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Re: theos-talk-digest V1 #55

Apr 22, 1998 06:46 AM
by K Paul Johnson

According to
Responding to Richard, X, and Pam:

Richard wrote:
> So anyway, what one may often have to deal with is an individual who is
> (egoically speaking and at least momentarily) deluded he or she REALLY IS the
> mental construct which he or she has fallen in love with.

And the awakening from this state of identification was, in my
experience, the point at which all that self-denial began to
appear very foolish and unhealthy.

 If the construct
> happens to be something like the "Abstemious Recipe for Spiritual Growth," it
> is not always so pleasant to relate to such a person--since he or she may even
> regard a minor demurral by someone else as a major animadversion directed at
> his or her own "true identity." Furthermore, if the person also happens to
> believe that the construct can be traced back to an Indefectable Source
> somewhere . . . well, then, I remember the "R-I-P-P-L-E" TMR made, and so do
> you. . . .

Sure, and have seen true believers of many categories react
similarly to writings that somehow challenged the perfection of
the alleged omniscient source of their adopted identities.
Explosive personality reactions ensue, with denial of personal
responsibility for the reactivity. ("I'm just standing up for
HPB/Baha'u'llah/Paul Twitchell/CWL etc.")
> Incidentally, I liked your expression "creepy-feeling." There's a creepy-
> feeling one can get from a lot of things Theosophical, isn't there? It is
> hard to put your finger on just what it is, though.

Well, this may make enemies all around, but although I can't put
my finger on it either, I've felt the same vibe in Wheaton,
Adyar, Pasadena, and NY ULT. Some free associations: faded, old,
bourgeois, rigid, defensive, conscious thought/unconscious
feeling. The bottom line is that this is a vibe that will suck
energy out of you but not provide much new energy worth being
connected to. How different the shiny happy therapeutic
atmosphere at ARE HQ in Virginia Beach! And yet, in the midst of
the creepy Theosophical vibes one finds some of the most
wonderful individuals.

 I mean, I can still get a
> creepy-feeling just walking around Olcott, even though I have been there quite
> a few times. It's almost as if even the buildings, grounds, and everything is
> being neurotically held only semi-successfully together in some rigid
> posture--maybe just like the people you are talking about.

If you think you've seen neurotic rigidity in Wheaton, multiply
that 10 times and you've got Adyar.
> By the way--same question I asked Jerry S.--are you planning to be at Summer
> Convention? I hope so. Best wishes and

Vaguely intending, without reaching the stage of planning.

Pam writes:
> Peter writes:
> It seems to me that a systematic revision of that attitude in TS is long
> overdue, as I imagine it stems from long ago when TS was in strong
> competition with the developing Spiritualist movement. I wonder if
> anyone can confirm this, or otherwise accurately identify it's source. I
> certainly believe it to be now irrelevant.

Agreed on all points. But the sources are multiple. First was
"genealogical dissociation"--- the need for a new religious
movement to emerge as a separate identity causes a
denial/rejection of its historical roots. This leads to emphatic
denials that HPB was ever a medium, which of course she was.
Second, I'd say that Theosophy wanted to emphasize the
intellectual rather than the experiential, and to give a monopoly
on the latter to HPB and whatever favored few are favored in a
particular organization. But this is very much a "Do as I say,
not as I do" situation, since the leaders who warned followers
not to explore psychic phenomena were doing so themselves.
Thirdly, I'd say the debacle of the SPR investigation turned
Theosophists against psychical research in general, after a brief
time when the TS encouraged the SPR and related study.

Pam comments:

> ring--wow!). Books are only a phone call away. By the time a modern
> seeker contacts the Theosophical Society, they've already been exposed to a
> variety of ideas and philosophies. I don't feel that any seeker can take
> the spiritualist injunction seriously, unless they're comfortable with the
> "armchair occultist" label.

HPB was not as cut and dried about all this as some of her
supposed successors have been. She did say, in the Key, that the
Third Object involved expanding/exploring one's own horizons of
spiritual experience. My feeling of things in the movement is
that the Pasadena TS has lost a fair amount of the
anti-meditation, anti-experiential attitudes that once held sway,
but that ULT has not. In the Adyar TS, it's not so much "Don't
experiment, don't explore" as "The ES has the one and only right
and approved way of doing so and if you're on another track
you're an internal enemy of the TS."
> Regarding the Summer convention: I live 45 minutes from Olcott and will be
> attending. If anyone on this list prefers camping, I have space available.
> I live in a lake community. It's not the backwoods, but it's a change of
> pace from Wheaton.

Sounds great, and I'm interested. Will be in touch if I decito
go for sure.


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