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Internet & Theosophy/TS

Feb 24, 2009 09:47 AM
by MKR

There is an interesting discussion going on about Internet and theosophy.
The age of Internet can be compared to that of the invention of printing and
how it changed the world and it made information accessible to much wider
range of population than before.

Printing was one-way static distribution of information which did not have
the velocity. Internet can be and is used for static and multi-way
communication with the velocity and range that we have seen never before.
The natural way Internet came up on the world scene can be likened to the
coming up of a new root race. One day world woke up and all of a sudden we
were all surprised with the appearance and widespread use of Internet.

One key result is the availability of out of copyright classics (sometimes
even copyrighted materials can be found) on-line on the Internet, generally
due to the individual initiative than that of organizations. Organizations
are generally behind the curve and the blame can be squarely placed on the
aging octogenarian and septuagenarian leaders who do not have an
understanding of the Internet except perhaps for the use of e-mail out of
sheer necessity and lack of any other alternative.

The precursor to e-mail communication was the fax and even today it is very
widely used due to the simplicity of using it. Over a decade ago, when fax
was de-facto means of quick transfer of written information, and e-mail was
in its infancy, I have had first hand experience in trying to use both of
them with some of the theosophical leaders in the West.

Much to my disappointment, there was a stubborn resistance, which perhaps is
still there in a very subtle way. Whenever I sent e-mail and/or fax
communication to this well-known âleaderâ, the response was always by laser
printed on high quality (expensive) letterhead paper sent by snail mail. I
was using e-mail and fax because of (1) I was spending my own money and (2)
I liked the speed of communication. The âleaderâ was spending the resources
of the organization and it was not coming from his pocket and perhaps liked
the float one gets from using snail mail. I simply could never understand
the logic behind it except the stubbornness normally seen in people in power
when dealing with lowly ordinary members.

I also believe that there is an underlying serious philosophical and to some
extent self-serving reason for the resistance to Internet. With all the
incessant talk about an âopen mindâ necessary for any theosophist, most of
the leaders have been functioning in an environment where they had total
control over the lines of communication with their membership and thus can
feed the membership only information seen as beneficial to their objectives.
This is to be expected since that is the way all organizations operate. An
attempt was made by some leaders last year in using this to defeat the
current International President.

There is another unusual characteristic you find in the TS. While it was not
there in the days of HPB and HSO, it crept into it after HPB passed away. It
is the unnecessary secrecy (lack of transparency) in the organizational side
â actions and decisions of the GC was hidden in great secrecy from the
members even though TS is not a secret organization and there was no need
for any secrecy in the GC decisions. This seems to have trickled down to the
sections as well. I think this was one of the things that was behind the
stern warning of Master KH in his 1900 letter about unnecessary secrecy
killing many organizations in the past.

We all saw what secrecy contributed to the last yearâs electioneering and
subsequent events and the unfortunate tone that was set seems to continue
even to this day. Internet and Secrecy do not go well. Actually Internet
contributes to transparency in every facet of life in the world because it
is very easy to distribute information around the world without anyone being
able to control the distribution.

Let us keep tuned and see what develops in the coming days.


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