Reflections on Ken Wilber's The Religion of Tomorrow
(2017) - Parts
INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Pierre Wouters, who lives in Los Angeles, California (but has lost his soul to the Arizona desert), is an associate of The United Lodge of Theosophists, (an independent association for the study of the original teachings of Theosophy as presented in the works of H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge) and has been a student of Theosophy for over forty years. He apologizes for having no B.A.'s, M.A.'s, nor Ph.D.'s to boast of.
A rebuttal to Morten Tolboll's “The Fascism of Theosophy”
Referenced in “A Critique of
Ken Wilber and his Integral Method”
H.P. Blavatsky has written over ten thousand pages in her lifetime, suffice it to say that there is no lack of material to be researched.
I seldom take issue with criticisms addressed to theosophical teachings because the majority of them are often the result either of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, a lack of research, often malice and at times outright stupidity. Nowadays one can sit all day in front of the computer and make it a lifelong endeavor to peruse the internet wasting time trying to debunk every single one of those criticisms, a rather time-consuming job and ultimately fruitless.
However…sometimes an exception needs to be made, especially when this criticism is presumably widely read and presented under such a heavy-handed title as “The Fascism of…” and the authorin this particular instanceMr. Morton Tolboll is accompanied by an academic title (Mr. Tolboll apparently holds an M.A. in philosophy and a minor in psychology), the status of which one would expect to represent a minimum of academic objectivity and the ability to do some thorough research into a field that is anything but lacking in its requisite literature. On a side note, H.P. Blavatsky (the foremost representative of the philosophy of Theosophy) has written over ten thousand pages in her lifetime, suffice it to say that there is no lack of material to be researched.
To be clear, this article is not concerned with the merits or demerits of Mr. Tolboll's essay “A critique of Ken Wilber and his integral method” but ratheras Mr. Tolboll seems to be very generous with copious references to his own essays and articles as an adjunct to reinforce his authority on the subjectwith the misrepresentation of facts that relate to his self-referenced essay titled “The Fascism of Theosophy”. Nor is it my intent to provide a defense of the teachings of Theosophy as suchthat would be another discussionbut to point out whether Mr. Tolboll has done justice to the integrity of those teachings as they were originally made public by its legitimate representatives.
The fake photo unveiled
For starters, let's have a look at the so-called “magnificent picture” at the head of Mr. tolboll's article under discussion and look at the source from which it is derived:
The fake black and white photo (left) taken from the original drawing (right)
The photo is indeed a black and white photograph, but it turns out that it is just a photo taken of a drawing by an unknown artist dating back to the early 1930's. For more information on the purported content of the drawing see: blavatskytheosophy.com. The most important misconceived element in the drawing (and therefore also in the photo) is that first of all the height of the womanif she would be standingwould virtually equal the height of the “adepts” standing behind her. The real adept howeverclaimed to be standing behind the chair and referred to as Master M.would reach up to a height of no less than 6ft. 6in. or 6ft. 7in., whereas in reality H.P. Blavatsky was a woman of just average height. See: “Extract from Olcott's testimony to the S.P.R. Committee in London in 1884”, www.blavatskyarchives.com.
H.P. Blavatsky and Col. H.S. Olcott (left). The “Sphinx” photo of H.P. Blavatsky (right)
Moreover, besides not even resembling H.P. Blavatsky in the fake “photo”, the way the face and the position of the woman's right arm are portrayed is reminiscent of H.P. Blavatsky's real photo generally referred to by her students as “The Sphinx” picture, it is therefore not unreasonable to think that this picture has been used as a model for the drawing.
The criticism and “Fascism” of Theosophy debunked
As to Mr. Tolboll's representation of the teachings of Theosophy in “The Fascism of Theosophy”, let's make a comparison with what we find in the original teachings:
Morten Tolboll (MT): “[The] Theosophical society is a religious movement founded in 1875 by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Harry Steel Olcott and William Q. Judge.”
