RE: Credibility of writers and writings in search for truth
Sep 21, 2004 05:56 AM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
Sept 21 2004
THEOSOPHY is serious business -- in fact for most who contribute to these
exchanges, it is a matter of Life (everlasting) or "death" (of the
Lets put it this way:
If anyone has something to say on THEOSOPHY then let us all have the
references on which they base their statements.
The THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY was designed and framed originally as a vehicle for
the discussion and promulgation of THEOSOPHY. The first issue of
THEOSOPHIST (October 1879, Bombay) makes this plain in the opening articles.
WHAT IS THEOSOPHY, and WHAT ARE THE THEOSOPHISTS by H P B.
Some view it as a "public forum" in which they can elevate their own pet
objects and views. Now, if those are sincere, then ask a question. Any
statement made is read and considered carefully. Are they worth anything?
If they wish to "ventilate opinions" then let those be so labeled, honestly
-- as some pay attention to that which is well thought out, and other things
are piffle and time-wasters.
In the matter of "proof" or "testimony.
HPB at the end of her INTRODUCTORY to Vol. I of the SECRET DOCTRINE said:
"But to the public in general and the readers of the “Secret Doctrine” I may
repeat what I have stated all along, and which I now clothe in the words of
Montaigne: Gentlemen, “I Have Here Made Only A Nosegay Of Culled Flowers,
And Have Brought Nothing Of My Own But The String That Ties Them.”
Pull the “string” to pieces and cut it up in shreds, if you will. As for
the nosegay of FACTS—you will never be able to make away with these. You can
only ignore them, and no more.
We may close with a parting word concerning this Volume I. In an
INTRODUCTION prefacing a Part dealing chiefly with Cosmogony, certain
subjects brought forward might be deemed out of place, but one more
consideration added to those already given have led me to touch upon them.
Every reader will inevitably judge the statements made from the stand-point
of his own knowledge, experience, and consciousness, based on what he has
This fact the writer is constantly obliged to bear in mind: hence, also the
frequent references in this first Book to matters which, properly speaking,
belong to a later part of the work, but which could not be passed by in
silence, lest the reader should look down on this work as a fairy tale
indeed—a fiction of some modern brain.
Thus, the Past shall help to realise the PRESENT, and the latter to
better appreciate the PAST.
The errors of the day must be explained and swept away, yet it is more than
probable—and in the present case it amounts to certitude—that once morethe
testimony of long ages and of history will fail to impress anyone but the
very intuitional—which is equal to saying the very few.
But in this as in all like cases, the true and the faithful may console
themselves by presenting the sceptical modern Sadducee with the mathematical
proof and memorial of his obdurate obstinacy and bigotry.
Law of Probabilities
There still exists somewhere in the archives of the French Academy, the
famous law of probabilities worked out by an algebraical process for the
benefit of sceptics by certain mathematicians. It runs thus: If two persons
give their evidence to a fact, and thus impart to it each of them 5/6 of
certitude; that fact will have then 35/36 of certitude; i.e., its
probability will bear to its improbability the ratio of 35 to 1. If three
such evidences are joined together the certitude will become 215216. The
agreement of ten persons giving each ½ of certitude will produce 10231024,
The Occultist may remain satisfied, and care for no more. [S D I xlvi -
From: nhcareyta [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, September 20, 2004 8:41 PM
Subject: Credibility of writers and writings in search for truth
Certain issues, important to some contributors, are beginning to be
casually dismissed and even belittled by others. Comments such
as "round and round" and "...good and informative posts like these
from you two keep me ever hopeful" seem to be examples of this. If
meant in this manner, these are unfortunate responses and lack
respect and encouragement for those deeply concerned with discovering
the truths of life through Theosophical writings.
For those on the jnana path of study, a sincere search requires
careful analysis, comparison and sensitive discernment of the
available literature. The credibility of this literature then becomes
critical to the genuine student. Determining credibility involves a
multi-faceted approach. Social, cultural and historical perspectives
need to be considered as does an investigation where possible into
the perceived nature and motivation of the minds of those claiming to
be teachers. A study of reputation and lifestyle can help in
determining whether the said teachers live by the ideals and ideas
These areas of research, whilst not necessarily conclusive or
ultimately determinant, nonetheless can lead students towards a
deeper apprehension of the truths they seek. Where any or all of
these perspectives are determined to be seriously compromised,
including the discovery of blatant and persistent falsehoods over a
number of decades, deliberate and devious manipulation of students
and demonstrably unconscionable behaviour towards children, this must
call into question the veracity of those writers' works.
Those students claiming to be on the jnana path of study who do not
concern themselves with these matters may perhaps be considered
unconcerned with the truthfulness, honesty and respectability of the
writer and more interested in simplicity and blind belief.
In saying all this however, these considerations do not invalidate
the value of a person's life of service. Some highly controversial
figures have made generous and significant contributions towards the
relief of suffering. Whilst this is undisputed, some of their
writings must be.
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