Re: theos-talk WHERE PEOPLE OF LEARNING and SCHOLARS GO WRONG
Nov 28, 2010 04:55 PM
by Geoff Warren
Re WHERE PEOPLE OF LEARNING and SCHOLARS GO WRONG - As I read those words I
could not help (with a smile on my face) seeing images in my mind of people I
have encountered who were perfectly described. I now have a clearer
understanding of why they were or are like that.
From: M. Sufilight <global-theosophy@0K0NslO8JwZ42sjfEEmM-IejWhwCqher-pTOILxVwtTZIgYlSGllhlKr7sv55620Eg0MrrXERRjOe052pGpcS9SgMVE.yahoo.invalid>
Sent: Sun, 28 November, 2010 9:12:44 PM
Subject: theos-talk WHERE PEOPLE OF LEARNING and SCHOLARS GO WRONG
A few views:
Here are three short stories taken form Idries Shah's book: Knowing How to Know.
I have only rewritten a very few minor sentences in them.
WHERE PEOPLE OF LEARNING and SCHOLARS GO WRONG
Q: What exactly is the Sufi criticism of the learned profession? Surely the
acquisition of knowledge is in itself good and to be encouraged?
A: The professionally learned are constantly criticised by the Sufis for two
obvious far-reaching faults. The first is the claim to have a virtual monopoly
of learning, so that only their limited way of approaching things is recognized
as the 'learned way'. The second is the consequence of this: the wastefulness of
dealing in innumerable facts and arguments at the expense of self-development.
The hypertrophy of the drive towards wisdom is the obsessional collection mania
which sometimes takes it over.
Al Ghazzali, himself a former academic and the Islamic worlds greatest explainer
of Sufi principles, deals with this at length in his Book of Knowledge in the
Revival of the Science of Religion (Ilhya al Ulum al Din).
He states that the man who avoids experiential religion and instead discusses it
is like a man who is ill and has many ailments who encounters an able doctor;
but with little time to ask for a cure, talks and asks all the time about the
medicines and treatments, and about the profession og medicine. He does not deal
with his own sickness. He has wasted his time.
This is still a major affliction of scholarship. Ibrahim ibn Adam tells of a
stone which he saw on the ground at Mecca. On it was written: ' Turn me over and
read a warning'. He turned it over. On the other side was inscribed:
'If you are not acting on what knowledge you already have, why are you seeking
to know more?'
The Sufis are not purveyors of information, but initiators of experience. And
there is an old saying in the mysterious West, that someone may be a fool, but
he cannot become a really big one without a scholarly education.
You can't make a fool of biggest pattern
Until he's leanrt both Greek and Latin.
MEN OF LEARNING
There are men of learning who have not been transformed by their studies.
'Knowledge' may be carried about by them as a virtuality, awaiting development.
Almost everyone who has not been in a real school has something of this in him:
There are people who have not even acquired undigested learning after being in
contact with it. They confuse others because they give the appearance of being
But far more unpleasant is the fact that there are people of learning who have
learnt at wrong times or in incorrect circumstances.
One can only hope for protection from them.
"I DID NOT COME HERE TO BE INSULTED!"
There was a man passing by some days ago, who did not like the way he was spoken
His reaction, in hos words, was to say: "I did not come here to be insulted!" -
I almost felt like saying: 'Oh, where do you usually go?'
What he had not allowed himself to see, but what was more than evident to the
other people present, was that he could very well have been described as having
come exactly for that. If you go up to an electric socket, place your finger in
it, and are thrown across the room, the appropriate remark is not: 'I did not
come here for an electric chock!'
People can only be insulted if they decide - consciously or otherwise - to be
insulted. An insult is not an objective thing, like a piece of rock. If you call
some men women they will be insulted; if you call women men, some of the women
will feel themselves insulted. And so it is with a million other things.
What is more to the point is that people who have this kind of reaction
mechanism - and, in the culture in which we are living, people who have not
absorbed enough of the culture's information about neurosis, about conditioning,
about attention-desire and the annoyance caused by this frustration - all such
people are to us like people who have not learnt the alphabet yet and want to be
writers. There is a small formality first: you have to be capable of
understanding more than you do at present. And it is not necessarily OUR duty to
teach you these elementary things. We may have the time, we may not. Learning
the alphabet may be a step towards becoming a great writer. But at the level of
learning the alphabet, its connection with literature is hardly to be dignified
with long words to describe it.
First things first. First things may be absolutely necessary. There are not,
however, to be looked at as being of a higher nature thereby.
- - - - - - -
I had some good heartily laughs. Maybe some of you will have some as well.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application