Incorrect: neither The Theosophical Society nor the Theosophical Movement is a religious movement (the first is just a temporary expression or vehicle of the latter and by no means the only one, they are thus two distinct elements). The teachings of Theosophy are presented as a synthesis of science, religion and philosophy (the subtitle of H.P. Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine).
“Year after year, and day after day had our officers and members to interrupt people speaking of the theosophical movement by putting in more or less emphatic protests against Theosophy being referred to as a "religion," and the Theosophical Society as a kind of church or religious body. Still worse, it is as often spoken of as a "new sect"! Is it a stubborn prejudice, an error, or both? The latter, most likely. The most narrow-minded and even notoriously unfair people are still in need of a plausible pretext, of a peg on which to hang their little uncharitable remarks and innocently-uttered slanders. And what peg is more solid for that purpose, more convenient than an "ism" or a "sect." The great majority would be very sorry to be disabused and finally forced to accept the fact that Theosophy is neither. The name suits them, and they pretend to be unaware of its falseness. But there are others, also, many more or less friendly people, who labour sincerely under the same delusion.” “Is Theosophy a Religion”, H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophical Articles, Vol. I, Theosophy Co., L.A. 1981, p. 56 and Lucifer, November 1888.
Also, it's Henry Steel Olcott, not Harry.
MT: “Its teaching unites Indian key concepts, as for instance reincarnation and karma,…”
Incorrect: The teachings of Theosophy are neither distinctly eastern nor western but are entirely sui generis. It claims however to be the root and trunk from which all religions and philosophies in the world have sprouted as branches and leaves on a tree. Therefore it is obvious that echoes and partial doctrinesfor instance such doctrines as reincarnation and karma as represented in the East but also in the Westcan be found to be partially echoed in the teachings of Theosophy. However, H.P. Blavatsky very often points out that the majority of the teachings of the once universal wisdom over time had become corrupted by priestcraft and that Theosophy isto some extentan attempt to restore the original concepts and perceptions of these teachings. Therefore major differences can be found in the representations of either eastern or western doctrines versus the teachings of Theosophy.
“The true philosopher, the student of the Esoteric Wisdom, entirely loses sight of personalities, dogmatic beliefs and special religions. Moreover, Esoteric philosophy reconciles all religions, strips every one of its outward, human garments, and shows the root of each to be identical with that of every other great religion. It proves the necessity of an absolute Divine Principle in nature. It denies Deity no more than it does the Sun. Esoteric philosophy has never rejected God in Nature, nor Deity as the absolute and abstract Ens. It only refuses to accept any of the gods of the so-called monotheistic religions, gods created by man in his own image and likeness, a blasphemous and sorry caricature of the Ever Unknowable. Furthermore, the records we mean to place before the reader embrace the esoteric tenets of the whole world since the beginning of our humanity, and Buddhistic occultism occupies therein only its legitimate place, and no more.” H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, Introductory, p. xx.
“The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system: e.g., even in the exotericism of the Purânas. But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain, in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs. The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there, where an ordinary profane, however learned, would have perceived but the external work of form.” H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, The Theosophy Co. L.A., CA, 2004 (A facsimile of the original edition of 1888) p. 272.
MT: “the idea of spiritual masters (called avatars), who pass on insight and realization to humans”.
Incorrect: The “spiritual masters” referred to are not “avatars” but:
“great adepts; i.e., men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions—so obtained as to stand as independent evidence—of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences” H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 273.
This principle of checking and confirmation isby the wayadhered to at present by all modern scientists albeit by other means.
Both Blavatsky and William Q. Judge (her co-worker) referred to these “spiritual masters” (a name neither Blavatsky nor Judge uses) as either Adepts, Mahatmas (great souls), Elder Brothers, Initiates, Jivanmuktas or just plain Masters, but certainly not as Avatar(a)s.
As to avatars:
“There is a great difference between an Avatara and a Jivanmukta: one, as already stated, is an illusive appearance, Karmaless, and having never before incarnated; and the other, the Jivanmukta, is one who obtains Nirvana by his individual merits. To this expression again an uncompromising, philosophical Vedantin would object. He might say that as the condition of the Avatara and the Jivanmukta are one and the same state, no amount of personal merit, in howsoever many incarnations, can lead its possessor to Nirvana.
