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Re: do we need to reach the whole world?

Jun 13, 2006 04:42 PM
by pedro oliveira

--- In, "Eldon B Tucker" 
<eldon_tucker@...> wrote:
> Here's something I sent to the bn-study mailing list last 
Wednesday. Since I
> never saw it come out, I assume it did not pass review by whomever 
> approving messages for the list at the time. I'm posting it here, 
since it
> does not look like it is going to come out on that list.
> Eldon
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Eldon B Tucker [mailto:eldon@...] 
> Sent: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 8:08 AM
> To: 'study@...'
> Subject: do we need to reach the whole world?
> There is a simpler answer. A mailing list can be considered as a 
> system. When it is in its growth phase, the demand for it (new 
> exceeds its cost (mailing addresses that go bad and people that
> unsubscribe).
> The sources of new subscribers provide more participants that are 
> through attrition. Eventually it reaches a balance point where the 
number of
> new people matches the number of people leaving. It then stays at 
> that level, with minor seasonal fluctuations, until something 
should change
> the dynamic of the list, like a change of content or how it is 
> The appearance of geometric growth (growing by a large annual 
percentage) is
> misleading, since it only applies to the early time period of a 
list (or to
> an readjustment after a major change in the list).
> I've seen this in the number of subscribers to THEOSOPHY WORLD. It 
> shot up to the high 1400's, slowly drifted down to the high 
1200's, and has
> been holding at that level of subscribers for a few years now. 
Unless I find
> new sources of subscribers or somehow change the content of the 
> magazine, it should hold steady at that level.
> Each mailing list, magazine, lodge, or theosophical organization 
serves a
> certain purpose, and I'd expect it to reach a state of balance 
where the
> number of participants level out. The fact that there is not a 
> growth in numbers does not mean there is something wrong with how 
things are
> working. 
> Each thing that we do has a certain scope of action that is 
appropriate to
> it. Something is not good or bad depending upon how big it is, how 
> people appear to be affected, nor any other measure that can be 
> When numbers are going up, it means that what one is doing appeals 
to a
> greater number of people. That does not mean it is better that 
what one was
> doing before. When numbers are going down, it means that what one 
is doing
> appeals to a smaller number of people. That does not mean it is 
worse than
> what one was doing before. The measure of good or bad comes from 
> insight into the rightness of what one is doing, not based upon 
> appearances.
> When there are more people, money, and fame coming from what we 
do, there's
> a sense of ego gratification. It's enjoyable, a side-effect of 
doing good
> things, but should not be out primary motivation. The primary 
> arises from a sense of knowing that what one is doing is good to 
do, the
> right thing regardless of recognition or reward. It comes from a 
love and
> respect for certain things, wanting to see them given life in the 
> feeling fulfilled when they are expressed, because this is more 
> than other things one might do.

Thanks, Eldon. To "play by numbers" is a very tricky thing and tends
to enhance one's ego sense. As you have demonstrated above, numbers
in mailing lists and membership organisations really fluctuate.
Personally, I think a mailing list can be a very useful instrument
of comunication and sharing of views about, virtually, anything. But
when we come to Theosophy (or theosophy) its usefulness is
highlighted by the fact that a list is also an opportunity to test
our opinions and worldviews by listening to each other, without
falling into the "me right, you wrong" trap. A theosophical
discussion list has an almost endless potential for bringing people
together, for making universal brotherhood more of a reality in our
Perhaps theos-talk, at least in the recent past, has focused rather
too much in "textbook" Theosophy, which of course has its place. But
would it not be interesting if the list could allow itsef to include
film reviews and book reviews, commentary on developments in
science, psychology, social activism, etc. in the light of Theosophy 
(or theosophy)?
I don't know if this message will make it to the list, but if it
does it may have been the direct result of a nice vegetarian lunch
in Ojai at the end of May! :)

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