"She does rave betimes"
Jul 13, 1997 00:25 AM
Well, far be it for me to nit-pick! but, in the recent issue of "Quest" (the
teeny one), John Algeo addressed a reader who wrote about desiring an
article which would discuss how the "Heaven's Gate tragedy" could never
happen in Theosophy. Algeo answered that the TS has "certain inherent
protections against the sort of cult behavior. . .associated with groups
like the Heaven's Gate organization. Chief among those is the emphasis in
Theosophy on personal responsibility and freedom from authoritarian
dictation." He went on to say:
"It is ironic that modern Theosophy is the primary source of talk in
our time about 'Masters.' H.P. Blavatsky's teachers were the models for
practically all contemporary ideas about such persons. But her teachers
differed from the ersatz wanna-bes that followed them in two ways. On the
one hand, HPB's teachers were flesh and blood human beings, not spirits or
disembodied spooks. On the other hand, they did not tell people what to do
or how to do it. They made suggestions, but respected the freedom of
conscience and right of free action of others and declined to take on
themselves the karma of the choice of others or to deprive others of the
opportunity to learn by choosing."
"Ersatz wanna-bes?" Ersatz means a copy, but of inferior quality.
Normally, I would hold in high esteem someone who could sling such a subtle,
but lethal literary arrow. However, I was perplexed in this case, since in
the very same magazine John-john wrote that declaring "other belief systems.
. .worthless, ridiculous, or currupting" is "pernicious." Hmmmm, does
John-john read his own writings?
Also, I was unaware it had been proved that the "Masters" were "flesh and
blood human beings, not spirits or disembodied spooks" (although K. Paul
Johnson makes a good case for it). And, is John-john saying that the
"ersatz wanna-bes" were NOT human beings, but spirits or disemodied spooks?
He kinda lost me on this particular comparison.
Oh, and just one more little thing - Algeo wrote "they did not tell people
what to do or how to do it." Eh? In the "Mahatma Letters to J. P.
Sinnett," the "Masters" make it clear that if you don't believe and heed
them, you just may be, well, rather primitive. There are many examples of
the "Masters" being just plain bossy and insulting. And one "Master" wrote
(in letter 41) that he would "force her to stop" - this is not, to me,
necessarily honoring the "right of free action."
Could such a thing like "Heaven's Gate" occur within a group of
Theosophists? I doubt it. . .but never say never. I just wish Algeo had
put forth a better case.
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