Nirvana, he would say is actionless; how can, then, any action lead to it? It is neither a result nor a cause, but an ever-present, eternal Is, as Nagasena defined it. Hence it can have no relation to, or concern with, action, merit, or demerit, since these are subject to Karma. All this is very true, but still to our mind there is an important difference between the two. An Avatara is; a Jivanmukta becomes one. If the state of the two is identical, not so are the causes which lead to it. An Avatara is a descent of a God into an illusive form; a Jivanmukta, who may have passed through numberless incarnations and may have accumulated merit in them, certainly does not become a Nirvani because of that merit, but only because of the Karma generated by it, which leads and guides him in the direction of the Guru who will initiate him into the mystery of Nirvana and who alone can help him to reach this abode.” H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, Vol. XIV, p. 374.
MT: “masters (called avatars), who pass on insight and realization to humans”
“Moreover, the Secret Doctrine teaches:
The fundamental identity of all Souls with the Universal Over-Soul, the latter being itself an aspect of the Unknown Root; and the obligatory pilgrimage for every Soul a spark of the former through the Cycle of Incarnation (or "Necessity") in accordance with Cyclic and Karmic law, during the whole term. In other words, no purely spiritual Buddhi (divine Soul) can have an independent (conscious) existence before the spark which issued from the pure Essence of the Universal Sixth principle, or the OVER-SOUL, has (a) passed through every elemental form of the phenomenal world of that Manvantara, and (b) acquired individuality, first by natural impulse, and then by self-induced and self-devised efforts (checked by its Karma), thus ascending through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas, from mineral and plant, up to the holiest archangel (Dhyani-Buddha). The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations.” H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I, p. 17.
Just for clarification: manas is the thinking principle or mind of every human being, having a higher and a lower aspect and thus being twofold.
“Ego” is not the psychological connotation attached to its present day meaning in psychology, but (and especially in this context) the human soul subject to the process of periodical incarnations until it reaches liberation.
Karma is neither fate nor destiny in the pejorative meaning that is so prevalent nowadays both in the east and the west, but the tendency in spiritual nature to restore equilibrium or unity through the appropriate effects that follow in the wake of our actions (cause & effect), whether they be physical or mental.
“Spiritual masters” do not “pass on insight and realization to humans”, what Theosophy teaches is that the only thing that can come to us from outside in our pursuit of knowledge is information that is presented in such a way that it can be used to elicit an intelligent response. This response or understanding always comes from within, nobody can make you understand anything (although it appears that way sometimes). Information comes from without, understanding from within. If it would be otherwise virtually everyone would be instantly “enlightened” by any bit of information that comes his or her way. Both information and understanding obviously come to us by degrees although some understanding can be instantaneous and is usually referred to as intuition.
MT: “Theosophy is without comparison the religion, which has inspired most new religions and movements, as many hundred movements, in some shade, draw on fundamental ideas of Theosophy.”
Unfortunately I have to present my personal opinion on this, as the “modern new age” is a phenomenon that occurred after the prime influence of H.P. Blavatsky had to some extent already waned. Here I even have to disagree with the same popular notion that is prevalent among some modern writers on Theosophy as referring to Blavatsky as the mother of the “New Age”. If that were true, the “New Age” would be in a much better position than being the hodgepodge of not even half properly digested humbug it is today where every inquirer seems to gather only those skeletal remnants of religion and philosophy (often with a splash of pseudo-scientific sauce to top it off) that fits their likes and dislikes and is in effect nothing more but a kind of religious shopping. Idem ditto for “inspiring most new religions and movements”. If any influence of Theosophy has rubbed off to any extent into the new age or any other movement, it would be more appropriate to refer to C.W. Leadbeater, a half-baked psychic and con-man (at some point even expelled from the Theosophical Society and later on unfortunately re-instated by Annie Besant) who more often than not misrepresented the original teachings of Theosophy as expounded by H.P. Blavatsky and W.Q. Judge. He is primarily responsible for letting exoteric and popular representations of the so-called chakras as found in Indian literature become rampant and misinterpreted in western circles. See for instance “A Comparison of C. W. Leadbeater's The Chakras with the Writings of H. P. Blavatsky, William Q. Judge, and G. de Purucker” by M. Jaqua.
