Metamessages from HPB and Cayce
Feb 08, 2002 07:58 AM
I didn't mean to convey being offended at being lumped together;
since I have constantly defended Steve and Brigitte, and attacked
their attackers, it's understandable that we'd be seen as a united
force. But on something like this, my view may be closer to yours
than theirs; since I've spent years of my life seeing the
Theosophical literature as my primary spiritual reference point (and
most of the rest of it seeing the theosophically inspired Cayce
readings in the same light) we have a lot in common. What we do with
them in our personal belief system probably isn't that different
either, except in details. And despite how personally unfriendly
Bruce has been to me in print, I don't see his approach as being all
that different either from his recent posts on theos-l.
The common ground as I see it: early Theosophical literature, more
specifically the writings of HPB, contains a vast amount of material
on a huge range of subjects with a wide range of
reliability/unreliability, coming from a lifetime's exposure to a
formidable variety of sources (living and literary.) Within that
range of material there are tremendous spiritual treasures along with
a lot of stuff that is very dated and reflects the scientific and
historical inaccuracies of extant sources available to her. The
fundamentalist says it's all literally true and we shouldn't look to
make any distinctions between parts that are historically accurate or
not, practically applicable or not, wise or foolish, sincere or
blinds, etc. The radical skeptic says it's all foolishness,
inaccuracy, unreliability, practically worthless. In between those
camps stand those of us who see the wide range of value and relevancy
in the large body of material.
What's intriguing in the case of those who see the material this way
is that we can find metamessages galore. At one level there is a lot
of exposition of religious and scientific doctrines that say "this is
how reality is, and this is how I (and the Masters) know it." But at
a metalevel there is a lot of higher order commentary that tells us
what to make of all that expository material, what our approach to
truth ought to be, how to distinguish what is important and what is
ephemeral in the material, which aspects might be distorted
deliberately or accidentally and why, how seriously to take certain
alleged paranormal phenomena, and so on. That has lasting value IMO
and applies beyond the range of Theosophy per se. Brigitte has done
a great job of finding HPB quotes in which she vigorously explodes
her own self-created myths. I don't see this as accidental or self-
defeating; I think HPB deliberately planted all these little
metamessages that tell us not to take the lower order expository
stuff at face value and literally. As for historical perspective,
all of HPB's writings for Katkov, especially The Durbar in Lahore but
also Caves and Jungles of Hindustan, are a metamessage about her role
in India compared to the version presented to the English via
Sinnett, the Mahatma letters to him, and HPB's writings in English.
HPB's letters to Hartmann give us metamessages about how we should
take the whole Masters story. HPB's "confessions" to Conway and
Solovyoff are metamessages about how we should take her phenomena.
Her confession about her own lack of knowledge of the Tibetan source
material she was writing about is a metamessage about the claims to
years of study in Tibet. (Will dig this quote up, don't have it to
Cayce does the same thing-- goes on and on in thousands of readings
about people's past lives in Atlantis, exposition of its alleged
history, etc.-- and suddenly, boom! undermines it all by saying
something like "Atlantis as a continent is a legendary tale. Whether
or not that which has been received through psychic sources...is true
or not, depends upon the credence individuals give to this class of
The search for metamessages is a dangerous one to the fundamentalist
mind, because it allows one to work entirely within the canon, and
yet come up with new discoveries that overturn received
interpretations. It lends itself to abuses, as when Barbara Thiering
imagines that the Dead Sea Scrolls are really about Jesus. But in
the case of conscious esotericists, we can only assume that
metamessages are present and that the obvious level of interpretation
is often literally false.
And if you say otherwise you're contradicting HPB and will go to hell!
> contagious. Brigitte, Steve, and I are interested in many of the
> Hopefully they will. I think that Bruce has agreed to this as well.
Either Theosophy, and thus the TM, is a closed system of core
teachings, or it is an open system of living ideas that grows by
accepting new thoughts. Some seem to want the former while giving lip
service to the latter, while I am clearly arguing for the latter.
Anyway, for some people this is a new concept, and it may take a
while to sink in.
> Jerry S.
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