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Theosophical Democracy vs Theosophical Autonomy

Jul 07, 2009 06:44 PM
by robert_b_macd

A few more thoughts . . .

This discussion seems to be getting hung up on the theory that a truly democratic Society would solve our problems, or it is argued on the other hand that we do not even need a Society, theosophy has been disseminated in the West, and we need only study what we all have access to.  It is argued that the internet can be the tie that binds us all.

Theosophy does not exist in a vacuum, it is a reflection of the world around us and we again are reflected into that world.  Chuck pointed out one of the deeper truths, that being, knowledge gets reflected into the ether and then over time is reflected back into us, informing us all.  I have often thought, that if the TS could discover a new way to govern itself, then perhaps this would signal that the world is on the verge of doing the same.  Theosophy was introduced to the West in order to lead thought in new directions and have that thought evolve our institutions.  In order to do that we don't have to be noticed by everyone, if Chuck is right, as soon as we change that will seed the crystal, if you like, of change all around us.

Cass has brought up the whole issue of autonomy.  Right now, if you are not surrounded by a like minded group of theosophists who are going to allow you to develop along lines you feel are right, the best thing to do is study alone, and perhaps interact with others half-way around the globe on the internet and do the best you can in these spiritually dark times.  Who can argue with that?  We are talking about change here and it certainly does not seem like people, theosophists included, are open to real change.

On the other hand Anand is suggesting that a true democracy will solve all of our problems.  Democracy is the silver bullet that will slay the beast of totalitarianism.  But what is it and how is it going to work?  Some say that the TS began as the most democratic of institutions but look at it now.  If India, Pakistan, and other developing Nations are allowed to achieve economic power, then they will learn that democracy is no protection.  Ask any educated individual from the West about democracy, and if they think about it for even a few moments, they will have to admit that in any election they have ever voted in, they invariably have voted for the individual that they have disliked the least.  Populist leaders like Obama are rare, and when they do achieve power their voting records are no less corrupt than all the rest.  It is not enough to claim that democracy is the panacea, we need to know the details.

How can a Society remain democratic when it invariably has to struggle with an uneducated and apathetic electorate.  Who in this group knew anything about the by-laws of the Society to which they belong before this last election?  Those who do not belong to the Adyar Society, who among you know anything about your Societies' bylaws now?  Democracy is nothing without an informed and engaged electorate.  The problem is not about re-instituting democracy, it is about re-inventing the electorate, how do you do that?  Again, the answer Cass gives seems to be ringing loud now, you wait until they are born.  But what if they are out there now, waiting for a form of government that will inform them and engage them.  What would the nature of that government be?  Change has never come before the idea, how could it?

What happens if governments take the internet away tomorrow, or limit it in such ways that you dare not speak your mind or relate to others of similar mind?  Then where will the TS be?  We will be stuck with a TS leadership that is probably a reflection of the government leaders that took away the internet or we will be totally autonomous reading and studying theosophy under a dim lamp in a dark basement.  The governments will still be democratic, you can either vote for this tool of the unseen power or that tool of the unseen power. 

I suspect it is important that theosophists think about these questions, because if we can figure them out, perhaps humanity would be ready to follow.

Robert Bruce   


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