Theosophy as a romantic form of scienticism
Oct 15, 2001 02:27 AM
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
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