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Defending oneself, or "the cause?"

Apr 27, 1998 07:05 AM
by K Paul Johnson

Amen to Thoa's well-stated remarks to the effect that when people
defend their country, or religion, or brand of toothpaste they
are really defending their personal ego that has become
identified with these things. For a very long time I was
perplexed by the virulence of some of the attacks on my books,
since they were intended to be friendly to HPB and generally
favorable. At last I came to realize that they were interpreted
as being deliberate vicious attacks by people whose personal egos
were heavily invested in a particular understanding of HPB.
Thus, even though my intentions were friendly, this was
inconceivable to people who felt personally threatened by the
kind of information presented and the possibility (later a fact)
that outside opinion of HPB was being impacted by the books.

It is helpful to ask oneself, before acting out of supposed
concern for "the truth" or "someone I am obliged to defend" or
whatever, "What is my personal motivation here? Can I act more
wisely by separating myself from the issue and not identifying?"
This helped me get out of a cycle of getting into arguments
defending other scholars under attack from religionists.

Thanks, Thoa.


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