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Re: The Algeo HPB Letters and John Cooper

Apr 20, 2006 12:13 PM
by robert_b_macd

--- In, gregory@... wrote:
> The suggestion that John included �fake� letters is
ridiculous. John, as an
> historian, considered it important to include controversial, and
> dubious, letters so that these could be considered and any impression
that the
> correspondence had been �censored� avoided. Contentious
letters were, in John�s
> work, clearly identified and the arguments for and against their
> considered. This is the approach of a scholar, rather than that of a
> believer� or a hagiographer.
> All of John�s material is now accessible at the National Library
of Australia.
> Dr Gregory Tillett

I thank Gregory for the point of view of the historian.  I also
understand his
loyalty to his friend John Cooper.  I had the opportunity to meet John
in Edmonton and found him to be a generous and gracious individual.

I just wanted to make a third differentiation in possible approaches to
letters of HPB.  Gregory gives us the approach of the historian or
scholar.   He
alludes to the approach of the "true believer" or hagiographer.  I would
like to
add the approach of the theosophist.  How would the three approaches

1. The scholar is interested in trying to understand HPB.  He will look
at all
the letters, contentious or otherwise.  He will look at each letter and
argue the
validity of each on its own merits.  This is the objective approach of
the scholar.

- the weakness of the approach is that scholars will take different
positions and
argue for the inclusion of different letters or parts of letters.  This
is a nice
diversion but will never amount to anything definitive.  Some things
cannot be concluded definitively, the state of mind of individual human
being one of them.  Scholars are concerned with coming to answers that
most or
all of them are not wise enough to arrive at.    However, our world is a
one and for the time being this type of investigation has some merit.

2.  The hagiographer is interested in lifting the source of the letters,
in this case
HPB, to the status of Saint and discount all letters that are not in
harmony with
this particular world view.

-this is a political move designed to give HPB and those that follow her
power by attracting more followers to the TS.  This is obviously one of
the evil
ploys that theosophy was re-introduced to fight against.  The
hagiographer is
not a theosophist.

3. Within the theosophical group there can be no friction as everyone is
responsible for his own set of beliefs.  Different people may believe
things, but the group as a whole is beholden to the beliefs of none. 
They do
believe in the principles of logical discourse,  brotherhood, and the
importanceof the various fields of study (religion, philosophy,
Any effort to limit this will be met with force by the group.
Theosophists can believe what they want.   That is why members of this
group get upset when an attack on a member seems to get personal.  They
perceive this to be an effort to undermine the freedoms guaranteed by
theosophy.  We are not responsible for the beliefs of others. If you
another member and try to make him adopt some belief,  then you are a
danger to the group.  Personal attacks against anyone are not tolerated.
That is the rule.

If someone tries to introduce a set of statements or letters whose
deduction is that a member of the group (ie, HPB) is a liar, then it is
incumbent upon theosophist to defend against those allegations that
cannot be proven.   That is the only way that the Movement can defend
its right for individual members to believe what they choose.  We do not
have a creed to protect, only each other.  If we tolerate personal
against one another, then there is nothing to hold the group together
it can be easily usurped.   Every members arguments must be allowed to
stand on their own merit unsullied by personal accusations.  Our creed
Truth and Brotherhood. The scholar is beholden to the former but not the
latter.   The scholar does not understand this and sees the attempt to
demand the truth as "censoring".  They, for the most part, are unable to
make this important distinction.  The theosophist has surpassed the
scholar in that he is interested in the Great Truths and is willing to
his curiousity about the little truths concerning people's lives.  That
is not
to say that we will not acknowledge proof but if theosophists allow
allegations against fellow members to stand, then there can be no trust,
without trust theosophy ceases to exist.  This is what most scholars do


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