'Theosophy for a new generation of inquirers / enquirers' ;)

I don't often laugh when opening The Theosophist. In fact, I had not looked at the issues of various theosophical magazines lying around my house for months. But the spirit of boredom made me open them one by one. Most didn't help me overcome my boredom. So I did not read much. But the table of contents of the October Issue of The Theosophist (2009) had me laughing out loud.

Why? Well, first off - the variety of spellings used. Colin Price (from the UK) had as his title 'Theosophy for a New Generation of Inquirers'. Surendra Narayan had the same title, but with a different spelling 'Theosophy for a New Generation of Enquirers' My English isn't good enough to know which spelling is best. I do know though that my spell check is not protesting at either. Perhaps Enquirer is something different from Inquirer?

Dara Tatray's article is the only one that discusses the main challenge facing the TS today: how to appeal to a wider set of people so we can GROW. Then again, she had a slightly different title (emphasis mine) 'The Theosophical Society for a New Generation of Enquirers'. She goes with Narayan's spelling.

Whatever the mysteries of the spelling issue, Tatray is, as usual, closer to my sentiments about the future of the TS.

I had to keep laughing at that table of contents because how many representatives of a 'new generation' were there in this issue? I counted none: while I can't vouch for each one of them being over 50 - I do suspect they all were.

I mean - not even that one young theosophist that has had articles appear in The Theosophist, Pablo Sender, was represented.

A great contrast with the call for papers on the same subject by Quest magazine on facebook earlier this week :)

Unintentional funnies aside, there are some positive themes to be found in the latest issues of The Theosophist. There's a theosophical diary coming out. One can order it for any year one wants (which I assume means they're dated) and it includes inspiring quotes on each page. Now that's the sort of PR I like. Also there are postcards for sale with images from Hodson's work. Very pretty.

The October (130th anniversary issue) issue closes with a very appropriate though diplomatic quote from Blavatsky (her 5th message to the American Conventions):

Orthodoxy in Theosophy is a thing neither possible nor desirable. It is diversity of opinion, within certain limits, that keeps the Theosophical Society a living and healthy body, its many other ugly features not withstanding

I call that diplomatic, because one can take it in all kinds of ways. 'diversity of opinion, within certain limits'. Since each of us can decide what those limits are, we're really no further off than we were. But the quote as a whole does imply that diversity of opinion is necessary to the life of the TS. Amen to that.

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Comment by Martin Euser on February 27, 2010 at 9:20am
In my last posting in this thread I stressed the fact that feeling involves a comparison.
(as a whole feeling involves a "judgment", an evaluation of kinds, on whatever level of being this may be - physical, mental-social or spiritual).
The question that arises is: what standard does one use to compare one's current situation,action or behavior (in relation to others,"the world") with? Standards usually involve beliefs. The point of consideration is this: is there a gradation in beliefs?
One can differentiate between blind belief (example: someone died for us on a cross and saved us vicariously) and reasonable belief (example: I can have some control over my life).

The experience of the wise people on this planet has been that there is a function or faculty of perception in humans that is called "intuition", also designated "buddhi" in theosophical literature.
This involves an experience of the inner nature of things, the essence of a thing, it's inner character and true ground, so to speak. The more one is oriented towards the inner planes of being, with the feet on the ground, the more intuition can express itself within the human mind. One's mind becomes gradually cleared of the fog or mist of belief. The signature of intuition is an unusual clarity of mind. One knows that one knows. It is often accompanied by a sense of joy - a reflection of what the Hindus call Ananda (bliss). This simply is an experiential thing. People through the ages have given testimony of these things. Everyone can experience something of this bliss, if they clear their minds of blind belief.
This requires an open mind as to the nature of the world and the nature of the human being. Hence the injunction of this forum: Embrace * Compare * Explore

This concludes the end of this discussion as far as I am concerned. It has been an interesting experience! On the blog section I might post some more considerations of a psychological nature.
Comment by Martin Euser on February 26, 2010 at 7:04am
Mic,

It is considered good practice in esotericism to formulate one's thoughts as clear and precise as possible. This serves two purposes: it helps one to build up a clear framework of thought and it also is less cumbersome for the other who has to figure out what the question is.

Now, your question boils down to the "measurement" and gauging of perception in relation to truth.
It is a good question, and this has bothered more than one person in history.
The answer is very simple, as it usually is with these things: one feels (feel-knows) whether something is in accord with the total situation, the essential pattern, what it is supposed to be or become on the outer plane of manifestation. This can refer to what someone does, says, thinks, etc., and always in relation to others, the whole in which one is integrated.


