I haven't thought about it, but someone pointed me into this quote :

"Her evolutionary view admits a difference in development between various ethnic groups:

The occult doctrine admits of no such divisions as the Aryan and the Semite, accepting even the Turanian [as part of the same language group] with ample reservations. The Semites, especially the Arabs, are later Aryans — degenerate in spirituality and perfected in materiality."[72]




So, she thinks the Jews and Arabs are degenerate in spirituality ?

That sounds a "bit" racist and anti-Semitic to me.


Or am I missing something ?



I mean, if I understand it correctly, it's just false.

Jews and Arabs formed the 3 major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).

Most of the well known prophets were Jews and Arabs : Abraham, Itzhak, Iaakov, Moses, Jesus, Mohammad.

Are they spiritual degenerates ?


Are books like the Bible and Zohar not spiritual ? what about Talmud and Kabala ?


Also, there are lots of well known Jews who contributed a LOT to humanity and science.

Jews are less than 0.2 of worlds population and yet at least 20% of the Nobel prize winners were Jews, and not for stupid things like "world peace"but for real advancements for the benefit of humanity.


In 60 years the Jews formed a country that although had no natural resources like Oil, it's very prosper and gives lots of technology to humanity.


So I can say that history proves that Jews aren't spiritual or mental degenerates.





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I know that at those days Pogroms and anti-Semitism were common.

But it doesn't explain this sentence from Blavatsky which sounds like a complete lie (as I think I proved above).

Dear Maxim,

Good question, but very hard to answer, because many, often complex, theories are involved. Joe is right that we have to see HPB’s comments in historical context, which, if done, will show that she was up to date on then current scientific theories and used them to make her own points, either by trying to refute them or correct them, and sometimes accepting them. In the decade that she was writing the SD many issues around evolution were not settled and many scientist were proposing different hypotheses to solve then outstanding issues. HPB inserted herself into these discussions with her own ideas, sometimes clearly and sometimes not so clearly, preferring one idea over the other or promoting her own very original ideas. We could excuse her for having promoted weird, and for our present standards maybe offensive, ideas if she merely did the best she could in sorting and evaluating all the ideas then floating around and promoting her own preferences. Inevitably some racial prejudices and errors would have slipped in, which we now could dismiss as inconsequential mistakes. She would have been on firmer ground if she had been a scientist and done research and experiments to buttress her claims, but she wasn’t. Her claim to be able to make authoritative statements regarding these issues was based on her understanding of occult science and philosophy in which she claimed to have been initiated. On that basis any statement by her which seem racist and by present day science refuted become problematic, because they came allegedly from a spiritual source many notches less fallible than science.

My take on this problem is that her philosophy on rounds and races indeed reflected some then extant racial prejudices and erroneous hypotheses and that they could be interpreted as possibly leading to racist conclusions.  But I do not think she was intentionally racist. It looks like that she made her most problematic pronouncements on races in the SD, maybe got into trouble with those quite quickly, and later affirmed her idea of the unity of man in The Key to Theosophy.

The problem with Blavatsky’s system is not so much her racial biases, but the overall system of which they were a part. For me, at this moment, it looks like that many key elements of her philosophy have not been confirmed, as HPB thought would happen, and that present-day science is developing pretty much at odds with many of the ideas HPB promoted. I’m not very optimistic that Theosophy will catch up with science and foresee that science actually will explain Theosophy as one of the many fantastic metaphysics within the framework of an emerging evolutionary psychology of religion.  

It's hard to fully accept this answer because Blavatsky did confront the scientists of her time and did say that some of their theories are wrong.

Yet she said nothing against anti-Semitism and even kinda justified it in some sense.

It's like Jesus said some good things, but he said nothing against slavery, in fact he said that the slaves should obey their masters without question.

It's sad that some great people sometimes say idiotic things.

Remember that the 5th Root Race was reached by an involutionary path. Blavatsky is stating that the Semites reached the pinnacle of the facets of humanity that were developed in the 5th Root Race, and have thrown off the last remnants of the 4th Root Race. She also expresses the opinion that, having done so, they have reached an evolutionary wall, and would have to essentially move in a new direction to continue to evolve, at least culturally (note that there are a number of Jewish and Islamic movements that have done just that). Consider the heavily legalistic outlook of much of Orthodox Judaism, where following the laws take on a greater prominence than following the spirit of the laws (ironically a violation of the 2nd Commandment of the Decalogue). Blavatsky was probably unaware of the various reformationist movements taking place in Judaism even then.

Maxim -

what it boils down to is that HPB is wrong.

Your comments (on racism) have been explored for a very long time. If you want to study HPB I would suggest asking those question on Yahoo's Theos-Talk discussion list. You can find these age-old discussions there, along with her apologists.


Thanks for your reply.
I am new member of theos-talks, and I see that there are tons of discussions in this group and it's very hard to search for this topic.

Can you please link me to the appropriate discussions and to her apologists ?


Actually, if you just post your topic's opening (from here) you will probably get many responses back, as well as possible links and search suggestions.


Maxim -

I'll search for some in Theos-Talk. However - if you really want a solid source --- one good academic book is:

Goodrick-Clarke, Nicholas The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology New York:1992 New York University Press

Ariosophy is important in this context as well.


Goodrick-Clarke is one of the best scholars in Esotericism and Theosophy. He unfortunately passed away just recently. You may find the Phoenix Rising Academy's  In Memoriam - Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke inspirational.

 I should mention that the Traditional Theosophy formed within the Academies and by Scholars of his caliber are foundational for "Our Theosophy."  Phoenix Rising Academy is one of our collaboration sites.


By the way... When you see a discussion on HPB you should run (not walk).  I believe Terry Pratchett (inadvertently) summed up the ~100 years of theosophical stagnation, via discussions about HPB, as follows:


The trouble is that things never get better, they just stay the same, only more so

    -- (Terry Pratchett, Eric)

----------------- Eric is a satire on the story of Faust -----




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