Re: Jerry Hejka-Ekins on "....Who is it going to help?"
Jun 07, 1998 09:47 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins
> >From Daniel H. Caldwell:
> Jerry, I don't have the time right now to go over in detail with
> you what you write about me and the issues related to Paul Johnson, etc.
> But I do want to make some remarks on a few items of general and
> possibly even greater importance.
> I hope I'm not reading too much INTO your postings or I'm not guilty of taking
> things out of context, but I must say that your postings (especially the first)
> and especially your
> answer to the question: "....who is it going to help?" are quite an "eyeopener"
> to me!!
> >From your writing in these two recent postings, could not one properly conclude
> that theosophists who have written articles, booklets, papers or books on Madame
> Blavatsky (or in defense of her) were basically wasting their time and effort?
> "....Who is it going to help?"
No. That is not what I'm saying. I think writing books and pamphlets in defense
of HPB are valuable and should be done. Arguing with Paul's allegations without
first getting to the bottom of what he is talking about, IMO is not valuable or
even worth while. To give an example: Several years ago I got into it with Paul
was over an allegation he made that Judge wrote a fake Mahatma letter warning
Besant not to go to India because Olcott was planning to poison her. I wrangled
with Paul over this one for several exchanges and finally I produced the letter in
question to show that it said nothing of the sort. Paul replied that his point
was not about the letter, but to show that Besant and Olcott were together in
India during a certain period. My point is that if you are going to debate with
Paul, you have to first get him to commit to his point, or else, in my experience
it is a waste of time and energy. I believe that was the last time I engaged Paul
over an historical issue.
What I'm saying is that before I involve myself into this kind of thing, I have
learned to first consider the source and the forum. My experience has been that
email is so ephemeral, that it is not a suitable forum for this kind of debate.
Your publications are another matter. Here you have hard copies of carefully
written material that people can get and study for themselves. You have done a
superior job on this. Obviously TMR has become your project to rebut. My present
project concerns several authors who are more widely read who have spread
factually incorrect information about HPB while writing about Yeats. The end goal
of my research is to also have a publication (hopefully published through a major
publisher) that will correct this misinformation.
> And many of us may agree with your comments on
> the "prejudiced" academic community. But what
> about people out in the "real" world who are
> seeking for light and truth and meaning, but
> who may be *genuinely confused* by all the contradictory
> things set afloat about Blavatsky and Theosophy?
> *In this context*, is it *truly* a waste of time
> and energy to try to clarify confusions
> and misstatements relating to HPB's life as
> well as about her writings AND teachings?
For those who are looking for information on HPB or the TM, I have a library here
of over 15,000 volumes, and six filing cabinets filled with documents, with many
more boxes yet to be filed. Anyone who is sincerely seeking information or
documents is welcome to contact me. I get several such requests per week. I
also have several research pieces in the works that are committed to be published
by spring next year.
> [NOTE: I would probably agree that writing letters to
> editors who NEVER publish these letters may be considered a waste
> of time and energy but are there not better avenues in which
> to broadcast these issues? Again email even on Theos-Talk may
> not be the best "public" medium but what about the WWW?]
I'm not sure that WWW is any better than email for this purpose.
> And as I read and reread your last two postings, many comments
> by the Mahatmas & HPB come to my mind. Below are just a few
> observations by the Mahatmas which indicate (at least to me) that they
> considered "publicity" and "defense" as a necessity to combat
> various "misconceptions", "abuses" and "vilifications" about
> Madame Blavatsky, Theosophy and the Theosophical Society.
I completely agree that defense of the innocent is necessary. As I expressed to
Dallas, I'm saddened that this value has disappeared in our post modern society.
However, I also believe that we need to be strategic about our efforts. Part of
that strategy is to choose a worthwhile cause and to choose an effective medium to
make that defense.[snip]
> If these letters had been directed to you, would you have replied to
> the Mahatma with your question: "....Who is it going to help?"
The letters were dealing with current issues and IMO they were looking to support
in her part of the struggle to create a philosophical movement that would work
towards fighting materialism and bringing about human solidarity. For that I
would have been first in line to help.
> Of course, HPB is now dead as you point out but is THAT really relevant
> to the issue under discussion?
I caught one point that Paul made that I thought was quite good. He said that HPB
has been mythologized among the various theosophical groups. Though I may not
necessarily agree with his specific characterizations, I think his overall point
of quite relevant. The real HPB is quite dead to the public and to IMO, most
people who regard themselves as Theosophists. This makes the battle so much more
difficult, because I believe that even those who defend her very often
inadvertently create even more damage. JOF's book IMO is a prime example of
this. My strategy is to try to deal with people where they are with HPB at the
moment. In Paul's case, I never know what is his point, so how can I deal with
him? If I try to deal with what I think is his point, I learn that he is making a
different point. When I try to deal with that point, I learn that he is really
making a different point. You do much better with Paul than I do, so I'll leave
that project to you. I have other things going that are also concerned with
defending HPB, but they are on terms and in a media that I'm suited for and can do
well. I hope this clarifies things.
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