Broken windows.... (reply to Shelley)
Feb 10, 2006 04:52 AM
What you are seeing is the usual pattern of unmoderated newsgroups.
When no limits are placed on acceptable behavior, and there are none
of the factors involved in face-to-face communication that would
reign in aggressive impulses, things get ugly fast. The "broken
windows" theory of law enforcement says that in a neighborhood where
hoodlums break windows that are then left unrepaired, pretty soon all
the windows are broken. Theos-talk is such a neighborhood. You wrote:
> We ARE NOT : political organisations vying for electoral votes, nor
are we kindergarten children defending our claim to the biggest swing
in the playground.
Unfortunately, playground bullies out to dominate our discussions
here have been doing so ever since theos-talk began. Several people
have written to me privately that I have some kind of duty to stand
up to the bullies; but they don't seem to feel any responsibility to
do so themselves, or to offer any support for those under attack.
> We ARE : all students of theosophy.
Historically, in terms of how much harmony can be expected based on
past behavior, that amounts to "we are all cats in a bag." And
that's true even for those who call themselves Theosophists and
belong to one of the major groups. For others like me who belong to
related organizations that are not within the boundaries of the
Theosophical movement, there can be even less expectation of civility
and a fair hearing. That's a shame, because I'm sure there are many
like me who would love to discuss their views about esotericism but
remain silent out of intimidation. This group has an extremely high
ratio of lurkers to participants.
> However, I doubt that any of our teachers (HPB, WQJ, AB, AAB to
mention but a few) would endorse the nature of the recent (and not so
recent) tirade between their students and fellow-travellers. This
rivalry and one-upmanship is weakening the foundation of our own
teachings and quest for knowledge; it is in direct conflict with
many of the teachings of all our mentors (pl) - consider the Ego, the
Self, the Personality for starters.
Unfortunately, despite their highminded principles, all those
individuals engaged in knockdown dragout sectarian hostilities
themselves, not setting the best of examples.
> Is this what we want, i.e., to invalidate much of that which we are
trying to achieve/promote? What message are we sending out to those
students new to theosophy: preach but do not practice? I hope not.
Preach AND practice fanatical aggression towards fellow Theosophists--
that's the message being sent, alas.
> Criticism - be it scathing or gentle - has no positive gain;
Criticism of individuals, maybe so. But criticism of ideas and
arguments is precisely within the bounds of the second and third
objects. Unfortunately, there is not much evidence of ability here
to criticize ideas and arguments without personally attacking those
who present them.
> and with this letter I acknowledge that I am also "voicing my
opinion" and therefore guilty of the same, but to NOT say anything
seems to be worse. If you have something to teach, TEACH it. If you
have something to learn, ASK it. If an offering by another student /
teacher offends you , then...
What you are seeing is the fruition of years of bullying by a handful
and passivity/enabling by the rest. Where it goes from here, who
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