Sexism and resistance to change
Oct 10, 1996 04:24 PM
by K. Paul Johnson
Q. How many Theosophists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. Theosophists haven't changed anything in 50 years.
Kim, I sympathize with your views on sexist language, but this
battle has been fought and lost. The Masters said brotherhood,
HPB Their Agent said brotherhood, and everything they say is
Eternal Truth. If you want to change it you're an enemy of the
Lodge. While this may overstate the problem, it is not much of
an exaggeration. Anyone who hopes to see the Theosophical
movement adapt to the cultural changes of the twentieth century
is up against a major problem. Theosophy as a movement has
chosen to be in "high tension" rather than "low tension" with
mainstream culture, using a sociological category I stumbled
upon recently. Jehovah's Witnesses are in extremely high
tension with mainstream culture, and Unitarian Universalists
exemplify low tension. As long as Theosophists by and large
believe that the anthropogenesis of HPB and her Masters trumps
the last century of biological and anthropological knowledge,
that every genuine teacher of an Eastern or esoteric tradition
of the last century must be measured according to their degree
of adherence to HPB's teachings, and so on, there is simply not
enough respect for the "world outside" to motivate people to
adapt to it.
My own experience has been that initially I wanted to believe,
and did believe, that Theosophy was vastly wiser and more
knowledgable than mere science, religion and philosophy. But
that need to have the Truth all wrapped up in a single package
with a nice bow causes us to see things in a distorted way.
Gradually I realized that there was a lot more truth outside
the boundaries of Blavatskian Theosophy than within it. That
can probably be fairly said of any religious, philosophical or
scientific school of thought, but it appears to be an
unacceptable thought to most Theosophists. Any truth you may
have gleaned from outside Theosophy about sexism in language is
going to get rejected as irrelevant or impertinent in
comparison to the Ancient Universal Wisdom Religion Preserved
by the Great White you-know-what.
BTW I just found a passage in which HPB calls it the Great
Ideal Brotherhood, which except for the sexist part is a much
better way to say it.
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