Impressions of Berlin ITC 2018
Published: Tuesday, 25 September 2018 04:41
Jonathan Colbert – USA
It is certainly an honor to offer some impressions of the ITC (International Theosophy Conferences) gathering this year from July 26th through July 29th. Overall, for me and for many others I have talked to, the ITC gathering this year had a special quality of both mind and heart. I used to hear sometimes a couple of decades ago, unfortunate statements from Theosophists, like, “I like Theosophy but I’m not so sure I like theosophists.” Maybe people are still saying things like that even nowadays, but I don’t hear it anymore. In fact, for me at least, it is such a joy and such a great privilege to come together annually through the ITC conferences with Theosophists of seemingly various stripes and colors, each time in a new year and a new place. I’m wondering if in time, the theosophical movement will consist of just students of theosophy, wherever and however situated.
Participants ITC 2018, Berlin
Foreboding signs did pop up in the immediate days prior to the conference. Even though there was enthusiasm a year earlier at Philadelphia about this year’s conference, as the time approached this year, there was a certain quotient of pre-conference jitters and doubts about whether or not a purely working conference with little or no lectures would end up being too corporate and mechanical. Additionally, there were the jokes about how the three hot topics – religious intolerance, end-of-life-issues and depression – were, well, depressing! Furthermore, astrology types were saying something about a full Lunar Eclipse; that Mars would be closer than in a long time; and that Mercury would be in one of its three retrograde cycles for 2018. Seemingly bearing out the dire prognostications of the astrological soothsayers, on the way to the conference itself, there were numerous baggage transfer problems at airports causing several attendees, especially coming from The United States, to become separated from their suitcases for days in a row!
Yet, by the end of the conference, I had never seen so many bright and shiny smiles and faces, so many happy hearts all gathered in one place. How did this happen? As mentioned, this year’s conference was heavy on study circles and light on lectures. The experiment was to see if you could have a true theosophical working conference. Corporations do these in order to bring about a fundamental “change process” drawing from a wider field of participants within the organization to get new ideas and generate new initiatives, instead of utilizing a more traditional intra-department, top-down approach to achieve such an end. In this way participants are invited that represent a wide variety of expertise, experience, geography and demographic within the corporation to analyze given problems, come up with solutions to them and to implement these in the form of new policies and programs going forward.
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