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Re: Theos-World Some Thoughts - Shoreline Evolution and LaPlace

Mar 01, 2002 09:04 AM
by adelasie

Dear Jerry,

Your comments are generally well-taken. Although I don't wish to be 
an apologist for Dallas or anyone, (being quite sure that such 
students can adequately represent themselves) I do relate to the 
distinctions you make between exoteric and esoteric explanations of 
theosophical principles. 

Perhaps one could consider the maxim, "As above, so below." When 
discussing our subject, we have to determine how to express the ideas 
in a way that will make sense to others. If we choose an image which 
relates to common experience, maybe we are attempting to show how the 
more elevated and complete conception can evolve from the 
commonplace, hoping that understanding on a lower plane will resonate 
into the more elevated. Since theosophy is a study that invites the 
student to investigate and prove its principles to his own 
satisfaction, does it really matter where we start? 

What seems more important to me is that we apply our efforts to the 
subject itself. On this list, for instance, are several members who 
do not accept the most basic teachings of theosophy at all, but spend 
their time trying to "prove" that it is all a hoax, or even in 
arguing among each other about just what kind of a hoax it is. That 
is their choice, and their right, but there are others who do find 
value in theosophy, and who try to explicate its teachings in a way 
that will have meaning for others, as well, perhaps, as furthering 
their own understanding. 

Humanity has created a world for itself that is changing very 
rapidly, in which issues have arisen that have huge implications of 
change to our way of life, issues related to science and technology, 
for instance. Wouldn't it be useful to explore what theosophy can 
teach us in relation to such subjects as gene therapy, embryo 
research, end-of-life issues, nationalism, imperialism, globalization 
of commerce, electronic communication and finance, to name a few?

We have had quite an interesting discussion lately about physics 
which has been illuminating to me. If theosophy seems to some to be 
limited to some 19th Century science/philosophy, entirely derivative 
and insubstantial, such will find no usefulness in investigating what 
it teaches about anything. But if the student prefers to look within 
himself for answers to pressing issues, guided by the ancient wisdom 
provided in theosophical literature, as some of the members do, some 
very helpful perspectives may emerge. 

I find myself wondering sometimes why members of a list such as this 
one do not address pressing current issues in the light of 
theosophical teachings? There are so many brilliant people on this 
list, fine minds perfectly capable of such investigation. Since 
September, it seems that the trend of discussion has moved farther 
and farther away from grappling with the issues that concern us all, 
and more into diversion and focus on irrelevent details. That is my 
opinion, of course. But why talk about theosophy at all if not to 
find how we may use it to understand life and ourselves, and to find 
some meaning in our turbulent culture, to discover what we may be 
able to do to mend some of the gaping gulfs in our social fabric?

If we think that HPB was a fraud and her work meaningless, we will 
not wish to try to apply it to any meaningful search for answers. But 
if we feel, as some on this list do, that theosophy is the latest 
emergence of humanity's birthright, the wisdom of the ages brought to 
the light once more for the benefit of all who care to learn and 
know, why not focus our attention on what it can teach us about our 
world and ourselves? 

Any thoughts?

On 1 Mar 2002 at 23:12, Gerald Schueler wrote:

> JERRY: I would like to offer some thoughts on Theosophy. I don't mean
> to pick on Dallas, and am simply using his recent post as a typical
> example.
> <<<<To begin with, it ought to be made clear that Theosophy is that
> ocean of knowledge which spreads from shore to shore of the evolution
> of sentient beings; unfathomable in its deepest parts, it gives the
> greatest minds their fullest scope, yet, shallow enough at its shores,
> it will not overwhelm the understanding of a child.>>>
> JERRY: This quote from Dallas is exactly why I coined the term
> "Shoreline Theosophy" and why it is, I feel, so very applicable in
> most Theosophical literature. The "shallow enough at its shores"
> business is pure exotericism; not wrong so much as it is misleading.
> Why? Becuse it refies things that are not "things" at all. Exotericism
> builds pictures or models in our mind, and then influences or misleads
> us into thinking of those pictures/models as being real in themselves.
> One short example:
> Shoreline Theosophy from Dallas: "Evolution is the development of
> consciousness ever forward, ever expanding to the infinite."
> Deeper Theosophy from G de Purucker: "A globe is therefore seen to be
> evolving by a dual process of involution and evolution. They work
> together and at the same time, every step in evolution being likewise
> a step in involution. The elemental powers forming the energies of a
> planetary chain as they descend into physical substance, are at once
> an involution of spirit and an evolution of matter proceeding
> concurrently and continuously. On the ascending arc, it is an
> involution or disappearance of matter and an evolution of spirit, the
> opposite of the same thing. You cannot discover evolution working
> apart from involution ..." (FS of O, p 360)
> JERRY: The idea of evolution presented by Dallas, and others, is a
> linear progression into infinity, which sounds nice to our human ears,
> but is simply not what is really going on. It is a misleading picture.
> Evolution and involution always work together - they are two sides of
> a duality, which G de Purucker was sharp enough to know and kind
> enough to tell us so that we would know too.
> Secondly, we have discussed some, on these lists, about what I
> referred to as Laplacian thinking in Theosophy. Leon and others have
> denied this, so let me present a good example of it. The following is
> from Dallas:
> "It is therefore complete in itself and sees no unsolvable mystery
> anywhere. It throws the word coincidence out of its vocabulary. It
> hails the reign of law in everything and every circumstance."
> The above statements are Laplacean thinking. The idea that everything
> is knowable is totally out of line of modern science and modern
> psychology, as well as esotericism. The above, from Dallas, is totally
> discarding chaos not to mention acausality alias synchronicities. But
> the Esoteric Tradition tells us that there are Ring Pass-nots set up
> to bind or limit us within this universe, and so we (or Theosophy)
> cannot ever hope to know "everything and every circumstance."
> Laplacean thinking denies (ignores) chaos, uncertainty,
> unpredictability, and probability, and so an outsider reading the
> above statement by Dallas would easily jump to the conclusion that we
> Theosophists are like the proverbial ostrich with their head stuck in
> the sand. And that is the main reason why I feel the need to protest
> and to interject another view here.
> My Point: Shoreline Theosophy is knowable. It is composed of pictures,
> ideas, words, and models. It can be communicated and understood. Depth
> Theosophy is ineffable, nonconceptual, and non-dual. Shoreline
> Theosophy is not what is really going on. Depth Theosophy is. So, I am
> not arguing against Shoreline Theosophy, not am I saying it is wrong
> etc. I am, however, saying that most posts are actually addressing
> Shoreline Theosophy, and readers should remember the difference when
> they read anyone's posts on these lists.
> Just something to think about.
> Jerry S.

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