Theosophy with Nick

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Nick_A
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Post by Nick_A » September 17th, 2009, 4:46 pm

Hi Nick

There are many meaningful questions concerning the Three Higher Principles and the four Lower Principles but rather then get too far into details now, I'd rather ask you about what connects them.

I've understood this potential connection as the mature soul of Man. Jacob Needleman describes it in his book "Lost Christianity:
The principal power of the soul, which defines its real nature, is a gathered attention that is directed simultaneously toward the spirit and the body. This is attention of the heart, and this is the principal mediating, harmonizing power of the soul. The mediating attention of the heart is spontaneously activated in the state of profound self-questioning. God can only speak to the soul, Father Sylvan writes, and only when the soul exists. But the soul of man only exists for a moment, as long as it takes for the question to appear and disappear.
From the point of view of your diagram it seems it would be the astral body which is both attracted to the higher in the form of spirit and to the lower in relation we know of as the body that has this potential to develop further. Does Theosophy assert the soul of man and if it does, is it a conscious "middle" in relation to higher and lower levels of reality?

I remembered the description of Neo-Platonism from a previous post:
1. There is a plurality of levels of being, arranged in hierarchical descending order, the last and lowest comprising the physical universe, which exists in time and space and is perceptible to the senses.

2. Each level of being is derived from its superior, a derivation that is not a process in time or space.

3. Each derived being is established in its own reality by turning back toward its superior in a movement of contemplative desire, which is implicit in the original creative impulse of outgoing that it receives from its superior; thus the Neoplatonic universe is characterized by a double movement of outgoing and return.
The soul would then become what connects the higher and lower? Does this relate to Theosophy?
If someone does a bad thing, then they must either do a comparative amount of good to balance out the previous bad thing, or they must suffer an equal amount of suffering in order to bring the score to zero. Any bad act, no matter how small, throws the universe out of balance. Karma is nature's way of putting the universe back into balance.

Could you elaborate as to how Theosophy determines good and bad? It seems to me that man asleep in Plato's cave is incapable of this distinction so we live by conditioned value systems. Karma then is just lawful reactions connecting happenings and as you say is fair and as lawful, must be fair.

I remember reading once that wars are just groups of sleeping people destroying each other as lawful karmic reactions to external stimuli. Wars would be impossible for conscious humanity since inner morality would be our guide in contrast to external morality and its normal fluctuations that are now our guide.

Does Theosophy assert we are capable of objective morality that our awakened "conscience" would make us aware of by connecting the higher and lower?

Has your awareness of Theosophy helped you awaken at times to a higher quality of morality?

I remember when I first became aware of esoteric ideas, I was fishing in a lake and a small pickerel followed my lure. My immediate reaction was to see if I could get it to attack the lure. It did but was hooked badly so died. All of a sudden I felt intense remorse. I saw that what I did served no purpose nor did it represent me but rather a habit I'd acquired. I left and went home with questions about the nature of the lust that had fixated on this small fish.

Has your growing awareness of Theosophy given you similar experiences and a greater awareness as to our own human condition?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Post by Nick » September 18th, 2009, 4:10 am

“There are many meaningful questions concerning the Three Higher Principles and the four Lower Principles but rather then get too far into details now, I'd rather ask you about what connects them.”

--> I’m not sure what “connects” them. I just know that they are connected, and that certain principles disconnect from others at death. Theosophy also teaches the idea of the second death, the astral death. According to Theosophy, the astral bodies survives for many years after the physical death (and our point of consciousness is contained within that astral body). But eventually the astral body dies, leaving the person conscious at the mental level. This is called the second death.

“I've understood this potential connection as the mature soul of Man. Jacob Needleman describes it in his book "Lost Christianity:”

--> Perhaps Theosophy and Needleman are talking about the same thing. According to Theosophy, the day will come when we are continuously conscious at the higher mental plane of existence, but we have yet to rise to such a high level of consciousness. But our goal, as we travel along the path to enlightenment, is to eventually become continuously conscious on the higher mental plane, then the Buddhic plane, then the Atman plane, etc. According to Theosophy, one of the things required for Buddhic consciousness is that we learn to keep our physical, astral/emotional, and mental bodies under our control at all times. I think this is what Needleman is also saying.

“From the point of view of your diagram it seems it would be the astral body which is both attracted to the higher in the form of spirit and to the lower in relation we know of as the body that has this potential to develop further.”

