If we were to start the Theosophical Society from scratch, what would we do?

Just for fun - if we could start the Theosophical Society afresh today, what would we do differently? And what would we keep the same?

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The naming would certainly be different. No 'lodges', no 'Society', no 'objects'. Instead there'd be local groups with way more freedom than our lodges have today. The objects would not be about 'brotherhood', but about peace, friendship etc.
The problem is - that might have happened if they'd called it 'hermetic' as well. But it's true - that word does describe what most theosophists believe in anyhow. It's a better fit than Jacob Boehme anyhow.
I don't think Hermetic would work very well either. It is, in its way, a rather technical term and the fact that it was a religion itself at one time would militate against it.

The problem the question poses is that our world is so radically different from the one that existed when the TS was created that if it were created now it would bear little, if any resemblance to the TS of history. Our terminology would be totally different, no psuedo-sanskrit for example. I would guess there would be litte need to confront Spiritualism or worry much about evil missionaries. In other words, we just do not even think the way the Founders did.

I do think there would a conscious effort to promote individual study and practice, avoiding cultic elements and the cult of personality that afflicted the TS in the Post-Blavatsky period, at least I would hope there would be.
I think this exactly what im searching for. As a young theosophist (the youngest at my lodge) its incredibly difficult to find and communicate the essence of Theosophy, because it would seem to me that there are a great deal of people who are not concerned with the Pursuit of wisdom but are happy idolising the 'Stars' themselves then actually continuing their efforts. it seems to me as if the theosophical society is becoming redundant already after only 125 years.

perhaps not just the society but almost all religions dont appear to be prepared for what a large number of groups including MIT, and stanford university are hailing as the 3 greatest revolutions in our century. the movement of people behind these revolutions are already discussing the implications these revolutions will have on Ethics, Society and the nature of the ego but these groups appear to be solely scientific and are lacking in what Theosophy and the perennial wisdoms have to offer.

How do we approach subjects such as karma from an AI perspective or perhaps from a being that has transcended carbon based life to silicon based life? what happens to the hindu notion of reincarnation once genetics discovers the cure to mortality? what about freedoms, rights and liberties. what happens to these things once its discovered that the ego is nothing more then a biological operating system? after all if the ego has no real authority why cant it be used as a tool. atleast this will be the kind of reasoning that we will impose on AI and ironically be able to impose on ourselves.

perhaps we are reaching a precipice where on the one side we find those who are happy to reenact old rituals and glorify passed figureheads and on the other those who want to rekindle the true spirit of enquiry, but i would like to think this is something we can still do with the society we have rather than a new one we need to create.
I agree with Joe and Mikhayl.

When I first started going to the TS meetings with some friends of mine, I was fairly skeptical about it all because it sounded very cultish to me and some of what I'd read online seemed full of spiritual materialism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_materialism) ... something I definitely didn't want to get caught up with.

But I think I was fairly lucky. Eric McGough, who's now the President of the TS in England, was the one who started our lodge in Bangor (we were his guinea pigs with any of his new courses LOL) and I actually found that how he interpreted the Theosophical writings made sense to me ... and I could relate the Perennial Wisdom inherent in Theosophy to my various personal studies into mythology, archetypes, psychology, polytheism and buddhism.

My point is that Eric always combined study of (for example) the Secret Doctrine, with broader ideas and even things going on in science, politics, history, etc. So as a good teacher, he made the highly concentrated wisdoms of Theosophy more apparently 'relevant' and 'meaningful' for me. And this is exactly what I think the TS should be doing through its various Lodges.

When the TS was started, it was cutting edge for its time. The turn of the 19th century/beginning of the 20th was certainly a very repressed one, when you think about it, so Blavatsky's works are even more amazing by contrast. But we're over a hundred years on from then. And the goalposts have moved, society has come to at least be familiar with Eastern concepts like 'karma' (even if it's a simplification or misconception), while Science continues to be fissured from Philosophy more than ever.

I personally like the Theosophical Society because at its best, it's all about humanity pushing its boundaries and limitations into greater and deeper expansion, and that is a Wisdom, a message that we have always needed to hear and always will do. This is why Theosophy is so important, with or without the actual Society. Because of this then, it's also important to make Theosophy accessible enough so that those who are interested can benefit, but not to 'easy' or else misuse and misapplication would probably be the result.

It's also no good living off of the fruits of the past, despite how much the various great thinkers of the Society have indeed contributed .... but they gave us the foundations; we must go out and build something with it for all our sake's. Even if this just means trying to live our individual lives as mindfully and purposefully as we can.

Quite frankly, one of the TS's problems is that they are predominantly older people. I know of some Lodges that don't have anyone younger than 60! Now being 21, I feel pretty passionate that my generation needs to do a lot of thinking, integrating and realizing in particular because (as cliched as it sounds), we are the leaders of the future .... and the more I have grown into this life, the more intensely I have felt that a huge responsibility of "make or break" lies on our shoulders, especially us younger ones.

