Updated February 23, 2013

A Dangerous Idea is one that we're told not to think or ask because the answers may be too disturbing or unpopular.

The most famous example of the Dangerous Idea exercise was done by Edge.org in 2006 when several hundred of the world's leading scientists and philosophers were asked about their most dangerous idea.  Although much has changed since then, many of the thoughts expressed are still pretty challenging.

Some examples of dangerous ideas throughout history include the Copernican Theory which took the earth out of being the center of the solar system (and the universe), or Plate Tectonics which took earthquakes and volcanoes out of the realm of the magical and introduced the earth as a giant, moving jigsaw puzzle. It took Alfred Wegener over 40 years to see his theory go from a laughing stock to acceptance.

Don't be afraid to imagine and let's see what happens.

Let's hear your dangerous ideas!

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Only One Universal Religion and Esoteric Doctrine. For all world cultures, the Entire Galaxy and Universe? Does the massive Unifying Helena-Blavatsyon Really exist??

I think the Flying Spaghetti-Monster is still safe.   (if the noodles stick to the wall they are done cooking).

at the time, the above was a reference to the search for the (unifying) massive Higgs Boson (HB - that is where the Helena-Blavatskyon came from -- just fyi - joke lost in time)

I am unsure as to perennialism and universalism. It is attractive. Just no proof for it for us mortals.

The issue is her esoterics mandate this large cosmosophy. I think it is wrong.

HPB learned (supposedly) from other entities - likely people - in the world. If one can find her thoughts in the original sources (extant), than I may believe them. Otherwise -- it is a Myth and should be treated as such.

The unifying attempts she did, became the most divisive in all occult sciences throughout all time. It is a disaster.

John

Dear John ,

     Just for the record when does a person become esoteric ? - It happens mainly with people who dabble in higher metaphysics with a great faith (in the higher which is not bad in itself as long as it is kept to oneself ). and makes connections rather easily between the particulars and the general of all generals - its conviction is satisfying to them as thinkers , but there will be a large area or grey area connecting the two points which might be quite obfuscating to a reader . They will full the gap or bridge the gap with pure occultism since pains are not taken to enquire as to ''What is it , this feeling that has arisen and given so much conviction of the seamlessness between two points or concepts or thoughts or theories ". They would express the reasoning in purely emotional or rhetorical or flowery and artistic language - since the knowledge of the feeling has not been correctly entered into by them .What does such writing indicate is the big question - it is this to be understood in the following light :

We are conscious beings - so any two concepts which are under scrutiny CAN be wedded with ease by the thinker (if he is loose with himself ) - since he sort of is the bridge himself between two non conscious objects of thought . And it will "appear'' as if alive and speaking to him (but what he has forgotten is that ) in the inner world - both the non conscious topics are HELD AND EXAMINED in consciousness by consciousness (which is himself ) - so if he cannot discriminate that the two topics under comparison are ACTUALLY NON CONSCIOUS and only appearing to be conscious by virtue of it appearing in consciousness - it will appear seamless and faultless. 

Now this is a very dangerous thing since - you believe that you have knowledge which is new AS A FEELING (just as happens when an external object is perceived) - but due to the nature of the conscious factor or ''Bridge'' which appears between the two topics is an interpolation of oneself (who is conscious but an "OBSERVER" of TWO items or object in consciousness ). So it is an expose on the state of the person when he or she wrote it !!!. The TRUTH is a very dangerous thing it exposes the lie automatically . So the feeling or the relationship between two objects held under scrutiny by another conscious observer when it yields an Idea of the world held in consciousness (ie, in the intellect) appears to be "Divine '' and coming as if from the senses perception i the real world . It is not possible to transmute this knowledge which came in the intellect which is held in consciousness by consciuosness for consciousness as two concepts as a feeling would only give a 'SPARK" of understanding to the BRIDGE (or onself herself or himself as interpolated between the two concepts ). So the esoteric part in anyones writings relate not to the subject before or the subject after which appesr (which correspond to the two concepts being examined ) but to the IMMEDIATE Idea which sparked as the bridge within say HPB's mind/intellect exactly as she KNEW IT . So it is an expose on herself and her state at that time . Now who on earth would write on observing a plane (which Idea has come as a feeling - due to the plain fact of observing the plane flying) as " abeatiful shimmering bird which crossed the ken , and vanished in a moment leaving but a trace an emptiness within me and peace etc etc " and then I saw vapour trails shimmering and lying extended across the skies at an angle as if an arrow had passe with cosmic proportions !!!!!. This is plain rubbish - it shows that the thinker has not clearly 