--> Yes and no. I would say that humans are always striving to become conscious on a higher plane. Once a human becomes fully conscious on the mental plane, then the need for an astral body disappears, and the person never needs to use an astral body again. But there is another way to look at it. The true nature of a human is called the Atman (the highest of the seven principles in that chart). Our true nature is that part of us which “exists” on the Atman plane of existence. I suppose it could be said that the astral body is attracted to the Atman. Another way to look at it is that the Atman has put a small piece of itself down on the astral plane. The Atman hopes that its piece which has been put down on the astral plane will become so finely purified that the piece of itself will eventually return to the Atman fully actualized. Another way to look at it is, the Atman makes a “bank deposit,” so to speak, and it hopes to get a significant return on its investment.

“Does Theosophy assert the soul of man and if it does, is it a conscious "middle" in relation to higher and lower levels of reality?”

--> There has been numerous debates as to which of the seven principles should be referred to as the soul. (We do not yet have a 100% agreement. My own personal preference is to call only the Atman our soul.) Other Theosophists will refer to other parts of the seven principles as the soul. But this is only a matter of terminology. The soul is one or more of the seven principles. The Atman is definitely a connection between higher and lower levels of consciousness.

“There is a plurality of levels of being, arranged in hierarchical descending order, the last and lowest comprising the physical universe, which exists in time and space and is perceptible to the senses.”

--> Theosophy agrees with this.

“Each level of being is derived from its superior….”

--> Theosophy agrees with this.

“Each derived being is established in its own reality by turning back toward its superior in a movement of contemplative desire….”

--> Rather I would say that each being establishes its own reality by turning its back on its superior, and striving for self-identity & self-motivation. This selfish act strengthens the individual. Eventually, however, the being becomes so full of compassion for its fellow beings that it wishes to merge back into the oneness from which it came. This is the natural outflow and inflow that we are all a part of. (This also shows how it is sometimes good to be selfish, it is sometimes bad to be selfish, and we need to learn to differentiate the two.)

This gets into one of my definitions of Nirvana. To me, Nirvana will a time when we do nothing but go around doing nice things for others. We will not do anything for ourselves. It will be the total annihilation of selfish thoughts. I am very much looking forward to it.

“The soul would then become what connects the higher and lower? Does this relate to Theosophy?”

--> Yes. But it is important to define “soul,” and I think Theosophy defines it a little differently than other philosophies.

“Could you elaborate as to how Theosophy determines good and bad?”

--> We are on the path to a higher consciousness. Good is defined as whatever causes us to make faster progress along that path. Evil is defined as whatever causes us to lose progress along that path. What is good for a fourth grader is not necessarily good for a college student, because both of them are at two different levels of intellectual development. Each one of us must be aware of our own particular position along the path to enlightenment, and strive to do the things that our own particular position requires.

“It seems to me that man asleep in Plato's cave is incapable of this distinction so we live by conditioned value systems.”

--> But each man is aware of his unique place along the path to enlightenment, and is intrinsically aware of what he needs to do to make progress.

“Karma then is just lawful reactions connecting happenings and as you say is fair and as lawful, must be fair.”

--> The karma of a savage is different than the karma of a civilized man. A savage who kills animals in order to eat is not creating bad karma. A civilized man who kills animals and calls it “sport” is.

“I remember reading once that wars are just groups of sleeping people destroying each other as lawful karmic reactions to external stimuli. Wars would be impossible for conscious humanity since inner morality would be our guide in contrast to external morality and its normal fluctuations that are now our guide.”

--> That is one way to look at it. Another idea is, war is being greedy. Once we raise our level of compassion high enough, such examples of being greedy will become impossible.

“Does Theosophy assert we are capable of objective morality that our awakened "conscience" would make us aware of by connecting the higher and lower?”

--> Yes. Theosophy asserts that we have a sense of separateness from each other, and that this sense of separateness is artificial and necessary. Once we no longer need such a sense of separateness, and it will be removed. (The Genesis separation – firmament – between the higher and lower waters – the higher and lower aspects of our “soul” – will no longer be necessary.)

“Has your awareness of Theosophy helped you awaken at times to a higher quality of morality?”

--> There have been times when I have wanted to strike out in revenge against bad people, and only the fact that I would be creating bad karma has stopped me. Also, I have learned that, when someone does a bad thing (and I want to lash out at them), I should instead try to help them get back on the path to enlightenment because that will help them, and help me too in the long run.

