"
for those who are willing to at least consider the validity of all
theosophical ideas. (Here I mean ~generic theosophy~: "knowledge which at
least originally derives from transcendental, mystical, or intuitive insight,
or higher perception.") The doctrines found in HPB's writings will probably
always remain the most important component of this, of course; however,
allowing HPB's super-recondite contribution to little-by-little simply become
known AS ~Theosophy~ does not seem to me like a membership-building strategy.
Indeed, HPB was wise, it seems to me, by deciding to keep the big
Truth-Seeking Gates to the general TS wide open. She was content, it seems
to me, to first get as many people as possible inside and then just take her
designated percentage through the Doctrinal Doors. Unfortunately, it seems
to me that the modern version of the Theosophical Society is more or less on
the verge of completely reversing this approach.
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