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Re: Tim Maroney's Remarks on Daniel Caldwell's

Dec 15, 1996 01:44 PM
by Blavatsky Foundation

Caldwell wrote:
>>Mr. Maroney is entitled to his opinion of my HOUSE OF CARDS.
>>But I find it interesting to compare his estimation of my paper with
>>letters I have received in the last 2 or 3 weeks from (for example) 8 or
>>9 individuals who all have PhDs.  Most of these individuals are not in
>>any way proponents of  Theosophy and yet they have complimented me
>>for writing my paper.  One said that he was impressed with my
>>"analysis" of Johnson's thesis.  Another PhD said he read the entire
>>paper with great interest.

Maroney replied:
>This is an argument from authority, a classic fallacy that adds nothing
>to the debate. It is Caldwell's resort to this kind of fallacious
>argument that has made it impossible for me to take his paper seriously.

Caldwell comments:
I was not trying to argue from authority. Simply trying to point out to readers
of Maroney's words that his opinion was not necessarily the only one.  I
certainly don't believe something JUST BECAUSE a PhD wrote it.  Maybe these
PhDs who wrote complimentary things about my paper were wrong or
pulling my leg or .....   My only point was that some of these PhDs were able
to wade through my prose and appreciate some of my criticisms.  Whether they
agreed or disagreed with my criticisms is a whole other issue.

Caldwell wrote:
>>Even some reviewers have written that Johnson's three books
>>were not that easy to read.  Johnson sometimes goes into what may seem
>>like needless side issues or spends pages on details not really that
>>relevant to his main themes.   Some people may find such things
>>distracting, boring, etc.  I don't and I believe such criticisms
>>are really of minor importance since they relate
>>to matters of "form" and not of substance.

Maroney replied:
>Here we see an example of the most irritating feature of Caldwell's
>writing -- rather than simply answering Johnson's points, he is
>constantly comparing himself to Johnson. "Well, if you think _my_ writing
>is boring, you should see Johnson's! You must think he's _really_
>boring!" This is a non sequitur. Forget the personal conflict and focus
>on the issues.

Caldwell replies:
I don't consider Johnson's writing boring.  Never did.  That was not my
point. But I have
read reviewers or talked to students of Theosophy who have said Johnson
digressed too much and therefore they couldn't wade through his books.
in talking to some students of Theosophy, I got the impression that this
justifed not taking his thesis seriously.  A lot of writers are "boring" or
writing style is distracting, digressive,etc.  but that doesn't mean that I
would ignore
their writings.  I'm willing to wade through the outer form and try to
their major points.  Others are not inclined to do this.  I am sorry if Mr.
cannot wade through my personal style of writing and deal with the issues that I
believe I have presented.

Caldwell wrote:
>>No doubt, my paper could  have been improved and the arguments might
>>have been more concisely stated.  Criticize the "outer form" of my paper all
>>you want. Nevertheless, I believe that I deal with a number of CRUCIAL
>>issues of SUBSTANCE and provide ample evidence as well as detailed
>>reasoning for rejecting many of Johnson's statements.

Maroney replied:
>And here, through the use of ALL CAPITALS, we see a further descent into
>emotionalism. It is impossible for me to take such emotional writing,
>which descends alternately into extremes of aggrandizement of self and
>derogation of another,  as serious scholarship. Is it possible that you
>could try to take your paper, extract these tidbits of "CRUCIAL issues of
>SUBSTANCE", express them concisely, and re-repesent it in that form?

Caldwell comments:
I put words in caps to emphasize them and Maroney says I am further
descending into "emotionalism".  I also put titles of books in caps when I type
in this e-mail medium.  Am I descending even farther into emotionalism?  : )

You mean that you can't scan a mere 41 pages and extract those tidbits?
Have you ever completely read through HPB's major two works or do you need
an abridgement of  her works, too?   : ) If you do not have enough interest
or curiosity or whatever to
read through 41 pages, then don't.  Maybe Jerry HE or some more patient
soul will be so kind as to extract the ESSENCE of those 41 pages and present
IT to you.

