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the challenges that face the Theosophical society Adyar

Sep 11, 2009 12:07 PM
by katinka_hesselink

Hi all,

I've read Preethi's account of relations at Adyar last year with interest, however, I'm not surprised Mary Anderson denies the charges against Radha. After all it's one thing to complain a bit about relations with one's coworkers as they're going on. It's quite another to want them published on the internet for anybody to read. 

Theosophists I meet sometimes tell me things and then add: don't publish that. I guess Mary Anderson should have said the same to Preethi. Or better yet: Preethi should have asked Mary in advance whether she wanted those comments published. In the Internet age we're all journalists in a sense and we have to take the responsibility that comes with that to only publish about other people what is absolutely essential AND they agree can be published. 

It's different when it's issues of principle. Like when we were all protesting the potential change in how the president is elected. Or when we're talking about who the new president is going to be. But right now all that is settled and we need to get back to the work or running lodges and magazines, publishing books and organizing lectures. 

It's a normal fact of life that people who work together sometimes get along great, and at others don't. Posting such temporary complaints online a year after they happened is of no use to anybody, aside from the interest most of us have in gossip. 

If the TS is going to move forward into the 21st century in a way that is of use to humanity, we're going to have to face some real issues, instead of getting side tracked into personal complaints. 

Real issues we're facing:

- how to build community online in a way that is productive and helps people grow spiritually
- how to build community offline: help our lodges grow and be places of real study and a meeting place for people of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds
- how to transform our magazines into well... magazines. Quest is an actual magazine in this sense, though it might have a higher percentage of in depth theosophical content. The Theosophist and the Dutch magazine Theosofia (two of the magazines I know) aren't magazines in any other sense than that they're published in a magazine format. They don't have a column for letters sent in, for instance. Theosofia doesn't even have a column by the editors. 

One issue Preethi is complaining about is valid though: how important should it be whether people are first, second or third generation theosophists? (I'm first btw) 

There's a grey line here. It's natural to trust family more than others, but when a family member turns out to not be very good at the job you gave them, they should be replaced. 

At Adyar another issue is also pressing: the issue of caste. Can something be done about the prevalence of high caste Indians in positions of power? Or on other words: is enough done to reach out to lower caste (varna, jati whatever you want to call it) members of the TS? Does the Indian section even have such members in positions of influence?

In the West, similarly, are we reaching out to people of color enough? to Muslims? And if we should, how should that be done?

Those are just a few of the issues I think about when I think about where the TS is headed, or should be headed. I do wonder: what do you all think the real challenges of the TS are?

I will only promise to read responses to this post, posted here:

Katinka Hesselink

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