a path that deserves to be perpetuated
Feb 20, 2002 12:52 PM
by Eldon B Tucker
What did work for WQ Judge? He was a sidelined
character I believe.
His work was more directed towards building up the
American Section of the Theosophical Society,
rather than public work or social reform. And he
was little known for many years in the Adyar T.S.
because of former inter-society rivalries.
Others like Annie Besant focused more on public
work and social reform.
Theosophy in the 19th century
got as much attention as it did because of all the
drama created by Blavatsky and her theatrical
personality. The wars with the churches did not just
happen. She provoked them. The wars with the
Orientalists did not just happen. She provoked them.
The British Raj did not choose to fight with her. She
chose to fight with the Raj. There were lawsuits and
scandals and purported miracles galore.
She was certainly a prominent figure in her time,
and attracted publicity by her activities. My thinking
is that she was both attempting to shake up the way
that people thought at that time and working on
formulating an expression of the timeless philosophy
that might be suitable for western society.
I am not sure
that is the right model for the modern TS.
I'd agree that the approach of seeking the limelight
and intentionally provoking controversy, being
identified as "heretic" -- all this is not an effective
approach for theosophical groups.
masters have completely lost interest in the TS and
withdrawn their support.
Did they tell you this? <grin> I'm not sure I'd agree. On
this matter, I'd expect that spiritual help is provided
anyone working for the betterment of others. It's not
based upon membership in any particular society (or
church). It doesn't matter what we call that help or
how we describe the mechanism by which it is given. It
can simply be put: it's there for those doing good in the
world, and we can call it by whatever name we like.
Someone may like the term "synchronistic interdependence."
Another may think of it as "help from the Masters."
Now the rest of the world is doing the same. As it
becomes more and more irrelevant maybe it is best for
it to just keel over and die quietly.
Organizational structures that worked in the 1800's may
not be appealing toady. People have different needs and
interests. There are more effective means of information
exchange and ways for self-expression. The ability to
participate in a theosophical mailing list is an example
of something new.
The groups do need to adapt and evolve, or they will fade
away. Some may choose to remain as they are. The idea
would be that they want to preserve the philosophy.
Perhaps changing social trends will someday shift their
way again, bringing their approach into vogue again.
Others will die. Yet others will change and find a wider
Some people find a theosophical approach helpful. Others
may want to sit in a zendo, start at the floor in front
of them, and happily bow every time that someone comes
by with a big stick and plans to hit them. Yet others may
prefer grape juice and crackers after a candles and incense
and hymn-singing show at some church.
An immensely abstruse philosophy is
never going to appeal to the masses.
Not directly. Nor does psychology, chemistry, mathematics,
or any body of thought that requires learning, study,
reflection, and the use of intuition if one is going to
be successful. People want nice stories that tell things
in myth and metaphor. Movies like "The Lord of the Rings"
have a much stronger appeal that a philosophical treatise.
This is neither good nor bad. It's just that anything a
bit challenging will find a smaller audience that things
designed for mass consumption.
As I see it:
The theosophical approach starts out with a study of
some metaphysics that is said to derive from the Mysteries.
The ideas seem interesting at first, and offer a new way
of looking at things for newcomers. After a certain point
in study, one starts wondering what comes next. There is
a point one might call a "crisis of faith." This is where
a plateau has been reached, and a breakthrough is needed
into a deeper awareness and spirituality if someone is
to continue along this path. Some make it no further,
decide there is nothing to be found here, and leave,
convinced they've found a dead end path. Others look for
that "something more" in different directions, perhaps
in psychical or magical things. Yet others manage to
have a breakthrough experience and continue along this
spiritual path to deeper levels.
Note that this is not making a statement that this is
the only path to the spiritual. And it's not saying that
anyone who takes a different path is necessary going the
wrong way. It's just saying that this is a genuine path
that works for certain people, a path that has value and
deserves to be perpetuated.
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