Re: Theos-World Re: To Govert: Part 2 ---- Studying HPB's Teachings
Apr 15, 2009 12:12 PM
by Govert Schuller
I asked; "What, if I may ask, happened in your life that you prefer HPB?" and you are not quite sure what I'm aiming at.
The question is an invitation to you to share your history of spiritual and intellectual events that led you to preferring HPB. It's an invitation to share, what philosophers of science call, the 'context of discovery,' which has to be differentiated from the 'context of justfication,' which is the testing and consilidation (or refutation) of one's discovery. Often it's hard to keep them apart because there are so many ideas, sub-ideas and assumptions which are operative in the development and testing of even seemingly simple hypotheses. Sometimes they can be sharply set apart as was the case with this scientist who was looking for the molucelar structure of a carbon-compound and then dreamt about a snake swallowing its tail, which gave him the idea that the looked-for structure was circular, something which he then proofed through scientific procedure. In general scientists are not necessarily interested in this discovery process. For them what counts is the justification. But with spiritual matters and philosophy I'm with Nietzsche, who boldly declared that philosophy IS biography. You can not set them apart as most thinking, when done authentically, is done from out of one's own life and historical situation, or inauthentically, one's thinking is done to rationalize some facet or decesion of one's own life. In both cases you can not seperate therefore the life of a thinker from his thought. Anybody making the opposite claim looks then to me as suspicious as is, for me, the case with both Heidegger and Krishnamurti, who both denied the importance of considering their lifes in conjunction with their teachings. Therefore in this conversation we are having I'm not just curious about your path into theosophy, but like to know it to deepen my understanding of your background. This is also why I initially gave you more of a biographical path into my position of believing that the WT project with K was genuine, instead of providing a big edifice of justifications that you warned me would be considered as something of a house of cards, from which it would suffice to take out one to let the whole edifice crash. I'm not afraid that you could do so, because I think that many paradigmatic positions are better understood metaphorically as a web of ideas, which is continually expanded and revised as one goes through life and is quite flexible in adapting to refuted sub-sections. The situation of course changes drastically when too many threads are cut and you might have to spin a whole new web. The same would be the case with HPB's ideas. They will not fall with some refutations here and there, only if the anomalies accumulate to an unbearable heap and ad hoc rationalizations start looking unconvincing. Anyway, let's stop here before getting into developing an epistemology apropriate to Theosophy.
So, to rephrase the question, to what questions in your life was HPB the answer, or to what limit-situation did her teachings prove to be an effective coping tool?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 11:48 AM
Subject: Theos-World Re: To Govert: Part 2 ---- Studying HPB's Teachings
The reasons you apparently give for having "preferred to focus my
attention, time and study on the teachings as first given out by
H.P.B. and in the Mahatma Letters" are the following:
1) There is so much of it, that it is more than enough to be busy with.
2) Her writings are amazingly profound and deep.
Are these reasons sufficient? I ask this because the very same
qualifications I could apply to the writings of Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, just to name a few of my own favorites.
What, if I may ask, happened in your life that you prefer HPB?
Well, Govert, I'm not exactly sure what you are asking when you write:
"What, if I may ask, happened in your life that you prefer HPB?"
With all the conflicting claims made by the various people whom I have listed at:
I chose to go back to HPB's claims and teachings and carefully read and study her writings and related writings of the time period in which she lived. Certainly her claims and teachings represent the foundation and/or first story of this modern Theosophical edifice.
This doesn't mean that I haven't read widely other material. In fact, I have read and studied widely in the various subjects that HPB herself deals with in her writings: religions of the world, mythologies around the globe, spiritualism, magic, psychical research, global mysticism, philosophies east and west, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. etc.
See my book THE ESOTERIC WORLD OF MADAME BLAVATSKY for the results of some of my studies concerning her life.
And see my book THE ESOTERIC PAPERS OF MADAME BLAVATSKY for other results of my studies of her writings.
In fact my website Blavatsky Archives is the result of trying to document in great detail HPB's life, claims, writings and teachings.
