Theosophy has to change, and it is the perfect tool for changing the world. Theosophy is the bridge between Science and Theology, as HPB pointed out at the conclusion of The Secret Doctrine. At the time of her death in 1891, she was preparing the following article, which was published in the April 1893 issue of Lucifer:
ON AUTHORITIES IN GENERAL AND THE AUTHORITY OF MATERIALISTS, ESPECIALLY

[Lucifer, Vol. XII, No. 68, April, 1893, pp. 97-101]

In assuming the task of contradicting “authorities” and of occasionally setting at nought the well established opinions and hypotheses of men of Science, it becomes necessary in the face of repeated accusations to define our attitude clearly at the very outset. Though, where the truth of our doctrines is concerned, no criticism and no amount of ridicule can intimidate us, we would nevertheless be sorry to give one more handle to our enemies, as a pretext for an extra slaughter of the innocent; nor would we willingly lead our friends into an unjust suspicion of that to which we are not in the least prepared to plead guilty.
One of such suspicions would naturally be the idea that we must be terribly self-opinionated and conceited. This would be false from A to Z. It does not at all stand to reason that because we contradict eminent professors of Science on certain points, we therefore claim to know more than they do of Science; nor, that we even have the benighted vanity of placing ourselves on the same level as these scholars. Those who would accuse us of this would simply be talking nonsense, for even to harbour such a thought would be the madness of conceit—and we have never been guilty of this vice. Hence, we declare loudly to all our readers that most of those “authorities” we find fault with, stand in our own opinion immeasurably higher in scientific knowledge and general information than we do. But, this conceded, the reader is reminded that great scholarship in no way precludes great bias and prejudice; nor is it a safeguard against personal vanity and pride. A Physicist may be an



Page 153


undeniable expert in acoustics, wave-vibrations, etc., and be no Musician at all, having no ear for music. None of the modern bootmakers can write as Count Leo Tolstoi does; but any tyro in decent shoemaking can take the great novelist to task for spoiling good materials in trying to make boots. Moreover, it is only in the legitimate defence of our time-honoured Theosophical doctrines, opposed by many on the authority of materialistic Scientists, entirely ignorant of psychic possibilities, in the vindication of ancient Wisdom and its Adepts, that we throw down the gauntlet to Modern Science. If in their inconceivable conceit and blind materialism they will go on dogmatizing upon that about which they know nothing—nor do they want to know—then those who do know something have a right to protest and to say so publicly and in print.
Many must have heard of the suggestive answer made by a lover of Plato to a critic of Thomas Taylor, the translator of the works of this great Sage. Taylor was charged with being but a poor Greek scholar, and not a very good English writer. “True,” was the pert reply; “Tom Taylor may have known far less Greek than his critics; but he knew Plato far better than any of them does.”* And this we take to be our own position.
We claim no scholarship in either dead or living tongues, and we take no stock in Philology as a modern Science. But we do claim to understand the living spirit of Plato’s Philosophy, and the symbolical meaning of the writings of this great Initiate, better than do his modern translators, and for this very simple reason. The Hierophants and Initiates of the Mysteries in the Secret Schools in which all the Sciences inaccessible and useless to the masses of the profane were taught, had one universal, Esoteric tongue—the language of symbolism and allegory. This language has suffered neither modification nor amplification from those remote times down to this day. It still exists and is still

———————
* [Prof. A. Wilder. Also quoted in Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, p. 109 from Intro. to Taylor’s Eleusinian and Bacchic Mysteries p. 27, 4th. ed.; p. xix, 3rd ed. 1875 (Rpr. by Wizards Bookshelf, 1980.) ]
———————



