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Food for thought: What were John Cooper's Motivations?

Jul 05, 2006 08:13 AM
by danielhcaldwell

As recently noted by Mr. Carlos Aveline, the late John Cooper
wrote as follows in "The Canadian Theosophist", Toronto, 
March/April 1991:

"Through the kindness of those who are carrying on the 
work of Boris de Zirkoff, I have been engaged by the 
Theosophical Publishing House [Wheaton, Illinois, USA] 
to prepare a critical edition of "The Collected Letters 
of H. P. Blavatsky".

In particular, Mr. Cooper wrote:

"...All letters written by H.P.B. will be included. 
These will INCLUDE letters whose authenticity is doubtful, 
...." caps added.

As John Cooper himself wrote elsewhere:

"My major news is that the first volume of The Collected Letters of 
H.P. Blavatsky is almost completed. Wheaton will be sending me back 
shortly the second proof of the text of the letters and their 

And as evidence that Mr. Cooper followed this editorial
policy, we have both his completed dissertation (which is available
in microfiche) and his manuscript sent to Wheaton.

In other words, both John Cooper's dissertation and his manuscript
which was to be published by the Theosophical Publishing House, 
Wheaton, INCLUDED "letters whose authenticity is doubtful."

Mr. Cooper died before his manuscript was published by
TPH Wheaton.

John Algeo who then became the editor of this HPB LETTERS PROJECT 
also INCLUDED these SAME "disputed" letters in what was eventually 
published by the same TPH Wheaton as THE COLLECTED LETTERS OF H.P. 

Mr. Carlos Aveline has been more than eager and happy to ascribe
certain motives to John Algeo for including these letters:

"Algeo has been for some years the international vice-president of 
the Adyar Society, and from the viewpoint of political power, he 
might have strong reasons to use those old slanders [as found in 
the 'disputed' letters] as instruments to attack HPB at the moral 
ground. It would be a cunning way to help prevent Adyar Society 
members from rediscovering true Theosophy, or from getting rid of 
the ritualistic fancies and authoritarian power-structure created by 
C. W. Leadbeater."

And this was the same type of "reasoning" used by Robert Bruce 
MacDonald in his "theosophical" editorial in FOHAT:

"There are very good political reasons
for INCLUDING those letters. Adyar and
Wheaton embrace a brand of 'theosophy'
that is built upon the work of Annie Besant,
Charles Leadbeater, and their worshipping

"Adyar and Wheaton have to believe, and they
have to ensure that their members believe in
the sainthood of at least Besant. This
sainthood cannot be guaranteed if Blavatsky,
Judge and their interpretations of the Masters
are not made suspect. The easiest way to
accomplish this is to attack the reputations
of these two founders of the society and
attribute to them base, political motives,
to make them as ethical as a Jesuit. Adyar
and Wheaton obviously WANT these letters
INCLUDED in these collections and you can
be sure that they will not be the last of
their type. There will be other letters
of the same ilk in future volumes. If
you are members of these organizations, do
not let your leadership get away with this."
[Quoted from Fall, 2004 issue of FOHAT] caps added.

But I ask:

What were John Cooper's motivations for ALSO including the very
SAME letters?

Please note that whether the volume of HPB's letters had been 
published with Cooper as the editor or with Algeo as the editor, the
volume would have been issued by the SAME publisher and the SAME 
disputed letters would have been included in either scenario.

So would Mr. MacDonald or Mr. Aveline have been willing to ascribe 
to Mr. Cooper the SAME motive for publishing the disputed letters as 
they  do to Algeo?

Had John Cooper lived to see Volume I published would he have found 
himself the target of the many aspersions Mr. Aveline has instead 
hurled at Dr. Algeo?

And had Boris de Zirkoff lived to publish Volume I of HPB's letters, 
would he have found himself also the target of Mr. Aveline's 

Here is what Mr. Aveline just wrote yesterday:

"John Algeo is, no doubt, the main responsible for such an attempt 
to absorb dozens of slanderous texts into the heart of the 
theosophical literature   nay, into the very body of HPB's 
writings. Yet one could say that this was not his idea. After all, 
he only put it into practice. In a way, IT ALL STARTED with John 
Cooper back in 1991, or EVEN EARLIER with Boris de Zirkoff."

"....First., there was no need for Zirkoff to translate many of 
those 'letters' from the Russian, as he did, or at least to plan to 
publish them, if he planned indeed. Why publishing and circulating 
forgeries?" caps added.

As far as I know Mr. de Zirkoff planned to publish these same 
letters and in all my dealings with Dara Eklund, who was the 
executor of Mr. de Zirkoff's estate and the assistant compiler of 
two volumes of HPB's Colleted writings, I never got the impression 
that Mr. de Zirkoff had intended not to include said letters.

Therefore do the motivations ascribed to Algeo by Aveline and 
MacDonald apply also to Mr. de Zirkoff or even to Ms. Eklund?

Food for thought....



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