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I am now at the Krotona Institute of Theosophy in Ojai, CA for an invitational: “The Relevance of Theosophy and Theosophical Literature in the Contemporary World” (more information below).  The actual program begins Monday morning, hence this is day Minus 2.

I will be blogging every day while here and adding pictures and video from the event.

First impression of Ojai is one of overwhelming beauty.  The institute rests up on the hill of a lush valley running east-west below.  Director Nelda Samarel affirmed to me this morning that after nine years here, she still never ceases to be amazed by the view.  Upon arrival after midnight, I went for a walk and was delighted to be reminded of how profoundly a truly starry sky touches the soul.

It is wonderful to see old friends.  A hug and smile from Maria Parisen is worth the trip, as is a laugh with Nelda. Betty Bland, Marina Maestas and Dan Noga are here from Olcott.   I have had several differences of opinion with Betty and have been an occasionally harsh critic, but my immediate reaction to seeing her is always respect and affection.  I suppose we’re all like family in that respect. There is something special about theosophists, and indeed it is this community above all else the continues to keep me involved.

This morning I went for a long walk and eventually found a great little cafe with WiFi.  Nice view, huh?!

in the Ojai Valley

in the Ojai Valley

Stay tuned for more!

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In another post, I posed some questions about how artificial intelligence and Theosophy might fit together. The ensuing discussion was riveting, but the question is still burning in my mind. Much was brought into the discussion, including the overall progress of research in artificial intelligence, along with some insights that can be gleaned from the way humanity has evolved.  I’d like to reframe the question, beginning with a quote from The Secret Doctrine:

“Apart from Cosmic Substance, Cosmic Ideation could not manifest as individual consciousness, since it is only through a vehicle of matter that consciousness wells up as ‘I am I,’ a physical basis being necessary to focus a ray of the Universal Mind at a certain stage of complexity. Again, apart from Cosmic Ideation, Cosmic Substance would remain an empty abstraction, and no
emergence of consciousness could ensue.”

Continue Reading »

we’re baaaack!

im-back Welcome to 2009 friends!

This blog, while not dormant (way to keep those comments coming!), hasn’t been active for far too long.  And while it is NOT my New Year’s resolution to get it going again, regular updating falls under my larger intention to turn my face back to the world, the realization of the need for which just happened to come right around our annual shifting of digits.  Wow, that’s some tortured grammar.

I never want this blog to be too personal.  This is a place to talk about theosophy.  However, it is more particularly, and arguably more powerfully, about the personal realization of theosophy, so there is no need to avoid being personal either.

Those of us who invite Spirit to work through our being open ourselves to unceasing transformation.  Rather than being determined by our unconscious and trained reactions to the world, we admit the paucity of our own self in the face of Self and become partners in a dance whose complex rhythms quicken just as we learn the steps.

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I have been pondering the connection between individual and group karma lately. Specifically: what does it say about a group when it creates ecological problems at the scale humans do today. What does it say about humanity when it causes war, poverty and disease to go rampant at the scale of today, despite all the technology we have at our disposal.

And who pays? Who is responsible?

Ultimately the doctrine of karma insists that what we learn from life continues on into our Higher “Self” (not a self, but we have to call it something). Lessons learned, continue somehow.

But in the meantime we have to deal with what is.

One of the ways to deal with what is, is to prevent future bad karma, by acting right today. We are only held responsible for what we helped co-create… But I’m not sure that’s a comfort, given the trouble humanity is in. Can any of us really say we aren’t co-responsible?

What happens today was caused yesterday. We are part of a given group today, in certain circumstances now, that our previous selves have in some way ‘deserved’. That’s the past and karma. The present and karma is: how to act today, to prevent more problems in the future… All that has to do with karma and time, a fascinating subject, I think.

Group karma is a reasonably new working out of the doctrine of karma. It makes sense though: we see people suffering in groups and have to fit that into the doctrine of karma, or that doctrine doesn’t make sense any more. For instance: how does group karma deal with the economic crunch we are going through? Well – since we all impact on each other anyhow, we might as well make the best of it and help each other out. This is why the doctrine of karma is sometimes summarized as the doctrine of harmony. Only by acting in harmony with all that is can disharmony be solved.
On the upside: that Barack Obama was elected despite the color of his skin says something positive about the group karma of the USA… Do you all agree?

Human Aura

When we hear the word “clairvoyance,” we often think of the ability to perceive objects and entities on planes of existence other than the physical. To Theosophists, the word may conjure images of thought forms, of the human aura, of devas and elementals, all of which surround us at every moment, invisible to most—save for those who possess the ability to see them. The ability is considered to be a form of “extra-sensory perception.” Extra as a prefix probably comes from the Latin exterus, meaning “outward” or “outside.” Thus the term “extra-sensory perception,” implying a phenomenon that is outside that of sensation, seems misleading if by it we are referring to the ability to see auras or thought forms—after all, when someone who has this gift sees such things, is that experience not an aspect of their sense of vision, however attuned that sense may be to things not normally seen? Theosophy teaches that all humans will one day reach a point of development at which this faculty blooms; in other words, it is a perfectly natural and normal aspect of our sense of sight, albeit one that is currently dormant in most people. Continue Reading »

My life has changed a lot recently and I felt it was time I started my own blog about religion, spirituality and of course theosophy.

Many posts have already gotten commented on, which I think is just marvelous for a blog that’s been up only a week.

Check out my post about how I intend to blog and what subjects I’ll likely cover.

An environmental religious discussion started with my post on what I believe.

A reader asked me some questions (through e-mail) which I decided to answer on this blog. There’s Can a person survive on a vegan diet? and Should one be kind even if one doesn’t feel kind? (my paraphrase)

That’s not all – but you will have to check the rest out yourselves 🙂

For those of you who don’t want to check out too many different websites – I’ve made a page with all theosophical blogs (and forums) I know about. So you can easily check where there is something new going on. It also links out to the active theosophical forums and has the most recent posts on theos-talk listed. If you’re wondering why the recent posts on other forums aren’t listed: the technical reason is they don’t have a public RSS feed.

I’ll be sure to post here occasionally as well though. Don’t worry.

The popular Matrix movie trilogy depicts a futuristic dystopia in which humanity is enslaved by intelligent machines, used as a power source while they live out virtual lives in a computer-generated world similar to the “real” world just pre-dating the takeover of the machines. What is not explored in great depth in the movies themselves is the back-story: How things ended up that way.

A series of animated shorts, entitled The Animatrix, explored some of the peripheral stories surrounding the series. Two of the chapters are devoted to developing the storyline that leads up to the situation depicted in the movies. It begins when humanity succeeds in the creation of artificial intelligence. Soon, intelligent, anthropomorphic machines are doing almost all of humanity’s “dirty work,” and humanity falls into a state of vain decadence. One day, a robot with the designation B1-66ER is threatened by its owner with deactivation, and in response, kills both the owner and the mechanic instructed to deactivate it. B1-66ER is arrested and put on trial. The robot claims that it acted in self-defense, stating that it “simply did not want to die.”

Those who are interested can explore the story in greater detail here, but I’d like to look at the case of B1-66ER in a Theosophical light. Continue Reading »