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Let the reader decide for himself

Apr 28, 2006 10:25 AM
by Robert Bruce MacDonald

What is it that damages the reputation of HPB more than anything else? Is it the periodical negative biographies put out by Meade, Bechofer-Roberts, or Washington? No, these can always be shown to be unbalanced distortions of the actual facts. Theosophists can deal with these kinds of attacks. What is problematic is the allegations themselves. The enemies of Blavatsky would no doubt destroy the arguments of these inadequate biographies on the one hand, and then declare that in all fairness the allegations that prompted the biographies to begin with have still not been dealt with adequately by theosophists. The enemies do not need to prove anything, they need only keep the allegations alive. Theosophists, being fair-minded individuals, will in many cases admit that it is only fair that the allegations be kept alive. After all, theosophists have nothing to hide.

This is a trap. Allegations by their very nature can never be 100% proved or disproved. If HPB says one thing and her enemies say another, who is telling the truth? In a court of law you look for internal inconsistencies within the various stories and inconsistencies with other known facts. You also look at the credibility of the witnesses. You come to believe more in one story than the other when all the facts are put before you. That is not to say that if new information comes to light you might not change your mind completely because very often it is difficult to judge these sorts of issues. It is therefore incumbent upon the person putting forward the allegations to have a much stronger case if in the end we are going to accept that case.

For HPB we seem to use a different standard. It is up to the defenders of HPB to prove the allegations to be false. Despite the fact that internal inconsistencies have been identified, especially between the stories as put forward by the Coulombs and Solovyoff, and despite the fact that the Coulombs and Solovyoff have been shown to be wanting as far as their character is concerned, theosophists allow their enemies to hold to the argument that in truth and fairness, we cannot take Blavatsky's word concerning herself, over the words of these profligates.

Putting forward a mixture of facts (whether it be uncontested letters, or corroborated stories, etc.) with allegations ("I claim HPB wrote or did this...") is disingenuous, especially if HPB then denies the latter. Who else do we do this to? If you are going to make allegations, you had better be ready to prove them. For this reason I find it difficult to see any difference between Solovyoff making an allegation and someone else then repeating the allegation today. My first thought is: "Okay, if you want to use that allegation, prove it!" If you claim not to believe the allegation, you had better be ready to thoroughly debunk the allegation, otherwise, why keep it alive? Allegations are brought forward to be proven or disproven. It is disingenuous manipulation to present them with the argument that the readers should decide for themselves. Decide between what? Facts and allegations? No contest, get the allegations out of my face, I am not interested, especially if you are too lazy to try and prove them or have some other disingenuous motive for once again repeating them. If you repeat them out of ignorance then consider yourself told. Repeating unfounded allegations is not a moral thing to do.


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