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Paul and Bruce: Science X Theosophy?

Feb 11, 2006 06:04 AM
by carlosaveline cardoso aveline


Greetings and peace from under the rain in Brasíia.

Some scholars can't imagine anything beyond the narrow limits of their logical, linear, one-plus-one-equals-two old conventional university approach. Their approach is pre-Fritjof Capra, pre-Rupert Sheldrake, etc. I am not saying this is Paul Johnson's approach.

Now, why are many Universities in crisis worldwide, or why a great amount of "scientists" in the rich countries anxiously research new weapons and ways to kill, hypnotized by the funding coming from governments? Not to mention Iran now advancing his search for the A-bomb, or Pakistan and India,which already have nuclear weapons, thanks to their excellent scientists.

The reason for this is that a great part of mainstream science today still cannot raise beyond selfish interests and motives. They do not go beyond the left-side of human brain, and so they can't understand (or live) at least two things deeply enough:

A) Ethics;

B) Occult Philosophy.

The root-problem with Paul Johnson's work and text on HPB and the Masters is in his premises. It is useless to accuse him personally of this or that.

I don't need him to think like me to have respect for him or for his ideas.

Paul probably can only look at HPB and the masters from the viewpoint of the three-dimensional reality or Maya. That's not a big problem once he is sincere in his motives. A Master wrote once that the Adepts don't want too many people to be too sure of their existence. That would create other problems. Many lay disciples have never heard of them or even are skeptics of their existence, as it was the case to D.M. Bennett in the 19 century.
Doubt leads to investigate, on of the Mahatmas wrote. And the Mahatmas prefer minds investigating than in blind belief.

Then, through dialogue, we can all learn one from another. In this sense, I see no problem in having a healthy discussion with Paul Johnson.

Such a dialogue can be honest and respectful. But an important premise for our debates is a certain amount of mutual trust.

Look, please, with care -- and respect for everyone -- at the question raised and the informations brought by Paul Johnson on Daniel Caldwell's work in recent years. According to Paul, Daniel uses a false name ("David Green") or perhaps more than one false name, in order to to attack theosophical groups and theosophists.

This should be clarified. Paul has just raised an important, useful issue. Who is David Green? I haven't had the time to look and see if Daniel has already clarified the issue, as I hope.

Generaly speaking, people with whom we may disagree in a lot of important issues will surprise us by showing courage, love for truth, ethics, etc. That's why we should try to look at people and at life as if it were always the first time we see them, while also having our memories active.

But we should work on and build a bridge between scientific thought and mystical and theosophical traditions/knowledge.

Sincere regards to Paul Johnson, Bruce and you all. Peace to all beings, Carlos Cardoso Aveline.

From: "kpauljohnson" <>
Subject: Theos-World History classroom vs. courtroom (to Bruce)
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 2006 22:59:56 -0000

Dear Bruce,

I wrote this offline to post later, so am paraphrasing your remarks
from memory rather than quoting, hoping to get the gist.  You wrote
about HPB that she is innocent until proven guilty and that anyone
who believes (or even entertains the possibility?) that she is guilty
of anything is unfit to be called a Theosophist.  This
guilt/innocence approach frames historical discussion as if it were
identical to criminal trials, which I suggest leads in unfortunate

One problem with this approach is that it is logically self-
defeating.  In a courtroom, only one person is on trial,  to be
judged either guilty or not guilty of a particular offence in
isolation from any other individuals.  In a courtroom there's no such
thing as a little bit guilty; you either are or aren't.  In
historical interpretation or reconstruction, anyone being appraised
is studied in a network of other persons whose points of view are
considered equally relevant.  Testimonies always conflict and
evidence has to be weighed.  Everyone is a mixture of light and
shadow, and no one is exempt from scrutiny based on supposed
spiritual status.

In the case of HPB you would have to rely on special pleading saying
she and only she is to be handled with kid gloves like this.  Because
the same courtesy is not extended to all the people whose testimony
conflicts with hers, it is clearly not a workable *general* principle
you are advocating, but rather a special exemption from normal
historical scrutiny.  Religions frequently promote such special
exemptions for their founders, but Theosophy was not intended to be
another religion or to promote the kind of special pleading religion
encourages.  The list of people who accused HPB of deception in one
situation or another during her life is quite long.  Not just the
Coulombs and Hodgson, but (to name a few) Emma Hardinge-Britten,
C.C. Massey, Swami Dayananda, Mabel Collins, A.P. Sinnett, A.O. Hume,
Solovyoff, many of the SPR founders, Babaji Nath,  on and on.  In
every case where someone else's testimony conflicts with hers, your
position implies HPB is entitled to the presumption not only that she
is innocent until proven guilty, but the other person is guilty until
proven innocent.   What about their rights to a fair hearing?  What
we owe these people, IMO, is not any a priori presumption of guilt or
innocence but rather the attempt to understand their relationships
with one another in all their complexity, ambiguity, and subtlety.
No easy task!  (I note that you and Carlos assert that certain things
are "proven lies" but that sounds like wishful thinking to me-- few
historical questions are resolved with absolute finality and
certainly not about HPB.)

The second problem with the frame of guilt/innocence as applied to
history is that it makes every biographer or historian a sinner or
criminal, unless s/he writes totally fawning hagiography.  There is
almost always reasonable doubt about any historical question.  Should
that silence authors and prevent them from presenting their best
guess as to the answer?  To say "my reading of the evidence is that
Jefferson fathered Sally Hemings's children" becomes, in your frame,
a terrible crime against his memory.  The DNA evidence only shows
that *some* Jefferson was the father, and it *might* have been one
other than Thomas—although circumstantial evidence makes it clear who
is the most likely candidate.  (Some of the outraged white Jefferson
hagiographers treated Barbara Chase-Riboud like a heretic and
criminal when she first proposed the Hemings theory years ago.  TJ
couldn't *possibly* have done such a thing.)  This makes a courtroom-
like two dimensional dichotomy out of the multidimensional continua
of real life.

I certainly would't want to belong to any movement in which daring to
doubt or criticize the founder is a one-way ticket to permanent
exile.  Your suggestion that anyone who doesn't give HPB the benefit
of every doubt can't be a Theosophist implies that attitude.  It
really doesn't seem to fit the values suggsted in the three objects
or much of HPB's writings.  I think an educational model, rather than
a legal one, fits the Theosophical movement better.  And in an
educational setting there is nothing wrong with entertaining many
different POVs about historical figures, without regarding criticism
as sacrilege.

Glad to see you here,


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