“I remember when I first became aware of esoteric ideas, I was fishing in a lake and a small pickerel followed my lure. My immediate reaction was to see if I could get it to attack the lure. It did but was hooked badly so died. All of a sudden I felt intense remorse. I saw that what I did served no purpose nor did it represent me but rather a habit I'd acquired. I left and went home with questions about the nature of the lust that had fixated on this small fish.”

--> That is a good example. I used to tear spiders apart when I was a young boy. I could not do that now, because I am too much in tune with the universe, and I now know that how tearing spiders apart throws the universe out of balance, instead of adding to its balance and growth.

“Has your growing awareness of Theosophy given you similar experiences and a greater awareness as to our own human condition?”

--> I think so. As corny as it sounds, many of us are seeking the meaning of life. I believe that Theosophy has given me the best answer to that question that I have heard so far. To me, the meaning of life is simple – to make (faster) progress along the path to enlightenment and beyond.

Nick_A
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Post by Nick_A » September 18th, 2009, 3:00 pm

Hi Nick
According to Theosophy, one of the things required for Buddhic consciousness is that we learn to keep our physical, astral/emotional, and mental bodies under our control at all times. I think this is what Needleman is also saying.


You've described a process within levels of reality that man participates in where the four lower principles are mechanical in nature and are destined to be a part of the process of involution. Yet the three higher principles can become part of conscious evolution. This raises the question of how we practically can experience it in ourselves. I believe that Plato touched on this and I know it as acquiring "presence." First Plato from Book 1V of the Republic:
Not I, indeed.
Then our dream has been realized; and the suspicion which we entertained at the beginning of our work of construction, that some divine power must have conducted us to a primary form of justice, has now been verified?
Yes, certainly.
And the division of labour which required the carpenter and the shoemaker and the rest of the citizens to be doing each his own business, and not another's, was a shadow of justice, and for that reason it was of use?
Clearly.
But in reality justice was such as we were describing, being concerned however, not with the outward man, but with the inward, which is the true self and concernment of man: for the just man does not permit the several elements within him to interfere with one another, or any of them to do the work of others, --he sets in order his own inner life, and is his own master and his own law, and at peace with himself; and when he has bound together the three principles within him, which may be compared to the higher, lower, and middle notes of the scale, and the intermediate intervals --when he has bound all these together, and is no longer many, but has become one entirely temperate and perfectly adjusted nature, then he proceeds to act, if he has to act, whether in a matter of property, or in the treatment of the body, or in some affair of politics or private business; always thinking and calling that which preserves and co-operates with this harmonious condition, just and good action, and the knowledge which presides over it, wisdom, and that which at any time impairs this condition, he will call unjust action, and the opinion which presides over it ignorance.
Plato suggests the value of consciously aligning human being as in notes on a musical scale.

Jacob Needleman describes it in the preface of his book "Lost Christianity."

http://www.jacobneedleman.com/Books/Los ... 0Intro.pdf
What is needed is a either a new understanding of God or a new understanding of Man: an understanding of God that does not insult the scientific mind, while offering bread, not a stone, to the deepest hunger of the heart; or an understanding of Man that squarely faces the criminal weakness of our moral will while holding out to us the knowledge of how we can strive within ourselves to become the fully human being we are meant to be-- both for ourselves and as instruments of a higher purpose. But, this is not an either/or. The premise –or, rather, the proposal—of this book is that at the heart of the Christian religion there exists and has always existed just such a vision of both God and Man. I call it "lost Christianity" not because it is a matter of doctrines and concepts that may have been lost or forgotten; nor even a matter of methods of spiritual practice that may need to be recovered from ancient sources. It is all that, to be sure, but what is lost in the whole of our modern life, including our understanding of religion, is something even more fundamental, without which religious ideas and practices lose their meaning and all too easily become the instruments of ignorance, fear and hatred. What is lost is the experience of oneself, just oneself—myself, the personal being who is here, now, living, breathing, yearning for meaning, for goodness; just this person here, now, squarely confronting one’s own existential weaknesses and pretensions while yet aware, however tentatively, of a higher current of life and identity calling to us from within ourselves. This presence to oneself is the missing element in the whole of the life of Man, the intermediate state of consciousness between what we are meant to be and what we actually are. It is, perhaps, the one bridge that can lead us from our inhuman past toward the human future.
It seems that this aligning is a part of Theosophy. Does it teach how to acquire this conscious hierarchal balance of our parts?

