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HQ vs. lodges (re: Pam's comments)

Feb 20, 1998 10:07 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Hey gang,

I'll comment on a few other posts since I have to copy the whole
thing in order to reply to Pam's, but hers is the one that most
interests me.

Bart asks Ken:
>     If you can prove that the power structure at Wheaton is corrupt, then
> why don't you go to court to have them removed, or give your evidence to
> someone who can, such as Sy?

Corruption doesn't necessarily mean illegality.  If the real
purposes of the TS are subverted by a minority with a hidden
agenda, that corrupts the organization but may not be illegal.
If relevant information is routinely withheld from members,
rendering the democratic process subject to manipulation by the
in-group, that's also corruption of our democracy, without
necessarily being legally actionable.

Nicole asks John:
> Have you ever read anything like "where there is no leader,
> there is no one to follow"?

Could you explain this?
> I feel so bored here and I but lost patience - one has to speak
> about the same things sevenhundret times - but it doesn't seem
> go into peoples heads/hearts.

Guess not, Nicole, because I don't have a clue what you've said
700 times-- and am generally a pretty good reader.

 It's incredible. I but wonder
> WHY the hell you don't get it.

Maybe because it was said so elliptically, just like the present
message, that people didn't know what you were saying?

 And if you do, why don't you
> live it? Why do you only reflect it to somebody else whom
> you judge to be someone who doesn't live it? I simply can't
> understand this - it's too high for me.

FYI John Mead has been on this list for 4 years and has never
piped up with a single word of criticism of Wheaton until the
last few weeks.  Let up on him.

Thoa wrote:
> Upon reflection and seeing the various responses, I realized that I had no
> business making comments on TS politics or getting involved with it.  In
> fact, I actually have no desire to get anywhere close to anything smelling
> like politics.  I'll keep myself away from those topics from now on.

While I understand your sentiments, as I once shared them, this
kind of avoidance of political engagement simply allows the
leaders to think they can get away with anything at all.  Since
Theosophists tend to be pretty passive and avoidant of conflict,
this has made Algeo think we want/need a spiritual dictator.  How
to prove him wrong without dirtying our hands politically?

Now for Pam's comments:

> >dropping my membership at next renewal.  My experience of TS via Wheaton is
> >that of a stagnant organization stuck in the 19th century.  I've attended a
> >number of events there where I'm amoung the youngest participant --I'm 41.

If it's any comfort to you, I've visited several lodges and study
centers and they haven't been at all like that.  If Wheaton were
truly representative of the membership, I'd not belong.  But
while there are many good people there and I don't mean to diss
them, Theosophy in Wheaton is generally much more inward-looking,
exclusivist, traditionalist, than I've seen in the field.

> >passive lecturer-audience style of communication.  Most attendees are
> >white, over 60, or generally lacking any broad-based grounding in occult,
> >metaphysics, or cross-religious study.

That too is different from what I've seen in lodges/study
> >
> >I hesitated to respond before because I've only been a member a short time.
> > Also, there's been a fair amont of flaming lately and I don't like
> >providing energy to such embers.  From conversations on this list I've
> >become aware that there are active TS groups that are running rivers and
> >not stagnant ponds.

which has hopeful implications for the entire Society.  Miami
lodge, which I have not visited, is a particularly shining
example of a thriving group.  Is it any coincidence that it is
among the most dissatisfied with the national administration?

Finally, I must say in Bart's defense that while I regard him as
a political adversary vis-a-vis attitudes about the Algeo
administration (to refer to "Wheaton" as synonymous with Algeo
and his fans is quite unfair to the staff
there), I still like him and consider him an honorable opponent.
Also open to evidence, despite his apparent knee-jerk
defensiveness of the powers that be.  Bart may change his mind yet.


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