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Re: Thesis vs. Hypotheses by K. Paul Johnson

Dec 23, 1996 07:48 PM
by JRC

On Sun, 22 Dec 1996 wrote:
> Richard Ihle writes-->
> As one reads Dr. John Algeo, one needs to keep constantly in mind the
> possibility that if Johnson is right to any extent at all, it might make
> Algeo seem more like the president of a philosophy club rather than the
> bishop he may prefer to see himself as.
	Richard - yes, I think so ... in fact wrote the same thing to KPJ
the other day. There is a lot at stake here psychologically - but in terms
of the organization as well. The current leadership - "Ph.D's"
notwithstanding - have actually (IMO) made the TS into little other than a
philosophy club ... and not even a very interesting one at that. And
philosophy clubs are scattered all over the world - but generally don't
have a large organization, and generally their presidents aren't paid
salaries. The *foundation* for whatever power the institutional leaders
have lies not in the fact that the TS is in any way actually serving the
current world - but in the implied connection to "the Masters" that
membership in the TS is believed to give. There is a huge vested interest
in *keeping* the Masters mysterious ... because the leadership has *not*
made the TS into something that is in active service to today's world.
> In my opinion, the reason THE MASTERS REVEALED is the most important
> theosophical book to come out in many decades is not for what it proves or
> disproves; rather, it is for delivering the diamond-cutter's blow perfectly:
>  either the   Theosophical Society of the future will rest upon the
> foundation of indefectable doctrine brought via ~very~ preternatural Masters,
> or all theosophical teachings, including HPB's, must stand or fall on their
> own merit.
	Yes ... I found it *very* interesting that the TPH did not publish
the book - certainly it was not editorial reasons ... it more than
surpassed the level of a lot of stuff they publish - and apparently met
the standards of a number of noted critics *outside* TS circles ... it
could not have been its commercial viability - as it was picked up by a
commercial house, and is selling as well or better than (again) a lot of
stuff coming out of the TPH (a lot of the TS "chosen ones" who get
contracts with the TPH probably could not find an outside publisher) ...
and it certainly could not have been because the book - whether one agreed
with its premises or not - was not a valid contribution to the body of
theosophical literature ...... the only thing I can conclude is that, once
again (as with the case of the Quest and the AT) - it contained the sin of
unapproved content.
	It is not exactly a shock that John Algeo, who was instrumental
in (if not chiefly responsible for) the editorial decision to turn down
the manuscript, would then, after KPJ not only found another avenue to get
it into print *despite* the efforts of Wheaton but actually saw it selling
well to non-Theosophists and reviewed positively, it is not a shock that
Algeo would critisize the thing. The TS leadership apparently didn't even
want it sold within theosophical circles - much writing about Theosophy is
obscure and arcane, and of interest to a very few ... and normally a
manuscript dealing with detailed arguments about who the TS Masters were
would be effectively squashed if it was not published by the THP or
some other TS press. This is, I think, important to understand ... in
rejecting the manuscript, Headquarters would have had every reason to
believe that the book would either receive the minimal distribution that
self-publishing provides, or would not see the light of day at all.
Apparently they did not even want the discussion to take place.
	But then! Horror of horrors, it not only gets published, but gets
published with a good house with a considerable distribution network, all
sorts of people outside the TS begin to buy it, and it winds up reviewed
in major forums. That mere fact that it was reviewed by (for instance) the
NYT Book Review - let alone *positively* reviewed, is itself a glaring
criticism of the editorial judgement of John Algeo and the editorial board
of the TPH. Once all that happened, however, of *course* Algeo had to
review it ... the TS could not simply ignore what the larger world was
recognizing ... and *of course* he had to slam it - he could hardly give a
*positive* review (in his role of learned intellectual critic) of a book
that came from a manuscript he rejected (in his role of THP editor) -
especially when the book may well sell better than anything else that came
out of the TPH this year.
	The entire situation is, IMO, a standing invitation for TS members
concerned with the future of the TS to reflect upon what happens when a
large majority of institutional power becomes concentrated into the hands
of a very tiny group of people - a group that, by the by, has been slowly
but surely raising increasingly large institutional barriers to entrance.
	"The Masters Revealed" is a very interesting title. KPJ may not
have revealed the Masters themselves ... but he certainly caused the
motives of those who currently control the organization they started to be
						Regards, -JRC

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