My own guess is that this is an important question completely overlooked in modern education that promotes head knowledge. Modern education doesn't value it and lacks people capable of it so incapable of teaching it. I believe everything would be different if there were a greater awareness of what Plato suggests and Jacob Needleman holds as part of Lost Christianity that is part of a perennial tradition.

As of now, these efforts Plato describes can only be done in private. Is Theosophy a part of what keeps this ancient knowledge alive?
But each man is aware of his unique place along the path to enlightenment, and is intrinsically aware of what he needs to do to make progress.


Is the fact that we cannot actualize what we are aware of what assures reincarnation?
Yes. Theosophy asserts that we have a sense of separateness from each other, and that this sense of separateness is artificial and necessary. Once we no longer need such a sense of separateness, and it will be removed. (The Genesis separation – firmament – between the higher and lower waters – the higher and lower aspects of our “soul” – will no longer be necessary.)
Studying Simone Weil this year has made me more aware of the word "metaxu" introduced by Plato. From Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simone_Wei ... a_link..22
The concept of metaxu, which Weil borrowed from Plato, is that which both separates and connects (e.g., as a wall separates two prisoners but can be used to tap messages). This idea of connecting distance was of the first importance for Weil's understanding of the created realm. The world as a whole, along with any of its components, including our physical bodies, are to be regarded as serving the same function for us in relation to God that a blind man's stick serves for him in relation to the world about him. They do not afford direct insight, but can be used experimentally to bring the mind into practical contact with reality. This metaphor allows any absence to be interpreted as a presence, and is a further component in Weil's theodicy.
The quality of culture is our metaxu within which we exist as an individual and also as part of a higher whole. A tree exists as an individual but loses its individuality from the perspective of the forest or higher whole it is within.

So from one perspective we must be individuals and yet from another we must lose our separateness. How would Theosophy help understanding what individuality is for man on earth and for evolved Man?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Post by Nick » September 19th, 2009, 4:12 am

“You've described a process within levels of reality that man participates in where the four lower principles are mechanical in nature and are destined to be a part of the process of involution.”

--> We need to take a look at the word involution. Involution can be used in two different ways. One is in the sense that we live, die, reincarnate, die, reincarnate, etc. It can be said that each death and entry into Heaven/Devachan is an evolution, and that each subsequent rebirth is an involution. Theosophy does not really use the word involution in this sense. The other meaning of the word involution is that all of us were involved in a spiritual descent from the beginning of the universe into matter. This descent took countless billions of years. One day, the direction reversed, and we started to evolve, and began a return to the high level of consciousness that we left, so many untold billions of years ago. This is the definition of the word involution that is usually used in Theosophy.

“What is needed is a either a new understanding of God or a new understanding of Man….”

--> By the way, Theosophy teaches of a God, but not an Almighty God. It is a subtle distinction, but Theosophy makes such a distinction.

“Plato suggests the value of consciously aligning human being as in notes on a musical scale.”

--> Theosophy agrees. We must bring all of our bodies – astral, mental, Buddhic, etc. – into harmony. We must learn to control them, not let them control us. According to Theosophy, one of our biggest challenges is to stop our various “bodies” from controlling us – stop dependence on physical things such as alcohol and tobacco, stop letting our emotions control us, stop our letting our intellect control us, etc. We must get these “bodies” under control, and start to prepare to move our point of consciousness up into our next higher “body.”

“…at the heart of the Christian religion there exists and has always existed just such a vision of both God and Man.”

--> Theosophists would say that there exists a vision of both man, and the unknown Buddha-nature within each man. I think that, on this point, Christianity and Theosophy are saying the same thing, but using different terminology.

“It seems that this aligning is a part of Theosophy. Does it teach how to acquire this conscious hierarchal balance of our parts?”

--> Yes. One way is through meditation. Another is by burning off all of our bad karma. Another is by being helpful to others without getting any reward in return. Another is by removing fetters such as anger. All of these move us towards a balancing of our parts, and move us closer to that which comes after the human stage.

“My own guess is that this is an important question completely overlooked in modern education that promotes head knowledge.”

