RE: part 2 of Dallas's "LAWS." (Karma and reincarnation)
- <<<Reincarnation in theosophy supposes evolution in the cosmos, which contradicts the cyclical notion of time within genuine oriental philosophys.>>>
The Theosophical teaching of linear evolution (ie evolving into an infinite future of ever more perfection) is pure Laplacian wishful thinking. However, if we just look at the Planetary chain of Rounds as circles comprised of downward arcs (Arcs of Descent) and upward arcs (Arcs of Ascent) then we are back with "the cyclic notion of time within genuine oriental philosophys." The teaching of circular evolution/involution is found in G de Purucker, so it is OK to call this Theosophical. It is also logical. But the silly notion of linear evolution in order to acquire self-consciousness is Laplacian and totally illogical.
<<<And also it is basicly dualistic as it holds that a person is both a mind and a body. Classic statements of this more extreme form of dualism are found in Plato and Descartes. "Soul is utterly superior to body," Plato wrote and what gives each one of us his being is nothing else but his soul; whereas the body is no more than a shadow that keeps us company. So it is well said of the deceased that the corpse is only a ghost." >>>
Right. The idea that we are both a mind and a body is the microcosmic side of the idea of a subject self observing a objective world, which is the macrocosmic side of the same subject-object duality. The subject-object duality itself is maya, and in fact the very heart of maya. Transcending this duality is equivalent to enlightenment or reaching non-duality. Theosophists talk a lot about maya, but don't seem to understand exactly what it is or how to counter it. They do not, apparently, realize that postulating a spiritual self observing a spiritual world is still maya.
<<<"I am a substance," according to Descartes whose whole essence or nature is to be conscious and whose being requires no place and depends on no material thing. Thus this self, that is to say the soul, by which I am what I am, is entirely distinct from the body, and is even more easily known; and even if the body were not there at all, the soul would be just what it is. >>>
We all attempt to define our self. We are desparate to find a self that we can cling to. We define it, and then try to protect it and make it happy. This mayavic notion of a distinct self is the glue that holds the whole planetary chain together. And saying "I am spiritual" is just as mayavic as saying "I am material."
<<<It is clear that the claim Theosophy with its particular form of reincarnation are committed is this more extreme form of dualism. >>>
I find the reincarnational claims of Thesophical fundamentalism, or perhaps I should say exoteric Theosophy, to be scary. It is exactly the same theory that was adopted in India and which has led to the backwardness of that country, according to most anthropologists. If the US adopted that theory, the US would soon find itself a backward country as well. Fortunately most people see through it, and shy away from Theosophy as a result. I have been trying to show a more esoteric view, but the fundies resist the idea and can't seem to understand the danger of what they are preaching (ie their mistaken interpretation - a literal one -of Blavatsky). The idea of karma as taught in exoteric Theosophy is none other than the Mosaic eye-for-an-eye doctrine that Jesus rightly denounced (which cost him his life, but he did it anyway).
<<<At first it may seem plausible to maintain that we have two kinds of personal identity bodily continuity and memory. This is suggested by the fact that in daily life we sometimes use the one and sometimes the other. However, the memory criterion presupposes that of bodily continuity while the converse does not hold. We need a criterion for distinguishing between "false" and "true" memories. People often sincerely "remember" things which did not happen. They also of course remember things which did happen or, more specifically, they remember seeing, hearing, and doing things which they really saw, heard or did. These are "true" memories. But it seems the memory criterion cannot help us suficiently to distinguish between such true and false
If we had a real self, then how can anyone explain alzheimers or the loss of memory? Most people believe that we have a self and that this self has memory. But actually it is memory that provides us with a sense of continuity, which leads to the belief in a self. Just as we can recall events in past years and then jump to the conclusion of a self, so we can recall past lives and jump to the conclusion of a Self that reincarnates. We do have a self and a Self, but both are maya. Shoreline Theosophy tells us that the ego-self is maya but that the spiritual Self is real. Depth Theosophy tells us that both are maya. I see this as a graduated process of stepping from more false to less false beliefs, from exoteric to esoteric. The teachings of Theosophy are in levels or grades, and sooner or later the exoteric needs to be replaced with the esoteric.
Good post Brigitte.