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Altruism and the Future of Theosophy

Mar 06, 2007 05:37 AM
by proto37

Altruism and the Future of Theosophy

    I have the weird affliction of thinking 
that the _Life_ and future of any movement 
depends to a large degree on practical altruism.  
This could be something as simple as distributing 
free literature to bigger projects - like 
orpanages or shelters for pregnant hookers 
like Tingley did.  There is some law of nature 
involved, and indeed it appeals to the essence 
of what Theosophy is about.  Blavatsky wrote:

    "He who does not practice altruism:  he 
who is not prepared to share his last morsel 
with a weaker or poorer than himself;  he who 
neglects to help his brother man, of whatever 
race, nation, or creed, whenever and whereever 
he meets suffering, and who turns a deaf ear 
to the cry of human misery;  he who hears 
an innocent person slandered, whether a 
brother Theosophist or not, and does not 
undertake his defense as he would undertake 
his own - is no Theosophist." (Lucifer, 
Vol. I, p 169)

    " . . . he who would profit by the 
wisdom of the universal mind, has to 
reach it through the whole of humanity 
without distinction of race, complexion, 
religion or social status.  It is altruism, 
not ego-ism even in its most legal and 
noble conception, that can lead the unit 
to merge its little Self in the Universal 
Selves.  It is to these needs and to this 
work that the true disciple of true 
Occultism has to devote himself, if he 
would obtain theo-sophy, divine Wisdom 
and Knowledge." ('Occultism versus the 
Occult Arts,' Lucifer, Vol. II, May, 1888.)

   One can page through old issues of 
"Universal Brotherhood" (available online 
at TUP) to see what types of projects 
Tingley's Point Loma Society were involved in.  
Olcott's constant lecturing and the 
establishment of Buddhist schools in Ceylon 
/ Sri Lanka is an example from the early 
movement (and for which he's still acknowledged 
there.)  Olcott's period of public magnetic 
healing sessions is another, with other 
aspects to it.  Besant's Society was large 
in spite of her looney philosophy, and 
this was probably because of her altruistic 
social reputation, work in the Indian 
Congress, and the like. With their 
considerable basis in socially altruistic 
causes, Besant and Olcott's Society is the 
largest today, and Tingley's Society 
produced the best minds (Purucker, de Zirkoff, 
Barborka, Plummer, Barborka, Pt. Loma 
Publications authors, etc.)  There is a 
relationship between altruistic work and 
buddhic / higher manas inspiration.

    Who and what were the alturistic projects 
at ULT?  Wadia is perhaps one.  Henry Geiger 
and his "Manas" magazine is the only other 
I am aware of.  Geiger published "Manas" 
weekly for about 40 years and if was full 
of the work of socially-oriented altruists. 
Geiger died about 20 years ago. What 
went on in India, I don't know. Who is 
there today?  If any movement like the 
Theosophical one is to survive, I think 
it has to have some altrusitic effort 
directed at the general public and "disinherited," 
as HPB described.  No public work - no group 
- eventurally. That is where the "life" comes 
from and _raison d'etre_ in the general 
scheme of nature.  Any socially-oriented 
altuist project in the long term is doomed 
to failure, because that is the nature of 
the current world, but the effort, limited 
successful results, and the mind-impression 
left behind is what counts.

          - jake j.


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