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Re: Skeptics

Mar 12, 1997 06:42 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

According to Tim Maroney:
> Hi Paul,
> One way to engage material like this is as fiction. Fiction, of course,
> has its own quality of truth but is not meant to be engaged on a
> literalistic level, or even necessarily as allegory. Blavatsky was the
> daughter of a successful novelist and no mean storyteller herself,
> publishing a variety of weird tales as well as the largely fictionalized
> "Caves and Jungles". While she did present "The Secret Doctrine" in a
> literal mode, that should not mean that we are bound to interpret it that
> way ourselves. I believe that Blavatsky saw truth and fiction as close
> members of the same continuum, and felt free to move easily from one to
> the other.

Interesting you should have written that just as I was
finishing a revision of the Cayce ms. and subtitling it "The
Readings, Truth, and Fiction."  In some dimensions, truth and
fiction are opposites, but in other ways fiction is a vehicle
for truth.

> Another way to engage material like this without getting caught in a
> struggle about whether it's literally true or not is to treat it as case
> study, that is, as a record of the mental process of a particular mystic.
> In this case we can easily see it as an answer to the ontological void
> created by new findings on the age of the earth that left Western culture
> bereft of a creation story and so of a self-definition. The particular
> visions involved are also interesting as a case study of the imagistic
> experiences of a person with an unusual talent for astral work. We could
> look at figures in her visions as dream characters, rearrangements of
> known characters from the ordinary worlds, attempts to grapple with the
> process of the non-human giving rise to the human, and so on.
> Either of these approaches admits the obvious -- this is not really how
> people evolved -- while still managing to derive some advance in
> understanding from the material, and treating it with respect on its
> proper plane.

I would like to see Theosophical texts studied in the way you
suggest, but don't expect to see it happen anytime soon.


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