1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Michiel Haas, English speaking people say Michael, it is much easier to pronounce. I’m from the Netherlands. In my youth I was a member of the young Theosophists, then I had my wild period and quit the TS membership. Later I came back as a member. All by all I guess I have been a quarter of a century a member, maybe a little longer, but I have always been a Theosophist.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am not active as such in a lodge. I see my work as practicing Theosophy, not studying special old books and old stories, but to live your life as a good person with a positive impact on the world, which means living like a Theosophist.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
My parents were both Theosophists and we got the ideas about the Masters, the Monad, etc. with our daily physical food. Later came the society and the structures made by man. And I always wonder how it is possible that we all work for the same goal and with good intentions, we sometimes can be so mean to each other.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
A way of life. Doing good things for mankind. But it can also mean plan a new roof for the Adyar Theater, or renovate the Adyar Estate buildings, all in an environmental friendly way, or help your friend after he lost his job. Try to have as minimum an impact on the environment as possible and as much impact to change the world to a peaceful place as you can. And that starts in your direct surroundings.
5. What is your favourite Theosophical book and why?
I don’t have just one favorite book. And what do you call Theosophical? Books written by members and published by Theosophical publishers? But of course you want some titles. I like the ‘Lives of Alcyone’ from Leadbeater as a book which shows us that we are growing life after life to become at the end good men, so don’t be too quick with your judgement, we are all on our way.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
The Theosophical Society was founded at the end of the 19th century to give an impulse to the world. And it did: reincarnation, karma, the equality of all mankind are now normal notions in this world.
Is there still a need for the TS? If we do not reach the younger people we will die off as Society. In my opinion we don’t reach younger people with old books and ideas told in the language of a past century. That doesn’t mean that the Theosophical ideas are old fashioned and not of any use any more in this world! It means we have to find a way to appeal to the younger people about tolerance, about being there for (y)our brothers and sisters, also the animals, etc. Things we always did as Theosophists. But we have to practice it! And tell it in modern language.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I wish we could gather together with all the people, going for the same goal, instead of fighting each other if we have a different meaning. What is a meaning, just less than a second in eternity. Can’t we be in that split second working all together for the same goal? Feel our unity. Work for the Masters.
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.