Theos-World the future of theosophical work
Mar 26, 2000 04:50 PM
by Eldon B Tucker
The discussion regarding theosophical officers and compensation
raise a number of important issues.
One is that of health care. If someone is working full-time for
a theosophical group, it would be nice to see that they're provided
with room and board, health care, and at least a nominal amount of
spending money, so they can buy clothes, etc.
In the past, only the wealthy could work as theosophical volunteers,
since the vast majority of people were struggling to make ends meet,
to pay the rent and put food on the table, with little time to devote
to higher pursuits.
If theosophical groups were only run by the wealthy, I'd expect that
there would be a bias, a bit of a blind spot in the perception of
the people doing the work, a danger of the leadership getting disconnected
from the actual struggles and needs of the common person in society.
By paying living expenses and health care, taking care of the material
needs of full-time volunteer staff in a modest way, a theosophical
group allows the workers the ability to devote their time and energies
into the Work.
This type of support in seen in many areas of society. Monks are
supported by the general populace, in our age so they can pursue
spiritual interests, in earlier times, because they carried on the
knowledge of society. In modern times, we support "academic monks"
in a similar manner. Our society pays the salaries of university
professors, staff, and researchers, footing most of the bill through
tax dollars or indirectly through grants.
I would not want to see my theosophical money spent on someone
who's a freeloader, not doing any work, or someone not supporting
something I'd consider genuine Theosophy or helpful to the
theosophical cause. But if there is a need for certain work and
it's useful and the people who are supported are both sincere
and capable in what they're doing -- I'm happy to support them
as much as I can.
The typical case of a theosophical volunteer working full-time
at a theosophical center, I'd suspect, is someone who cares about
Theosophy and feels they're doing something to make this a better
world. It's almost certain they're taking a substantial financial
loss in being there, rather than working at a job paying the
going rate for their skills. I'm more inclined to feel grateful
for the work they're doing, the sacrifices they're making, than
to feel any resentment over the fact that they're receiving any
form of financial support.
The talk I've read about non-profit corporations needing to
make a full disclosure about how their funds are expended might
be correct from a legal standpoint. But I don't think that the
money being spent is the real issue.
The real problem, as I see it, that we're struggling with is
over the organizational structure of theosophical groups. The
model of a hierarchical organization with centralized and
autocratic control is falling into disfavor.
A more workable model for the future would be more like the
ULT, with a number of independent theosophical groups, but no
one in charge. The groups can affiliate with each other as
they please, and there can be resource centers providing
assistance to groups as needed, but no one is "the boss" with
the power to dictate rules or policies to groups.
The model would be more like that of a "theosophical franchise,"
where the individual branches are "locally owned," with
resources and support from within the organization, but the
local ownership being in charge of what happens.
Then we come to the question: What do we do from here?
The answer is: We find a place comfortable for us to work
and we get to work. If that place is within an existing
theosophical group, we go there and become productive. If
there aren't any groups we're happy with, we make a new one
any way that we like it, and then cooperatively affiliate
with other theosophical groups and activities where it's
possible to do so. Why waste time fighting with people or
groups that want to do things differently, when it's so
easy to just get to work, start doing things, and move
forward with new groups and activities that are in total
accord with what works best for you?
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