So TS DOES need to somehow find younger members. But of course as we are not a religion, and we don't practise proselytizing, this can be a bit tricky. In fact, I don't really know what could be done to interest people my age in Theosophy. .... BUT .... I also feel that if TS continues to bring some of their ideas up-to-date (as I feel they are doing actually, although it could be done even more, without going too over the top) and back it up with the cutting edge of Science, Philosophy, Theology, Anthropology, etc .... then perhaps Theosophy would start appealing, especially to my generation's brighter thinkers and 'radicals'.

And yes, the TS SHOULD be more active in the world. I know most of us seem to be a bunch of intellectuals, but intellect has to be good for something more than contemplating our own navels. I think Blavatsky was all about putting belief into practise, and really .. that's the only way any change is going to happen in our world. Or else we're all just a bunch of hypocrites who really CAN'T believe what we're saying or else we'd DO something about it.

:D :D :D
Now that my blood has risen and I feel particularly fired up ..... lol.
O my! I couldn't agree with you more, Charles!

Today is a very different world in communication all way around as it concerns Spirituality. And that is in part thanks to the helps of the Theosophical Society, the Association of Reasearch in Enlightenment, and Science of Being etc. ( just my 2 cents!;)

And I also agree that as much as the terms: God, Goodness, Hermeticism, Theosophy, Psychism are all worthy words representative of the Beauty of Spirituailty-it would all be attacked on this planet-no matter what word it would have been framed in. That is just the Nature of the Sub-conscious mind. So it truely is important to get with the program of today's communication to share Truth once again.

I also agree with Katinka, no more lodges/clubs etc! That breeds seperatism, the exact opposite of striving for a world-family of unity in Peace and Friendship!

Then there is the matter of the 'Cult' terminology. While individual study groups, meeting in one another's homes is very nurturing and seems a 'safe & friendly modus operandi', there still exists in the south a very strong bible belt of the fundamentalist variety. Having met in friend's homes for many years, there was a time when even that was looked at with suspician and judgement in a group I attended. It was truely very beautiful, but when 12 or so people came & parked every week, gracious did we have a lot to deal with in that neighborhood!! O, I could write volumes on that alone! Including the personality that lead most of the meetings-also began to finally show evidence of cultish behavior. So at that time some of us stepped away. Little did we know, that the problem was that the then leader, was having mini-strokes & apparrently some dementia.

Sorry if this is too long here. So I will close these remarks with the thought that as long as there are human beings, who gather together for Spiritual learning, Transparency and public EDU is more important than ever. Rather than Meetings held in people's homes, (as if in secret) with the possibility of neighborhood suspician & contempt, a more public venue within the community services would be preferable-to me by far!

So
Words will always be problematic. Any phrasing we select may be co-opted in the future for some different or antithetical use that we cannot now imagine. My children have had to learn the
"old" meanings of icon, bad, avatar, gay, web, message, etc. while I have learned the "new" uses of these words. Cult and occult mean something different to me than they did to my grandparents. Languages evolve, and English does more so than most. Considerable effort should go into any new phrasing or names that we propose to adopt, and the sensibilities of young and old should be consulted, because we experience language differently.

Another note - have the readers of this thread noticed the Visioning Project that the TSA is engaged in right now? Take a look at www.theosophical.org and click on the link.
I had noted that. It does sound good. Seems that on this point at least several forces are working in the same direction, even though the practical working out is likely to be different. Let's hope we end up strengthening one another.
Thank you for mentioning the Visioning Project. I just now viewed that. I personally am more in sympathy with the newer 'path of the collective group of individuals in service with a higher calling'. (prob not exact in the phrasing) This thought nurtures the Freedom of the Indiviual and yet with the strength and support of the 'Homing base'.

Yep, words are funny aren't they?! My now 18 year old son, was trying to figure out if his parents were crazy 'cultists' or not. Fortunately, in one of his high school classes he had to do research on the subject of 'radical thinkers'. He found that many dissension groups historically formed thru the centuries as split-offs from this religion or that, & were looked at with suspician and contempt, because they were simply not understood. As with anything new, new thoughts, new ideaological ideas or the new steam egine, it appears to 1st be condeemed here until proven to be True! Those who participated were called 'radicals' in their thinking. Dear Souls!
Thanks Janet.

I most certainly will look forward to anything good coming from this.


M. Sufilight
Yes, I agree. I also think that today's words best representing 'Theos' are more likely to be NATURE words such as : Source, Spirit, and it's effects of Inner Knowing, and Insight or more of a Gnostic approach toward Natural Mysticism. Even the terminology of 'Science of Being' is looked at lukewarm now because of the term of 'science'! Imagine! Gads! You'd think the proof in the pudding would be a most beneficient help as far as it goes to prove the subjective into the objective awareness.
I think it is a very valid question. I would not have any "important positions" in the new T.S. After all, the only real authority in spiritual matters is the spiritual EGO. Forget about all those worldly personalities. They mean nothing at the end. No elected officials. No president. Everybody should be considered equal. The only thing that those positions produce is to increase personal ambitions and produce great egos. That is why I like the U.L.T. model. Crosbie was very wise when he came up with the idea.

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