What Criteria do we use for investigating the past?
Feb 15, 2006 10:57 AM
During the Judge Case, Annie Besant, et. al., were compelled at one
point to drop their charges against Judge because to continue revolved
around the point on whether one believed in the Masters or not. As
belief in the Masters is not necessary in order to be a Theosophist,
it could be argued that Paul's or anyone elses beliefs on the matter
are irrelevant. Therefore the argument on whether Pauls book is true
or false is also irrelevant for theosophists.
One thing that might be relevant is the question of what type of
criteria an author should use to write about the past. Let's remove
Paul and his work from the equation altogether.
We often hear scientific materialists talk about the objective truth.
Is truth objective? It seems to me that one theory about truth, and
one that many theosophists adhere to is that the highest truths are
completely subjective and therefore can only be experienced in a
certain state of meditation within one's own mind. These highest
truths find ultimate expression on the physical plane and are
difficult to discern. The physical gets described as an illusion.
How can we write about people from the past and still remain fair to
them? Is there a moral component to expressing doubts about people
whether living or dead? Perhaps the dead do not have to be treated
with as much care? If so, why? Is the truth of an individual to be
found in some sort of mix containing what they say about themselves
and what their worst enemies say regarding them? Is there really any
good reason for trying to figure out what motivated the people of the
past? Perhaps it is more important to look at how their words and
deeds affected others, and how they affected the currents of history.
Perhaps this is the true work of the historian. Maybe I am missing
the point altogether. Enlighten me people.
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