MT: “The teaching of Theosophy is introduced in a number of books and magazines; the most important books are written by, or are ascribed [to] Madame Blavatsky (for instance ”The Secret Doctrine”, ”Key to Theosophy”, ”The Voice of Silence”) and Annie Besant…”.
Annie Besant only contacted Theosophy in 1889, two years before Blavatsky's death and just as Leadbeater did, misrepresented with very few exceptions the original teachings. See: www.blavatskyarchives.com
MT: “…, Blavatsky's successor as president (”Ancient Wisdom”).”
Incorrect: Besant was not Blavatsky's successor, as Blavatsky herself never had been the president of the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky was the lifelong Corresponding Secretary of the T.S. The president (for life) was Colonel Henry Steel Olcott until his death in 1907 to be succeeded by Besant in 1908.
MT: “To achieve realization through a line of various stages of realization is the goal in Theosophy.”
Incorrect: The first and foremost object of the philosophy of Theosophy was and still is to form a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood of humanity, without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste or color, and 2. to encourage the comparative study of religion, philosophy and science, and 3. to investigate the unexplained laws of nature and the powers latent in man. See: The Key to Theosophy, H.P. Blavatsky, p. 39, Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, CA., 1973
MT: “Man is divided in three parts or levels: the body is at the bottom in the hierarchy, and the spirit is at the top. Between these two is the soul as a mediating factor. The spirit shall learn to control the body. Man (and cosmos) consists of 7 planes, of which the first three belong to the material world, while the rest belong to the spiritual world. The movement goes from the pure physical to pure spirit.”
A gobbledygook and tentative statement: Although Blavatsky limited herself at the onset of the Theosophical Movement to the three-fold division of Spirit, soul and body as used in antiquity, sheafter the publication of Isis Unveiled in 1877expanded this approach to what is called the sevenfold constitution of man (and cosmos), i.e., man is constituted of seven fundamental principles and they correspond but are not identical with planes. Moreover all these principles (as also the planes) exist in coadunition with each other but are not consubstantial.
The spiritAtma(n)is not at all concerned with “learn to control the body”. The spirit represents the power or potentiality to move and perceive, whereas it is the human soul that is entrusted with the task to learn to manage and purify its animal desires (the principle of kama) and not to identify itself with the body.
MT: “the first three [principles] belong to the material world, while the rest belong to the spiritual world.”
Incorrect: The first three principles out of seven are Atma, Buddhi and Manas, or Spirit, the Spiritual Soul and the noetic Manas or higher mind. These three principles represent the spiritual element in man. The four lower principles consist of kama or animal desire, prana or life force, the astral body and the physical body, together constituting with the “dregs” of manas or lower mind (since this principle is twofold) the personal man.
It is furthermore fruitless to delve deeper into the subject as further discussed by Mr. Tolboll in the first two paragraphs of “A critique of Theosophy”, as it is pure drivel, I suggest reading Blavatsky's “Key to Theosophy” to get some perspective on the subject.
The third paragraph contains more of the same:
MT: “In Theosophy everything is reduced to the energy aspect, though. And this reductionism is going again in other Theosophy-influenced directions (as for example New Age, Ufology, Ken Wilber, The Human Design System, The WingMakers Projectsee my articles "Six common traits of New Age that distort spirituality", "A critique of Ken Wilber and his integral method", "A critique of the Human Design System", and "Time travel and the fascism of The WingMakers Project".
