This interview was first published in December 2010
1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is John Kern. My father became a member of TSA in the 1920s; I joined on my return from WW II `in 1946. My wife and I live in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I have since 1966 been the Directing Trustee of the Kern Foundation, working with TS organizations and universities in the U.S. in support of broadening public awareness of Theosophy, serving as chair of the TSA’s endowment (Theosophical Investment Trust) and advisor to the TSA Board of Directors.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
Through reading the books my father had in our library and discussing them with him, especially while a teen, Man: Whence, How and Whither, with its science-fiction style stories. With my later MIT education, I learned that, when utilizing personal-observation techniques, the observer almost inevitably affects what they are observing, though this does not mitigate the implications which can be drawn from the affected observations.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
An opening to partial understanding of our place in an on-going life cycle, and our obligation to be of service to all.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
Can’t tie it down to one. I remember most those early classic books I read as a child. But having sponsored the Quest Book publishing from its beginning, appreciate the broader readership coverage we are achieving today.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
Coming back together as one brother/sisterhood body with differing views but a common fellowship and support for each other, hopefully less hierarchical and more democratic at our level of evolution.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
Continued support for wonderful work like you are doing, and like we at the Kern Foundation are supporting, such as through the young people at the national center of the TSA, who are constantly developing their web site and social networking to bring many more people worldwide into contact with Theosophy.
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.