In other words, sensory perception is not the whole part of the story. With it goes a gauge process, involving a comparator, that is called feeling. Mind you, feeling is often distorted by ages of indoctrination, be it by religion, or by materialistic science, which are both based on false premises. The task, then, is to purify one's mind of false beliefs and learn to see things as they are. This becomes possible by the action of intuition. The pure mind reflects intuitive perception or connects with such. It is at once the most natural and most difficult thing to do, for us humans.
Comment by Martin Euser on February 25, 2010 at 2:40am
Mik,

you ask me to do a little exegesis of your train of thinking?
In order to do that I would like you to summarize your ideas in a short paragraph, no more than five sentences or short phrases. I get the idea of your wrestling with "absolutes", but what's wrong with relative truths?
Comment by Mikhayl Von Riebon on February 24, 2010 at 6:36pm
Hi Martin,

Perhaps rather than just turning to books (although there is most certainly a time for this!) perhaps you might indulge me in going through and questioning some of my propositions here? obviously one has so little time and rather than cutting this conversation short i would really like to flesh this idea out. are you able to summarise my propositions here in your own words and what do you feel might be its problem/success/nature?

Mikhayl
Comment by Martin Euser on February 24, 2010 at 6:21am
Also, Derrida's differance seems important to me, as a kind of essential characteristic of beings . Qualities that are somehow integrated into a larger whole. A perpetual process of differentiation and integration working together in the dance of life.
Comment by Martin Euser on February 24, 2010 at 4:27am
In addition to the previous, J.G. Bennett talks about man's "eternity blindness", i.e. his/her inability to perceive the timeless patterns working in/thru manifestation. How true.
Comment by Martin Euser on February 24, 2010 at 3:59am
Mikhayl,
Transcend the pairs of opposites..
This is the advice Krishna gives to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita.
J.G. Bennett has a developed a whole philosophy about affirmation, denial and reconciliation as the third, intermediate, term. I deal with his systematics in my ebook, appendix and blog.
Bennett was very bright. He was a mathematician, participated in many movements, and wrote many books. His tome is "The Dramatic Universe". You may love it. It offers tons of stuff to ponder about.
Anyway, start with the Power-to-be-conscious. This is axiomatic with Vitvan. One can't deny this Power. It is experiential. If you deny it, by what Power do you deny it? Consciousness pervades everything. It probably is everything.

The synthesizing third factor is called reconciliation..
Think about that.
Comment by Mikhayl Von Riebon on February 23, 2010 at 6:38pm
Hey Martin,

those are definitely some points i can relate to! i have tried to ground myself in those premises as well; that:

Scientists cant 'prove' anything
that they test their hypotheses and reject or modify them
and as you have explained so perfectly: "As to mathematics: one can prove propositions/derive theorems, but this is all within a tautological system, such as algebra and geometry"

i also understand that there is a trend that has developed as a response from this (quite an ancient one) to seek that which 'transcends' (for lack of a better word) all this. this is a very fair and reasonable response. in fact part of what has been described by this process is exactly the solution im looking for.

for me though, ive identified (atleast i think) a paradox that keeps me to a degree from taking any path at all, yet just as compelled to be thrust into it. and as you illustrated so well, nihilism is a very big issue when one cant find any particular path. however ive been working for some time on a means to supersede this dilemma and I believe you can help me!

lets pretend the following statements are a puzzle :)

for me it seems as though whether it is the scientific process, a religious system, the process of individuation or anything really, that it involves affirmation or negation of propositions. it doesnt matter what we believe, whether we are a white supremacist, a Nobel laureate or what have you.

now i think somewhere along the line, the scientific community identified that whenever they would establish what was 'truth' it would eventually become undermined and there would be this great paradigm shift (obviously this change is the very separation of religion from science). and so science takes up a policy whereby, things cannot be proved but they can be 'disproved' or at least redundant.

now this is absolutley incredible! it took science from being an unchangeable dogma (religion) into an ambiguous entity, whereby what makes up the body of science is constantly changing. in a way science has become an indestructible entity. should its 'being' become undermined, it simply declares that the new "truth' is now science. that's just amazing! however it did come with a cost as you are very aware and that was any innate absolute "truth." which means how do we work out the value of something if we have no absolute ruler?

so in comes a little bit hedonism, and that process of differance whereby the value of something is constantly differed onto some other entity in an unending process. i.e. an apple is red, but what is red? well blood is 'red' and the sky is blue as opposed to 'red', so 'red' is whatever attributes these particular things have and whatever attributes these things dont have. speaking of which were you aware that "orange' was invented in the 1800s? anyway i digress..

so 'truth" becomes a process of action or will. when our actions find resistance, we find our limitations, and then seek to overcome them by refining our action.

yet what has happened with human beings? just as religion sought to find some immovable truth and to define itself by that truth, we still seek some immovable self. we say we are some being that endures through time, and we use our memories (which arent even accurate reflections of the past) to convince us of this proposition. and then we even go as far as to say that we have a soul which endures death and allows 'us' to reincarnate into other forms or into an after life. yet if we were to ask any of us how we define ourselves, it would be by a collection of properties which are constantly in flux.

now the separation of religion from science didnt halt progress, nor did the denial of any universal truth end the universe. yet we hold to our beliefs and even defend them to death as though we ourselves are being physically hurt. which to me means our sense of self, has become defined by the idea that our beliefs are immutable.