“And this reductionism is going again in other Theosophy-influenced directions”
Pure drivel: Nothing in Theosophy is reduced to the energy aspectwhatever that may implyat best one could refer to the monad (Atma-Buddhi) as being the ultimate reduction, which contains the potentiality of energy, but not the energy itself. As to “And this reductionism is going again in other Theosophy-influenced directions”, I would like to hear the rationale behind this ridiculous statement, especially when it is followed by “This reductionism is due to the attempt of synthesizing spirituality and science.”
MT: “Theosophy is especially inspired by Darwinism, and its theories about human evolution”
“The first lesson taught in Esoteric philosophy is, that the incognizable Cause does not put forth evolution, whether consciously or unconsciously, but only exhibits periodically different aspects of itself to the perception of finite Minds.” The Secret Doctrine, Vol.II:487.
“It is really with surprise that we have ascertained the fact that "Esoteric Buddhism" [a first attempt by Mr. A.P. Sinnett to acquaint the West with the teachings of Theosophy] was so little understood by some Theosophists, as to have led them into the belief that it thoroughly supported Darwinian evolution, and especially the theory of the descent of man from a pithecoid ancestor. As one member writes: "I suppose you realise that three-fourths of Theosophists and even outsiders imagine that, as far as the evolution of man is concerned, Darwinism and Theosophy kiss one another." Nothing of the kind was ever realised, nor is there any great warrant for it, so far as we know, in "Esoteric Buddhism." It has been repeatedly stated that evolution as taught by Manu and Kapila was the groundwork of the modern teachings, but neither Occultism nor Theosophy has ever supported the wild theories of the present Darwinistsleast of all the descent of man from an ape.” The Secret Doctrine, Vol.I:186.
“As to Natural Selection itself, the utmost misconception prevails among many present-day thinkers who tacitly accept the conclusions of Darwinism. It is, for instance, a mere device of rhetoric to credit "Natural Selection" with the power of originating species. "Natural Selection" is no Entity; but a convenient phrase for describing the mode in which the survival of the fit and the elimination of the unfit among organisms is brought about in the struggle for existence. Every group of organisms tends to multiply beyond the means of subsistence, the constant battle for lifethe "struggle to obtain enough to eat and to escape being eaten" added to the environmental conditionsnecessitating a perpetual weeding out of the unfit. The elite of any stock thus sorted out, propagate the species and transmit their organic characteristics to their descendants. All useful variations are thus perpetuated, and a progressive improvement is effected. But Natural Selection, in the writer's humble opinion, "Selection, as a Power," is in reality a pure myth; especially when resorted to as an explanation of the origin of species. It is merely a representative term expressive of the manner in which "useful variations" are stereotyped when produced. Of itself, "it" can produce nothing, and only operates on the rough material presented to "it." The real question at issue is: what CAUSEcombined with other secondary causesproduces the "variations" in the organisms themselves. Many of these secondary causes are purely physical, climatic, dietary, etc., etc. Very well. But beyond the secondary aspects of organic evolution, a deeper principle has to be sought for. The materialist's "spontaneous variations," and "accidental divergencies" are self-contradictory terms in a universe of "Matter, Force and NECESSITY." Mere variability of type, apart from the supervisory presence of a quasi-intelligent impulse, is powerless to account for the stupendous complexities and marvels of the human body for instance.” The Secret Doctrine, Vol.II:648.
MT: “The problem of Theosophy is its attempt of synthesizing spirituality, consciousness, evolution and race. According to Theosophy all evolution is basically the evolution of consciousness. So, consciousness is reduced to evolution, or, the energy aspect of Man.”
Incorrect: According to Theosophywhile using in the following reference Brahminical terminologysome of the explanations of the Darwinian theory of evolution can indeed be applied in a very much later and “external” stage:
“Parabrahm (the One Reality, the Absolute) is the field of Absolute Consciousness, i.e., that Essence which is out of all relation to conditioned existence, and of which conscious existence is a conditioned symbol. But once that we pass in thought from this (to us) Absolute Negation, duality supervenes in the contrast of Spirit (or consciousness) and Matter, Subject and Object.
