Carlos and Paul: Ad Hominem Distractions??
Apr 20, 2006 02:32 PM
Way back in January 1997 when Paul Johnson did
an official reply to my HOUSE OF CARDS critique of
his books, after dealing in some detail with
some of my criticisms, he apparently couldn't resist
ending his reply with what I viewed at the time
as simply an "ad hominem" argument/distraction. He had
to try to analyze my motives, etc. etc. I quote some
of his words at the very end of this email with a
link to his whole reply.
It made me smile at the time and still does when
I read this sentence of his:
"Mr. Caldwell has ingratiated himself with Theosophical
orthodoxy by leading the charge against my work."
One assumption piled upon another and another and another piled upon
those! The whole section is full of them!
Even if all of what he wrote was GOSPEL TRUTH, what does
any of that [concerning my supposed motivations and actions]
have to do with the validity of my criticisms about his books?
At the time I decided to simply ignore his psychobabble speculation
about me and instead to reply to some of his "reply" dealing with
HPB and the Masters which was (believe it or not) the focus of my
HOUSE OF CARDS critique to begin with..... You can still read my
reply to his reply at:
Then last year we had dear Jerome Wheeler in the pages of FOHAT
write a "review" of my ESOTERIC WORLD OF MADAME BLAVATSKY and
instead of confining his comments to the contents of my book, he
choose to go "ad hominem" and suggest all sorts of dark motives,
etc. on my part, etc. etc.
Now of late, we have Paul's detective work posted once again by dear
Should I reply and what would be accomplished if I did?
I must say that I feel just like I did in 1997. What is to gained
by answering any of it. Do I really care if Carlos or anyone else
considers me a decent guy or ... the worse of dugpas (sorry
As far as I can tell, all of this is simply DISTRACTION. Ad hominem
arguments by nature are designed to distract.
One of the most distinguished of our posters here on Theos-Talk
several years ago stated that Paul Johnson wrote his books to make
money or (what was the other reason?) to achieve some kind of fame
(I think!). But why write such "garbage"? Even if the assertions
were totally true, does that really tell us whether the contents of
Paul's books are valid or not? I don't think so.
I have over the years tried to make some contributions to
Theosophical knowledge, in my books, in some articles, in the
contents of my website. If interested inquirers and students find
value in any of that material, great...if not ....then so be it.
I have had an abiding interest in Blavatsky, the Masters and
Theosophy since 1968 and I suspect that interest will continue until
I exit this physical plane. I will continue to post on Theos-Talk
material that I think may be of interest to some readers and I will
continue to add content to my website as well as work on my 7 book
projects. And from time to time I will not be on Theos-Talk as the
deadline for each of my books comes closer.
Carlos and those of like mind can continue to yell slander and use
ad Hominem arguments and distractions about me as much as they
want. But I have more important things to do than respond to such
thins. If people want to judge me for that...one way or the
other....good do it.
OBTW I have never gone out of my way to make friends or enemies of
Theosophists because I have noticed that there are unfortunately too
many cat fights among Theosophists to start with and I rather just
remain somewhat on the sidelines as far as interacting on a personal
level with Theosophists in general. I'm not saying that they are
not a friendly bunch of people. But I have lots of "regular"
friends and most of them don't even know that much about my interest
in Theosophy. Recently my friend Shawn whom I have known for about
5 years told me he has several books by HPB and has even read and
studied THE SECRET DOCTRINE. What a surprise!! I had no idea he was
even interested in the subject and it had never come up in any of
our conversations, etc.
Anyway, in the future if I have comments to make it will be directly
concerning the subject matter of Blavatsky, the Masters,
Theosophical history in general and of course the Theosophical
Enuff for now. I don't even have time right now to proofread my
jottings above. So consider it a very rough draft. Sorry.
And for the next 4 days I will not be posting much of anything since
I have to work on the 50 plus colored illustrations for my new book.
Anyway below is Paul's wonderful speculations and a link to his full
reply from 1997.
Why has Mr. Caldwell devoted such passionate
effort to discrediting my work, at the same time that he
promotes as reliable almost every other book on Theosophical
history produced by Theosophists? More puzzling to me, why
does he virtually ignore the large body of works that are
hostile to Blavatsky and dismissive of the Masters' existence,
while spending years publicly bombarding me, a basically friendly
Theosophical author, with blame and disdain? During the last
three and a half years that I have been regularly attacked by
Mr. Caldwell, these questions have arisen again and again, and
they remain perplexing. One likely incentive suggests itself:
Mr. Caldwell has ingratiated himself with Theosophical
orthodoxy by leading the charge against my work. Since he and
John Algeo have emerged as the chief denouncers of my books,
Dr. Algeo has announced that under his editorship Theosophical
Publishing House will reprint Mr. Caldwell's compilation of
laudatory accounts of HPB. Theirs is to be the official party
line (in which criticism of HPB is minimized) whereas my work
is to be the officially repudiated "house of cards."
The behavior of Mr. Caldwell and Dr. Algeo in response to
my work conveys an air of desperation. Not content to point
out a few flaws and praise a few strengths, they ignore the
evidence on behalf of the hypotheses offered ("No evidence" is
repeated like a mantram in Dr. Algeo's reviews) and attempt to
demolish my credibility. Such extreme tactics directed toward
a member of the same spiritual organization suggest that they
perceive the stakes to be very high. Why is my work perceived
by them as more "dangerous" than others which address the same
topic? What they are defending has all the earmarks of a true
"house of cards": a complex structure resting on a chain of
inferences and rooted in demonstrably false assumptions. (That
HPB and Olcott's accounts of the Masters are consistent and
reliable, most notably.) My hypotheses provide a paradigm
shift in approaches to the Masters, a shift that is extremely
unwelcome in orthodox circles. If the Theosophical movement
advances toward recognizing the need to sort out truth from
fiction on the topic of the Masters, many things become
subject to question. Most notably for Mme. Burnier and Dr.
Algeo, these are the legitimacy of the Esoteric Section based
on its alleged sponsorship by the Masters, since the TS remains
dominated by this secret inner group. Most importantly for Mr.
Caldwell, it might become necessary to reevaluate the spiritual
status of Mme. Blavatsky and her Masters and the authority of
texts he considers sacred. In order to forestall such
developments, they have chosen to kill the messenger through
an intellectualized form of character assassination. I can
only hope that perceptive readers will recognize such tactics
and what they reveal about those who use them. They strain
at the gnat of my minor errors, while swallowing the camel
of HPB's total credibility. This is their only strategy for
propping up the house of cards in which orthodox Theosophists
have been living for the past century. Until they can offer
their own explanation of the evidence I have presented, and
arguments for their interpretation of HPB, it will be obvious that
are more interested in defending dogmas than in searching for truth.
This, in the words of the Gospel of Matthew, is the behavior of
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