Caldwell wrote:
>>*Unfortunately, Mr. Maroney does NOT deal with any of my substantive
>>He is apparently not interested in addressing directly
>>the criticisms and issues I have raised.   But if he changes
>>his mind and  wants to write something on THE ISSUES covered in my paper, I
>>will be more than happy to post his comments on the World Wide Web with

Maroney replied:
>I saw one point in the long-winded initial section, before giving up. It
>was that a single diary account of Olcott's about a personage who is not
>specifically named as Morya would be difficult to reconcile with
>Johnson's theory of Morya's identity, because a Maharajah would not
>travel without an entourage. This person is identified by Caldwell as
>Morya on the basis of later statements by Olcott that his master had been
>Morya. Exactly no time is spent considering the possibility that this
>person was not thought by Olcott to be Morya -- remember that Hume
>changed masters at least once. No time is spent considering that Olcott
>was a suggestible and fantasy-prone individual who could easily have been
>led to believe any kind of explanation, including the idea that someone
>he'd never seen before was somehow mystically consubstantial with someone
>else through guru-chela telepathy, or that despite the difference in
>faces it was actually the same person who was possessed of mystical
>powers of disguise, or simply that he had a new Master for the evening. I
>am not saying that any of these speculations is necessarily correct, I am
>simply pointing out that alternatives are not explored by Caldwell at
>all. He knows where he's going and doesn't bother with any signs pointing
>in other directions. Again this creates the image of a preconceived and
>personally motivated piece of writing, not one from which I expect to be
>able to learn anything on a scholarly level.

Caldwell comments:
Say what.....??  Maroney says he saw only ONE POINT [note:  I'm being emotional
here : ) ] in the whole first section of my paper.  I dare say that there are a
number of points made in that first section. But I can't do Maroney's
thinking for him.  But
interested readers of my  HOUSE OF CARDS can NOW take all these "alternatives"
suggested by Maroney and carefully compare them with the testimony of Olcott
decide for themselves whether these alternatives hold water or not.  THANKS
listing the alternatives.  I will certainly try to think through each one of
these suggested
scenarios.  Again I will extend the offer:  if Mr. Maroney wants to write up
two or
three pages on these alternatives, I will post them on the WWW with my
HOUSE OF CARDS.  I like to make people think.

Caldwell wrote:
>>Yes, I have been plain spoken in my criticisms of Johnson's thesis and
>>research BUT I have also tried to show the reader my reasoning, etc.
>>for making such frank assessments of Johnson's research.

Maroney replies:

>I would be glad to see a criticism of Johnson's thesis and reasoning.
>This I have not seen in your paper. I have seen plenty of criticism that
>seems targeted at Johnson's ethics and personality, however.

Caldwell replies:
What does one say to such a statement?  If you do not see valid criticism of
Johnson's thesis in my paper, then that's your perception.  Okay. Fine.  I
will not waste any more words  trying to convince you otherwise.

Caldwell wrote:
>>I am glad that Mr. Maroney mentions William Kingsland's WAS SHE [BLAVATSKY] A
>>CHARLATAN?  This 60 page analysis of the Hodgson Report points out many of
>>the inconsistencies and misstatements, etc in Richard Hodgson's attack on
>>Madame Blavatsky.   Maroney characterizes Kingsland's analysis as
>>"Theosophical polemics" but he fails to mention any of the excellent
>>points Kingsland makes about Hodgson's Report.  Anyone who is interested
>>in reading Kingsland's analysis can e-mail me for more details on how
>>to obtain his paper.

Maroney replies:
>Kingsland makes exactly one point of any substance in dozens of pages.
>That is that Hodgson committed an eroor in attributing the holding of the
>keys in spring to Damodar rather than to the Coulombs. Kingsland
>surrounds this observation with some much froth and spew that I was
>almost unable to pick it out from the background noise. He then proceeds
>to blow it up into one of his many hateful attacks on Hodgson's
>character, making an absurd accusation that Hodgson must have known this
>was false and was every sort of liar, cheat and swindler for committing
>one error about facts he was forced to deduce at second hand. For asll
>this, it is a point of almost no importance to Hodgson's overall case. I
>am not surprised to find that Caldwell considers Kingsland's writing

Caldwell comments:
Let's see.   I only made one point of substance in my section I,  and
Kingsland makes
only one point in dozens of pages.  I guess we should be thankful for those

 "much froth and spew"??  "one of his
many hateful attacks on Hodgson"?? Etc. etc  Do I detect a certain degree of
emotionalism in these choice phrases?  :  )

Maroney wrote:
>What kind of Theosophist can't put aside his hatred?
>I am sad to say, from my experience of Theosophical writing, that it
>seems to be a very normal kind.

Caldwell comments:
Yes, yes, those Theosophists are such a hateful lot.  So glad most people
are non-Theosophists who are very unemotional and so  perceptive.

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