I'm glad to know that you have read and studied the writings of Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger. I have also tried to acquaint myself with these and many other philosophers and not just western philosophers.
And I haven't neglected the later claimants either. But in fact have tried to read and study a representative selection of material by all these people listed at:
But even so I think HPB's 10,000+ pages contain a world of thought. I certainly haven't mastered it all....I feel I have only scratched the surface in many cases.
And that is why I constantly encourage readers to acquaint themselves with HPB's writings.
If some choose to ignore her teachings, that is their choice.
I will close for now.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Govert Schuller" <schuller@...> wrote:
> Dear Daniel,
> The reasons you apparently give for having "preferred to focus my attention, time and study on the teachings as first given out by H.P.B. and in the Mahatma Letters" are the following:
> 1) There is so much of it, that it is more than enough to be busy with.
> 2) Her writings are amazingly profound and deep.
> Are these reasons sufficient? I ask this because the very same qualifications I could apply to the writings of Kant, Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, just to name a few of my own favorites.
> What, if I may ask, happened in your life that you prefer HPB?
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: danielhcaldwell
> To: email@example.com
> Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009 7:14 PM
> Subject: Theos-World To Govert: Part 2 ---- Studying HPB's Teachings
> Below is a Theos-Talk posting from July 2007 in which I
> make a number of comments which reflect my thinking:
> Pablo AND Frank
> on discrepancies between Purucker & Blavatsky
> Well, after reading both Pablo's and Frank's postings
> on the above issue, I would say that neither writer
> has presented a good case....at least so far.
> But setting aside both Frank's and Pablo's views, the basic problem
> would appear to be as follows:
> What student of Theosophy has actually carefully read and studied
> H.P.B.'s writings in enough depth and detail to be in
> a position to say this is what H.P.B. teaches on [NAME THE SUBJECT,
> in this case on the Kumaras]??
> Then has that same student then gone and carefully
> read and studied all of G. de Purucker's writings
> in enough depth, etc. to understand what he is teaching on this
> or that subject???
> And then, who has taken the additional time and effort
> to compare and contrast the teachings of Blavatsky and
> Purucker in enough depth, etc. so that one is in a good position
> to know if there are actually such real discrepancies or not???
> The above study would take probably months if not years to adequately do!
> Over the years I have known students on both sides of the fence.
> For example, the late Walter Carrithers, Jr. and Leona Sterba had
> some serious reservations about some of G. de Purucker's teachings.
> Especially Mr. Carrithers. Others pesons could be mentioned.
> On the other hand, there are many students who are very impressed
> with Purucker's teachings. The late John Cooper, Jerry Hejka-Edkins,
> Elton Tucker, to just name a few!
> I personally have preferred to focus my attention, time and study on
> the teachings as first given out by H.P.B. and in the Mahatma Letters.
> Well, for one reason, there is more than 10,000 pages of H.P.B. and
> the Mahatmas' writings. That's alot of pages! Just to read! not
> counting the time to actually study and ... maybe understand!
> I personally find SO MUCH MATERIAL here in this Blavatsky corpus of
> writings that is more than enough to try to read, study and .....
> I'm afraid that in many cases I've only skimmed the surface of some
> of this Blavatsy/Mahatma literature.
> Maybe I have a small brain capacity....
> Now don't get me wrong, I have also read some of the books by Besant,
> Judge, Leadbeater, Purucker, etc. etc. All of these books that I
> have read contain food for thought, if nothing else.
> But I have focused primarily on the Blavatsky material simply because
> at some point, one must ask oneself: how many books by all these
> different authors do I want to read? And what is to be accomplished
> by reading more and more....
> So I have returned time and time again to the Blavastky
> writings ...those 10,000 plus pages...and I find myself amazed at the
> profundity and depth there....
> I sometimes grin to myself when I hear writers say: Well, you know
> that H.P.B. only presented a "fragment" of the real Theosophical
> teachings. No doubt, No doubt, I reply. But what a fragment! What
> a HUGE fragment!
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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