Pge 154


taught. There are those who have preserved the knowledge of it, and also of the arcane meaning of the Mysteries; and it is from these Masters that the writer of the present protest had the good fortune of learning, howbeit imperfectly, the said language. Hence her claim to a more correct comprehension of the arcane portion of the ancient texts written by avowed Initiates—such as were Plato and Iamblichus, Pythagoras, and even Plutarch—than can be claimed by, or expected from, those who, knowing nothing whatever of that “language” and even denying its existence altogether, yet set forth authoritative and conclusive views on everything Plato and Pythagoras knew or did not know, believed in or disbelieved. It is not enough to lay down the audacious proposition, “that an ancient Philosopher is to be interpreted from himself [i.e., from the dead-letter texts] and by the contemporary history of thought”;* he who lays it down has first of all to prove to the satisfaction, not of his admirers and himself alone, but of all, that modern thought does not woolgather in the question of Philosophy as it does on the lines of materialistic Science. Modern thought denies Divine Spirit in Nature, and the Divine element in mankind, the Soul’s immortality and every noble conception inherent in man. We all know that in their endeavors to kill that which they have agreed to call “superstition” and the “relics of ignorance” (read “religious feelings and metaphysical concepts of the Universe and Man”), Materialists like Prof. Huxley or Mr. Grant Allen are ready to go to any length in order to ensure the triumph of their soul-killing Science. But when we find Greek and Sanskrit scholars and doctors of theology, playing into the hands of modern materialistic thought, pooh-poohing everything they do not know, or that of which the public—or rather Society, which ever follows in its impulses the craze of fashion, of popularity or unpopularity—disapproves, then we have the right to assume one of two things: the scholars who act on these lines are either moved by personal conceit, or by the fear of public

———————
* [M. A. Jowett, The Dialogues of Plato; Introduction to the Timaeus Vol. III, p. 524 (2nd ed.) 1875]
———————



Page 155


opinion; they dare not challenge it at the risk of unpopularity. In both cases they forfeit their right to esteem as authorities. For, if they are blind to facts and sincere in their blindness, then their learning, however great, will do more harm than good, and if, while fully alive to those universal truths which Antiquity knew better than we do—though it did express them in more ambiguous and less scientific language—our Philosophers will still keep them under the bushel for fear of painfully dazzling the majority’s eyes, then the example they set is most pernicious. They suppress the truth and disfigure metaphysical conceptions, as their colleagues in physical Science distort facts in material Nature into mere props to support their respective views, on the lines of popular hypotheses and Darwinian thought. And if so, what right have they to demand a respectful hearing from those to whom TRUTH is the highest, as the noblest, of all religions?
The negation of any fact or claim believed in by the teeming millions of Christians and non-Christians, of a fact, moreover, impossible to disprove, is a serious thing for a man of recognized scientific authority, in the face of its inevitable results. Denials and rejections of certain things, hitherto held sacred, coming from such sources, are for a public taught to respect scientific data and bulls, as good as unqualified assertions. Unless uttered in the broadest spirit of Agnosticism and offered merely as a personal opinion, such a spirit of wholesale negation—especially when confronted with the universal belief of the whole of Antiquity, and of the incalculable hosts of the surviving Eastern nations in the things denied—becomes pregnant with dangers to mankind. Thus the rejection of a Divine Principle in the Universe, of Soul and Spirit in man and of his Immortality, by one set of Scientists; and the repudiation of any Esoteric Philosophy existing in Antiquity, hence, of the presence of any hidden meaning based on that system of revealed learning in the sacred writings of the East (the Bible included), or in the works of those Philosophers who were confessedly Initiates, by another set of “authorities”—are simply fatal to humanity. Between missionary enterprise—encouraged far more on political than religious



Page 156


grounds*—and scientific Materialism, both teaching from two diametrically opposite poles that which neither can prove or disprove, and mostly that which they themselves take on blind faith or blind hypothesis, the millions of the growing generations must find themselves at sea. They will not know, any more than their parents know now, what to believe in, whither to turn for truth. Weightier proofs are thus required now by many than the mere personal assumptions and negations of religious fanatics and irreligious Materialists, that such or another thing exists or has no existence.
We, Theosophists, who are not so easily caught on the hook baited with either salvation or annihilation, we claim our right to demand the weightiest, and to us undeniable proofs that truth is in the keeping of Science and Theology. And as we find no answer forthcoming, we claim the right to argue upon every undecided question, by analyzing the assumptions of our opponents. We, who believe in Occultism and the archaic Esoteric Philosophy, do not, as already said, ask our members to believe as we do, nor charge them with ignorance if they do not. We simply leave them to make their choice. Those who decide to study the old Science are given proofs of its existence; and corroborative evidence accumulates and grows in proportion to the personal progress of the student. Why should not the negators of ancient Science—to wit, modern Scholars—do the same in the matter of their denials and assertions; i.e., why don’t they refuse to say either yea or nay in regard to that which they really do not know, instead of denying or affirming it a priori as they all do? Why do not our Scientists proclaim