a) Checked the primary thought which appeared before the experience 

b) Is not aware of the nature or purposive thinking employed rather than a broad "I will realize god to day'' !!!

c) Is not aware of the preceeding two thoughts before the LIGHT sparked 

d) Does not know - if the LIGHT which actually means (THINE OWN SELF !!! YOU BRIDGE !!!!).is in response to a question or doubt which was placed before the will a long time ago . 

  For a person in this path MUST remember his doubts and those he has posed to the self (as a bridge) and MUST be able to remember the reply received to aDOUBT placed previously - it may span years sometimes . some times days and sometimes an experience will come first and the knowledge will come maybe years later or later at some other interval .  The training given by the self to the self is to make such inccidents INSTANTANEOUS gradually - wherin a man has a doubt which he poses to the will and the reply comes from within immediately - the final beatitude is when a man has no doubts so knowing is simultaneous .

The sum total of esoteric pronouncements in a persons writing is the spark of light which they have had  but which they cannot explain since they have not had the requisite knowledge or astuteness - both which can only be gained by a structured mind and intellect . 

Such writings make another person to speculate (more so bad ) - since another person does not speculate on the TRUTH (which is what he set out) but speculates thinking it is a great mystry to be solved to reach the truth - but only actually is trying to deconstruct not the truth , but the ramblings of a higher nature of a person who was not completely free of delusion .. So what happens as they say in the Vedas ''As you concieve so you realize"" - such followers will only realize HPB or Gurdjief etc but not the Truth . THis is discrimination or viveka between what is eternal and non eternal .

The more clarity is lost in writings it indicates that the experiencer has not substantiated the Truth properly . Another thing is a good guru (mind or intellect and human master) always rises faster than the disciple - never does a point arise where the disciple rises faster and outgrows the master - this is also a benchmark for discrimination between what is right and real and not right . For if a mans intellect rises above his gurus he will feel there is no need to have a guru - then he has his guru as his Intellect only - and this is enough if a man discerns the fact of his guru . 

  I have not read HPB but did read 3 pages of ISIS  and 3 Pages of the other book and could not go further -it was a big cacaphony of a million subsystems of thought all strung up . Gurudjeif I never knew of his existence until Mr,Murthy brought it up , curious I checked up on him and found that he is also a variant of a tower of babel  , Give me kirkegaard any day .

John, Joe - without cause, at least on this stream of emails, you are baiting blavatsky followers, or so it seems to me.  i havent seen any blavatskites advocating her positions on this theme you started.  naturally the 'one universal religion and esoteric doctrine' exists in the mind of those who accept it.  where else could it exist?  hbp advocates a specific form of perennialism, that it is accepted by her supporters seems ok to me.  i am one of them.  you many not accept it, and the price of not doing so is to be judged spiritually and intellectually inferior to those who do believe.  but as that is how you judge blavatsky followers (as it appears to me), it seems to even up.  the only way to have real birds eye view of all possible positions, is to have no position.  and if you have no position, you will not have a problem with any particular position.  I do agree with you that it is extremely difficult to justify perennialism (any, not just hpb's), and in that sense to profess it is a little hypocritical.  however, it is functional, and as such is justified.  truth claims in general are functional for those believing.  you may feel there is more enlightened way to proceed, but that is simply another position, not a superior, detached view of things.