--> By head knowledge I think you mean intellectual knowledge. Theosophy also teaches of the danger of over-stressing intellectual knowledge. We must become very intellectual, but that is only one step in the process, and we must keep our intellect in balance with our other “bodies.” Many people fail to do this – by being either too intellectual or not intellectual enough – and thus becoming out of balance. Next, we must consider the idea that that intellectual consciousness is not the highest type of consciousness that we will ultimately attain and begin considering what that level of consciousness must be like.

“As of now, these efforts Plato describes can only be done in private. Is Theosophy a part of what keeps this ancient knowledge alive?”

--> According to Theosophy, this ancient knowledge, passed down from generation to generation, becomes incorrectly taught by humans as the centuries go by. It must be re-released every so many centuries. Theosophy is a recent release of that ancient knowledge.

“Is the fact that we cannot actualize what we are aware of what assures reincarnation?”

--> Yes, but it is more complicated than that. I would say that the number one factor causing reincarnation is a desire for physical existence. As long as we have such a desire, we will continue to reincarnate. People who receive great enjoyment from food, physical thrills, alcohol, tobacco, sex, strong emotions, pride, etc., will have no choice but to reincarnate.

“Studying Simone Weil this year has made me more aware of the word "metaxu" introduced by Plato.”

--> This is a fascinating idea. But I think a person’s artificial sense of being separated from every other person in the world (a sense of separation that will disappear in Nirvana) is more of a divider than anything else.

“So from one perspective we must be individuals and yet from another we must lose our separateness.”

--> We will lose our sense of separateness when we are ready, and not before. (This is one of the rules that is hidden in the book of Genesis.) But we can begin to meditate on the idea that there is no real separation between you and I, and doing so will hasten our removing such a separateness.

“How would Theosophy help understanding what individuality is for man on earth and for evolved Man?”

--> By helping us to understand the difference between separateness and individuality. Our sense of separateness is artificial, our individuality is not. Right now, I cannot really understand what it is like for you to be you, and vice versa. But in Nirvana such separation between you and I will disappear. I will become you, and you will become me. Yet we will still maintain our distinct individuality. This is the nature of Buddhic consciousness, it is hard to describe in words, and hard to understand using an intellectual way of thinking. (Fortunately, the day will come when we are no longer encumbered by having only an intellectual way to think.)

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Post by Nick_A » September 19th, 2009, 3:11 pm

Hi Nick

Now we get into this question of denial or how the sacred involutes into the seclar both for the individual and for a group.

I'll try to present the basic question as how I understand it and you can elaborate on it both from the classical Theosophical perspective and you own thoughts.

Jesus describes the World as the secularized perception of collective man and by its very nature must hate the sacred.
John 15

18"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
Plato writes in the cave analogy:
[Socrates] And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the cave, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.
Obviously the idea is that as the world becomes increasingly secular, it must hate influences from higher consciousness and prefers its rationalizations. Plato spoke of it as the "Beast" which means lacking consciousness and substituting it with the imagination of our egoism.

This raises many questions. How does Theosophy explain imagination in contrast to consciousness? what is the nature of our resistance to experiential conscious knowledge? Do you believe that Simone Weil explains something here relevant to theosophy when she writes:
"Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it We must continually suspend the work of the imagination in filling the void within ourselves."
"In no matter what circumstances, if the imagination is stopped from pouring itself out, we have a void (the poor in spirit). In no matter what circumstances... imagination can fill the void. This is why the average human beings can become prisoners, slaves, prostitutes, and pass thru no matter what suffering without being purified."

"That is why we fly from the inner void, since God might steal into it. It is not the pursuit of pleasure and the aversion for effort which causes sin, but fear of God. We know that we cannot see him face to face without dying, and we do not want to die." -- Gravity and Grace
She is not referring here to the Hebrew God. In fact she wrote that the unfortunate adoption of the Hebrew God is a major reason why Christianity descended so quickly into Christendom. What dies? I believe she is referring to the self created by our imagination that we assume to be ourselves. Do you agree? Is the void something that Theosophy seeks to experience free of our imagination?

I know that I experience inner resistance. Something in me does not want to see and struggles against it. Have you experienced the same?

Simone Weil wrote:
Rome is the Great Beast of atheism and materialism, adoring nothing but itself. Israel is the Great Beast of religion. Neither one nor the other is likable. The Great Beast is always repulsive.
- Simone Weil, Prelude to Politics, completed shortly before her death in 1943
the Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A. Panichas (David McKay Co. NY 1977) p 393
She isn't referring to the essence of people but rather how it has been captured by imagination that collectively produces the Great Beast denying the growth of what the Beast controls. This was part of an essay referring to poltical influences but she was well aware that the Beast's influence was not restricted to Israel and Rome but in the world itself. She is describing the adverse effects of the secularization of religion on becoming open to conscious influences.

