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Theos-World Re: Re: Threshold TS Organizations

Mar 29, 1999 09:16 PM
by M K Ramadoss

Dear Rich:

I appreciate your response and glad to see it.

Yes, I have repeatedly pointed out the lack of *any* participation by any
elected national/international officials and it is a fact you agreed with.
I feel that we should all me reminded of it frequently because I think it
is a great missed opportunity for theosophy, especially when the membership
in organizations is dwindling.

It is good to know that what is discussed on the lists are fedback to the
leaders and I hope it does some good in that it provides them with the kind
of feedback they cannot normally get from other sources.

While your reasons for their non participation may be true, it is my
opinion that they may be only one of the many contributing factors and
probably the minor ones. While their jobs are demanding, I am sure many of
the participants here also have more than full time jobs and other heavy
responsibilities making great demands on their time and in spite of which
they find time to read msgs and respond with detailed responses as needed
all because of their interest in theosophy.

I still hold the view that I do not think leadership still see the untapped
power of the maillists as a tool; In my own experience, while I grew up
with the computer industry, until I spent a lot of time having hands on
experience with Internet for some months, I did realize its power and its
enormous potential as a tool. Since most of the leaders have grown up in
pre computer era, IMHO they still have not comprehended the power of
Internet as a tool. Added to this is the unusual nature of the medium. The
traditional print medium put out by the organizations is easy to control.
The leaders can feed the membership what they want them to be fed. That is
not so with Internet maillists. So it is very likely that they are at a
loss as to how to deal with the maillists. Traditional control techniques
such as editing/censoring does not work well. For example one of the large
Theosophy organizations launched a "moderated" = censored/edited/controlled
- maillist with dismal results. There is not a single msg on the maillist
since the end of January. Just compare that to the traffic here and in
other "unmoderated" lists. The msg is loud and clear.

While many of the msgs on the lists may be trivial not warranting responses
from the leadership, there are substantive items in the msgs from time to
time which are very important from doctrinal, organizational and for long
term survival of theosophical organizations. They, IMHO, warrant serious
engagement by the leadership.

As for the number of members on the list at this time; maillists are still
in their infancy. It is when the current generation which is growing up in
the Internet environment comes of age you will see the massive
subscriptions. The current trend, at least in one Theosophy organization is
that more and more are *not* interested in in-person interaction as shown
by the rapid growth in the "members-at-large" who are not attached to any
branch. It may take time; but I expect to see in-person membership slide as
more and more branches are closed. Recently a subscriber in a private msg
mentioned that when he went to a meeting of the branch in one of the
largest cities in the country, he found five old women attending the
meeting - a dismal number considering the population of the city. So the
trend is not in favor of more in-person meetings. In person interaction
will continue; but the maillist participation is about to take off; only is
how soon.

Organizational barriers have two aspects - inter organizational cooperation
and interaction; and cooperation and interaction between people interested
in theosophy whether they formally belong to one or more of the
organizations or none. The former is not going to breakdown that easily.
The latter - interaction between people is increasing. The latter type of
interaction is not likely to take place when either the member has some
vested interests in an organization (or in a related/parallel activity) and
that vested interest or threat (explicit or subtle) to the interest
prevents him/her from going against the tradition and/or unwritten code of
the leadership of the organization. Internet maillists are acting as a
catalyst in breaking down the barriers at the individual level and I am
confident that we all will be witnessing the maillist breakthrough in the
next few years.


At 04:21 PM 3/21/1999 EST, you wrote:
>In a message dated 3/21/99 5:53:50 PM, you wrote:
<In the above context, it is also to be noted that all organizational
>leaders have avoided getting involved in any discussions that go on on
>this maillist as well as on other theosophical maillists, and thus it
>appears that the pre Information Technology mentality continues even in
>the age of Information Technology.>>
>You have made this statement umpteen times on this list, but at last I feel I
>have to say a little in defense of the "leaders" of various organizations.
>You are right that we have yet to see a high office-holder in the T.S. make
>comments on this list.  But I know for a *fact* that they get regular reports
>on what is said here, who said it, and what the result was.  Just this
>I spoke with the leaders of not one but TWO different associations, and BOTH
>persons referenced this list and recent conversations.
>The reasons various leaders don't participate here is twofold, I suspect,
>though you must understand this is *my supposition* and not their statements.
>First, these folks are extremely busy.  I feel very fortunate to talk on the
>phone with either one of them once every six months.  Running any
>is extremely time consuming, and running a T.S. is even more so, since they
>are terribly small outfits with a tremendous number of responsibilities.
>Secondly, the conversations on this list would hardly ever warrant an
>organizational voice.  Most of our conversations are sniping, or desultory
>chat, or random questions such as I sometimes ask.  None of these require the
>presence of the head of a T.S. to answer.  
>If what's happening on this list is so groundbreaking and amazing, why do we
>only have 100 or so readers, and why don't all the members of the T.S.s who
>meet in person up and leave their groups and join this list?  I myself see
>this list as a valuable tool, and I've made a number of friends a learned a
>great number of things.  It has been mind-opening.  But I don't think this
>list replaces in-person interaction, nor is this list or any other about the
>break down organizational barriers, whether this century or next.

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