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Theosophy as a romantic form of scienticism

Oct 15, 2001 02:27 AM
by bri_mue


Dear Jerry,

Reg."In the case of the Theosophical core teachings one must have 
faith in those who first propounded them"

Among others that is of course what makes theosophy a religion. For 
example it is also "faith" and the believe in this case that they 
where going to "heaven" that made these people plunge planes into the 
WTC twin tower buildings and kill themselves. Although I also see 
positive effects regarding faith ultimately it is based on wishful 
thinking. And I don't see any evidence in Blavatsky's Isis and SD 
about unknown backers, wich is the claim among theosophists, other 
then that she plagiarized parts from books that could be obtained in 
any larger library that time , and of wich most of them she had in her 
possession, plus her own ingenuity, and of course the help of many of 
her students and co workers. Just like other religious reformers like 
Mary Baker Eddy or Joseph Smith, have done.

My current position (to wich I like to see related feedback) is that 
I see theosophy as a romantic form of scienticism, and a worldview 
as a legacy of an older Western esotericism, which has been 
transformed through a process of secularisation and modernization. 
Common characteristics of theosophy its similarities with Romantic 
science, can be summed up in the following points:
In theosophy materialism is invalid since matter per se, is only an 
aspect of the "prima materia", and in a sense does not exist.
Romantic science similarly contains an element of idealism: positing 
vital force, a spiritual element to nature. The worldview of 
Romanticism has been called natural supernaturalism. Whereas the 
Enlightenment project attempts to rationalize the supernatural, 
Romanticism does the opposite.
Romantic science is equally characterized by its antireuctionism, the 
idea of unity (a) between all sciences: holism rather than 
specialization, (b) in nature itself: the discovery of the ur-type 
behind the varieties and in the conception of the cosmos as a vast and 
organic whole, and (c) between the human being and the world around 
us. In several ways, Romantic science is an anti-Cartesian view of the 
world, at least in the sense that it positions itself against the 
standard picture of Decartes as the philosopher of dichonomies between 
body and soul, between subject and object.
The Romantics admired a version of anti-mechanistic science. They 
believed that the human being possesses faculties that go beyond the 
confines of rationality-faculties assigned a variety of labels such 
as intuition and imagination. Romantic science could still conceive of 
science as fundamentally allied with art, poetry and myth.
Romantic science also had its share of proponents of the supernatural. 
Mesmerism, spiritualism, visions and the paranormal were all part of a 
vaster conception of the world.
The same U shaped view of history that informs the Romantic view of 
ancient and exotic cultures is also adopted in the understanding of 
the development of science.
Theosophy and Esoteric science are clothed in scientific terminology 
and expressed by means of carefully selected bits and pieces of a 
scientistic bricolage. In an age where science is devoid of 
fundamentally appealing qualities such as goal, meaning and purpose, 
it remains tempting to move into religious beliefs like theosophy that 
to those that have not informed themselve further appears as 
something close to reality (even, if we take "reality" in for example 
the Buddhist sense of the word), instead of seeing it as a belief 
structure.

Brigitte 




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