Spirit (or Consciousness) and Matter are, however, to be regarded, not as independent realities, but as the two facets or aspects of the Absolute (Parabrahm), which constitute the basis of conditioned Being whether subjective or objective.” The Secret Doctrine, Vol.I:15.
Consciousness is not at all reduced to evolution, au contraire, consciousness is the driving force behind evolution and does not alter in its essence which is intelligence per se. What actually changes or differentiates is the substance it informs and which will give rise to increasingly 'sophisticated' vehicles, forms or species if you like through which intelligence can manifest itself and this “activity” is regulated by karma in its broadest sense of cause and effect in trying to maintain equilibrium in every kingdom. Mind (also in its broadest sense and beyond even the scope of the human mind) is in that regard only the guiding and centralizing faculty of that intelligence which has certainly no need for an anthropomorphic being. Evolution itself (actually only our perception of it) is thus nothing more than the handmaiden of consciousness and provides an ever increasing expansion to the potentiality that resides within consciousness. If one limits consciousness in this instance only to human consciousness then we veer far off the mark of what is implied in theosophy teachings. One ought to say rather that the increasing sophistication of “substance”, or form following function through evolution will “raise” that substance into more and more ethereal realms that will lead it eventually after billions of years back to its source, absolute consciousness which is neither spirit nor matter, to re-emerge after a period of rest (called a pralaya) into a new manifestation on a higher plane of activity. In a scientific albeit materialistic sense this is not unlike the idea of the big bang!
MT: “According to Blavatsky's writings, there will be seven root races assembled for our Earth; each root race is divided into seven sub-races. Only five root races have appeared so far.”
Close but no cigar: As Mr. Tolboll himself pointed out, there are seven planes, the three highest of which are totally inconceivable to us, the four lower planes containing in total seven “globes” (referred to as a planetary chain), our “earth” only being on the lowest plane, the other three (lower) planes each containing two “globes” of increasing ethereality. On each “globe” seven root-races (each root-race indeed subdivided into seven sub-races) will be developed over the course of one “round” or period of evolution through all the globes. As the total trajectory of evolution goes through seven “rounds”, the total of root-races will amount to 7x7x7 = 349 root-races. The term root-race or sub-race does in no conceivable way even approach the meaning of an ethnic race. What is implied with the word race in the theosophical context is a reference to a type of “mentality” or humanity (in more ways than is at present perceived by our understanding of “mind”) that will be developed though different states of matter and consciousness irrespective of ethnicity. Our present humanity (as a whole!) constitutes at present indeed the fifth root-race developing through the lowest and most physical arc of the planetary chain. See The Secret Doctrine, Vol.I:170 and further, including the diagram on p. 200.
MT: “According to prominent occultist and Theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater, a colony will be established in Baja California by the Theosophical Society under the guidance of The Great White Brotherhood in the 28th century for the intensive selective eugenic breeding of the sixth root race.”
Spurious: C.W. Leadbeater has been dealt with before and in no sense does he even count as a prominent theosophist, prominent only in so far that he spent some time in the limelight of a subsection of deluded followers and pseudo-theosophists. The above statement is from his own deluded mind and is in no way confirmed through the original teachings as found in the literature of H.P. Blavatsky or W.Q. Judge.
MT: “A few million years in the future, the seventh root race will arise from the seventh sub-race of the sixth root race on the future continent that the sixth root race will be living on, and which will arise from the Pacific Ocean.”
More gobbledygook: unsupported by the teachings of theosophy, I wonder if Mr. Tolboll has ever read his own sentence twice and even remotely read The Secret Doctrine written by H.P. Blavatsky or The Ocean of Theosophy written by W.Q. Judge.
MT: “It is believed by some Theosophists that after the present round of human spiritual evolution, by reincarnation of souls in root races, is completed dozen million years from now, the human race will migrate to the planet Mercury to continue its spiritual and physical evolution.”
