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Re: What are attacks? (reply to Paul)

Nov 19, 1997 09:30 AM
by Eldon B Tucker


>In response to Eldon's question, I don't see that the Arcana
>guidelines would be any good in keeping Theosophists from
>attacking people or religions.  Why not?  Whoever does it
>always denies that attacking is what is going on.  Often that
>denial is combined with a further attack on the already
>attacked-- for "taking things personally."  

Perhaps there's a fine line here between disagreeing with
and challenging someone's beliefs and treating that person
respectfully. This could be on any issue -- the discussion
of Leadbeater with a devotee, the questioning of someone's
firmly held beliefs in the dogmas of a particular closed
religion or group, or even the questioning of various 
aspects of your books by its critics.

>As for attacking belief systems: some people, fundamentalist
>Theosophists certainly included, take any criticism or
>questioning of their beliefs as personal attacks.  For example,
>someone recently posted on theos-talk the claim that someone's
>asserting there were "demonstrable errors" in HPB's writings
>was "fighting words."

This is a natural human reaction, which I'm sure you've
felt as well, as your books (beliefs and conclusions regarding
the Masters) have come under criticism.

>If a moderator starts to make judgments on what is attacks
>and what isn't, it would be very hard to keep his/her own personal
>beliefs from influencing that judgment.  People by nature are
>much less tolerant of free speech of those who differ with them
>than of those who agree with them.  They tend to turn a blind
>eye to the nastiness of those "on our side" while exaggerating
>that of "heretics."

Very true. And I've seen it at work on various lists.

>I am also concerned that you, Eldon,  seem to have developed a
>heightened sensitivity to "attacks" and "back stabbing"
>of those not present, right after I finally, after two years
>of withholding the information, explained in a pretty dispassionate
>post the history behind John Algeo's negative reviews of The
>Masters Revealed.  Why did I post that?  In response to a
>lengthy and extremely personal attack on me, by a friend and
>supporter of his,  that made wild
>unsubstantiated accusations about the subject.

A number of topics have come up at about the same time as your
postings. I'm writing about the ones that interest me. The
particular issues I'm most interested in are that of the
rights of authors to their works and that of the workings of
mailing lists. I've been interested in copyrights and the
rights of authors for some time. As to how mailing lists 
operate, it's a topic I'll be trying to explain at my Saturday
program at Krotona on "Theosophy and the Internet". 

>If your desire to establish rules is to some extent in order to
>protect Theosophical Authorities from criticism, then to that
>extent I think it is misconceived.

No. I'm not interested in rules protecting them, you, or anyone
from criticism of their ideas. I am interested in seeing what
implicit rules are operating on existing mailing lists, and in
seeing if some good *voluntary* guidelines might eventually be
drafted for theos-talk.

>They have been protecting
>themselves from it all too well for all too long, and the
>movement has suffered as a result.

This is a somewhat different topic: the shortcomings of
theosophical leadership and organizations and how to change
things to become effective again in the future. It's
important and has been discussed at times. Closer to the
topic at hand, though, would be the shortcomings of
mailing list leadership and how to change things to become
more effective in the future.

-- Eldon

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