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Re: Paul's House of Cards

Dec 25, 1996 01:25 AM
by Tom Robertson

At 01:49 AM 12/25/96 +0000, JRC <> wrote:

>	Say, then, that the week after that, a speaker comes from
>Headquarters, and gives a lecture on "the one, divine, homogenous
>substance-principle" - and in the discussion, people begin critisizing the
>idea, a physicist claims it to be little other than an archaic belief in
>"ether", a psychologist refuses to accept it as "fact" and insists upon
>analyzing it as a *metaphor*, etc., etc - but the speaker then insists it
>be accepted as true, because HPB wrote it, and insists it be approached
>not as a hypothesis to be proved or disproved, but as a "truth" to be
>accepted on faith.
>	Which one of those scenarios is more "theosophical"?

If the idea of "the one, divine, homogenous substance-principle" is true,
both parties in this latter scenario are untheosophical, one because it does
not seek truth with enough of an open mind, the other because it has not
found enough of the truth.

>The question
>of what Theosophy "is" is not nearly so simple as defining a set of ideas
>and then saying everything that conforms to them *is*, and everything
>that does not *isn't*. The way ideas are approached is every bit as much a
>part of the equation as what ideas are - and *fundamentalists* exist in
>the TS to every bit the same degree they exist in Christianity ... and the
>rigidity of their thought is equally chilling in both places.   	

This implies that it does not matter what truth is found as long as it is
sought with an open mind, which is contradictory.

>To frame the debate as simply
>Algeo's conception of Theosophy vs. mine (or anyone else's) is to assume
>it to be a valid debate between equal participants - but this is most
>assuredly *not* the case ... the difference is that no matter what *my*
>personal views of Theosophy are, my own definitions or conceptions, I
>would *never* have the utter intellectual *arrogance* to *impose* them as
>standards that every new Lodge or Study Center would have to meet during
>its "probationary" period.

The only difference is that he is in a position of authority and you are
not.  If he should not "impose" any of his ideas on anyone, what purpose
would his being in office have?

>	Its kind of a cheap rhetorical trick to state the extreme of
>something and then argue "well, see, *some* line has to be drawn, or
>*Hitler* would have been welcomed".

I find it interesting that you consider the use of logic to be "a cheap
rhetorical trick," while contending that  _I_ am not interested in
intelligent discussion.  That you merely labelled the idea that either some
line has to be drawn or Hitler would have been welcomed as "cheap" without
showing how it is illogical means that _you_ lack interest in intelligent

>It rarely furthers an argument,
>because, it can always be answered by extending the line to its *opposite*
>extreme: If you see no problem with Algeo & Co. defining "Theosophy", and
>using the full force of the organization to impose that definition - then
>where do you draw the line? Theosophy becomes nothing other than a *cult*.

You have the responsibility for incorporating extremes exactly backwards.
You are saying that "Algeo & Co." goes to extremes, and then, when someone
responds to that by showing that the logical conclusion of what you are
saying is absurd, you illogically say that, though Theosophy must have no
creed, not all creeds are acceptable within it. I fail to see how any creed
can be excluded without having a creed.

"Algeo & Co." are _not_ imposing their definition of Theosophy on anyone.
They are defining what a particular organization will stand for.  Anyone who
does not want to stand for what that organization stands for is not forced
to be a member.  To say that they are imposing anything on anyone is like
saying that taxation is imposed on people, when it is actually just part of
a contract which people are free to decline.

>If they have the right to impose *content* restrictions on what Lodges
>study, where does this end? If a group must study some little faction's
>conception of "basic Theosophy" for a certain period of time, and then be
>*approved* by that faction before they are permitted to become a Lodge -
>why could they not go further and require not just study of the ideas in
>that conception, but *acceptance* of it ... do you see the utter ugliness
>in this principle? The potentials for enormous abuse?

I hereby demand that you believe that Mars and Mercury are part of the
terrene planetary chain.  To be consistent with what you just said, you must
claim that I have just "imposed" my belief on you.  The end result of what
you are saying is that there should be no such thing as a Theosophical
organization.  I disagree.  I believe Theosophy is better served by having
an organization, and that definition of what that organization stands for is

>Even if I *agreed*
>with the particular perspective of that faction currently running HQ, I'd
>be deeply disturbed at what is going on. To argue that "some line has
>to be drawn somewhere or Theosophy is meaningless" has two glaring errors
>in it - first, the assumption that people, *individual members and Lodges*
>somehow are not capable of determining *for themselves* where that line
>should be drawn, but rather need HQ to act like some sort of parent making
>sure the kids don't get into trouble.

It would be absurd to have an organization and then let every group within
that organization do whatever they want to do and say whatever they want to
say, implying that everything is sanctioned by the organization.  There
would be no organization if that were to happen.  To be part of an
organization requires conformity to what defines the organization.

>the second error lies in the implication that there is some
>danger of Theosophy becoming too vague and undefined

I see no more danger of Theosophy becoming too vague and undefined than I
see danger of a glass that just fell and shattered from falling again.  It
already _is_ too vague and undefined.

>the current danger is that HQ will spend another half-million
>dollars of the Society's resources *suing* another one of its own Lodges
>for studying ... Hitler? no, *Alice Bailey*.   	

The next time I see Willamay Pym, I will ask her if the TS spent half a
million dollars suing one of its lodges for studying Alice Bailey.  Without
any definite information, and just from 3 years' experience in the TS, I
would be astonished if she said that they had.

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