Seeing others as instruments of the devil
Jan 26, 2002 09:29 AM
I guess this should be our last exchange on this subject, since it
has gotten to wheelspinning. I'd really be happy if you changed your
perspective even slightly as a result of my efforts to get you to see
an alternative POV. But if not, that's OK, this is read by others
and perhaps they'll gain something by it.
To avoid personalities, let's just put aside the question of whether
or not you're slamming me, or some other person in particular, in
these remarks, and focus on whether it's helpful or useful to apply
them to *anyone*. You wrote:
> Certainly history is interesting and useful, and a responsible
> investigation of historical facts is a fine thing.
That's an encouraging statement. Why not leave it to historians to
evaluate whose investigations are responsible, rather than judge that
based on sectarian criteria like how much the results challenge our
spiritual belief system?
But it is also possible
> to use the mantle of historical investigation to try to throw dust
in everyone's eyes,
I see here the pattern of leaping from *perceived implications* to
*imputed intentions* and it leads to demonization of others and
degradation of discourse. That is, "X's historical investigations
have the effect of making people feel as if dust has been thrown into
their eyes, therefore that was X's intention."
to obscure the actual essential meaning of the
> thing so investigated.
In all sincerity I doubt that any historian, professional or amateur,
has *ever* had any such intention. But I bet hundreds or thousands
have been so accused.
In the case of theosophy and HPB,
> opposition has tried to do this since the beginning.
This is where things get very dicey. If you look at any new
historical inquiry as possibly a tool of "opposition that has tried
to do this since the beginning," you're (impersonal you) going to be
paranoid in your attitude toward historical scholarship.
Particularly when you start applying this suspicion to people who
have absolutely no interest or desire in harming anyone.
There is a force
> called the disintegrator which attempts to keep these teachings and
> all ancient wisdom from being spread among humanity,
What is the source for this? Sounds like a Theosophical version of
the devil. And to interpret others as instruments of this evil
force, trying to prevent the spread of teachings, is no better than
fundamentalist Christians seeing scholars of early Christian history
as instruments of the devil trying to undermine the gospel. On one
hand, you seem to be saying that you don't want to be enemies with me
or anyone else with whom you disagree on HPB; then on the other you
turn around and implicitly accuse us all of Satanic inspiration. Can
you really have it both ways?
> seeks to retard that evolution. Whenever we see betrayal,
> treachery, self-aggrandizement, unkindness, attacks on
> personalities, cynicism, paranoia, trickery, or any of the well-
known qualities of lower self-seeking ambition, we have reason to
assume that the disintegrator is at work.
Is it possible that this disintegrator, if it exists, might be
working *from within* to undermine spiritual movements? That some of
their own leaders and prominent members might exhibit all the above
traits? Could you possibly see this force as an equal opportunity
opposition, ruining a movement by hardening the hearts and narrowing
the minds of some of its adherents? Or is it only them outsiders and
never us insiders?
Remember that HPB's strongest warning about a destructive force in
the future of the movement said nothing at all about external
opposition or excessive historical skepticism! She focused
*entirely* on the dangers of dogmatism from true believers, not
criticism from skeptics:
Every such attempt as the Theosophical Society has hitherto ended in
failure, because, sooner or later, it has degenerated into a sect,
set up hard-and-fast dogmas of its own, and so lost by imperceptible
degrees that vitality which living truth alone can impart...If, then,
they [future Theosophists] cannot be freed from such inherent bias,
or at least taught to recognize it instantly and so avoid being led
away by it, the result can only be that the Society will drift off
onto some sandbank or other, and there remain a stranded carcass to
moulder and die. (Key to Theosophy, p. 305.)
Each student has to discover such
> agendas on his own, but we need not submit to the machinations of
> this force which seeks to confuse and destroy.
Could you consider the possibility that confusion and destruction are
dangers that come to the movement from within, more than from
without? From excessive faith, rather than excessive doubt? From
those who intend to protect Theosophy from the devil, but in fact
become instruments of the very forces that HPB most warned us about?
Perhaps we can discuss other things here, but this will be my last
word in response to your steady drumbeat of spiritual accusations
against historical inquiry.
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