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Theos-World Re: TPH & Recent Libels Against HPB

Mar 04, 2006 05:54 PM
by robert_b_macd

--- In, leonmaurer@... wrote:
> In a message dated 3/4/06 4:52:00 PM, robert.b.macdonald@... writes:
> > >Theosophists and others,
> > >
> > >The following letter has one basic failure of understanding that
> > >every statement it makes or conclusion it implies.   And that
> > >is that; A true "Historian" can only report *everything* that is
> > >to the *truth* of *exactly* what happened, including what anyone
said or
> > >wrote, at any particular time in history -- without making any
> > >judgments or opinions about any of it.
> > 
> > It seems to me that this is exactly what Daniel refuses to do, make a
> > personal judgment.  If he believes the Coulombs and Solovyoffs of this
> > world, he should have the courage to say so and argue why they
should be
> > taken seriously.  If he believes, as others have argued, that much
of what
> > they say is fabricated (hence lies), he should have the courage to
come out
> > strong in support of HPB.  What Daniel does instead (intentionally
or not)
> > is insidious.  He repeats the lies without any argument at all (he
> > states that some of the points of view are from enemies, as if
enemies and
> > liars are the same thing).  Some would argue that this lack of
taking a
> > stance is cowardice at best, and diabolical at its worst.
> > 
> > Depends on whether or not Daniel wrote his book simply as an unbiased 
> historian or as a biased theosophist or pseudo theosophist with some
sort of ax to 
> grind.   My argument is that we should not allow ourselves to
prejudge that 
> issue, and if either is true, then Carlos is still wrong in his
> harassment of Daniel based on suspician alone with respect to
another unrelated issue 
> (i.e., Daniel's supposed fraud of using a pseudonym and his "guilty
> proven innocent" silence).
> > 

I think it is on this point our understanding of what is going on
differs.  First of all, I don't know what an "unbiased historian" is.
 It seems that all historians are stuck with whatever prejudices they
bring to the project.  If as a scientist you present a paper before
your peers, I trust that they understand that the paper expresses a
point of view, your point of view, as to how you view a particular
scientific problem.  They expect you to make persuasive arguments as
to why your point of view should be accepted.  They will test you with
probing questions to see what weaknesses exist with your arguments. 
To expect anything less from historians is to belittle the work they
do.  To say that Daniel has presented an unbiased presentation
belittles historical research.  What Daniel has done is gone into the
historical archives and presented items from those archives without
fair commentary on them.

Dave has presented us with the following as to what Daniel has written
concerning his Coulomb testimony:

"The Coulomb attack, as was later evident, had no solid foundation
whatsoever. It was based on forged and partially forged letters,
purporting to have been written by H. P. Blavatsky, with instructions
to arrange fraudulent psychic phenomena of various kinds. A Christian
missionary magazine in Madras published the most incriminating
portions of these letters."

What value does a lie add to a book that is purportedly about "The
Occult World of Madame Blavatsky"?  Are not lies when retold simply
dealing in gossip?  Is this not pandering to man's lower nature?  If
he believes the above then why even include the letter?  Lies do not
add balance to an argument.  In no way is a lie indicative of an
unbiased presentation.  If I am going to write a book on Daniel,
should I throw a few lies in to balance things out and make the
presentation less biased?  I think it is important we understand what
is going on here.

Here is the other side of the coin.  Archives exist for a reason.  One
of the roles of an archivist is to check out the credentials of the
researcher wanting to access the archive.  If the researcher is known
for producing salascious books dealing with the personal foibles of
his subject matter, then the archivist might, quite responsibly,
refuse that particular researcher access.  This, admittedly is a
judgment call, but the very fact that there is a judgment to be made
indicates that there is an ethical point at stake here.  Daniel styles
himself as an archivist, but then he turns around and makes everything
public.  He presents to that selfish element of the research community
the material they need to do their dirty work, whatever it may be.  As
an archivist it could be argued he is being irresponsible, as an
historian cowardly, as an agent provocateur diabolical.  Whatever he
is, and I don't claim to know, he should be confronted and asked to
explain himself.  If he wants to be an historian, then be one.  If he
wants to be an archivist, then be an archivist.  Just don't mix
everything together and call it the role of an unbiased historian for
it surely is not that.  All he does with his gossip by repeating it is
to keep it alive.  Morally, it would be better if it were allowed to
die back into the dark corners of the archivists cellar.

I firmly believe that this is the argument that Daniel should be
dealing with.  If Carlos is asking Daniel whether, essentially, he is
an agent provocateur, perhaps this is the reason why.

I hope this fleshes out the argument more fully,


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