Dear Donald ,

          Life and appropriation that accompanies it is also functional and justified - if truth were to be just functional to those believing so , then it is better for them to not indulge in a search for the truth - it does not lend itself to any kind of human interpretations A good religion or a religious treatise or even aphilosophical treatise does not need anyone to champion it - It shoild be able to stand on its own and without distortions . Obviously it would be a travesty if  Balvatskites (ie if there exists someone  so foolish as to classify or consider themselves so ) were to raise a dangerous idea against the ''ism''.  Having no positions is not a mark of knowledge - indifference that comes naturally to concepts and ideas is the mark of wisdom - otherwise it is effort and torture of the intellect and body .

Followers of anything are a strange lot , the intellect manages to average out on the whole - anyone would be better off as an individual with an independent mind - all the more so in something like Theosophy .

There are no universal religions or doctrines - The self alone is universal and it is a non object unfortunately and nothing is applicable by way of either concepts or ideas to it . .

"Well, in all my years I ain't never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn't be talked about. Hell yeah! I'm for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea! "

(Stephen Hopkins (RI); 1776 (musical))

Thank you for bringing up this on the forum - I wish to make a dangerous statement 

"The only good Theosophists are those who have outgrown HPB "

i would suggest a dangerous idea is one stated with intent to agitate or incite someone.  the last 2 ideas seem like that to me.  There is an agenda about them, which i can see no cause for on this particular thread of emails.  outside of that i dont think any idea is too dangerous to discuss, in one or another context.  i may have misread you Hari, but are you saying you've only read 6 pages of Isis and the SD?  you do so state above, in which case your opinion must remain pretty uninformed. (i do allow that you are exaggarating your lack of effort to understand these works though.)  'Unseen masters' also has a polemical taste to it.  i believe in spiritually advanced human beings who i may never meet, or may never knowingly meet.  i am not morally 'denigrated' or a fundamentalist. "in whatever way men approach me, even so do i reward them, my path do men tread in all ways".  I think there perhaps needs to be some discussion on how one progresses on the path, how one attains knowledge.  i see no real reason why one cannot adopt a narrow focused tradition, to the exclusion of others, and progress.

Yes my opinion is quite uninformed , and It is quite beyond me to attempt to even have a cursory reading , There is no agenda to the statement . You have not mis read me - I thought I would try and find out what all this noise was about HPB and her theosophy since - All that I knew about the Theosophical Movement in India was that what we were taught in High school in Indian History (Modern ) - That Dr. Annie Besant started it and that Col Olcott was a prominent figure in the movement. That is all there was. I was familiar with JD Krishnamurthy and his writings and that he had sort of "run away'' from the movement and struck a lonely path . He is widely respected in India . After I joined this forum I was intrigued and did try to read DB and could not read more than 3 pages and though my better sense told me not to I did read 3 pages of ISIS U - and it only confirmed my worst suspicions. What I found odious was not the writings itself but the foot notes of ''scholars'' - a book which requires so many foot notes is just not worth reading - moreover who ever heard of ''Explaining Knowledge'' ? . I consider it a crime for a teacher or a writer of serious Theosophy to hide behind esotericsms and mysticsms to the detriment of knowledge that is sure as an arrow sent from a bow to the target . Every good guru is a mystic , every good yogi is a mystic , and every good student is a mystic - there are no mysteries in mysticsm once the rules of conduct in the mind and intellect are known . It is all knowledge . 

I am not exaggerating my lack of effort , it is the plain fact - 6 pages in all is what I have read and I am ashamed that i gave away to curiosity and even ventured to see what the fuss was all about . I am proud of my distinctive lack of effort taken to understand these works and find myself all the more better for not having done so - I have missed nothing ,I have missed nothing .

Hi Dewald !
The "baiting" is out of place here, and I agree with that. It was not intentional.

