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Re: practicing universal brotherhood rather than merely mouthing the concept

Sep 09, 2004 02:05 AM
by Perry Coles

Hello Eldon and everyone

What is Brotherhood? 
Perhaps a theosophical definition could be the recognition of the 
Certain questions I think need to be asked in terms of theosophical 
discussion and scholarship.

Do we not examine and discuss uncomfortable but valid points of 
difference and contradiction because doing this is somehow seen as 
not allowing others their right to belief and opinion?

If you examine this rational to me there is an inherent contradiction.
For if we try and suppress and squash legitimate debate because it 
raises uncomfortable and unpopular points to be openly discussed, are 
we not excluding the rights of someone to freely and openly explore 
new evidence and information as it come to hand and also empower 
members with that new information when that comes to light.

Are we so attached to our beliefs that the thought of challenging 
them is out of the pale because it may upset us or others after such 
an examination is carried out?

Perhaps reputations are at stake maybe we will need to admit that our 
past position was in fact incorrect.
What's at stake in making such an admission especially for an 
organization which has build a certain amount of `credibility' on 
this or that being a certain way and then it is then proven not to be 
the case.

These are difficult questions and I don't claim to know easy 
solutions to them.
Is ignorance and denial bliss and adding to the sum total 
of "Brotherhood" or it a veneer of "Brotherhood" cloaking deceit in 
an extreme example, is that Brotherhood?

The inability to handle legitimate discussion and debate to me is a 
sign of a dysfunctional personality type.
Maintaining the cosy but perhaps illusionary world we are familiar 
and comfortable with.

Maybe we need to look outside of the square as to what might be meant 
by the concept of Brotherhood.
Can the inability to handle debate be out of a need for security and 
Is it possible to be mature enough to discuss both historical and 
philosophical positions in a way that lays things on the table and 
allows each as an individual to look at the various perspectives and 
draw our own inferences from them.
Can this be done without being nasty or vindictive but rather kept 
within due bounds of valid, decent and honest intellectual debate?
These are just the questions I've asked myself. 


--- In, Eldon B Tucker <eldon@t...> wrote:
> At 07:18 PM 9/1/2004, you wrote:
> >... newcomers may join the list in
> >the hope of sharing, for example, their understanding of the
> >writings of Besant and Leadbeater, among other authors. The
> >statistics from posted by Daniel recently clearly
> >indicate that both Besant and Leabeater continue to be identified,
> >in the public mind, as belonguing to the field of Theosophy (or
> >theosophy).
> People may come to Theosophy from many different approaches. Some 
may have 
> started with books by Leadbeater and Besant, others with books by 
> and Purucker, others with Judge and Blavatsky books. I would expect 
that if 
> they can engage each other in friendly discussion, they can broaden 
> knowledge and grow to greater insight.
> I don't think it's necessary to tell people to only read certain 
> and avoid others as being tainted. I will say what I prefer, but 
leave it 
> to other people to decide what appeals to them best. In a free 
exchange of 
> ideas over an extended period of time, I think people will 
gravitate to the 
> highest approach they are ready for. Each person sets their own 
limit and 
> is better able to seek it out when exposed to a friendly, diverse 
> environment that encourages thoughtful study.
> Although I'd consider my studies as being advanced, I recognize 
that it is 
> just from my point of view and others would see things differently, 
> with wherever they are at being highest, for now, in their 
estimation. And 
> it does not serve a useful purpose to rank and order different 
> with one's own on top, of course, in order to add to one's self-
> and putting others in their place.
> If someone wants to study Leadbeater's life from a historic 
standpoint -- 
> or Blavatsky's, Judge's, or Krishnamurti's -- that's fine as long 
as they 
> don't use their appraisal as a hammer to hit people on the head 
when they 
> say that they read and like the books any of these people may have 
> A metaphysical and spiritual thread of discussion is as valid as 
> historic one, and everyone should be free to share their ideas, 
> of the author or any historic threads of discussion going on at the 
same time.
> Regardless of what we might discuss, it's important that we respect 
> others among us of different backgrounds and beliefs, and not put 
things in 
> a way that sounds like a personal insult, like "You like that idea 
from a 
> Crowley book? You must be an evil dugpa!" Or "You say you like that 
> from a Bailey book, yet we have just proven in our historic 
> that Bailey was a fraud. Only an idiot would believe something she 
> Do you recant any belief in her works or do you confess to being an 
> Or "Do you profess a belief in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior 
> profess a belief in the One True God, or do you admit to being a 
> worshiper destined to burn it hell?" -- Note that there are all 
> questions that require people to either submit to one's belief or 
> their stupidity.
> It's possible from any particular slant of discussion to find ways 
to put 
> people down, even if one is not doing so intentionally. A 
discussion of the 
> actual history and spiritual credentials of someone's favorite 
> figure could have a chilling effect upon people reading his or her 
> and wanting to discuss the ideas presented. Yet were they free to 
> the ideas, perhaps we'd learn something from them and they're be 
exposed to 
> better ideas from us as well.
> A discussion of metaphysics might lead to suggestions that people 
> versed in that particular set of philosophical ideas is "not ready 
yet" and 
> should simply be dismissed as spiritual wannabes. That, of course, 
has a 
> chilling effect on the skeptic or believer in something different, 
> him or her to want to brand people a bunch of religious kooks and 
leave for 
> a better group of people.
> It all comes down to a matter of respect. We can explore new ideas, 
> challenge existing assumptions, and seek a greater understanding of 
> But we should maintain sufficient objectivity to know that our 
> viewpoint isn't the prime perspective of the universe. Everything 
> seems that way *to our eyes*. If we can believe what we will and 
> happily allow others to coexist with different beliefs and 
> respecting their individual and likely different seeking of truth, 
we are 
> actually practicing universal brotherhood rather than merely 
mouthing the 
> concept.
> -- Eldon

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