I find the "Great Beast" as a excellent description of man lacking consciousness and created egoism. Does Theosophy elaborate on Plato's "Beast?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Post by Nick » September 20th, 2009, 9:11 am

I do not think that Theosophy has a comparative concept to the idea that we hate the world and the world hates us. But Theosophy agrees with the Buddhist concept of no-self. According to this idea, each person on earth has a self, a personality. This self or personality leads the person into thinking and acting selfishly. One of the goals of Theosophy is to remove this selfish self (note how the very word self exists within the word selfish), and become compassionate. Compassion is the very opposite of being selfish.

“…as the world becomes increasingly secular, it must hate influences from higher consciousness and prefers its rationalizations.”

--> It is a fascinating idea, the idea that the world is becoming increasingly secular. I am not sure I agree with such an idea. But the world is becoming increasingly modern and scientific. As we look at ancient civilizations, they seem to have had a lot of shamans, beliefs in gods that we now say never existed, voodoo, etc. The world is constantly moving away from such shamanistic thinking. This is what comes to mind when I consider the idea that the world is becoming increasingly secular. Unfortunately, a lot of the good from that time has been thrown out with the bad. I think what happened was, sacred and divine principles were too difficult to be understood by prehistoric man, and so the ancient stories were re-written into parables and myths, so that the local people could understand them. However, as time went by, people starting believing that these parables and myths really happened. Everything got hopelessly mixed together, and the true ancient wisdom got lost in a mix of myths, fables, etc. Fortunately, there has been rising of secularism, which strives to throw out old wives’ tales. It is our job to now go back, take a look at the fables and old wives’ tales that were thrown out, take a look at the genuine original ancient wisdom, and differentiate between the two. Unfortunately, today’s secular people are unwilling to do this, and they dismiss all of the tales from those days as poppycock.

Modern science rejects influences from higher consciousness and prefers its rationalizations. Science thinks it has all the answers, or that it can find all of the answers through its own methods. Theosophy counters with the idea that things of a super-human nature, or things of a Buddhist level of consciousness, cannot be observed via the scientific method. Science refuses to consider such an idea, and therefore closes itself off from a great deal of information about the universe. In order to understand higher consciousness, scientists must be willing to set aside the scientific method and use other ways to study higher consciousness – this is something that scientists refuse to do.

But let’s get back to the idea that modern science rejects influences from higher consciousness and prefers its rationalizations. Such a way of thinking creates a great deal of pride in scientists. It is this pride that causes rational thinkers to “hate” influences from higher consciousness, or at least totally reject them outright.

“How does Theosophy explain imagination in contrast to consciousness?”

--> Some forms of imagination is a function of the intellectual mind. Such intellectual imagination rejects information from a higher source. The intellectual mind refuses to accept the idea that there is something higher than the intellect. Theosophy, on the other hand, says that all real knowledge comes from a source higher than the intellectual mind. This is the basic cause of friction between spiritual people and intellectual people.

“What is the nature of our resistance to experiential conscious knowledge?”

--> It is caused by our intellects refusing to accept a higher source of knowledge than an intellectual source.

“Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it. We must continually suspend the work of the imagination in filling the void within ourselves.”

--> Theosophy uses the word Buddha-nature instead of the word Grace. We would not say that there is a void that Grace can enter, we would say that Buddha-nature exists but people are unaware of that Buddha-nature, and must become aware of it. People feel a void within themselves, but it is caused by an unawareness of the Buddha-nature within them.

“In no matter what circumstances... imagination can fill the void. This is why the average human beings can become prisoners, slaves, prostitutes, and pass thru no matter what suffering without being purified.”

--> Theosophy says the problem is caused by ignorance of the true nature of suffering. Yes, people can suffer without becoming purified by the suffering. One of our most difficult tasks is to understand the true nature of suffering and how to deal with it.

“It is not the pursuit of pleasure and the aversion for effort which causes sin, but fear of God.”

--> Theosophy does not teach the idea of sin, it teaches the idea of bad karma. Theosophy would say that the problem is not sin caused by a fear of God, but suffering caused by ignorance.

