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Re: Theos-World NZ TS President Election - Role of Internet

Jul 10, 2010 06:37 PM
by Charles Sitwell

As one of the Candidates, I felt it might be OK to make some response to MKR's posting. Personally I am quite willing to have open discussion on any topic relevant to the future.

The internet is a useful tool, but it does have some limitations. The interchange of ideas in this discussion group has all too often declined into slanging matches, due often to initial misunderstanding of the use of words.

In my opinion, which may or may not be "humble" :-) we should at least try to stick to the rule, normally enforced in formal debating, that arguementum ad hominum is not admissible. I am, let me hasten to add, lest we already get into misunderstanding, not referring to the current point of discussion, but to the use of email as a means of theosophical communication in general. I am making this point as it may explain, if not in some minds excuse, the apparent reluctance of some leading TS members to interact in discussion groups.

Incidentally I was not aware that the Rome Congress was being streamed live, thanks for that info.

I do rather question the suggestion that there should be "campaigning" for the administrative positions in the TS, whether at the Section level or the International. Definitely there should be information provided about the Candidates, and they should be ready and willing to answer any questions about what they hope to promote in the position for which they have offered to serve. But the vigorous self-promotion required in Political campaigns seems very far away from the ideals of selfless service that we hope inspire any who seek positions in the TS. Certainly denigration of other Candidates on any excuse should be seen as unacceptable. If health is generally thought to be an issue, then there should be a constitutional requirement to include a medical certificate with the Nomination form, not have it used as a campaign tactic.

I would suggest that before offering oneself for one of the higher offices, one should have done enough work in the Society to be known reasonably widely in the constituency involved. In our local (New Zealand) situation, two of the three Candidates have given talks in most if not all of the branches over a number of years and the third is certainly known to at least one or two members in many of the branches.

As to the secrecy of mailing lists, surely this is in the interests of members, not of potential or existing Candidates for national/International position. It it not the case that accessibility of the Candidates to the members is more desirable, from a Democratic point of view, than accessibly of the members to the Candidates?

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