1. What’s your name, where are you from and how long have you been a member of the TS?
My name is Esteban Langlois; I joined the T.S. in 1983, after attending a course by Juan Viñas, based on The Key to Theosophy. I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I was born. I am a medical doctor and still active, so I have to administer my time and energy between the TS, my family and my profession.
2. Are you active in your Lodge/Section and if so, what do you do?
I am currently the General Secretary of the Argentinean Section. I am also active in delivering courses and lectures on different subjects, sometimes taking advantage of my medical background. However, I always preferred the philosophical and metaphysical issues. During the last couple of years, I became active in the international Theosophical environment, participating in public activities in the neighbors’ sections.
3. How did you first learn about Theosophy or come in contact with the Society?
I got in contact with occultism at a very young age; when I was around 15 years old. I have no relatives involved in these disciplines, but my father loved the classical Greco-Latin culture, so I was introduced by him to this world. The study of Mysteries and Initiatic Schools in Greece and Egypt lead me to the Occult Philosophy, and I began to read books of Papus, Eliphas Levi, Cornelio Agrippa and Saint-Martin among others. In some texts the words Theosophy and Theosophical Society appeared, so I became curious and searched for the address in the telephone directory; there was no internet at that time! After having found the TS, at first, I did a course based on The Key to Theosophy, conducted by Juan Viñas, a well-known Theosophist and speaker in the Spanish speaking Theosophical world. Immediately after finishing the course, I joined the TS.
4. What does Theosophy mean to you?
From my point of view, Theosophy is a way of living with a philosophical background. In other words, I can say that Theosophy is a transforming knowledge. So, we have two aspects: Theosophy as knowledge and Theosophy as right living (to use a Buddhist expression). Both aspects come together; otherwise Theosophy would become a moral precept or an academic philosophy. I consider it important to spread Theosophy, as being an example of right living, more than the mental “thought-lectures” and seminars. And that right living should be apparent in the Theosophical environment, as well as in private life.
5. What is your favorite Theosophical book and why?
The book I read the most since I joined the TS is The Secret Doctrine. I have read it many times and every time I return to it, I discover new teachings and concepts on the pages, I have already read. This book has many keys for interpretation of myths, symbols and allegories of different cultures and traditions, as well as the esoteric meaning of the ancient philosophies. I used to alternate this book by H.P.B., with what I call sources of Theosophy, meaning ancient classics like The Bhagavad Gita, The Upanishads, Plato’s Dialogues, among others.
6. What in your opinion is the biggest challenge the TS is facing at the moment?
When the TS was founded it delivered a message to the world, a new way to read and to understand the old texts in which religions are based, an explanation of the ageless wisdom, in 19th - century language. It was a way that lead to the discovery of the unity of the teachings, and the equality of human beings. But this message is not new anymore, because the times of contempt for other cultures and people considered to be different has passed, and now we are not the only ones working in order to bring religions, cultures and philosophies closer. The present challenge is to discover current needs and to provide solutions.
Perhaps in this digital era of instant results, which instantly vanish, we need to show that a focused mind and sustained hard work have more stable and permanent results. In other words, to teach that a disciplined mind, a mind prepared for the spiritual life, should be trained to avoid the constant deception, where this instant and diffuse mind leads us constantly.
7. Is there anything you would wish for the future of the Theosophical Movement?
I would wish more committed members. The only way of teaching. is through setting examples, so TS members should be an example of commitment with the spiritual life, and that commitment should be seen in our everyday’s actions.
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.