“…the unfortunate adoption of the Hebrew God is a major reason why Christianity descended so quickly into Christendom.”

--> Theosophy teaches the idea that the Hebrew texts are millions of years old, and that the idea of a Hebrew God was introduced into the Hebrew texts only a few hundred thousand years ago. Before then, the original texts made no mention of a Hebrew God.

“We know that we cannot see him face to face without dying, and we do not want to die…. What dies?”

--> The personality (Which is also known as the lower self). The lower aspects of our personality must be totally obliterated in order for us to become conscious at a higher level.

“I believe she is referring to the self created by our imagination that we assume to be ourselves. Do you agree?”

--> Yes.

“Is the void something that Theosophy seeks to experience free of our imagination?”

--> Yes. The void is our unknown Higher Self. Our lower self must “die” so that we can experience our Higher Self.

“I know that I experience inner resistance. Something in me does not want to see and struggles against it. Have you experienced the same?”

--> Yes. And the way to do this is by learning to be more compassionate. When we act compassionate we cannot be selfish. It is impossible to think in both ways at the same time. Do compassionate things for other people. The more you do this, the less you will struggle with such an inner resistance.

“… the Great Beast denying the growth of what the Beast controls.”

--> The “Great Beast” is our ignorance of our Higher Self.

“I find the "Great Beast" as a excellent description of man lacking consciousness and created egoism.”

--> Egoism is a lack of higher consciousness.

“Does Theosophy elaborate on Plato's "Beast?”

--> One of Theosophy’s main points is how we need to eliminate egoism and selfishness. Once this is done, our Higher Self will automatically emerge.

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Post by Nick_A » September 20th, 2009, 1:34 pm

Hi Nick

What I meant by the world becoming more secular is our collective enchantment with the results of technology. I believe we would agree here. Modern technology has increased our attraction to the shadows on the wall in Plato's cave.

I'd like to go back a moment to the diagram describing the paths to the transcendent unity of religions:

http://www.integralscience.org/unity.html

As I understand it, our personalities which live our lives for us, do so at the exoteric level that has no desire for conscious self awareness and functions through conditioning. At this level we are simultaneously capable of acts of compassion as well as the worst possible atrocities depending upon external influences.

A person may then begin to see that there is something not right with all of this and begin a search for answers to the great philosophical questions such as "Who am I?" Here they can begin to experience the essence of themselves. if lucky to be able to avoid the attractions of escapism and charlatans, they can begin on an esoteric or inner path that feeds their essence and is genuinely connected to the perennial tradition that attracts them and leads them towards the transcendence to what ever degree they are capable of.

Our increasingly technological society has no need for this yet a minority of individuals within society become aware of what is psychologically being lost to this attraction when we allow it to dominate us. Jesus said in Mark 8: "36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" Technology when allowed to be our dominant psychological influence allows us to gain the world but at what cost?

Modern education strengthens this perception and is society oriented. How would Theosophy change modern education to include the human element that would allow us to grow in our being and express greater compassion?
"The combination of these two facts – the longing in the depth of the heart for absolute good, and the power, though only latent, of directing attention and love to a reality beyond the world and of receiving good from it – constitutes a link which attaches every man without exception to that other reality. Whoever recognizes that reality recognizes that link. Because of it, he holds every human being without any exception as something sacred to which he is bound to show respect. This is the only possible motive for universal respect towards all human beings." Simone Weil “Draft for A Statement of Human Obligations” SIMONE WEIL, AN ANTHOLOGY ed. Sian Miles
If Simone Weil is right, education would have to aid the student in acquiring this inner harmony we spoke of earlier and the power of attention to maintain it so that the student through becoming balanced, opens to a more human perspective that connects man to higher consciousness.

I know it is impossible now since any attempts will be insulting to someone and teachers never having learned are incapable of teaching in this way. I'm only asking theoretically now.

How would Theosophy structure the educational system to better balance the needs of science and the calling of the spirit? How would you do so considering what you've learned through your personal experiences in life as well as Theosophical influences?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Post by Nick » September 21st, 2009, 7:03 pm

“… we are simultaneously capable of acts of compassion as well as the worst possible atrocities depending upon external influences.”

--> A lot of this has to do with whether a person’s lower consciousness is in touch with his or her higher consciousness. The more a person is in contact with his or her higher consciousness, the more impossible it becomes to do thing like commit atrocities.

