The Society

Playing the Piano with three Fingers

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil

The core of Theosophy is to think for oneself, and in order to learn how to do this, one sets out to collect information and instructions, so that the process may begin.

It’s like learning to play a musical instrument.  For many this doesn’t come on a silver platter; it takes years of profound and dedicated study.  Sitting behind a piano, no one but the student can play ‘the instrument of instruments’.  Are we studying the Esoteric Philosophy at all, and, if so, do we study it, for example, as if we were learning to play the piano?

For many it’s a lot easier to have others doing the thinking, or, to use that analogy again, to prominently and proudly sit behind a shining Steinway, but have someone else play the score.

There is division in our ranks, and those who push themselves forward to think for us, make it seem that Theosophy is all about persons, their characters or mental faculties, failures, illnesses, or even their suspected manipulative conduct. Those ardent thinkers, in efforts to offer instant solutions tell us that Theosophy is about being for, or against, a person or a group, and about doing favours and receiving rewards in return. According to far going intellectualist chatter from an ever active but minuscule contingent of self proclaimed protectors of the cause and other oracles, Theosophy and its doddering vehicle urgently need facelifts–firm silicone injections.  We need to do away with the Objects and replace our Lodges with virtual communities and primarily get together through cable television broadcasts and the internet.  We must throw overboard most of our ideas or structures and even the mere word ‘Theosophy’.  Some, and these are the real doom thinkers, state that the Society is an emotionally fortified artifice, slowly crumbling away… soon it will be dead. Others will say that Theosophy, in the eyes of the world, is an ‘artificially concocted 19th century religion’, erroneously claiming that it is as old as the world is, and that it has now turned into a cult.

Next to the voluminous Theosophical literature, there are also other books available, often excellently written, and backed up by a lot of research and background material, dealing with typical Theosophical subjects. It’s such a pity that the authors are doing the thinking for us, and never get to the essence of the teachings. The result is that in spite of all the hard work, fragmented and faulty descriptions are given of what the Society and Theosophy are about. To use this article’s theme once more, too often these well-meant publications end up being nothing more than futile attempts of a first-year piano student playing Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto, one of the most complicated pieces of music ever written, with only three fingers, which of course cannot be done. The music might sound somewhat like Rachmaninoff, but there would be awful dissonance and the total musical richness and panorama would be hopelessly missing.

Ignorance, a complete lack of wisdom and compassion, has brought us where we are today.  An organization that talks about brotherhood, tolerance, freedom of thought and of the Society, detachment, humility and altruism has turned into a playground for self-inflated egos, all proclaiming truths, instead of searching for it, severely blasting and insulting those who dare to stand up and raise questions.

The world is the way it is because we are the way we are, so the Society is the way it is because we are the way we are. If there is egotism, it is because we are egoistic, if there is division, it is only because we are divided from within, and if we fail, it is our collective failure, and not that of the Society. If dogmatism, abuse of power, and nepotism exist under the vehicle’s banner, we cannot blame anyone but ourselves; we allow this to happen, right action is not taken.

We cannot change anything significantly because we claim to know what’s best for the Society or because we want things to change, and wish and pray for it.  Real change only surfaces when there is deep understanding.

One of the ways to come upon understanding is to take a deep breath, stand still, be silent, and, above all, study and learn. Instructions passed on to us, while making our quest, are never to be followed blindly, but must function solely as pointers along the way.

To learn to think for oneself is a lifelong and often painful process, but it can be done.  After some time, self-sacrifice, and endlessly ploughing through those wondrous teachings, it will be like sitting behind that piano again, its keyboard within hand-reach, patiently waiting for that moment when the fingers softly touch its ivories. Then there will be harmony; no longer dissonance.

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