To Robert Bruce MacDonald: "Attacks", etc. Part I
Feb 11, 2006 12:09 PM
To Robert Bruce MacDonald:
"Attacks", "Personal Aspect" or Otherwise to the Attacks, etc.
Dear Robert Bruce MacDonald,
On Theos-Talk, you wrote concerning me:
I don't think anyone is accusing Mr. Caldwell of bad will, but
rather of inappropriate behavior. Will speaks to motive which none
of us can know. Behavior is there for all to see. I suspect
what people object to with Mr. Caldwell is that there is a personal
aspect to his attacks....I don't think anyone objects to the
principles of the subjects that Mr. Caldwell wants to discuss,
but rather to his confrontational style. If after years of trying he
hasn't gotten answers to his questions, maybe he should change his
approach. What do you think Daniel?
Bruce, when I first read the above material from you,
I heard a voice whisper in my ear,
"He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."
This has prompted me to decide to write a series
of articles with that title:
"He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone."
Now of course you don't exactly define what you mean by
"attacks" or by "personal aspect" but I will ask you
to give your opinion of some examples so we will better
understand your point of view.
I ask you if these examples could ALSO be considered
"attacks" and if they have "personal aspects"?
I think these examples are even more important to discuss
since you also wrote to Paul Johnson the following:
I understand human nature to be such that if we 'act'
civil and respectful towards one another then in time
we will 'be' civil and respectful towards one another.
We learn by doing. If we stay away from inuendo (corrosive)
or bold face accusations of ill motive or ignorant motive,
then we remove a hurtful element from this site...."
First of all, I'm wondering if these just quoted words of
yours have actually guided you as editor of FOHAT and the
kind of material you have permitted in that Theosophical
Or is this policy only a new one that you want to see
implemented on this site and not necessarily in the pages
But I will deal with this a little later.
First the examples.
The first example I give you is what Mr. Aveline posted
here not too long ago.
I am not certain if the article from which this quote is extracted
was ever published in FOHAT or THE AQUARIAN THEOSOPHIST.
Do you know if this article by Mr. Aveline was published in FOHAT?
Anyway, Bruce, would you consider what Mr. Aveline wrote as
an "attack" and as an attack having a "personal aspect" to it?
Here are Mr. Aveline's words:
The way Daniel Caldwell and John Algeo – editors of "The
Esoteric World of Madame Blavatsty and of "The Letters of H.P.
Blavatsky, volume I " – see Theosophy is based in a
certain moral relativism.
It seems that for this kind of editor everything can be
true and everything can be false, according to their own
Will publishing libels against HPB make a book "hotter"
in the market?
May belittling HPB help keeping the structure of the Adyar
Society the way it is now, Leadbeaterian, churchlike and
They won't think twice. They do not seem to care too
much about truth....
Now Bruce, what is your honest opinion?
Does Mr. Aveline's words seem "civil and respectful" to
Did Mr. Aveline (to quote your own words) "stay away from inuendo
(corrosive) or bold face accusations of ill motive" when
writing what he did about Dr. Algeo and me?
And if by chance this article did appear in FOHAT (I hope it
didn't!), do you think you as editor are encouraging
a "civil and respectful" atmosphere in your magazine by
allowing such words to be expressed?
Now I will turn to the second example which unfortunately
I do not have the exact quote for but I'm sure you
can probably supply me with.
Apparently in the Spring 1998 issue of FOHAT, you wrote
an editorial in which you make certain comments
about Paul Johnson's book which he wrote on
Blavatsky and the Mahatmas.
At the time I wrote to you as follows:
"...you come down quite hard on Johnson's research
and conclusions. In fact, you give a quite negative
assessement and portrayal of Johnson's scholarship.
And you even do some 'psychoanalysis' on Johnson's
motivations, etc. "
Later in the same letter, I again write:
"You even indulged in pseudo-psychoanalysis of
Johnson's psyche, motivations, etc."
It would appear that I believed you were indulging
in an "ad hominem" argument against Johnson instead of
just dealing with the substance of his arguments, etc.
as presented in his book.
Since I cannot find my copy of that particular issue of
FOHAT, can you be so kind as to provide me a copy of your
exact words (you can simply post your words to this Theos-Talk
forum) especially that part where you apparently write about
his "psyche" and "motivations?
I ask you, do you think your own written words constitute
an "attack" and have "personal aspects" to it?
Have you in fact followed your own wise words which read:
"stay away from inuendo (corrosive) or bold face accusations
of ill motive..."???
The third example:
In 2003 Volume I of LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY (edited by
John Algeo)was published by the Theosophical Publishing House,
The Fall, 2004 issue of FOHAT contains an editorial by you
introducing letters from readers criticizing John Algeo for
including in this Volume I of the LETTERS OF H.P. BLAVATSKY the
"spy letter" (Letter No. 7) and nineteen "Solovyov letters"
(especially letters No. 12,17, 53, 69 and 76).
Apparently these "HPB" letters are considered by you and these
readers to be frauds or at least partial fabrications.
In your editorial comments, you wrote as follows:
"One could conclude...that the powers of
Wheaton and Adyar are trying to introduce
a PERVERTED understanding of Blavatsky
into the world...."
"There are very good POLITICAL reasons
for including those letters. Adyar and
Wheaton embrace a brand of 'theosophy'
that is built upon the work of Annie Besant,
Charles Leadbeater, and their worshipping
"Adyar and Wheaton have to believe, and they
have TO ENSURE that their members believe in
the sainthood of at least Besant. This
sainthood cannot be guaranteed if Blavatsky,
Judge and their interpretations of the Masters
are not made suspect. The easiest way to
accomplish this is TO ATTACK the reputations
of these two founders of the society and
attribute to them base, political motives,
to make them as ethical as a Jesuit.
"Adyar and Wheaton obviously WANT these letters
included in these collections and YOU CAN BE SURE
that they will not be the last of
their type. There will be other letters
of the same ilk in future volumes. If
you are members of these organizations, do
not let your leadership get away with this."
[Quoted from Fall, 2004 issue of FOHAT] Caps added.
Now Bruce I ask you:
Is this an "attack"?
You certainly don't name names but you make vague references to
Adyar and Wheaton and to their "leaders" so one might assume you are
referring to certain flesh and blood Theosophical leaders who are
doing all these things!
And you even claim that "they" are engaged in a specific attack!
And you seem quite confident in what you state and even say:
"...you can be sure..."
Bruce, do your own words here reflect a "civil and respectful"
Did you follow your own advise to "stay away from inuendo
(corrosive) or bold face accusations of ill motive..."?
I will present more examples in Part II.
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