———————
* We maintain that the fabulous sums spent on, and by, Christian missions, whose propaganda brings forth such wretched moral results and gets so few renegades, are spent with a political object in view. The aim of the missions, which, as in India, are only said to be “tolerated” (sic) seems to be to pervert people from their ancestral religions, rather than to convert them to Christianity, and this is done in order to destroy in them every spark of national feeling. When the spirit of patriotism is dead in a nation, it very easily becomes a mere puppet in the hands of the rulers.
———————



The first portion of the article can be read here

Bearing in mind the scientific changes in the world going on in her time (this was several years before Einstein's Theory of Relativity was published, we can take some inspiration for today's world as well. The important points are:
1) Just because someone is an expert in their field does not mean they are protected from bias and prejudice, personal vanity and pride
2) We claim the right to argue upon every undecided question, by analyzing the assumptions of our opponents, and
3) Between missionary enterprise-encouraged far more on political than religiousgrounds-and scientific Materialism, both teaching from two diametrically opposite poles that which neither can prove or disprove, and mostly that which they themselves take on blind faith or blind hypothesis, the millions of the growing generations must find themselves at sea. The will not know, any more than their parents know now, what to believe in, whither to turn for truth.

What are your thoughts and what do we do to ask the questions that bridge this gap?

Views: 576

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Re: "cant" when used in the 1900 letter; Oxford dict. says: "hypocritical and sanctimonious talk, typically of a moral, religious, or political nature".  "Cant" about Masters should stop, not "talk" about. 

Belief in the Adept Brotherhood was never required by any TS group or the Masters themselves, but it was never forbidden nor discouraged either.

Ten years before the 1900 letter, Besant's devotional tendencies brought her to suggest that HPB & the Masters MUST be accepted, even valued more than the TS ideal of Universal Brotherhood.  Blavatsky & HT Patterson disagreed. So there is nothing new in the present anti-authority cause.

Study CW 13:  http://www.katinkahesselink.net/blavatsky/articles/v13/y1891_004.htm

Did not the world witness all the backstabbing that went on during last election and most of them are true believers and when a lie was proven to be a lie, none of the true believers called a spade a spade? Every one of them was mum.

 

I am reminded of the advise KH gave to APS, "Be loyal to the Ideal rather than to my poor self," and APS was advised to charge ahead with action without worrying about whether it is small or big.

 

The formal numbers and their direction of growth, in the theosophical organizations seem to indicate what this misdirected emphasis and priority has done to the great ideal meant to help everyone in the world - "Forlorn Hope.'.

 

It is time for all of us to think and meditate over and come to our own conclusions.

Might as well blame it on the Brothers themselves.  They were the ones who chose HPB & told her (in 1874 or 5?) to found a "religio-philosophic society".  They (M, KH et al) also said that most of Their Adept Brothers did not think the 19th cent. effort  would be successful and so stayed on the sidelines.

Humanity is not (never has been) a good candidate for living any form of real spiritual life.

K. Paul Johnson said:

The negative change in the direction of Mahatma-worship and spiritual authority was described quite vividly by HPB herself in these passages to Franz Hartmann:

When you speak of the "army" of the deluded-- and the "imaginary" Mahatmas of Olcott-- you are absolutely and sadly right...I had known Adepts, "the Brothers," not only in India and beyond Ladakh, but in Egypt and Syria,-- for there are "Brothers" there to this day.  The names of the "Mahatmas" were not even known at this time...Olcott became crazy...Damodar, Servai, and several other fanatics, who began calling them "Mahatmas"; and little by little, the Adepts were transformed into Gods on earth..I have desecrated the holy Truth by remaining too passive in the face of all this desecration, brought on by too much zeal and false ideas.

