theos-talk.com

[MASTER INDEX] [DATE INDEX] [THREAD INDEX] [SUBJECT INDEX] [AUTHOR INDEX]

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Re: Working with controversy

Sep 01, 2004 02:53 AM
by Anton Rozman



Hi Perry and all,

figuratively speaking I imagine theosophy as a table well loaded 
with spiritual food and that our role in front of it is double: 
first, to invite other people to this table saying: "serve 
yourselves", and second, to explore by ourselves what can we find
on 
that table according to our preference.

Fact is that on that table we can find all possible food, 
contribution of various authors of theosophical provenience: 
teachings, stories, documents, opinions, etc.

Now, the trouble is that we often mix these two roles. Instead of 
exploring by ourselves what should be the right food for us 
personally to actually transform ourselves we spent all our time 
inviting people saying: "this should be the right food for
you."

If we were really interested in inviting people to the table and in 
what should be the right food for specific individual or group of 
people we would ground our proposition on their specific needs, on 
our first-hand experience and not on our convictions what should be 
the right food for them, made possibly only by observing it.

When we have a relationship between theosophist and an aspirant 
there usually are no problems involved, for if the aspirant finds 
his advice reasonable, if he finds him a person of integrity, he 
will accept his advice. If not, he will abandon him and find another 
theosophist.

Real problem arise when a group of people, an organization, decides 
that they should help people to choose the right food. Then this 
becomes a serious problem. People begin to argue according to their 
convictions or possible experience what should be the right food and 
forget the very person or people to whom they wanted to offer it.

So, to solve the problem people need some agreement how to achieve 
their goal, they need some method (in the real sense of the world - 
treading the path) to find common solution of the problem, a new 
insight, for life is changing perpetually and the food it was 
possibly adequate yesterday today probably isn't any more.

And the preliminary condition for that path and a possible new 
insight is freedom. What is freedom? Rohit Mehta explains it in this 
way (I do not have the source text any more, so I am translating 
back to English, therefore the text will be deficient):

"This is obviously a state in which mind is not on a rein of any 
thing. If the mind has established its own interest then it is 
doomed to the sphere of this interest. Interest, either financial or 
psychological, is always established because of safety. When mind 
establishes the psychological interest it is with the purpose to 
protect its own sphere of pleasure and continuity. Mind which 
searches safety remains alien to freedom; it has to accept 
compulsions of its own interest. Such a mind can not comprehend the 
joy of creative life." (The Search for Freedom, TPH 1957)

