The Theosophy Network got its start as essentially a forum to promote mystical/occult thought based on the Theosophical tradition. As such we are, for the most part pretty familiar with the memes and how they're expressed. One could say that a number of us know them pretty much inside and out. This also applies to most metaphysical traditions both in time and place. It is the aspect of metaphysics in general that we will concentrate on here.
It is important to establish this as fact because many of us here have come to openly oppose such ideas. So it's not like we're a bunch of people who are ignorant of how those who live in the world of the magical, mystical and occult endeavors. On the contrary, we know these as well as anyone on the face of this planet. There is no doubt and no room for debate on this fact.
Our journey has taken us to some radical conclusions, which I would like to share with you.
First, we must reject many parts of the concept of esotericism. Esotericism, by its very nature creates structures that impede the flow of knowledge. Much of what we call new-age is built on the very concept of a select group (or heirarchy) which holds exclusive knowledge made available only through a select individual or group. This is not in sync with the world of open-source, Slashdot, Y-Combinator, etc. We are in a world where information, even that which is considered secret always finds a way to be freed. The efforts of Wikileaks, Anonymous and those of individuals such as Edward Snowden are proof, and fodder for many discussions, pro and con.
Second, and in keeping with the spirit of the first, the primary assumption with most esoteric / mystical / occult practice is that there is a fixed body of knowledge that never changes and whose expression never changes. This is bad on several counts. First, we don't know everything and it's very arrogant to assume knowledge we don't have. Secondly, such thinking kills off the desire to learn, except in a rote manner. Third, it reduces all inquiry to an exercise in proving old (sic) knowledge. Fourth, since inquiry is killed off, the desire to perform practical action is eliminated, too. The entire exercise is reduced to a pseudo-intellectual fantasy.
All of the above being said, there is at least one aspect of esotericism which adapts well to today's world. This is the concept of active imagination. It is that power which allows us to go outside of the box and create anew. It is what allows us to put dreams into action by bringing about what was previously unthinkable. Soon this becomes commonplace and new dreams rise to the fore. All because of active imagination. It is the ability possessed by each and every one of us to innovate and come up with something entirely new.
All of this dreaming, imagination and action are endangered by thought that is backward and seeks only to prove an old dogma. It is exactly that drives more extreme forms such as the Taliban / Al Queda and certain aspects of Christianity to inflict untold suffering on millions as a result of their desire to go back to something that never existed. The closest to truth seems to be the Salem Witch Trials.
To have an American public who denies climate change or who supports creationism in greater numbers than those who did 20 years ago is quite frightening to comprehend. Yet, it's all due to magical thinking inspired by religion. Even sadder is that these arguments are used in the service of those who want to put the masses of people in a cage of superstion and destroy the enviornment in the process. The dimwitted led by the unethical.
Finally, and on a positive note, it is up to us to exercise active imagination, and second, the ability to form social connections that will show us the possibilities ahead of us and the way to make them realities. There will be challenges and it will get scary at times, but nonetheless, this is the real human adventure.
A very timely thought Joe and most eloquently expressed.
I think some of the rise of the creationism and various other esoteric themes is also partly due to Future Shock, where the pace of change has become so rapid that people suffering from it prefer to take refuge in "known devils". Most people cannot handle the information overload. It is happening not only in the US but all around the globe in all the societies.
In such scenario, I see a role for our community to work with people in devising ways and means to filter the overwhelming amount of information using logic and reason.
Come to think of it "Open Source" is a very good example. It allows collaboration. It allows customization. It allows personalization.
Perhaps the time has come to free thought from the confines of secrecy, mysteries, occult etc. Open thought wisdom which is collaborative, customizable and personlizable. Thought, which has community as its kernel rather than the individual.