If only she had remembered this before creating the ES, which would destine the Theosophical movement to a century of Mahatma-worship. 

Hello all,

Since this is technically "my" discussion, I would like to finally throw in two cents.  IF ascended masters do, indeed exist, they are not particularly welcome to comment in this discussion.  IF they do exist, they know how I feel, and would never impose their presence when not welcome, because there is too much other stuff that they need to be doing.  Now it will be very interesting to see who disappears.......

Those of you who know me, know exactly which cheek my tongue is in.

This discussion is for mere mortals only, who are seeking to find a theosophy without the benefit of spooky teachers who show up unannounced.  Totally western of me to do this without a guru, no?

ST :)

Thanks Susan.

 

I am reminded of a famous Urdu couplet inspired by Sufi thought:

 

Har Zarra Chamakta hai Anwar-e-elahi se

Har saans ye kehti hai, hum hain to khuda bhi hai.

 

Loosely it can be translated as:

 

Every speck of dust in the universe shines with the light of one,

And every breath of ours dictates that THE ONE exists because of us.

 

It is us who create God, Mahatmas etc.

And many thanks to you as well.  Often, I need to be reminded of this.

ST

Capt. Anand Kumar said:

Thanks Susan.

 

I am reminded of a famous Urdu couplet inspired by Sufi thought:

 

Har Zarra Chamakta hai Anwar-e-elahi se

Har saans ye kehti hai, hum hain to khuda bhi hai.

 

Loosely it can be translated as:

 

Every speck of dust in the universe shines with the light of one,

And every breath of ours dictates that THE ONE exists because of us.

 

It is us who create God, Mahatmas etc.

If we had time to create an "agenda" it would not be to place ourselves at the top of anything.  Exactly what would be attained by a "coup" of a movement such as this?  Sorry, I am so worldly as to not see this as being to my advantage somehow.  The original intent of this discussion was to dialogue why science and religion (or more specifically-morality) have a gap that allows scientists to perform various "advancements" to our genetic structure that I personally feel to be detrimental to our spiritual quest. 

First, I could be wrong, and monkeys passing on green feet to their offspring may be just what my spiritual quest needs.

Second, someone might be able to explain to me why I am wrong.

 

Still listening to the discussion, but remembering that fundamentalism of all sorts closes the thinking mind.

You certainly do not have to accept that I do not think that any perfected human beings are relevant to this discussion.  My only question is, if they are out there, why is science doing what it's doing without a challenge from them?

And I do not have to accept the idea of perfected human beings per your philosophy. 

I do not feel threatened by your belief in perfected beings any more than I feel threatened by other fundamentalists who believe that I exist at the will of a whimsical god for only one life time on the off chance that I will be worshipping it when I exit stage left.

ST

It fills my heart with joy to see the end of acrimony here. I wish and hope that we can continue this discussion withou taking offence at each other.

My vision of the way theosophy should change begins with Theosophers getting scientists on board with an ethics committee made up of people who can cull the very basic moral threads from all the world's religions so that scientific practice can be made morally responsible for it's actions.   This way all the world's traditions could have a voice, on common ground, with how we want scientific discovery to proceed.  The moral implications of genetic engineering are profound, as well as nuclear research and other fields of study.  In my opinion, THEOSOPHY AND ONLY THEOSOPHY has the background to undertake this endeavor. 

Just to be clear, I am not the kind of student or scholar who would be adequate to sit on such an ethics board.  I do not want this for myself.  I want this for the world.  That is the real reason this thread was initiated in June of 2009.  For me, this is why theosophy has to change.  There is no place for an ancient or even old-fashioned approach to comparative religion.  We were charged with studying and comparing religions, and this would be the ultimate focal point in today's times.  Give our study meaning and make it relevant.  It is the study, and not the teachers from the past that we need going forward.  Again, just my opinion, and absolutely no place for me personally in this endeavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should we consider Ethics and Morality to be static concepts, defined by a few and frozen in time? Does society give Ethics and Morality unto itself or vice versa? Should science become subservient to religion? We have seen what happened in the past when this was the case. Someone had to drink poison. Another one was persecuted for saying that the earth is not flat.

