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Re: Theos-World Dismissed with offhand general remarks

Mar 03, 2002 10:24 PM
by adelasie

Hi Bill,

You are welcome to "intrude" any time you like, as far as I am 
concerned. Your comments are always stimulating.

On 3 Mar 2002 at 23:52, Bill Meredith wrote:

> Pardon my ignorance, but I wonder just how "well-known" this facet of
> the study of occultism really is. It sounds self-serving to the
> interests of would be occult leaders who would tell others what is and
> is not the truth and even go so far as to explain to the "doubting
> Thomas" why he himself is prevented from "recognizing the truth"

This could be true. As for me, I am a bit too stubborn and 
independent to take anyone's word for anything. I offer my opinion in 
case it interests anyone, but leave it to others to decide what they 
think about my opinion, assuming that they like to make up their own 
minds too. What I am talking about is the fact that, if I assume 
before investigating it that something is not true, I will continue 
to think it is not true, no matter what anyone says. My mind is 
closed. But if I encounter something I don't understand and withhold 
judgement until I get more information, allowing that the thing could 
be true, even though I don't understand it, I have a better chance at 
arriving at a more complete understanding. There are a lot of things 
I don't understand, and a lot I am withholding judgement on, but one 
thing I am pretty well convinced of is the fact that doubt closes the 
door to this process. I'm not the only person who thinks this way, so 
I assume the phenomenon is well-known among occultists, since that is 
mostly the only kind of people I know. 
> I wish here to offer another possibility for consideration. Is it
> possible that one can become knowledgeable of the facts of this case
> or that case concerning whatever subject is at hand without being
> required to either believe or not believe (affirm or deny) the
> conclusions of another? Let us take Larry's recounting of a personal
> experience with levitation. Might one not be "baffled" (to use
> Steve's word) by such a description without passing judgement one way
> or the other? Personally, I have found the methodology of withholding
> judgement quite effective in helping me to remain open to more
> evidence and additional viewpoints.
I think that is just what I am talking about. We have such a 
magnificent multiplicity of things to observe, think about, "try on 
for size," in our rapidly changing time, it is a great opportunity 
for us to enlarge our consciousness. Keeping an open mind, which is 
what I call what you are describing, seems to me to be an excellent 
way to maximize our chances of developing some real knowledge, and 
even possibly a bit of wisdom, as we go along. 
> But Adelasie, perhaps it is you who has closed the door of
> understanding. The desire for closure is overwhelming. The sense of 
> 'knowing' is comfortable and safe. Often we are so relieved to
> finally have this or that settled in our minds that we refuse to hear
> additional contrary evidence.

You could be right, Bill. I definitely don't know everything. In the 
case we are discussing, psychic phenomena and its validity, I am 
really no judge. In many cases I am pretty suspicious. But I haven't 
yet learned anything to make me decide it is ALL a hoax. I don't know 
about closure and comfort and safety. That sounds like a sort of end 
of the road condition. I'm more in the condition of the more I learn 
the more I realize I don't know. 
> "which we may as well respect" sounds a bit begrudging to me. 
> Probably you didn't intend it that way, but possibly you did, even
> unbeknownst to you.

Maybe I do. I am a bit perplexed at the vehemence and persistence of 
attempts on the part of some people to reduce theosophy and HPB to 
some trivial backwater and worse. It doesn't matter to me if they 
think that way, but going on and on trying to prove it to 
theosophists seems a bit excessive to me. But that could be my bias. 
I wonder if it might not be more productive to investigate how 
theosophy applies to the problems we all face these days, problems 
which are probably not going away any day soon and which theosophy 
may be able to shine some light upon. 
> Have you peeked behind the door of your comfort zone lately? Has it
> occurred to you that all you have to do is believe the reality of the
> phenomena you describe for your position to be validated, at least for
> yourself?

In my experience, believing something without personal proof of its 
reality is pretty dangerous. It takes away my right to be responsible 
for myself. I know what I think is true, based upon my personal 
experience. It is true for me. It may be true for others too, and in 
some cases this is the case. But that is not because the others 
believe what I say, or I them. It is more because we all have similar 
personal experiences. And if others do not have such experiences, 
they do not have the same opinions or beliefs, that's fine. They 
follow their own way. If I take comfort in anything, it is that there 
is mystery in life, and that what is unknown to me is known to 
someone much more conscious than I, that there is natural law that 
orders all existence, that perfect justice, karma, rules all 
manifestation, including humanity, that we are on a path of evolution 
which is not completed yet, so there is always hope that we will 
solve the problems that beset us of suffering and inequality and 
man's inhumanity to man. 
> > 
> Why do people who affirm the validity of such phenomena concern
> themselves with it at all?

I am not sure who brought up this subject of phenomena. Certainly it 
would be ok with me to drop it. It's not a very important part of the 
whole subject of theosophy, as far as I can tell. I was just trying 
to investigate the possibility of there being validity to something 
beyond our ability to understand by means of modern science.
> I don't think that responsible people are trying to prove that "it is
> all fraud". Are you trying to prove that none of it is fraud? 
> Probably not. So if we enquire into which instance might be fraud and
> which might not be, does that make us doubters and deniers? Where is
> our motive for personal gain therefrom?

I'm not interested in proving anything to anyone. I do think that a 
little respect for the testimony of some pretty remarkable people 
might be in order, but that too is my opinion. I don't demand it. 
Inquire away. It sounds to me as though you are keeping an open mind 
and if this kind of process appeals to you, it is probably valuable 
for you.
> Can it be that these believers have another motive, possibly hidden
> from themselves, of finding a crack in their own argument, a way to
> peek behind the self-imposed limit of understanding in their own
> minds?

Always a possiblity. Motive can be a pretty slippery thing, but it is 
always a good thing to try to discover in oneself. 
> Actually Albert Einstein doubted the established science and religion
> of the day and denied the efforts of others to condition his mind and
> thought processes in either of these areas.

Sounds like a very wise man, as well as a brilliant scientist.

> It also suffices me to "wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly
> to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that
> there is."

Me too.
>Yes, the immense world beyond is a mystery, of which the material
> plane is only a pale reflection. Unfortunately for some, the illusion
> that the mystery has finally been settled may have taken hold.

Well, I would say that person has still got a lot to learn. 
Best wishes to you,

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