Kind regards,
Anton



--- In theos-talk@yahoogroups.com, "Perry Coles" <perrycoles@y...> 
wrote:
> Hello Anton and all,
> Thanks for your comments and review.
> I concur with you that the TS or any other group can gain greatly 
in
> embracing some of these 'technologies' that help facilitate group
> cohesion and growth and can work with difficult situations seeing 
them
> as opportunities rather than things to avoid. 
> Aversion and desire are just 2 sides of the same coin..
> 
> We generally seek comfort and try to avoid pain at all costs, 
however
> the things we find difficult to face are generally the things we 
most
> need to examine and understand .
> Otherwise we become like the Ostrich with its head in the sand.
> 
> The TS leadership by seemingly avoiding and ignoring these issues 
and
> through apparently not supporting the critics of neo-theosophy in
> presenting their challenges in the official publications of the TS 
(as
> HPB recommended) are in this case not only going against the 
principal
> of freedom of inquiry but also missing a great opportunity to allow
> the society to evolve as a group.
> Excluding genuinely researched critisim is dangerous.
> 
> I have seen no evidence of inclusive pro-active encouragement of
> critical analysis of these teachings of CWL and AB.
> WHY?
> 
> For some unspoken reason these writers seem to be off limits, and 
the
> silence on this is deafening.
> 
> How can the society expect to be taken seriously by free thinkers 
and
> students interested in Socratic methods of debate when this is
> glaringly apparent.
> 
> The processes of group dynamics require open and free challenging 
and
> exchange of ideas.
> 
> Without that the process will not work, instead it will stagnate 
in a
> glamor of denial.
> So here in lies the problem as I see it.
> 
> A problem has to be acknowledged before any process can start to be
> worked with.
> I really hope the leadership of the society considers these 
challenges
> in the spirit they are given which is out of a genuine wish to 
promote
> the cause of freedom.
> An Occult society should be acutely sensitive to this and aware of 
its
> effect in Universal Mind. 
> 
> Regards
> 
> Perry
> 
> 
> 
> 
> --- In theos-talk@yahoogroups.com, "Anton Rozman" 
<anton_rozman@y...>
> wrote:
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Hi Perry,
> > 
> > 
> > I found your initiative very interesting and tried to somehow 
> > elaborate it further for theosophical purposes using abridged 
quotes 
> > from your and some other sources.
> > 
> > 
> > Though we can't deny the presence of conflicts (in and between
> > the 
> > theosophical organizations) which your source defines as
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > Quote from: http://www.co-operation.org/pages/conflict.
> > 
> > Conflict exists whenever incompatible activities occur. An 
activity 
> > that is incompatible with another is one that prevents, blocks, 
or 
> > interferes with the occurrence or effectiveness of the second 
> > activity.
> > 
> > A controversy occurs when one person's ideas, information, 
> > conclusions, theories, and opinions are incompatible with those 
of 
> > another and the two seek to reach an agreement.
> > 
> > A person experiences conceptual conflict when incompatible ideas 
> > exist simultaneously in his or her mind or when information 
being 
> > received does not seem to fit with what one already knows. An 
> > individual experiences conceptual conflict when engaged in 
> > controversy as ideas and arguments are presented that are 
> > incongruent with one's original position. 
> > 
> > Interpersonal conflict occurs when the actions of one person 
> > attempting to maximize his or her goals prevent, block, or 
interfere 
> > with another person attempting to maximize personal goals.
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > and that the results of constructively managed conflicts include,
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > Ibid.
> > 
> > - greater quantity and quality of achievement, complex 
reasoning, 
> > and creative problem solving; 
> > - higher quality decision making; 
> > - healthier cognitive, social, and psychological development by 
> > being better able to deal with stress and cope with unforeseen 
> > adversities; 
> > - increased motivation and energy to take action; higher quality 
> > relationships with friends, co-workers, and family members; 
> > - a greater sense of caring, commitment, joint identity, and 
> > cohesiveness with an emphasis on increased liking, respect, and 
> > trust; 
> > - heightened awareness that a problem exists that needs to be 
> > solved; and 
> > - increased incentive to change.
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > I believe that we need different approach, for I suppose that 
the 
> > following necessary recognition
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > Ibid.
> > 
> > The constructive resolution of conflict in an ongoing 
relationship 
> > requires disputants to recognize that their long-term 
relationship 
> > is more important than the result of any short-term conflict. In 
> > order for long-term mutual interest to be recognized and valued, 
> > individuals have to perceive their interdependence and be 
invested 
> > in each other's well-being.
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > among theosophists already exists and because
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > Ibid.
> > 
> > When mediation fails, the teacher or administrator arbitrates 
the 
> > conflict.
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > we have not such authority. Therefore I am more inclined to 
propose 
> > the approach of co-operative learning which is
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > Quote from: 
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/OR/ConsumerGuides/cooplear.html
> > 
> >  a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each
with 
> > students of different levels of ability, use a variety of 
learning 
> > activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each 
member 
> > of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught 
but 
> > also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of 
