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Re: Working with controversy

Sep 01, 2004 06:41 AM
by Perry Coles


Hello Anton, and all
I agree with you and I do think that most people in this group would
agree that diversity is the key to a truer understanding of
theosophical teachings.
The Ancient wisdom can be seen in the Upanishads, the Vedas, Kabbalah,
Taoism, mystics of all traditions, and none, and all of these are
worthy of study and comparison with those of the Mahatmas Esoteric Cis
and Trans Himalayian Budhist tradition that HPB presented to the
modern world for the first time.

However when some people say that everything is theosophy I think this
is easily proven incorrect.
The well known quote is "while Theosophy is everything not everything
is theosophy."

For example the Hindu's and exoteric Buddhists believe and teach that
a human can return in an animal form.
The Mahatma's tradition refutes this idea.
Can we then say that this teaching of humans returning in an animal
form is theosophical?

Likewise the Christians believe in the vicarious atonement of Jesus on
the cross.
This is also not a theosophical teaching.
On what authority can this statement be made?
Theosophy teaches something completely different.
This does not mean the theosophical teachings are right however.

They may not be, therefore these teachings should NEVER be presented
as a truth that must be believed, infact we should never blindly
`believe' these teachings but rather by the use of an ongoing process
of investigation and experience the truth of it may or may not be
revealed. It might be wrong, it might be right.

Many people find this difficult to discern for some reason.
Perhaps we are to used to guru's and teachers who demand belief.
The opposite is true of the Mahatma's.
They do not seek follows but encourage independent thought.
The teachings the Mahatmas themselves could only verify for themselves
through their own processes and hard work.

CWL and his advocates clearly and demonstrably changed many of the
teachings thus blurring what was originally presented by the Mahatma's
tradition, that the TS is supposed to be the responsible custodian of.

So if a student feels it is their responsibility to present these
differences to the membership (not in order to make dogmatic
statements) but simply to clarify the differences to the membership at
large through the societies publications they should be given
opportunities to do this.

This is simple reason and logic and expression of facts, nothing to
difficult, unless the societies leadership does not want this
information presented and is suppressing from being printed in their
publications.

What possible excuse can the society give for not allowing the critics
of CWL to present there case, of course there is NONE from a truly
theosophical perspective.
However politics rule the roost or so it seems and genuine freedom
must take the back seat and drum its fingers patiently waiting to get
a word in.

To me Pedro's reasoning reflects a certain mindset in the Adyar TS
that has a serious blind spot and I can see absolutely no rational
justification for it.

To on the one hand be calling for freedom and wanting to call anything
theosophy it then seems to want's to stifle any voice of desention to
the standard CWL et.al. pronouncements.
Strange double standard.

Would the TS allow born again Christians in the door and present that
as being theosophy?
How can the TS actually say it has no core teachings?! and keep a
straight face.

And of course THEOSOPHY with the capital "T" is `beyond the range and
reach of thought'.

Does that mean we dont comparatively study the Bible the Koran, the
Upanishads and the Zohar?

Of course not, but we need to make a distinction between the teachings
the Mahatmas and HPB presented and those of the latter day presenters
made and those of the different exoteric traditions and let people
make their own mind up and go through there own process of discovery.

If that makes me a dogmatist then so be it.

Perry

PS

Pedro, sorry to mention you in the 3rd person but I thought you may
read this and it is related to your postings.
Just as a throught perhaps we could say the Leadbeaterian tradition to
make it distinct from theosophy to save confussion to members.
I say suggest this sincerly



--- In theos-talk@yahoogroups.com, "Anton Rozman" <anton_rozman@y...>
wrote:
> 
> 
> 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




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