Incorrect: Please show me a reference in the original teachings where you can find this claim! When a planetary chain (consisting of seven globes) reaches the end of its evolutionary journey, the life wave of “monads” that evolved on this chain will continue its journey on the re-embodiment or “reincarnation” of the planetary chain just left behind and this old planetary chain will become the satellite or (sevenfold) moon of the new planetary chain. See The Secret Doctrine, Vol. I:170.
MT: “Where does Theosophy get these ideas from? Leading members claim they have channeled it from the Great White Brotherhood. The phenomenon of channeling plays a great role within Theosophy, where unenlightened persons claim to channel messages from the enlightened consciousness.”
Incorrect: Except for those members of the Theosophical Society that turned the teachings into pseudo-theosophy (such as Leadbetter, Besant, Alice Bailey, et al.) in the early decades of the 20th century, there has never been a claim as to “channeling” from the original founders of the T.S.
Apart from the fact that the word channeling was certainly not in vogue previous to the last quarter of the 20th century a lot of misunderstandings have been created by the usage of this term unless the speaker actually explains which definition is being used.
“Channeling: professedly entering a meditative or trancelike state to convey messages from a spiritual guide.” [1970–75] (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.)
“Channeling: In the later half of the 20th century, Western mediumship developed in two different ways. One type involves psychics or sensitives who speak to spirits and then relay what they hear to their clients. The other incarnation of non-physical mediumship is a form of channeling in which the channeler goes into a trance, or "leaves their body". He or she allows the entity to borrow his/her body, who then talks through them. When in a trance the medium seems to come under the control of another personality, purportedly the spirit of a departed soul, and a genuine medium undoubtedly believes the 'control' to be a spirit entity. While in the old deep trance state the medium often enters a cataleptic state marked by extreme rigidity, this seems not the case for most of modern channelers” (Wikipedia)
Blavatsky never answered to the above description, as she was always in perfect control of herself, no meditative nor trancelike state being required.
In H.P. Blavatsky's own words:
“When years ago, we first travelled over the East, we came into contact with certain men, endowed with such mysterious powers and such profound knowledge that we may truly designate them as the sages of the Orient. To their instructions we lent a ready ear.
During my Eastern travels, I have lived at different periods in Little Tibet as in Great Tibet, and these combined periods form more than seven years. I have stopped in Lamaistic convents; I have visited Tzi-gadze, the Tashi-Lhunpo territory and its neighborhood, and I have been further in, and in such places of Tibet as have never been visited by any other European.
Much of the teaching found in my writings come from these sages of the Orient, our Eastern Masters. Many a passage in my works has been written by me under their dictation. In saying this no supernatural claim is urged, for no miracle is performed by such a dictation.” See: www.blavatskyarchives.com
MT: “But there are especially three problems with channeling:”
No doubt that will be true, but I see no need to go any further into Mr. Tolboll's arguments as to why that might be the case as it seems to me that he himself has become a victim of his own definitions. For one:
“People, who in their arguments/teachings, again and again, have to defer to some authority (experts, teachers, states of enlightenment, divine sources, paranormal abilities) in order to justify their arguments/teachings, are hundred procent on the wrong track, even if they should have some paranormal abilities.”
I assume that Mr. Tolboll has received an education (since he seems to hold an MA in philosophy and a minor in psychology) ever since he went to school for the first time, then how is it possible to acquire such accolades without having gone through the rigorous process of learning from, leaning and depending on some kind of authority “experts, teachers” and certainly peer reviews to have acquired such a degree?
MT: “It is interesting to see, that true enlightened masters, as well as sober spiritual teachers, never do this.”
Although that may very well be true, such a bold statement without any further ado of course assumes that Mr. Tolboll has himself all the requisite knowledge to ascertain the validity and truthfulness of such a claim?
