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KPJ & Algeo

Dec 15, 1996 11:28 AM
by JRC

> "Your House of Cards sticks right to the point and does not indulge in any
> sidebar personal asides. For that reason, it is valuable and insightful."
> Apparently, some scholars do not agree with Mr. Maroney's assessment
> of my paper.
	Scholars never entirely agree on *anything*.

> I am somewhat surprised that Mr. Maroney says he could not read
> the entire HOUSE OF CARDS.  The paper is only 41 pages long!!
	I didn't get beyond the first few pages either. It seemed to be
composed of some historical arguments mixed with some sort of clearly
personal motivation - and it just wasn't worth the effort to try to
disentangle the two.
> I wonder what Mr. Maroney thinks of Dr. John Algeo's THEOSOPHICAL HISTORY
> review of Johnson's THE MASTER REVEALED?
	For myself, I found it to be exactly what I would have expected
from Dr. John Algeo. I found it curious from the beginning that the TS
Publishing House did not publish KPJ's books. Surely, even if people did
not agree with the books, they are a significant contribution to the body
of Theosophical writings, surely meet and more than surpass the literary
standards of the THP ... in fact far exceed the level of a lot of the
stuff coming out of the THP. It isn't difficult to predict the response of
someone who probably was involved in the editorial decision to reject the
	Even more so because, much to the dismay of the rather inbred
circles of the Theosophical leadership, the books not only made it without
the help of the TS bureaucracy, but were received with generally high
praise outside of TS circles (by people who also have "PhD's") and have
sold far better in the general population than anything Algeo or any of
the rest of KPJ's critics have produced. No surprise at all then that
within TS circles there have been very intense attacks on the books.
	One of the things that some of the critics might be missing,
however, is that of just what people are finding of value in the books. I
have no idea whether his thesis is correct or not - in fact I doubt there
will *ever* be anything like *definative* proof of whom the Masters were,
and *anyone* who has the guts to venture a thesis is likely going to be
slammed ... the true believers in the TS will always have a vested
interest in the Masters remaining mysterious and almost other-worldly. I
notice not one of KPJ's critics have bothered to actually put forward a
complete thesis of their own ... and if they had bothered to, they would
probably also find how difficult a thing it is to do, how many interests
would be tilted against them doing so (if the research was not proceeding
in approved channels), and as complete as their case was, how many
different gaps would still be there - probably to be used as openings by
those who would immediately start picking them to pieces. An armour-proof
case *cannot* be built. The subjects of investigation were not just
historical personages, but personages that apparently went considerably
out of their way to *hide* their identities - and even while they were
alive, and in active communication with HPB & others, virtually no one
even then could discover who they were ... and trying to do so at the
distance of a century seems well-nigh impossible.
	But in the *attempt* to do so, KPJ produced a book that, unlike
almost everyone else, seemed to have no interest in either elevating the
Masters into gods, nor dismissing them as charlatans, was not trying to
either confirm nor deny the current party-line, seemed to have no vested
interest in anything other than exploring a possibility (and I'm not even
sure whether KPJ would insist his thesis is anything other than a
possibility), and, in doing so, he produced a book that to me was
interesting less because of the thesis itself than because it fleshed out
a number of things far more fully than I've seen before. I have a much
fuller feeling for the mileau that gave birth to the TS.
	To those in the TS, there is a fixation on "DISPROVE THE THESIS AT
ALL COSTS!" ...  but for me, the thesis will no more be absolutely
disproved than it will be absolutely proved ... and because of the
fixation, much of his book will seem to be composed of "tangents" and
things "off the subject" ... but those tangents were fascinating to me.
The book, I believe, as with many books that have some sort of actual
creative spirit behind them (a thing few critics will ever fully
understand), grew into something larger than even the author intended - it
transcended its own thesis.
	The critics will sweat and fume, and complain loudly that no one
is taking their criticisms seriously, that no one is paying any attention
to the "substantive" issues they are raising, that no one is paying nearly
as much attention to them as they gave KPJ - and they will be right ...
sum up the entire readership of everything the Algeos and Caldwells and
others have written about the book, and it will be but the barest fraction
of those that read the book, and will be mostly confined within
obscurity of TS circles. And if they do not understand why this is, then
they have not fully grasped what the book is, why KPJ did not *need* the
TPH to get it published, why, outside of TS circles, it recieved praise
from well known and reputable critical sources and is finding its way onto
a lot of bookshelves that have few other "Theosophical" books - but (IMO)
there will be little attempt to understand this, because to understand it
would be to also understand why the TS has a declining membership, and has
become virtually irrelevent to to modern world.

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