Suzanne E. Hassanein – Canada
In part two Suzanne, who is President of the Canadian Theosophical Association, mentioned some well known adult movies influenced by the occult and spirituality. In part three she discusses TV programs and gives an overview of how to present the Ancient Wisdom in modern forms.
About Television Programs and Moving with the Times
Lately some new programs have infiltrated TV land that have something occult about them or that show individuals with some kind of psychic gift. Examples are Medium; The Mentalist; The Listener; psychic detective work for police; Criss Angel Mindfreak; Ghost Whisperer; scary occult movies about evil spirits that prey on mortal bodies and minds or about possessions and hauntings. We have Stargate, Star Trek, amusing and serious movies about UFOs, aliens, and crop circles; movies like The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, addressing old religious factions that need changing—the list is getting longer by the day. These programs and films are shifting human consciousness. Old patterns are falling apart and do not work well any more, or not at all.
Thinking about what I know from Theosophy and those I know who study Theosophy, I conclude that on the whole, Theosophy can appeal to intellectuals if they are not prejudiced by other ideas, and also some mystic types who have been on the spiritual journey in other lives, have found a contact again in this life, and feel a deep attraction. However, it becomes very clear that there are certain types of people in this world who are not interested in Theosophical concepts, nor will be, in their present incarnation.
From another point of view, now is the time to reach out to ordinary persons who do not have a degree in philosophy or religion or are aware that they have an intellect, yet are interested and curious about such questions as these: Where do we go when we die? Who are we? Where did we come from? What is our destiny? These are simple questions and yet they are not easy to answer. Aren’t these some of the questions posed in the Mystery Schools of all times? If we, with the tools and talents we already have, cannot reach people who ask those questions, then TV, the movie industry, and the Web will fill the gap. With the media influence exclusively taking over the imaginative but often erroneous instruction of humanity, it is possible that discriminative choices by humanity will be out of their hands. We have already seen this in the random-violence movies that have appeared over many decades of the past, and can be an incentive to some individuals to do copy-cat actions of the same nature.
I have asked some Theosophical members for their opinion of what is needed to keep Theosophy relevant in the world, and here are seven of their responses:
(1) TS Web-sites should include downloadable material for beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Life is intense right now, so ordering books may be too difficult for those who have to work or who have too much going on in their lives. Books related to their levels should be announced in big bold letters and be available for easy downloading. Often those who need this information most are too strapped financially to buy books. So they drift away.
(2) The arts should be involved in conveying TS information — through occult and spiritual movies, music, dance, novels, and song. As an example, lately I came across two documentary-like films: Magic Flute Diaries, with Mozart as a background, and Echoes of Home (Heimatklänge), a Swiss film about sound for healing, with an illustrative mini story.
(3) Documentaries should show the true religious history of the past and how religious or philosophical behaviour of a fanatical kind destroys both the fanatics and those around them and can affect the whole world negatively, as has already happened. These documentaries have to be made in such a fashion that the failure of the systems is shown to have resulted from negative attitudes that were destructive to others.
(4) Tell the stories of prominent persons from other ages who were admirable and good and tried to do good for others. This reminds one of some of Blavatsky’s writings originally published as volume 3 of The Secret Doctrine, and now available in the Collected Writings, volume 14. These stories might be of Adepts from any culture and their most dominant influence.
(5) Respond to inquirers quickly; be available to help in some way. Offer courses like those of the Rosicrucians; point out books that the person can handle at their stage of development; know the Theosophical books that deal with the concepts the inquirer is looking for. Discuss the books chosen by the inquirer. Refer to good Web-sites to look into.
(6) Advertising would have to be clever—people are getting more sophisticated in what they are looking for—they are exposed to many choices now. If you refer people to a movie about some occult aspect of existence, know your movie and explain how it relates to a Theosophical idea. Perhaps then people could relate better to Theosophy.
(7) Develop technology and games with a Theosophical focus. For those who are already reasonable and sensitive to others, technology comes as a blessing. But for those who have no reasoning ability or sensitivity to others, it comes as a curse. There can be some danger for children who are exposed to virtual-reality games. Unless virtual reality is explained and described well, and we know the psychological implications of such games on human consciousness, they may cause trouble in the future.
For Theosophical Lodges and Study Centres, I can only give my own opinion. Such groups can be rewarding, but they may also be temporary. The Wind of Spirit always keeps moving through everything—and the active word is moving. All is temporary; all is changing; nothing is permanent. Older members who have done their Theosophical studies may not stay in a Lodge or Study Centre longer than is useful or possible for them. Or sometimes life’s circumstances take one out of a Theosophical group. We grow older, and this by itself limits physical participation for some. Often financial conditions or a decline in health or some karmic event stops dynamic people from staying active on the Theosophical scene.
As time moves on, it is necessary to develop new ways of expressing what one has learned and interiorized. There is something in the air at present, in this year 2009, that makes one feel we are being taken out of the old way of expressing Theosophy. Time has moved on; many things have changed; communications have such variety now that it is almost impossible to imagine all the outlets. Perhaps we need to study those outlets to see if they can be used as a medium for Theosophy. There are many valuable ideas connected with Theosophy that are still not super-popular.
The New Age movement has watered down many occult concepts that are too difficult for the everyday uneducated person. Those watered-down concepts may have been necessary in order to attract attention, but some New Age writers have gone into a personal-ego approach to their subjects and are very much interested in promoting a certain philosophy or religion, rather than being interested in freedom of choice for the curious seeker. Sometimes New Age writers are inspired and thus helpful, and sometimes not.
Changing times can be disturbing and tend to upset settled patterns everywhere. I am not sure if I am correct, but perhaps basic courses in Theosophy using new techniques and approaches may be one way that Theosophical ideas can be exposed to the general public in a satisfactory way, if we have good and patient and dedicated teachers, and good contacts for the public.