Re: Theos-World What I most admire
Mar 11, 2006 08:10 AM
by Steven Levey
My thanks also, Paul.
kpauljohnson <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Perhaps the most honest answer to your question is right off the top
of my head: her internationalism.
I came to HPB as a follower in my late 20s. Dived into her books,
the SD especially, and led a Pasadena TS branch in the 1980s for ten
years. Through all that time her writings were at the spiritual
heart of my worldview and books like the SD and Voice were most
important to defining it. But gradually by the late 1980s I became
more interested in books like Caves and Jungles and Old Diary Leaves
and a more biographical narrative approach. Cayce became more
central to my spiritual worldview once the Theosophical caca started
to hit the fan in the mid-90s, but I was already shifting into ex-
Theosophist consciousness by that point. What I most admire now, as
an ex-Theosophist in a related organization, is not at all what I
most admired as a follower twenty years ago. (The spiritual
authority of her writings.)
It's her mind-boggling, unprecedented straddling of an amazing
number of different cultures. Not just knowing people all over the
world, starting with Kalmuck Buddhists and Russian Rosicrucians in
her childhood and ending with British intellectuals in her old age,
but actually *affecting* different cultures. HPB is a significant
figure in American religious history. In Indian cultural and
political history. (Break that down into Bengali-- Punjabi-- etc.
for the full impact.) In English literary history. In Russian art
and musical history. On and on. I can think of no one else of her
era, and certainly no woman, who managed to influence so many
aspects of so many cultures.
Does that help?
--- In email@example.com, "krsanna" wrote:
> Before you decide to leave the list, could you help out with some
> questions. Please? Most of what I have seen in your posts is
> defense that denies allegations made against you.
> Please tell me a little about what you do think, believe and feel
> before leaving. In other words, be a little more proactive in
> stating your position. This is for my benefit, so I never have to
> look back and wonder what Paul Johnson really thought. I'm sure
> have stated your position in other contexts, i.e., your book.
> However, would you be kind enough to elaborate a little?
> We don't have a significant religious event to commemorate with a
> cease fire -- Christmas and Ramadan are not approaching.
> Nonetheless, we could call a cease fire for 24 hours with no
> while we listen to what you have to say.
> We can think of this as the Ides of March Cease Fire. The St.
> Patty's Day Cease Fire in honor of the fighting Irish might be
> too. Demilitarizing a zone for 24 hours never hurt anybody.
> FIRST QUESTION: You say below that you admire HPB and her books
> very much. Will you elaborte on what it is that you admire about
> Thanks, Krsanna Duran
> "I admire HPB and her books very much, and for close to 20 years
> freely shared my views of her and researches on her with fellow
> Theosophists with no problems. No one ever suggested to me that I
> was not a Theosophist. In his introduction to The Masters
> Joscelyn Godwin wrote: "Mr. Johnson's work occupies the middle
> ground. He obviously has a great respect and admiration for HPB,
> but he has no illusions as to the mischievous and even dark sides
> her personality. He observes the convention without which
> scholarship would be impossible, namely that of not imposing one's
> own religious beliefs on the matter to be studied. But he
> believes that HPB and her Masters achieved something of tremendous
> importance for the human race." That is just as true today as
> he wrote it in 1994. It is clearly however not good enough to
> satisfy Theosophical inquisitors. How many furiously antagonistic
> attacks does it take before one fears to express his views?"
> --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "kpauljohnson"
> > Dear Anand,
> > As I have just learned, when I leave the list because of the
> > degradation of atmosphere I won't be the first to do so. You
> > >
> > > Hello Paul,
> > > It appears that some people don't like your work 'Masters
> > > They are trying to make you go out of talk-lists.
> > > seem to be surrendering by leaving this theos-talk.
> > To stay and fight would also be a kind of surrender; surrender
> > untheosophical atmosphere on an alleged theosophical list. To
> stay and
> > not fight would be surrendering to abuse. I don't see a good
> > alternative here.
> > And even if you
> > > leave the list, they will try to demean you and your book. So
> > > suggest you to stay.
> > > Suppose you don't accept Blavatsky, why do you fear to say so
> > openly ?
> > I admire HPB and her books very much, and for close to 20 years
> > shared my views of her and researches on her with fellow
> > with no problems. No one ever suggested to me that I was not a
> > Theosophist. In his introduction to The Masters Revealed,
> > Godwin wrote: "Mr. Johnson's work occupies the middle ground.
> > obviously has a great respect and admiration for HPB, but he has
> > illusions as to the mischievous and even dark sides of her
> > personality. He observes the convention without which
> > would be impossible, namely that of not imposing one's own
> > beliefs on the matter to be studied. But he evidently believes
> > HPB and her Masters achieved something of tremendous importance
> for the
> > human race." That is just as true today as when he wrote it in
> > It is clearly however not good enough to satisfy Theosophical
> > inquisitors. How many furiously antagonistic attacks does it
> > before one fears to express his views?
> > > It is not necessary that you should accept Blavatsky or
> > > TS gives complete freedom to all.
> > > After coming in contact, I soon realized that Blavatsyans have
> > > problematic mental structure which was result of perhaps study
> > > Blavatky's writing.
> > > AG
> > As Erica has just shown, there are abundant quotes from HPB that
> put to
> > shame all the hatefulness her supposed followers have expressed
> > those who don't share their beliefs. I would suggest that
> > HPB's writings per se, there is something problematic about the
> > association between esotericism and elitism. "We know spiritual
> > secrets, and we're superior to those who don't" is bad enough
> > a sentiment shared within a private club like the ES. When it
> > a *public* stance of contemptuous dismissal of everything
> > narrow range of Theosophical orthodoxy, it becomes a total
> reversal of
> > everything HPB stood for. As someone just wrote me in private
> > what theos-talk has become represents HPB's worst nightmare.
> > Cheers,
> > Paul
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