on AAB; race and homophobia (Bart)
Oct 12, 1996 08:21 AM
by Jim Meier
On 11 October, in a reply to Ann, Bart wrote
> I, for one, find that Alice Bailey puts somewhat too much of her own
>filtering on her works. I particularly find her racism and homophobia to
>be highly offputting, even though I know that she is just a product of
>her times (Leadbeater's couching everything in Christian terms has a
>similar effect on me).
Alice Bailey (AAB) did color the teachings of DK to some extent --
especially in the early years of their collaboration -- and each of them
acknowledged that fact. That early influence was more along the lines of
linguistic limitation than substance, however. Now and again, someone posts
on theos-l a personal interpretation of the Bailey texts, which is all well
and good. Most theosophists and long-time readers of theos-l are probably
aware of at least the major differences between the AAB writings and
so-called "orthodox" theosophy (as put forth by the Adyar and Wheaton
organizations, as examples). And there are quite a few differences.
I. But the charge of racism is unfounded, imo, and the same indictment has
been made against HPB and the founders of the TS. Racism is defined as 1)
The notion that one's own ethnic stock is superior. 2) Discrimination or
prejudice based on racism (from American Heritage dictionary). Neither of
these meanings apply to the word "race" as used in either HPB's or AAB's
writings. There are *differences* between nations and men which can be
accounted for, in AAB's writings, as manifestations of distinct qualifying
energies. But the idea of "better or worse" doesn't apply, and in fact the
AAB teachings specifically address "racism" (as Bart used the word) as one
of the major obstacles facing humanity; it is one of seven in the book,
PROBLEMS OF HUMANITY. The AAB books are published by the Lucis Trust, and
one of the LT's associated groups, World Goodwill, publishes a study guide
designed for individual and group study on these Problems and also a series
of related commentaries: Number 16 is entitled "Race Relations in an
Interdependent World" (both materials are free for the asking).
As DK himself said, "The era of one humanity is upon us. I ask you to drop
your antagonisms and your antipathies, your hatreds and your racial
differences, and attempt to think in terms of the one family, the one life
and the one humanity" and "The only solution to this problem is the basic
recognition that all men are brothers; that one blood pours through human
veins; that we are all the children of the one Father and that our failure
to recognize this fact is simply an indication of man's stupidity."
II. Homosexuality is a sensitive issue for many people. Homophobia is the
word Bart used; again, I don't think it can be accurately applied to AAB.
The word is literally "fear of homosexuals," and it is presently used to
cover the range from distaste to aversion to avowed hostility. These are
all emotional states, however, and none of them reflect AAB's writings. The
"problem of sex" for aspirants and disciples is complex and AAB addresses it
at some length; "A Compilation on Sex" was published to pull together from
the various books all that DK said on the subject, and it is 148 pages long.
But there are only a few references to homosexuality at all. DK does refer
to it as an abnormal condition, and in one instance the word "perversion" is
used. From the American Heritage again, perversion is "a sexual practice or
act which is deviant" and deviant is "differing from a norm or from the
accepted standards of society."
Arguments could be made about the changing "norms and standards of society,"
and this may be to what Bart was referring when he said AAB was "a product
of her times." But the *literal* meaning of the words used is correct, when
divorced from emotional connotations or individual prejudice.
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