Politics on the Theos discussion lists
Mar 03, 1998 06:01 AM
by John E Mead
I am posting this per Ed's request.
I suggest any comments be mailed direct to Ed
(EdAbdill@compuserve.com) and also to theos-L@vnet.net
(unless it is a personal letter)
any personal email reponses sent to you from Ed should
be treated as such.
john e. mead
>Date: Monday, March 02, 1998 8:50 PM
>From: ED C ABDILL <EdAbdill@compuserve.com>
>To: Mead J <Jmead@InfoAve.Net>
>Subject: Message and UN-subscribe
I subscribed to Theos-l some time ago. At that time I had just obtained an
email address on CompuServe that was numerical. That address is still
valid, but to make life simpler I changed it to EdAbdill@Compuserve.com. A
few days ago I tried to post something on the list asked to un-subscribe.
A note came back saying that I was not a subscriber. The problem is likely
the different address.
Would you please post the following and then take me off the list? The
original email subscription address was email@example.com
Thanks very much. Ed
For months I have been concerned about the political material that fills
this list. While I do not question anyone's motive or right to speak their
mind, a lot of what appears here gives the reader the IMPRESSION that
frequently the writers are angry, demanding, self righteousness, and quick
to suspect others of wrong doing.
What follows is not meant to criticise anyone or open a dialog on the way
the Society is managed by its elected officials. Rather, I want simply to
suggest a way of looking at anger, attempts to change others, the insideous
problem of self righteousness, our use of the word "Truth," and the
suspicion that we humans often face in ourselves.
ANGER: Anger is reactive; it is part of our animal nature. When we give
in to it we betray our weakness. It makes us its victim and muddles our
mind. Peace (as a power) is the mark of the strong, not the weak. By
conscious effort it can be realized and directed by the spiritual will.
Whenever I get angry about anything I try to quickly remember that anger
(thought justified or not) is a form of violence. By getting angry, I
release emotional violence into the psychological atmosphere, and because
we are all interrelated, I thereby contribute to a chain reaction of anger
that affects the whole. Recently I have made a special effort to check any
tendency toward anger because I felt that the world's anger was near a
boiling point. Whether it helped or not, I tried to tap into that peace
that passes understanding and direct what I could of it to those involved
in negotiations concerning Iraq.
ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE OTHERS: We human beings believe that our opinions are
right. If we thought otherwise, we would change our opinions. Sometimes
we feel so strongly that we are right that we try to change someone else.
Seldom, if ever, do we succeed. In fact, it is so clear to me that I must
"first remove the beam" in my own eye, that I do not attempt, and probably
have no ability to "remove the mote that is in [my] brother's eye." As
Krishnamurti and other wise individuals have said, it is by changing
ourselves that we change the world. But we human beings find it easier,
and ever so much more fun, to attempt to change others. When I want to
force someone else to do what I think is right, I try to remember what the
adepts say they do. KH writes, "We advise - and never order. But we do
influence individuals." (Letter No. 43 , ML 47)
Letter No. 5, ML 4, refers to a dangerous world situation - possible
agression by Russia against Tibet. Although the adepts claim to have
extraordinary powers they could have used to stop the agression, they took
a wiser course. Rather than demanding, or exerting occult power, they
simply influenced people in the hope that their thought would be picked up,
accepted as reasonable, and acted upon. Speaking of Russia, KH writes:
"If she does not succeed it will be due to us; and herein at least we will
deserve your gratitude."
The IF in the sentence shows they did not force their views on anyone, even
when they knew that they were right and a different course of action might
bring war. I fear we are not so wise.
SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS: It is insidious and we seldom notice it in ourselves.
HPB says we are "constantly self deceived," and from seeing what little I
can of my own personality, I believe her. Koot Humi once called self
righteousness "selfishness," and a very dangerous form of it at that. In
Letter No. 134, ML 64, he writes:
"There are persons who, without ever showing any external sign of
selfishness, are intensely selfish in their inner spiritual aspirations.
These will follow the path once chosen by them with their eyes closed to
the interests of all but themselves, and see nothing outside the narrow
pathway filled with their own personality. They are so intensely absorbed
in the contemplation of their own supposed 'righteousness' that nothing can
ever appear right to them outside the focus of their own vision distorted
by their self-complacent contemplation, and their judgment of the right and
USE OF THE WORD TRUTH: When speaking of political matters, the Society's
motto (There is no religion higher than truth) has sometimes been invoked
in such a way that the reader is led to believe that the writer thinks his
facts and/or opinions are the Truth referred to in the motto.
May I say that I do not believe that the word Truth, as used in the motto,
refers to the substantiation of rumor, nor even to historical facts.
Rather, the word Truth refers to the eternal principles upon which this
universe is based. No religion can claim to have a higher Truth than that.
Whether accurate or not, facts, rumors, and opinions are not part of that
kind of Truth.
SUSPICION: In Letter No. 11, ML 28, KH writes: "Imagination as well as
will - creates. Suspicion is the most powerful provocative agent of
imagination...Beware! You have already begotten in you the germ of a
future hideous monster, and instead of the realization of your purest and
highest ideals you may one day evoke a phantom, which, barring every
passage of light will leave you in a worse darkness than before, and, will
harass you to the end of your days."
Granted, KH spoke to Mr. Hume. Nevertheless, his remarks clearly show what
suspicion can do if we allow it to activate our imagination.
NEW LIST: The theosophical philosophy can make an enormous difference in
our world if it is pursued and lived. I am sure that most members would
accept that, but I am afraid that a new commer to theosophy might be turned
away from that philosophy by many of the charges and counter charges posted
on this list. To help prevent that, would it not be better to create two
lists: One for political views about the organization and a second for
discussion of the theosophical philosophy?
Having said that, I do not wish to imply that when one disagrees with
officials they should be silent. Indeed, they should say they disagree and
why. Better yet, they might run for office, knowing that if elected they
will themselves become the dart board instead of the dart. If a new
"political" list is created, then those who want to address political
matters will still have an open forum, and all who subscribe will know that
the list is dedicated to political views, not to the theosophical
When and if there are two lists, one for theosophical ideas and one for
politics, I will gladly subscribe to the former. In the meantime, I ask
now to be removed from this list. Hopefully the contributors will not
interpret my action to mean that I do not care about the structure of the
Society and the behavior of its members. I care very much indeed, but I
choose to deal with such matters differently from the way they are dealt
with here. Ed Abdill
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