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Re: Theos-World Re: the world congress & discussing serious issues

Jul 21, 2010 06:31 AM
by MKR

Glad to see the feedback from Katinka, who fortunately attended the
Congress. Let me add a few comments.

Membership Outside India: This is not a new issue. This has been going on
for years. While General Secretaries have been working hard, the results are
pitiful. The downward trend in membership continues. For whatever reason,
even in the several past meetings of the General Council, it was not in the
agenda. It simply tells the General Secretaries did not bring it up as an
important issue to be discussed. Only they can tell us why?

Congress Agenda: We, ordinary members, do not have any idea if the General
Secretaries (from outside India) were in close contact with the organizers
at the planning stage. I would like them to speak up about what efforts were
made to bring the membership issue for discussion in the congress.

Informal Discussions: I am glad to learn that informal discussions were held
at the Congress. I hope membership issue was the most important issue
discussed. Would it not be nice if someone, preferably, one of General
Secretaries summarize the ideas that came up and distribute on Internet. The
reason why I suggest it be released under the name of the General Secretary
is to give authenticity to the report. I hope something happens on this
issue soon.

Lectures & Discussions: Every speaker at the Congress had an opportunity to
bring up the membership issue as part of their speech. Endless discussions
can take place about Brotherhood and other related topics. But if anyone has
recognized membership growth issue as the burning issue, I am sure they
would have brought it up. I hope it was done and would like to hear more
about the ideas.

TOS: I am sorry to hear about members looking at TOS with suspicion. But
incidents such as the French TOS office in Paris being thrown out of the
building owned by the French Section, should raise confusion in the minds of
members. This incident took place after the election of the new General
Secretary, who has done a lot of work in Europe and perhaps the most unwise
decision taken by her.

Autonomy of Sections: It was a wise decision of the Founders to give full
autonomy to the Sections. The Sections can embark on any type of activities
so long as they are within the overall umbrella of TS objects. Hence, if
membership situation in Sections deteriorate, then the Section leaders are
responsible. We hope they start identifying the systemic underlying problems
which have prevented the membership growth and discuss them openly so that
members can come up with creative ideas which may help TS and theosophy,
since all the wisdom does not reside in the leaders.

Internet: A good start was made in live streaming of the Congress. The
organizers need to be congratulated. I hope, next International Convention
proceedings are streamed as well. Every Section can stream their proceedings
thus benefit everyone. Due to the autonomy, Sections with money in their
treasury, can implement any Internet application and those found effective
can be copied by other sections.

My 0.02


On Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 7:01 AM, Spirituality <>wrote:

> Hi MKR,
> You wrote:
> > In the recent world Congress, I thought the leaders from the Sections
> will
> > have an informal or formal session addressing the membership growth
> issue. I
> > am disappointed that there was none and are we to take it that Section
> > leaders do not consider membership growth as a priority issue or is it
> > possible the issue is too hot for anyone to touch it.
> I share your disappointment, and would like to add that it's due to Radha
> being unwilling to schedule any extra sessions. I know for a fact that at
> least one general secretary tried to organize such a meeting. The same
> person also tried doing conflict resolution during the General Council
> meeting 18 months ago BTW (with the same result: Radha Burnier being
> unwilling to even try).
> Radha's formalism and unwillingness to openly discuss issues is one of the
> causes of the lack of real discussion during the world congress.
> However, of course people did informally discuss things. Some of the
> workshops were even actual workshops. It's just that more would have been
> possible.
> The one lecture that DID discuss the issues on how to move the TS forward
> was by Vicente Hao Chin - the general secretary of the Philippine section.
> He certainly knows how to make things happen, as his TOS record clearly
> shows. I'd personally love to see him run for president next election. He
> talked PR, Internet and how we're perceived in the world.
> He was also the only person to interrogate me on how to do online work - I
> know many wanted me to have a talk with Radha on that issue, but despite me
> offering to talk with her: that didn't happen.
> Vic is setting up a page on the Philippine section site with how-to's on TS
> work and would welcome any-body's contribution. He's a clear example of the
> fact that we really don't need Radha to change things. We can go
> 'bottom-up'. Let's face it: our sections are independent, so are most of our
> lodges. Who needs Radha? More transparency on her side would help, but for
> most work around the world she's irrelevant.
> Some of the best TS work is done through the TOS. I think members need to
> stop looking at the TOS with suspicion and recognize it's the one area of TS
> work that has grown in the past decade. It's also work with a long history:
> Olcott started the work that we now call 'TOS' work.
> The TOS is also the one place I've heard of in the TS where there is a
> sense of knowing how to deal with volunteers.
> More about the world congress:
> Katinka
> --- In <>, MKR
> <mkr777@...> wrote:
> >
> > Thanks for the clarification and correcting the facts.
> >
> > The key important fact in all Sections is to develop leaders so that any
> > untoward situation can be addressed and the transition is smooth.
> >
> > The record of the membership growth outside India is either frozen or
> > declining and this is not good news for any organization. Growth has a
> > correlation with the leadership for any organization. In addition, since
> the
> > trend is pervasive among the Sections outside India, we all need to try
> to
> > identify the systemic causes so that possible solutions can be found.
> >
> > In the recent world Congress, I thought the leaders from the Sections
> will
> > have an informal or formal session addressing the membership growth
> issue. I
> > am disappointed that there was none and are we to take it that Section
> > leaders do not consider membership growth as a priority issue or is it
> > possible the issue is too hot for anyone to touch it.
> >
> > MY .02
> >
> > MKR
> >
> > On Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 8:10 AM, Charles Sitwell <csitwell@...>wrote:
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > MKR and everyone
> > > I just want to correct the impression one gains from MKR's last posting
> > > that
> > > the NZ election process is due to our current NP (Gen Sec equivalent)
> > > "unexpectedly taking leave of absence". This is our scheduled three
> yearly
> > > election with the new National President taking office early next year
> > > after
> > > our Convention (national AGM), as per our Constitution. The only part
> ill
> > > health may have played, is/was the current holder of office deciding
> not to
> > >
> > > stand for a second term. The comments about inexperience were a little
> > > unnecessary, but we are all, of course, entitled to our point of view!
> > > Best wishes,
> > > Charles.
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> >

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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