The Society

ALAS and after- The Conditions of True Union

Henry Travers  Edge



[Note from the editor: In the series “Alas and after” an historical and very appropriate article written by H. T. Edge (1867- 1946). He was a personal pupil of Helena P. Blavatsky, a prolific author on Theosophical subjects and he  devoted some fifty-eight years of his life to theosophical work. H.T. Edge was a life-long affiliate of the Point Loma-Covina (USA) community] 


Harmony results from the analogy between contraries, says Éliphas Lévi, and all stability is based on antagonism or polarity. A magnet is a magnet only by virtue of its having two opposite poles; without the simultaneous presence of two dissimilar bodies no electricity is generated.

The Theosophical Society aspires to be a harmonious and stable body, and its permanence as such depends on the existence of antagonisms of opinion among its members. Uniformity of belief would produce a church, for a church is a body formed to uphold certain fixed doctrines, and difference of opinion constitutes heresy and leads inevitably to schism.

But the Theosophical Society is not a church; it professes to uphold truth, not one particular facet of truth; and truth is many-sided and involves what to the shallow-minded seem irreconcilable paradoxes.

Hence in the Theosophical Society we must be prepared to find the most opposite views held by different members, a diversity of opinion which in a church would be instantly fatal, but which is the strength of the Society. The whole truth cannot be reflected in a single human mind, and its different aspects, many of them polar aspects, must therefore be reflected in many minds.

This circumstance is regarded by the superficial observer as a ground for schism, and has doubtless been for some a motive for leaving the Society, while for others it has been the incentive to strenuous and misguided attempts to bring everyone to the same way of thinking, and reconcile the irreconcilable.

To the deep thinker, however, the fact that members hold antagonistic views can be no reason for their mutual estrangement, for it is the heart that is the true bond of union, not the head.

Lucifer, 1894, v. 15, n. 87, pp. 200-201.


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