What HPB wrote was not theosophy as it existed in her time. The choice of the word "theosophy" was unfortunate. She built a structure that was mostly expounded in "The Secret Doctrine." Some of it seems to be original work found nowhere else. In many ways it has similarities to "The Urantia Book." Parts of "The Urantia Book" can be found in extant literature; However, the book came from several "Contact" sources which can never be found. A spiritual transmission from mysterious unknown sources.
(NOTE: "The Urantia Book" is analogy only, an abstraction)

In any case, if people can see HPB theosophy (and its fractured spinoffs)  as religion, not as theosophy, then most conflict is easily resolved.

John

hi

i am happy to move on - i did not begin this. (just let me say you could make the same points, and often they are good points, in a less confrontational way.  hpb wasnt the only religious figure who propounded the dogmatism you dont approve of.  if you dont want people who like hbp on your site, rather just say so.)

the dangerous ideas which came to my mind were:

It is better, more fruitful, to read the vedas than modern and post modern philosophy.

That 'esotericism' or 'mysticism' is better (or even different) than exotericism.

Nationalism.

That Genocide, mass rape, torture, holocaust denial are good things or could be deserved or justified in some way.  (but they could be discussed in peace and reconciliation conferences etc.)

That one path forward is better than another.  (I am presuming you see the irony here.)  The dangerous idea is that one may think they are not making value judgements.  Is it possible not to make value judgements?

Dewald

Jessica,

      I think all ideas which make a person rethink his views MAY come under dangerous ideas , sometimes it has the effect of jolting us out of our complacancy and make us alive to the view that what we normally take for granted just because a majority of the people believe in it MAY be (whilst not quite wrong) have come to us not in a pristine form but in a diluted form - for what we challenge today would in probably have been a dangerous idea at some previous timeline in human history. One of the reasons is that man is such a creature though he knows variety is the spice of life , he still wallows in his own beliefs instead of questioning its validity - (within himself ). It is a very strange quality of consciousness whereby a person comes to know of something which takes up his fancy and he soon becomes consumed with a focus and energy in THAT PARTICULAR direction alone , moderation is the key - a little focus and concentration and then a pulling back is necessary from time to time to remove the blinkers this one sided approach has put him or her into . Just as Socrates was annoyed at seeing a picture and was so captivated that he had to angrily pull himself back on realizing that the picture had fooled him !!. It happens to us every now and then whether it is "liking'' a particular author or book or grocery store or type of yoga or Science or religion etc for consciousness has an insidious way of "rubbing'' off on the person its attributes of affection and vitiating things . Look at how the mannerisms and character of a husband rubs off on a wife and vice versa and so too in the case of children after a few years of association - it is not intended but sadly it is the truth . A wife starts talking like her husband as also the husband like the wife with small mannerisms included - even in language Children pick up from their parents as also peer groups . Consciousness is pure in the beginning but it becomes over time part and parcel of ones character and before one knows it one is no longer oneself . Knowing the self or progressing in that path would alleviate many of the contradictions that arise from such things and mess ups . - It is a subtke science for if one were to understand it as ''Oh, I have changed, I must reclaim my character '' - it would only lead to great dissonance and a clash of egos as this subtle tempering of ourselves by societal norms and familial norms and work place norms has to be seen and tackled not on the gross plane but subtly - AS it came and conditioned you , so it must be unconditioned - a lot of care and commonsense and understanding is required. Subtle thinking helps in these things . This is where the practical aspect of Metaphysics lies , science can only effect a partial recovery through the sciences of Psychology and Psychiatry and much less through group counselling and interventions . The road is meant to be travelled alone and by onself alone . As one becomes changed the world changes it becomes a more pleasant place to live in . Challenging anything and everything is an aberration - it is not freedom , freedom and its sense lies only in thought - freedom of thought (at least till some reasonable idea of freedom is gained) requires that we cannot just challenge everything .

For all things cannot and must not be questioned in the name of freedom - a question on a subject is reasonable . only when it is a thing contrary to evidences and should be questioned. Commonsense is called for in immeasurable measure in life and living !!! 

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