Theosophy and the Society in the Public Eye

Religion and Violence Against Women

The following article is about a critical social problem that is, not only not mitigated, but actually aggravated by an unholy and unlikely consensus among traditional Roman Catholicism, reactionary Islam, and atheist Russia. The article does not mention Theosophy, but the problem it addresses is a central concern of the Theosophical Society, whose first object is “to form a nucleus of the universal human family without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color” and many of whose members have been in the forefront of action for the equal rights and protection of women.

For the article in the New York Times click here.

Editorial: Unholy Alliance

New York Times, March 11, 2013

Some horrific events over the past few months, including the shooting of a Pakistani schoolgirl and the rape and murder of a young Indian physiotherapy student, should have been an alert for the world to unite in preventing violence against women.

violence against women

But if a conference now under way at the United Nations is any guide, that message has not resounded with the necessary urgency. Halfway into their two-week annual meeting, delegates to the Commission on the Status of Women fear they will not be able to agree on a final communiqué, just like last year.

Who is to blame? Delegates and activists are pointing fingers at the Vatican, Iran and Russia for trying to eliminate language in a draft communiqué asserting that the familiar excuses — religion, custom, tradition — cannot be used by governments to duck their obligation to eliminate violence. The United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed similar language just six months ago.

Conservative hard-liners seem determined to fight it out again. They have also objected to references to abortion rights, as well as language suggesting that rape also includes forcible behavior by a woman’s husband or partner. Poland, Egypt, other Muslim states and conservative American Christian groups have criticized one or more parts of the draft. The efforts by the Vatican and Iran to control women are well known. It is not clear what motivates Russia, although there is a strong anti-feminist strain in President Vladimir V. Putin’s government. He may also be trying to curry favor with Islamic states.

Jimmy Carter speaks on violence

In any case, the suggestion that traditional values justify the violation of basic human rights is spurious. As Inga Marte Thorkildsen, Norway’s gender equality minister, has noted, “Violence against women must be seen as a human rights issue, and that has nothing to do with culture or religion.”

Gender-based violence is an epidemic. A World Bank report estimated that more women between the ages of 15 and 44 were at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined. According to the United Nations and other sources, more than 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime and more than 3 million girls are facing female genital mutilation. Women in all social, economic, ethnic and religious groups are affected. The conference will be a failure if it cannot produce ambitious global standards that will deliver concrete results to protect women and girls.

 

Alexander Scriabin (1872 – 1915)

[from HPB: The Extraordinary Life and Influence of Helena Blavatsky, Founder of the Modern Theosophical Movement, by Sylvia Cranston and Carey Williams, research assistant, 3rd rev. ed. (Santa Barbara, CA: Path Publishing House, 1999; c. 1993), pp. 497-8.]

In his foreword to Faubion Bowers' The New Scrabin, the noted Russian pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy wrote:

“I consider Scriabin one of the greatest composers . . . . His music has a unique idealism . . . . The basis of his thought was an indestructible faith and loyalty to Art as a means of elevating man's spirit and of showing light, goodness, and truth. Although one cannot say that without understanding his philosophy one cannot understand his music, one penetrates deeper into his music if one studies what compelled Scriabin. One cannot separate the man-as-philosopher from the composer of such beautiful music.”


Alexander Scriabin

What, then, was Scriabin's philosophy? Boris de Schloezer, the composer's Russian biographer, discloses that Theosophy was the only very strong outside influence he ever received. In Faubion Bowers's two-volume biography of Scriabin, detailed information on this is provided.

Read more: Alexander Scriabin (1872 – 1915)

Modern Art and Theosophy

Modern Art and Theosophy

“Mondrian, like Kandinsky and Malevich (and much later Jackson Pollock), was heavily into a fashionable quasi-religious belief system called Theosophy, which espoused many of the tenets around which the artists built their philosophy. The idea of uniting the universal and the individual, the equality of the elements, and unifying the internal and external, are all drawn from Theosophy.” [Will Gompertz, What Are You Looking At? The Surprising, Shocking, and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art (New York: Dutton, 2012), p. 193, with thanks to Katie Algeo for calling it to our attention.]


Theosophy, Fantasy, and Mary Poppins

 

John Algeo -- USA

Chapter 3: The Second Book of the Series: Mary Poppins Comes Back

Travers, Pamela L. Mary Poppins Comes Back. San Diego: Harcourt, Odyssey/Harcourt Young Classic, 1997, c. 1935.

Mary Poppins Comes Back, the second book of the series (with 269 pages of text), is about 1.67 times longer than the first book, with ten chapters, compared with the first book’s twelve chapters, so the episodes are significantly longer, as well.

Read more: Theosophy, Fantasy, and Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

“Pamela Travers [the author of the Mary Poppins books] is a long-time devotee of Gurdjieff, Krishnamurti, Yeats and Blake. For her, the Mary Poppins books were never just children’s stories, but intensely personal reflections of her . . . blend of philosophy, mysticism, theosophy, Zen Buddhism, duality, and the oneness of everything.”  Craig Brown, Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2012; pp. 57-8.

Blavatsky and Egypt

“The mid-Victorian period showed a marked interest in spiritualism, the occult and esoteric thinking, and Egypt provided a magnificent backdrop. The larger-than-life Madame Blavatsky gave rise to the Theosophy movement, and it is no coincidence that her first volume was entitled Isis Unveiled.” John Ray, reviewing The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy (Oxford Univ. Press) in The Times Literary Supplement, Jan. 11, 2013, p. 8.

A Theosophical chemist and the touchy art collector. Hermann Hille vs. Albert C. Barnes

Marty Bax – The Netherlands

[This article appeared on the site Bax Art Concept & Services in October 2012. It is reproduced on Theosophy Forward and slightly edited with the kind permission of the author. Follow this link for more interesting articles and posts: http://baxpress.blogspot.nl/]

This story begins with a German organic chemist Hermann Hille. Hermann was born on June 7, 1871 in Mölln, Northern Germany, the city where the famous prankster Till Eulenspiegel presumably died in 1350. The young Hermann studied in Würzburg and received his PhD in 1900 in Heidelberg for his 42-page study Ueber das primäre und sekundäre symmetrische Hydrazid der Propionsäure und Valeriansäure. This title showed the twenty nine year old Herman to be very intelligent in his field and he was soon recruited by a young American chemist, Albert Coombs Barnes, who lured him into an adventure in the USA. It was to be a great adventure.

Read more: A Theosophical chemist and the touchy art collector. Hermann Hille vs. Albert C. Barnes

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