> > achievement.
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > with following methods
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > Ibid.
> > 
> > Group Investigations are structured to emphasize higher-order 
> > thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation. Students work 
to 
> > produce a group project, which they may have a hand in 
selecting. 
> > 
> > Student Teams-Achievement Divisions is used  to study what
has
> > been 
> > initially taught  to help each reach his or her highest
level 
of 
> > achievement.
> > 
> > In Jigsaw II  each team member is responsible for learning a 
> > specific part of a topic. After meeting with members of other 
> > groups, who are "expert" in the same part, the "experts" return 
to 
> > their own groups and present their findings. Team members then 
are 
> > quizzed on all topics.
> > 
> > With more detailed overview on pages:
> > 
> > http://www.co-operation.org/pages/overviewpaper.html
> > 
> > Cooperative Learning, Values, and Culturally Plural Classrooms
> > http://www.co-operation.org/pages/CLandD.html
> > 
> > Co-operative learning
> > http://edtech.kennesaw.edu/intech/cooperativelearning.htm
> > 
> > ACTIVE AND COOPERATIVE LEARNING
> > http://www.ncsu.edu/felder-public/Cooperative_Learning.html
> > 
> > The Co-operative Learning Network
> > http://www.sheridanc.on.ca/coop_learn/cooplrn.htm
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > and the collaborative learning which in the following source is 
> > defined as
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > Quote from: 
> > 
http://www.city.londonmet.ac.uk/deliberations/collab.learning/panitz2
> > .html
> > 
> >  a personal philosophy, not just a classroom technique. In
all 
> > situations where people come together in groups, it suggests a 
way 
> > of dealing with people which respects and highlights individual 
> > group members' abilities and contributions. There is a sharing 
of 
> > authority and acceptance of responsibility among group members 
for 
> > the group actions. The underlying premise of collaborative 
learning 
> > is based upon consensus building through cooperation by group 
> > members, in contrast to competition in which individuals best 
other 
> > group members. CL practitioners apply this philosophy in the 
> > classroom, at committee meetings, with community groups, within 
> > their families and generally as a way of living with and dealing 
> > with other people.
> > 
> > With some more sources on pages:
> > 
> > THE CONDITIONS FOR EFFECTIVE COLLABORATIVE LEARNING
> > http://tecfa.unige.ch/tecfa/research/CMC/colla/iccai95_14.html
> > 
> > Dimensions of Collaborative Learning
> > 
http://www.cs.usask.ca/grads/vsk719/academic/890/project2/node4.html
> > 
> > Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning: Issues for Research
> > 
http://www.cs.usask.ca/grads/vsk719/academic/890/project2/project2.ht
> > ml
> > 
> > ONLINE COLLABORATIVE LEARNING
> > http://clp.cqu.edu.au/
> > 
> > And with an example:
> > COLLABORATIVE LEARNING FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT
> > http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/social/
> > 
> > -----
> > 
> > Some ten years ago I had an opportunity to participate in a 
working 
> > group moderated by Tran Thi Kim Dieu (TS Adyar). Her way of work 
in 
> > certain degree used methods included in these two mentioned 
> > techniques. It was a wonderful experience for all participants, 
and 
> > for me it represented the answer to the question how to realize 
path 
> > to new recognitions in a theosophical group work. I think that 
> > classical theosophical literature doesn't give us appropriate
> > answer 
> > how to successfully organize group work, how to resolve 
conflicts 
> > rising between theosophical workers. It says how the things 
should 
> > look like but not how to achieve that. On individual level yes, 
on 
> > collective level not. If the things would be different there 
> > wouldn't be so much disagreements and conflicts in the history 
of 
> > the theosophical movement. So, I believe that we must adopt in 
our 
> > work that knowledge and that technology which science is 
perpetually 
> > producing. Then maybe we will also learn why the knowledge that 
> > theosophical workers possess can't express itself more
> > efficiently 
> > in daily life.
> > 
> > Regards,
> > Anton
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > --- In theos-talk@yahoogroups.com, "Perry Coles" 
<perrycoles@y...> 
> > wrote:
> > > Perhaps a way the TS can develop as an organisation is by the
> > > implementation of some of the techniques used in `group 
dynamics' 
> > and
> > > conflict resolution.
> > > This would be a very powerful and pro-active way of 
negotiating 
> > these
> > > areas.
> > > However group co-operation is required and autocratic systems 
> > challenged.
> > > Some very good information and techniques on the following 
link, 
> > it's
> > > aimed at schools but still the principles apply to any group
> > > interested in inclusion rather than exclusion.
> > > 
> > > http://www.co-operation.org/pages/conflict.
> > > 
> > > Perry
> > > 
> > > "Using Academic Controversy In The Classroom (see Creative
> > > Controversy: Intellectual Challenge In The Classroom, Johnson &
> > > Johnson, 1995c): In order to maximize student achievement and 
> > complex
> > > reasoning, students need to engage in intellectual conflicts. 
The
> > > procedure for doing so is for members of a cooperative group 
to (a)
> > > research and prepare different positions, (b) make a persuasive
> > > presentation of their researched position, (c) refute the 
opposing
> > > position while rebutting attacks on their own position, (d) 
view 
> > the
> > > issue from a variety of perspectives (i.e., reverse 
perspectives), 
> > and
> > > (e) synthesize/integrate the opposing positions into one 
mutually
> > > agreed upon position. Frequently structuring academic 
> > controversies in
> > > the classroom allows students to practice their conflict 
skills 
> > daily."
> > > 
> > > Quote taken from above website :
> > > http://www.co-operation.org/pages/conflict.html#teaching




[Back to Top]


Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application