Re: Research Project: Third Object of the T.S.A.
Dec 26, 1999 08:27 AM
by Bart Lidofsky
James Langdon Rodak wrote:
> I have been a member of the T.S.A for about 4 years. For the past 2
> years I have been conducting self-directed research into the genesis and
> language of the Third Object. Of particular interest to me in this regard
> are the words: "To investigate unexplained laws of Nature ...". I have
> seriously pondered over these words ever since I became a member of the
> Society and wondered: What exactly did HPB, Olcott, Judge and the other
> founding members of the Society have in mind/intend when they decided to
> adopt that phraseology -- which has evolved into the present day language
> we read in the Third Object.
I have one way of looking at the 3 (and the 2nd for that matter) object
that might help shed light on the matter. Think of the 3 objects as
being in order of importance, and that the 2nd must be considered in the
light of the 1st, and the 3rd must be considered in the light of the 2nd
and the 1st (and before the rest of the list jumps at me, remember that
this is only ONE way of looking at them, not the ONLY way).
> When the Society was formally established and chartered, that was, in
> essence, the language of the one and only Object of the Society.
There might be some disagreement with that. And note that the Objects
were changed. That could very well have to do with the Objects being
misinterpreted, at least from the point of view of the founders.
> The purpose of my research is to write a comprehensive paper on the
> subject. I am not seeking remuneration in any form for my efforts. I seek
> only more light on the subject heretofore articulated so that I might be
> better informed, enlightened, and enabled to share the knowledge gained
> with fellow Theosophists and with those who might have an interest in the
And you would like us to....
> In closing I need to also state that it is my considered opinion that
> every serious member of the Theosophical Society should have a clear,
> unambigious understanding of what each of the three Objects of the Society
> mean and what they are intended to convey. The Objects are the mandated
> fundamental principles that we have stated that we are in sympathy with --
> a prerequisite for membership in the Society.
However, the Society is also declared to be non-dogmatic. I have had
discussions with a number of our more prominent members (including a few
people here) about that dichotomy; for example, the 1st Object carries
an inbuilt, and possibly dogmatic, assumption that there IS a
Brotherhood of Humanity. The best answer I got, and this was the most
common answer I got, was that the 3 Objects ARE, in fact, open to
individual interpretation, including, for example, what is MEANT by a
"Brotherhood of Humanity".
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