so the puzzle for me then becomes, if neither the holding to a universal truth nor the denial of a universal truth matters, what is this process? what sets it in motion? what is its purpose an point? and can humans do what science has done, and see the ego as an aggregate of perceptions and beliefs and become immutable? now this later point i must elaborate. i dont think this to be the end all and be all of all our problems. what i do think though, is that we may be seeing the emergence of this in individuals (possibly the Y generation as a mass shift? who knows?). and this will change the ball park entirely. how does religion deal with this? is this why religious groups have been dwindling? what happens to government policy? the idea of "freedom'? what tension will build up between those groups who seek immutable truth to those who hold to a process? (we see this happening already between religion and science). and how do the ancient texts relate to this?

both you and i are seeking something passionately, which transcends us. we are united in the pursuit of those things which are just out of our reach, and that effort contributes towards the very shaping of the world around us. but what if that pursuit were a product. what if that pursuit were a kin to the very energy that expands the universe? what if the process of affirmation and negation, of truth and falsehood was the very means by which the universe solidifies itself and makes itself more complex? what if it didnt matter whether you were "spiritual', "scientific" or "materialistic," because so long as you suggest what is "real' vs illusory, you were contributing towards the growth and stabilisation of the existence around you?

so to my dilemma: no matter what i do, if i affirm or deny something i am contributing to reaffirming and solidifying this reality. if i say "there is no absolute truth" or "there is" i am making a proposition which reaffirms my reality. i cant remember who created the term in relation to this, but we could consider this process a "narration" of reality. but even if i try and observe this "process' i am still taking part in it. i am merely narrating my reality on the idea of "narration." but this is a very interesting pickle. thinking this way feels as though i were looking into a mirror which was looking at a mirror. now this really is interesting because i am neither affirming the process nor denying it (which would be nihilism).

so whether this is true or false (LOL) or if i am working with a peculiarity of perception, what is it? how can we use it? in what ways can we explore it? how is the paradox maintained? i mean, can we go back to some absolute idea of truth? can we rest on this narrative? or does the nature of the narrative force us to constantly remind us that the narrative is empty? and can we go even further?

i think i have written too much here today, i will take those names youve mentioned and see what i can find!

thanks for the yarn :D

Mik
Comment by Martin Euser on February 23, 2010 at 6:17am
Mikhayl,

Nice of you to join the conversation. For some reason, Joe avoids an attempted answer to my questions, as has been previously been the case. This is not very conducive to dialogue.
Examining reality by philosophical method is obviously difficult, hence the lack of participation in discussion anyway, I suppose.

The main thing I wanted to draw attention to, is the fact that scientists and philosophers have a good many unspoken presuppositions at work in their mind. As many of these should be made explicit, in order the show the nature of these presuppositions, and point to weaknesses/axioma's/worldview permeating the work of these people. An important statement is that scientists cannot prove anything. This actually is the first statement in Bateson's second chapter. What scientists can do is test their hypotheses and reject or modify/refine them.
As to mathematics: one can prove propositions/derive theorems, but this is all within a tautological system, such as algebra and geometry. Apart from that, there remains the question of the mapping of math models on reality. It's all a matter of what one can perceive.
As to the four (Aristotelian causes): scientists reject final cause, but in my view they don't understand much about interactions between levels/logical types/classes/etc. This is one thread of my own research, besides other ontological and epistemological issues.
They also reject formal cause, which can be translated as the pattern working in/through manifestation. All these issues should be researched in depth, which has not been done to any satisfactory degree. All this is tied up with the needed faculties of perception, which have not been developed very much in the human race. Hence I see a role for esoteric philosophy, which should focus more on the working of spirit in the so-called natural world than has been done thus far.
This, of course, is an exceedingly difficult task. We don't have a proper language to name subtle factors at work in life, to name one difficulty.
Bateson recognizes this difficulty as well. He mentions Korzybski's work on perception ("the map is not the territory"; "the name is not the thing named") and shows that sense perception involves production of images in the mind, which are of course to be distinguished from the-thing-itself in the world. Vitvan took Korzybki's work as guiding for a formulation of his new gnosis. A good way to proceed. Process philosophy has entered esoteric philosophy quite some time ago now. A very good development, for which I refer the reader of this posting to my book.
Comment by Mikhayl Von Riebon on February 21, 2010 at 10:02pm
What type of causes? Efficient, formal, final, or material?
Does Nagarjuna acknowledge a beginning cause? What type of cause would that be?
And is there an end to this chain of causation?

hey thought id something to keep this convo going. good stuff! id imagine nagarjuna wouldnt put forward any proposition but refute those already made. from my opinion though, no, there wouldnt be an end to the chain of causation, because if we accept that the chain of causation (ignorance/or the process of particularisation) is also a product of the very nature of the absolute. i.e. it arises by virtue of the nature of 'that'. then to say it will end at some point (or began at some point) is to imagine that there is some qualitative change in the infinite itself. how can the infinite change? what is there that it is lacking?

what there is though is 'perceptual finitude' or because we are limited we perceive. because we perceive we are limited. thus our perception must be limited in space and time otherwise how do we distinguish any one thing from another when our perception is infinite? (some statement can be asked in regards to an infinite god making biased decisions. how does it choose when all its options are infinite in value?)

Mikhayl

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