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Theos-World The Decline in Membership

May 03, 1999 07:19 AM
by Gerald Schueler

>>I think that the general trend toward emphasis on meditation and work
on higher planes, trying to become a chela or Adept etc. with
corresponding downplaying of work that can and should be
down on earth may be a contributive factor in the slow decline in the
membership of all TS organizations.>>

Doss, you present an interesting point of view here. However,
I think that the problem is deeper than you suggest. I would,
in fact, say that I feel exactly the opposite--that the decline
is based on not enough meditation and "work on higher planes."
Incidently, except for myself, who has been "working on
higher planes" within any of the TSs?  The overwhelming 
theosophical response to my own research on the higher
planes has been apathy if not downright hostility. I am
personally aware of several people who declined membership
in a TS because it was too cautious and too theoretically
oriented.  A recent article in Theosophy World shows us
that much of Theosophy is too abstract for most people. In
other words, it doesn't relate to their worldview and so is
useless to them.

The problem, as I see it, and have so stated many times,
is that in order to help others we first have to know what
we are doing.  Thus widsom, if not psychic powers, is

Helping others without the wisdom to know exactly how
or what is needed (because helping others is screwing
with their personal karma) is dangerous.  Also, it is no
different than all the worlds religions and philantropic
associations.  G de P was quoted on this list awhile
back as saying that Theosophy should not be just another
religion or philantropic organization.  The difference,
he said in so many words, is that Theosophy includes

Mahayana Buddists have always taught that we need
both wisdom and means.  In Theosophy, we can get
knowledge from books, but wisdom only comes from
understanding what the words mean and living the ideas
presented.  Compassion has to be inherent and automatic,
not forced because it is the "right" thing to do.

I submit that the TSs will continue to decline in membership
until the TSs are able to differentiate Theosophy from other
religious or altruistic groups in the mind of the public.  There
are many other larger groups around who help people in
times of need, especially physical help.  Religions also
provide some degree of spiritual help.  Theosophy, if it is to 
thrive, has to be different and has to offer something that 
no other organization can offer. And we can't just say it offers 
Truth, because that is what all the religions say too.

So then, what exactly does Theosophy have to offer
the world that is unique that people need and can use?

Jerry S.


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