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why have talk lists?

Apr 04, 2002 09:58 PM
by adelasie

Perhaps now is a good time to say some of the things I have been 
thinking about lately. The recent furor over the list owner's 
decision to take action raises some issues. 

Ever since I started participating in online discussions of 
theosophy, I have noticed a decided tendency toward adversarial 
comments, and even hostility, among list members. Certainly we live 
in a time when argument, aggression, and anger seem to predominate. 
We have only to look around the world to see many places where these 
tendencies have become so entrenched that many of our brothers and 
sisters are suffering terribly the effects of these traits put into 
action, the inevitable extension of anger unrestrained ultimately 
being war. 

But theosophy teaches a different way. Promoting the simple human 
virtues of faith, hope, compassion, altruism, brotherly love, it 
outlines a way to evolve beyond the endless pain and suffering caused 
by man's inhumanity to man. 

Doesn't it seem that theosophists, of all people, would be the ones 
to put these virtues into practice? Does anyone think this is a 
valuable thing to try to do? And if so, why don't we do it? 
Especially now, when humanity appears to be trying to tear itself to 
shreds, destroy its habitat, and refuse to take responsibility for 
the future of the planet or its inhabitants, why not make of 
ourselves examples of a better way to behave? We have access to 
volumes of information about how to do this. But we have to start 
with ourselves. 

I think about people seeking to find meaning and direction in life 
these days, searching the web and coming across a talk list like this 
one, dedicated to studying theosophy in the spirit in which it was 
given, with respect and courtesy. If such seekers find a bunch of 
people arguing over who said what or whether the founders were 
charlatans, or whether theosophy is even worth considering seriously, 
how are they served? If they read posts where we accuse each other of 
this or that fault, what are newcomers to think about theosophy 
itself? Are we saying, "Do as I say, not as I do?" Or do we think 
that theosophy is a mind game, not to be applied in our daily lives, 
but simply to be debated, like an argument about how many angels can 
dance on the head of a pin? 

The ancient wisdom is infinitely modern. Within its teachings lies 
essential information for the solution to all the problems that beset 
us. It is elegantly practical, offering us a way to understand 
ourselves, individally and collectively, our lives, our world, and 
all we are capable of even wondering about. Not everyone thinks that 
theosophy is valuable, and that's fine. To each his own. But for 
students of this valuable tool to unlocking the mysteries of life, it 
is worth devoting our lives to. It was given out to the world in this 
cycle for the very reason that we need its lessons now as never 
before. We are at a crisis in our evolution. Great issues are being 
dealt with every day. The future of humanity for eons to come is 
being set in train even as we watch. Shall we sit on the sidelines 
and play at childish games while our world self-destructs, or shall 
we get busy and put what we study into practice, becoming examples of 
that which we value and revere? We are told over and over again that 
any change we wish to see in our world starts with us. Each of us has 
the ability to make of ourselves a more perfect being, and we do that 
by adopting and making manifest the finer aspects of human potential. 

I am not talking to anyone, any more than I am to myself. We are all 
in this together, and noone is better than anyone else. But I keep 
thinking that if we could find a way to rise above anger, hostility, 
accusations, and all other 
negativity, among ourselves, we would be taking some real steps 
toward furthering the work theosophy and its founders came here to 

Any thoughts?


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