1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is David Bruce. I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA) and I have been a member of the Theosophical Society since 1985.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have the opportunity of working full-time at Olcott, the national center of the Theosophical Society in America. My position from 2003 to 2010 was as Director of Education; from 2010 to the present, I have held the position of National Secretary, where my responsibilities include: recording the official minutes of the board of directors’ meetings; supervising the mailing and counting of ballots during election years; supervising the membership department and the information department; scheduling visits from national speakers to our local lodges and study centers; traveling to our local groups where I give talks and workshops, as well as an occasional presentation to local civic groups; perform proofreading and editing functions for other departments at the national center; and lastly, managing the very active prison program, which has helped hundreds of prisoners through the dedicated efforts of over two dozen TSA mentors.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
It was good karma. I am a 3rd generation Theosophist, with both my parents and my paternal grandmother having been members of the Society. My parents had six children and I was the only one that gravitated towards Theosophy. This demonstrates to me that conditioning and environment are not the all-powerful agents that many people think them to be. My siblings had the same parents and the same Theosophical library that I did, but they didn’t make the connection. So, why would only one out of six children embrace Theosophy? My mother was a teacher by profession, and she was very good at explaining Theosophy to young minds. If asked, she would give the same explanation to my brothers or sisters that she gave to me. Based on this, I am convinced that I must have come into this incarnation with an innate interest in Theosophy. I don’t know when or where it occurred, but I am convinced that this is not my first exposure to the Perennial Philosophy.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
Theosophy is what makes life worth the struggle, the pain and suffering, the disappointments and failures. It also puts your successes and triumphs into perspective. It may not explain everything, but it does provide a rational and believable model for not only the human experience, but the experience of all sentient beings. No other philosophy that I am aware of offers that vast and sweeping view of life. Moreover, it is often said that human beings need to feel that life has a purpose. For many millions of people, neither organized religions nor the secular materialistic philosophy provides that. But for those who study Theosophy, life no longer is no longer “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” to quote Thomas Hobbes, but rather an extraordinary adventure leading to undreamed of splendor and sublime experience.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
That is a moving target. At different times in my life, I have been drawn to different books. For the past two years, I have been getting to know intimately The Voice of the Silence. When I was younger, I didn’t like it very much, but in my later years I have come to appreciate its poetic beauty and inspiring passages. When I was very young, my favorite was At the Feet of the Master. In my forties, it was The Secret Doctrine. I am curious to find out what it will be ten or fifteen years from now. I like to read. We’ll see what happens.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
That is difficult to say. There are many challenges, to be sure. But since I do not travel the world and visit Theosophical groups in other countries, anything I say would be based primarily on my experience as a Theosophist living in the United States. The challenges the American Section may not be the same as those faced in the Indian Section, or the Australian Section, for example. At one time, I might have responded to this question by saying we need to grow our membership. But today, my feeling is that the biggest need is for more and more of our members to seriously engage in the process of self-transformation. That is what it’s all about. That is the bottom line. What good is it if we can recite passages from The Secret Doctrine from memory, but haven’t learned how to live theosophically? The intellectual aspect is important, but self-transformation, in my view, is a higher priority.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
We need to use every available means to bring Theosophy to the general public. The world is in very bad shape and needs the Light of the Wisdom Tradition now, more than ever before.
From the editor:
Opinions and ideas expressed in the mini-interviews are exclusively of those who are being interviewed. They don’t necessarily represent the ideas and opinions of the compilers of Theosophy Forward. The responses of the interviewees are not edited for content. Some contributors give short answers to the questions while others touch upon the subject more elaborately.