The Society

Leslie Price interviews Jan Nicolaas Kind editor of Theosophy Forward

From INSIGHT, the February 2017 issue Volume 52, Number 5

The Society Editorial C Insight 2

1. There are lots of Theosophical journals in the different languages. What led you and your team to start a new one?

Actually, there aren’t that many journals. At present there are only about 5 ‘public’ Theosophical printed magazines such as Sofia (Brazil), Theosophical Digest (Philippines & India), Esoterica (UK), and Quest (USA).

In early 2009 I started with Theosophy Forward as a typical e-magazine, i.e. an electronic magazine available for all through the internet, because I had noticed that there was a lot of pain and confusion in the TS-Adyar. Between 2008 and 2009, there had been a rather tumultuous and divisive election for the position of international president. Was saddened to see that old friendships were torn apart and that some seemingly had completely forgotten what brotherhood, as so clearly specified in our first object, is all about. Felt strongly that a different and positive approach was needed. Now, in 2017, the magazine has readers in around 98 countries and each day the site is visited by hundreds of unique visitors, who not only can read the articles, but also download and print them or share them with friends. I am based both in Brasilia, Brazil and Miami, Florida; the magazine officially operates from the US.

2. A notable feature of TF is that you offer material in different languages. How is that organized?

As editor-in-chief I am very fortunate to have a group of incredibly committed co-workers. These are editors, translators, and technicians. Currently there are 12 volunteers involved in the production of TF. The magazine appears quarterly and each issue contains around 80 new items/articles. Obviously, it is not doable to have each issue translated into the 4 ‘foreign’ languages, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, but a selection most certainly is.

3. Theosophists can sometimes be fractious, even to the extent of setting up different societies. Do you see TF as having an ‘ecumenical’ role, not just geo-graphically but also among varying interpretations of what Theosophy means?

Over the years, and due to my connection with International Theosophy Conferences, of which I am vice-president, Theosophy Forward has developed into a periodical that gives room to all Theosophical vehicles, since all currents have earned their place under the sun. It is undeniable that the early pioneers of the Theosophical Society had their differences and made mistakes that at times led to conflicts. We cannot undo history, but we are certainly able to work for the future. Theosophy Forward, by offering a platform for all, aims to contribute towards that goal.

Have been around long enough to understand that my Theosophy can never be better than anyone else’s Theosophy, but vice versa, no one else’s Theosophy can ever be better than mine. Let me simply put it like this: Theosophy is not about telling how wrong other Theosophists were or still are, Theosophy is really and only about how we can live the life and enlighten this very troubled world of ours.

In this context I often think of what H.P.B. said, when she referred to the TS in general: “In the capacity of an abstract body, the Theosophical Society does not believe in anything, does not accept anything, and does not teach anything”

(H.P. Blavatsky’s Collected Writings 11:124, TPH, Wheaton, USA, 1973.)

For some in the Theosophical movement it is hard, if not impossible to open up for other Theosophical approaches or authors for example, although some doors are slowly opening up. In spite of the fact that the understanding of Theosophical teachings may differ, it is heart-warming to see that when Theosophists finally sit together at one table, there is much they have in common. Ultimately one will come to see that our diversity will work for, instead of against us, but it is certainly a long-term process. Each one of us must undertake that search for truth. The French novelist Marcel Proust in his book In Search of Lost Time, Volume 2: Within a Budding Grove, wrote: “We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, and effort which no one can spare us.”

4. What plans does TF have for the future?

It will continue to bring It Theosophists from the various streams together. Not to create a new sort of Theosophical vehicle, or society if you wish, there is no need for that, but to give those who consider themselves Theosophists the opportunity to learn from each other, through joint studies or activities and a never-ending dialogue. In years to come Theosophy Forward will remain dedicated to transmit energy, tolerance and to induce commitment.     

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