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Archive for the ‘Theosophy’ Category

I’ve been trying to get evolution recently. That is: I’ve been trying to see whether I feel that Amit Goswami, in his book Creative Evolution, solves things for me. I’ve studied a bit of quantum mechanics as a chemistry teacher, and am perhaps a bit more equipped than most to see whether Goswami stays true to his roots as a theoretical physicist. The answer is, unfortunately, that to a very real extent he isn’t. (more…)

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The other day I visited David Reigle’s excellent web site of the Eastern Tradition Research Institute and found again his paper on “The Centennial Cycle.” In this paper he discusses the origin of the policy by the Brotherhood of Mahatmas of enlightening the “western barbarians” on a centennial basis. Here I read that the very last of the Druid mystery schools in Europe was according to H.P.B. at Bibracte in Burgundy, France.

Drawing of bibracte as it might have looked like 100 B.C.E.

Drawing of Bibracte as it might have looked like 100 B.C.E.

Bibracte was the capital of the Celtic tribe the Aedui and around 50 B.C.E. Caesar conquered this important Celtic settlement during his Gallic campaigns. During the reign of Augustus its inhabitants left the place for the newly founded Augustodonum (Augustus-city, now Autun) 14 miles east and nobody else replaced them, leaving the site pristine for archeologists to uncover 1900 years later.

Digging out Bibracte

Digging out Bibracte

Apparently after this loss the Brotherhood instituted its policy of sending every last quarter of a century somebody to instruct the West in the Wisdom-Religion, with H.P.B. being the one for the 19th century cycle. (more…)

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In high school, it was, unexpectedly, exposure to biology that first awoke me from the dogmatic slumber of atheism.  I had taken the truth of scientific materialism as a given, assuming with the confidence of a zealot that whatever phenomena had not yet been explained by perfectly rational means would be so soon.  While no doubt in part an adolescent, contrarian reaction to the christian fundamentalism that was the dominant form of spiritual expression around me, religion just seemed . . . well, silly.

However, the more I learned about how much was actually unknown in biology, concurrent with an exposure to to intellectual traditions that took spirituality seriously, theosophy and Joseph Campbell in particular, the more I realized, at the very least, how premature my verdict was.  As a professor later replied to me regarding a direct question about his belief in God, “Well, a whole lot of people a lot smarter than me have taken the idea very seriously.”

So while I ‘believed’ in evolution, or rather, the ability of the theory of evolution to explain observable facts with greater clarity, simplicity, consistency and beauty than any other theory, I saw no discrepancy between such a belief and the possibility of an intelligent order inherent in the universe.  In fact, it began to seem more like evidence of such.

When a classmate followed up my affirmation of evolution with what to her was an obvious and unavoidable consequential, “So you’re an atheist?”, I was surprised and thrown.  Part of the reason the Theosophical Society quickly became such a home for me was that they took it as a given that evolution was both a material and spiritual story.

Does that mean Theosophy is Intelligent Design?

This is a question I’ll be exploring in my next blog post, a response to Will Thackara’s Evolution & Creation: A Theosophic Synthesis.

In the meantime, I’d like to start hearing your thoughts on the debate between evolution, creationism and intelligent design, and theosophy’s place in the discussion.

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Below are a few videos from Krotona.  Please pardon the quality, but they were recorded on a very small, cheap camera.

Introductory and concluding remarks from Tim Boyd during his group’s presentation:

Minor Lile’s oral report for Group42’s presentation:

A typical morning at Krotona:

Want better video?  Feel free to donate a digital camcorder!

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Lost reference! (kind of)

I thought any fellow Losties out there would appreciate the reference to theosophy in Entertainment Weekly’s Doc Jensen’s column this week!

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As it abundantly apparent by now, I will not being blogging every day of the Krotona invitational.  And most of the video I took turned out to be unwatchable.

At one point during my Krotona group’s conversation, we got onto the subject of effort, risk and failure.  I frequently see the risk of failure subverting effort.  It’s a subtle process, and largely unconscious in most.  Personally, I think one of the most useful practices we can take on as spiritual leaders, as humans, is becoming friendly with failure.

And with all due modesty, I can say that I am one who is on intimate terms with failure.

As has been pointed out to be time and time again, and always deservedly, I have a great, contagious enthusiasm for beginnings, but abyssmal follow through. I have a lot of great ideas, but few them ever live to the light of day.  It certainly isn’t that I am unaware, it’s just that each time I get excited, it really feels like this time will be different.  And I disappoint myself far more freqently than anyone else.  For every eventually failed endeavor I have shared with others, there are two or three more that simply fade into the recesses of my mind with only the spark of promise.

Nonetheless, I do keep trying.  Occassionally, others will join in and the collective will have more endurance that I would individually.  My hope remains that this blog, despite my fits and starts, will stay just active enough that it will provide a platform for others, perhaps those for whom inspiration is in greater balance with steadiness.

My consolation is, oddly enough, found in sports.  Recently, the football quarterback Brett Favre set the NFL record for career passing touchdowns.  Basically, he became the most successful quarterback in football history.  Shortly thereafter, he also set the record for career interceptions.  In baseball, Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times.  All sports stats reveal that those that succeed the most are the same who fail the most.  The key is that they keep trying.

Brett Favre

Brett Favre

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First Session

First Session

It is actually already Day 3 of the invitational, and I’m finding it hard to do anything but talk and talk.  I’ll try to catch up on what we’ve done so far though: (more…)

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