“A person may then begin to see that there is something not right with all of this and begin a search for answers to the great philosophical questions such as "Who am I?" “

--> Then, this will lead them on a journey to ultimately come in touch with their higher consciousness. However, one part of this journey is the fact that many of us are carrying around a lot of psychological garbage from our childhood. A great psychic once told me that we cannot achieve enlightenment until we deal with all of the psychological crap that we have from childhood, and I agree with her.

“Here they can begin to experience the essence of themselves. if lucky to be able to avoid the attractions of escapism and charlatans, they can begin on an esoteric or inner path….”

--> Making the decision to begin on the path is one of the most important (and difficult) decisions we will ever make. As we can see by the people around us, most people in this world have not made that decision yet.

“Technology when allowed to be our dominant psychological influence allows us to gain the world but at what cost?”

--> Fortunately, we have philosophies like Theosophy that remind what is more important and what is less important.

“How would Theosophy change modern education to include the human element that would allow us to grow in our being and express greater compassion?”

--> All that we can do is teach the Ancient Wisdom, teach where humanity actually came from, and teach where humanity is actually going (enlightenment and Nirvana). One key point is to teach that compassion is the highest form of activity a person can engage in as a human, and how it will be practice for being in Nirvana, because Nirvana will be nothing but going around and doing nice things for other people.

“If Simone Weil is right, education would have to aid the student in acquiring this inner harmony we spoke of earlier and the power of attention to maintain it so that the student through becoming balanced, opens to a more human perspective that connects man to higher consciousness.”

--> And, I believe that Theosophy does just that.

“How would Theosophy structure the educational system to better balance the needs of science and the calling of the spirit?

--> By teaching basic Theosophical concepts such as reincarnation, karma, etc. It would be a big change for modern educational programs, as these educational programs now refuse to teach such things.

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Post by Nick_A » September 22nd, 2009, 9:34 pm

Hi Nick

Obviously Theosophy is a deep philosophy so I've been trying to allow you to provide a general description of what it is and what it means to you. I think we've provided food for thought. If you'd like to add some final comments, feel free to do so.

How do you like the interview format? Do you feel as I do that it adds a valuable ingredient for communication? Rather then just relying on debate, interviews can potentially make debate more human since people become more than just labels.

Would you be willing to open a thread: "Questions on Theosophy" in the Philosophy of Religion board? This interview has had over 400 views so perhaps some members have some questions.

I've appreciated the opportunity to allow Theosophy to be read in the contest of our interview.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Post by Nick » September 24th, 2009, 6:51 am

“If you'd like to add some final comments, feel free to do so.”

--> I am happy to have had this opportunity to explain a little bit about Theosophy. Theosophy has given me a belief system that makes sense to me, and I hope that I have been able to convey to the readers how it does just that. I have taken a good look at many religions and philosophies over the years, but I have always encountered ideas in them that just do not make sense to me. It has always been my policy to head for the door whenever I find that a religion or philosophy that teaches things that do not make sense. Fortunately, I have not found anything in Theosophy that does not make sense. As a matter of fact, I would be interested in hearing from any of the readers here if they think they have found something in Theosophy that does not make sense.

“How do you like the interview format?”

--> I think it is an effective tool. It helps get information out in a relatively small amount of space.

“Do you feel as I do that it adds a valuable ingredient for communication? Rather then just relying on debate, interviews can potentially make debate more human since people become more than just labels.”

--> Yes, it is valuable. One thing that you did a little bit of, and might add to the discussion, is adding your thoughts and ask the person to say if their philosophy has a similar or dissimilar idea. That helps to get the discussion going, and get more of that philosophy’s ideas out. For example, you made comments about God, and Theosophy is not a theistic or monotheistic philosophy. Your comments about God, and my reactions to your comments helped me to express Theosophy’s stance regarding God.

“Would you be willing to open a thread: "Questions on Theosophy" in the Philosophy of Religion board? This interview has had over 400 views so perhaps some members have some questions.”

--> Yes I will. It sounds like there in interest from the members here to have more discussions about Theosophical ideas, and whether those ides will fit into some of the member’s belief systems.

“I've appreciated the opportunity to allow Theosophy to be read in the contest of our interview.”

--> Thanks for the opportunity. I think that Theosophy is an important addition to the list of the world’s philosophies, and I appreciate this opportunity to tell the Theosophical view of things.

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