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Re: World Wide Mind - The limitations of cyber-brotherhood

May 17, 1997 09:51 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker


>The Internet seemed at first to offer so much opportunity to for a nucleus of
>universal brotherhood to further the theosophical objectives.  We have news
>groups, web pages and chat rooms galore.  The options are staggering.

It does provide a "place" for the free exchange of ideas, an exchange that
crosses political and cultural boundaries. There's no censorship based on
"community standards". I can see new ideas and philosophies evolving,
amidst huge volumes of inane, objectionable, and inaccurate opinion, theory,
and rumor. The state of information on the Internet today is comparable to
the state of medicine in "Wild West" days when people would come through
town selling miracle snake oil from their wagons.

>Yet there is definitely no danger of the Internet instilling a cult like

I'm not sure I'd agree. It may be possible for people to put on an appearance
on the Internet -- a false appearance -- and gain a following. There's a
better chance of getting to know someone in person. On the other hand, of
course, there's also a better chance of a cult recruiting someone in person.
There's a good book on cults: COMBATTING CULT MIND CONTROL by Steven Hassen,
which I'd recommend to everyone. It's important to be aware of the
psychology of mind control and tell when someone's trying to recruit one.
(I got my copy of the book from AMAZON.COM in just a few days.)

>The personality, the lower vehicles don't have the impact in the
>current cyber-space that they would have in groups such as Heaven's gate, David
>Koresh, or the charismatic appeal of teachers like Blavatsky and Krishnamurti.

True, it's hard to be recruited over the Internet. But having charisma can
also be a sign of a good leader. It's not charisma nor the quality of the
ideas that are being taught that makes something a cult, it's the practice
of thought control, manipulation, and the subverting of the follower's ability
to make independent decisions.

>It seems that at our level of evolution, we need face to face relationships
>for really effective transformation.  Teaching and discussion are not enough.

We need to put a lot of things into the soup. A guru or spiritual peer can
be helpful. Also helpful are other people needing our help. We need to put
our energies into serving others, into creative expressions that brighten
the world, as well as getting moral support, inspiration, and guidance from
others with more experience.

>The ancients knew this and that is why the real teachings were transmitted
>orally from Master to chela and not trusted to the eyes of the profane.

Or the oral tradition was necessary because the deeper Teachings are passed
on as a form of "living realizations", and cannot be contained in simply
an intellectual tradition.

>Blavatsky felt it necessary through the guidance of her Masters to break some
>of the silence and publish the confused and confusing document known as the

She was sent, I understand, to help stem the tide of western materialism.
Some of what she writes requires a background of study to appreciate. She
was more direct in books like THE KEY TO THEOSOPHY. She was at a disadvantage,
not having an established terminology to use. There was only so far that she
was allowed and able to write -- after that point it's up to the individual
student's intuition to keep going. The writing style may appear confusing,
because it's done in a manner that does not tidily wrap up all the loose
ends and make a complete picture, like a jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces
put together. That would appeal solely to the intellect and leave the
intuition cold. The writing in more in a style that leads to a constant
churning over of ideas and a continually reexamination of what the student
thinks. That's precisely the effect that a spiritual teacher intends to
cause in a student. A close study of Theosophy leads, I think, to the exercise
and development of *something more* than the intellect.

>The point is that we are always in the midst of evolution and my personality
>and social institutions and groups are far from perfection, but in a process.

Or the traditional Buddhist idea that there is impermanence in everything,
that everything is in a state of flux. Even so, as we participate in the
game, we can brighten and enrich things, or add to the pain, misery and
garbage that the world also has in abundance.

>I think Mozart like Blavatsky and Shakespeare are the real guiders of humanity
>who point to an age of altruism and peace that we see, but through a glass

What they have in common is the high volume of creative output. This is also
something we can do. We can "shine brightly" rather than hide under rocks
cursing the dark, bitter, ugly world. The world only *seems* dark until we
start *giving* it our share of light.

>I think many are working, some guided , some blindly, but all toward the path
>that winds ever upwards despite many setbacks.

True, but it's much better if we open our eyes and participate in the plan
consciously. HPB once said "nature unaided fails". We have an important role
in nature, in life, in the way that the world goes. The important thing is
in awakening an "inner fire" or spiritual dynamic, in setting our feet
firmly on the Bodhisattva Path.

-- Eldon

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