The rest of Mr. Tolboll's article consists of pretty much restating the earlier conclusions he had reached, with more confusing “facts” as to what he thinks Theosophy teaches and who were the people that represented those teachings. Neither C.W. Leadbetter, Annie Besant, Alice Bailey nor Jidda Krishnamurti ever represented the original teachings of Theosophy as expounded by H.P. Blavatsky and William Q. Judge. They basically (except for Krishnamurti who carved out his own path) did nothing but harm to the Theosophical Movement and its founders by turning the teachings into pseudo-religion, pseudo-science and pseudo-philosophy between the years 1900 and 1930. At least Jiddu Krishnamurti saw through the scam of trying to turn him into a “World-Teacher” and for this the Theosophical Movement can only be greatful. See: Mary Lutyens, Candles in the Sun, Rupert Hart-Davis, London 1957.
For the discrepancies that exist between the so-called theosophy of Alice Bailey and the original teachings of H.P. Blavatsky see: blavatskytheosophy.com
MT: “Fascism is often mischaracterized as “extreme right”, although writers have found placing Fascism on a conventional left-right political spectrum difficult. There is a scholarly consensus that Fascism was influenced by both left and right. Some fascists have themselves promoted their ideology as a “third way” between Capitalism and Communism. In that way we see, that Theosophy, and all its branches, is a central part of my concept of the Matrix Conspiracy”
I fail to see where “The Fascism of Theosophy” comes into play in Mr. Tolboll's “Matrix Conspiracy”, especially when we're dealing with a philosophy where brotherhood and the freedom of thought are the “prime directive” to quote a phrase from Gene Roddenberry's science fiction series Star Trek.
In Blavatsky's words:
“Theosophy, we say, is not a Religion. It is perhaps necessary, first of all, to say, that the assertion that “Theosophy is not a Religion,” by no means excludes the fact that “Theosophy is Religion” itself. A Religion in the true and only correct sense, is a bond uniting men togethernot a particular set of dogmas and beliefs. Now Religion, per se, in its widest meaning is that which binds not only all MEN, but also all BEINGS and all things in the entire Universe into one grand whole. This is our theosophical definition of religion…
Thus Theosophy is not a Religion, we say, but RELIGION itself, the one bond of unity, which is so universal and all-embracing that no man, as no speckfrom gods and mortal down to animals, the blade of grass and atomcan be outside of its light. Therefore, any organization or body of that name must necessarily be a UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD.” H.P. Blavatsky, Theosophical Articles, Vol. I, pp. 57 and 59. Theosophy Co., Los Angeles, 1981.
Let me finish with a reference to William Q. Judge's statement in his article “The Theosophical Movement”, (W.Q. Judge, Theosophical Articles, Vol. II, Theosophy Co., L.A. 1980, p. 124) in the hope of providing the reader with a statement that unequivocally proves that Theosophy is anything but fascism:
William Quan Judge, co-founder
of The Theosophical Society
“The Theosophical Movement being continuous, it is to be found in all times and in all nations. Wherever thought has struggled to be free, wherever spiritual ideas, as opposed to forms and dogmatism, have been promulgated, there the great movement is to be discerned. Jacob Boehme's work was a part of it, and so also was the Theosophical Society of over one hundred years ago; Luther's reformation must be reckoned as a portion of it; and the great struggle between Science and Religion, clearly portrayed by Draper, was every bit as much a motion of the Theosophical Movement as is the present Society of that nameindeed that struggle, and the freedom thereby gained for science, were really as important in the advance of the world, as are our different organizations. And among political examples of the movement is to be counted the Independence of the American colonies, ending in the formation of a great nation, theoretically based on Brotherhood. One can therefore see that to worship an organization, even though it be the beloved theosophical one, is to fall down before Form, and to become the slave once more of that dogmatism which our portion of the Theosophical Movement, the T.S., was meant to overthrow.” See also: www.blavatsky.net
In closing I can only reiterate my statement made in the comment section of Mr. Tolboll's article “A critique of Ken Wilber and his integral method” that:
“I'm afraid Mr. Tolboll that if you were to be subjected to your own criticism that you display so freely toward others, that you wouldn't fair too well by your own standards which I must admit are set at lofty heights and which I enjoyed reading. Since in the above you so often refer to your other articles and books, I have taken the liberty to follow your links and peruse through some of your literary works and found several of them equally lacking in accuracy and certainly not devoid of bias and outright misinformation.”