 

Finally evolution took care of that and even the esoteric of the highest order like HPB had to include science in her theories.

The biggest apprehension against the genetic engineering we have is the creation of a Super Intelligent class which will rule over others by default. As if this is not the case now. But also historically this has been the case. When one compares the knowledge contained in the ancient scriptures, with the condition of humanity in general prevalent at that time, it does appear to be the work of a super intelligent race. Most traditions of the world carry stories of humans and other beings changing form. Should we believe that doing it by invoking a mantra or other such means is alright but not by taking an injection developed through use of genetic engineering? Numerous patients around the world today benefit from the Stem Cell Therapy. Should one believe that it could be possible without decoding the gene first.

 

Human gene has survived and thrived against all the onslaughts nature and evolution wreaked upon it, by changing and becoming smarter. Let us trust that it will continue to do so. 

 

 

The field(s) of Science in this area (Ethics) are actually huge. Scientists will not trust people with a 'Religion' in their mind. I love the example (true) where a major religious group in the USA wants to ban 'Organ Transplants' if the organ comes from a suicide victim. Allowing the use of those organs will promote suicide across the country because the suicide victims will justify their suicide (to themselves) in that 'someone' will live the happy life that the suicide victim will never have. It is 'clearly' more important to spend money trying to ban those transplants rather than give the money for medical research into depression. This is where the Scientists find that opening the door to Religions brings in more problems and less likelihood of ever creating a sensible set of guidelines. Even the word Moral is bad. Every Quack is Moral. That is the moral of religious experience by many scientists . (not all moral people are quacks, obviously). The details get even worse as each guideline is applied to an actual specific case.

The one group that actually has clout are the Humanitarian philosophers, or Humanists.

People may want to look at the site: www.bioethics.net

The entire field, just in the 'bio' part of Scientific Ethics, has now become a separate Degree. A good example is the Bioethics program at Mount Sinai Hospital School of Medicine:

http://www.bioethics.union.edu/biorhodes-Rosamond_Rhodes_PhD_Online...

If you see the various journals she publishes in, you get the idea of the scope of a single subset of Science and Ethics. There is nothing that is 'static' . The entire field is as 'dynamic' as Science itself. If you find the crowd/group you want to stop and talk to, as soon as you've stopped you are way behind the crowd.

Someone needs to already be in place before the starting gun goes off. Otherwise, you are out of the race.

So, what I am really trying to say is that we need more theosophists in place, i.e. the world, before we have any probability of getting an entry into the game. I think internet presence, open doors, open minds and open hearts will be a haven from the insane business world. People will  look for that. That alone is a good reason for us to be here. That is the always the critical point. It is always in the beginning of things......

Peace


Susan Thomas said:

My vision of the way theosophy should change begins with Theosophers getting scientists on board with an ethics committee made up of people who can cull the very basic moral threads from all the world's religions so that scientific practice can be made morally responsible for it's actions.   This way all the world's traditions could have a voice, on common ground, with how we want scientific discovery to proceed.  The moral implications of genetic engineering are profound, as well as nuclear research and other fields of study.  In my opinion, THEOSOPHY AND ONLY THEOSOPHY has the background to undertake this endeavor. 

Just to be clear, I am not the kind of student or scholar who would be adequate to sit on such an ethics board.  I do not want this for myself.  I want this for the world.  That is the real reason this thread was initiated in June of 2009.  For me, this is why theosophy has to change.  There is no place for an ancient or even old-fashioned approach to comparative religion.  We were charged with studying and comparing religions, and this would be the ultimate focal point in today's times.  Give our study meaning and make it relevant.  It is the study, and not the teachers from the past that we need going forward.  Again, just my opinion, and absolutely no place for me personally in this endeavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RSS

Search Theosophy.Net!

Loading

What to do...

Join Theosophy.Net Blogs Forum Live Chat Invite Facebook Facebook Group

A New View of Theosophy


About
FAQ

Theosophy References


Wiki Characteristics History Spirituality Esotericism Mysticism RotR ToS

Our Friends

© 2019   Created by Theosophy Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service