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Re: Working with controversy

Sep 01, 2004 09:18 AM
by Andrew Smith


--- In theos-talk@yahoogroups.com, "Perry Coles" <perrycoles@y...> 
wrote:
> 
> 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


Hooray, Perry! Points well taken (I hope)!




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