Received Truth positions
Jul 27, 2001 01:05 PM
by Eldon B Tucker
At 06:43 AM 7/27/01 +1100, you wrote:
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 01 06:43:13 +1100
Subject: Theos-World Adepts and churches
True Believers do not invite criticism (scholarly or otherwise)
of their Received Truth positions. The only aspect of the ULT
that I find odd is its insistence that it does not constitute a
Received Truth position which, of necessity, excludes alternative
views. There is a ULT Received Truth position, just as there is,
in reality if not in theory, a body of "guardians" of that Truth.
Just why the ULT feels the need to deny this is something I do
not understand. I see absolutely nothing wrong with it.
Dr Gregory Tillett
Regarding Received Truth positions, I can see the entire
Theosophical Movement fitting that category. That is, Blavatsky as
the agent of the Masters presented a bit of previously esoteric
material from the Mystery Teachings to the public. She also tied
that knowledge to the modern thought of her day with extensive
commentary on religious, scientific, and philosophical views.
Those of us that might consider these doctrines of value, and seek
to preserve and promote them, would be functioning in the role of
guardians. We would be keeping the ideas from being lost through
being forgotten, becoming a dead language, and from being lost
through being altered and mutated.
A Received Truth position does not have to exclude alternate
views. The supported position needs to be clear, distinct, carried
on without being lost. But that does not mean that other
worldviews need be opposed and rejected. There can be tolerance
for diverse views as *coexisting* rather than *competing with*
the core teachings of Theosophy.
When we transfer our attention from the Movement to an individual
theosophical organization, the degree of tolerance and flexibility
may be reduced. This is because groups tend to specialize, and
will act as filters keeping people with similar interests and
allowing people with other interests to pass through, moving on to
other groups they may like better.
With each theosophical group, there is one-or-more specializations
that have their own appeal. It's simple human nature where people
think of themselves and the groups they go to as being somehow
better than the rest.
With Adyar, there may be the belief that many later theosophists
were genuine clairvoyants, and offered their powers to the
advancement of scientific knowledge. There is also the alternate
view aligned with Krishnamurti of metaphysical nihilism.
With Point Loma, there may be the belief that Purucker not only
explained the original teachings, but pulled back the veil of
Isis a bit more, and that their work is somehow more esoteric.
With ULT, there may be the belief that they have the best formula
for theosophical work, and that they are entrusted as the true
guardians of the philosophy.
The ULT may be inclined to deny any explicit or implicit
organizational structure because of some key ideas associated with
the society. (Each theosophical group might be considered to have
a different keynote, which could be characterized by the key ideas
that they propound.) That idea is "impersonality". It is
interpreted as always putting forth the ideas, the message, and
never letting the person show through.
The idea appears in many forms. Speakers at public talks may refer
to themselves as "this student". Articles in official publications
are not signed. The organization describes no explicit structure,
no officers with defined positions and roles. Because of the lack
of an explicit structure, things are run by people asserting their
individual initiative, leading to an implicit structure operating
that is not always apparent to new students.
Because of the idea of "impersonality," the official position is
that there is no officers, no one running things. To admit to
having such a structure, even an implicit one, would be to go
against that idea. But if you ignore process, interpersonal
dynamics, and how things actually operate, then you allow for
things to proceed out-of-control, like a garden that is never
weeded, where the unexpected happens because you're not watching
what's going on.
In my thinking, the idea of "impersonality" is misunderstood or
misapplied in the ULT, leading to a blunting of its theosophical
efforts. Does its application lead to a greater freedom of
operation and individual initiative among associates, or does it
lead to a sense of rigidity, driving away many new possible
The idea may have arisen as a reaction to the overbearing
personality of Katherine Tingley, but that's ancient history. The
problems of the various groups back in the 1920's and their lack
of cooperation should not still be a burden for us in the year
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