| The following good work from a person engaged in trying to free people from cultish programming is far better than most. It demonstrates the person is aware of mind control techniques employed in influencing people. Having said that I will now try to show how this piece is in fact an evidence of SPIN or influence that the person engaged in doing it might not even personally realize. For example Catholic exorcists are taught incantations and rituals to use that they may not or usually will not understand either the derivation or history thereof.|
“Psychological Manipulation and Society
Cultic Studies Journal
Psychological Manipulation and Society
Vol. 11, No. 2, 1994
Madame Blavatsky's Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America
Peter Washington. Schocken Books, New York, NY, 1995, 470 pages.
Reviewer: Joseph P. Szimhart
Theosophy as discussed in Peter Washington's highly informative and entertaining survey has less to do with any sophisticated notion of "divine wisdom" than it has with a host of preposterous pretenders who successfully attracted thousands of seekers devoted to experiencing and unveiling hidden truths. In short, the Theosophists attempted to make occultism respectable in an age of scientism. According to Washington, these neo-occultists and their progeny have essentially failed, as the jacket liner notes tell us, in a ‘curious comedy of passion, power and gullibility.’
Heading the list is Madame Helena P. Blavatsky (1831–1891), whose colorful character ranged from the ribald to the sublime. HPB, as she has been known to the Theosophists, cofounded the Theosophical Society (TS) with Colonel Henry S. Olcott and a few others who were interested in spirit contact and psychic phenomena in New York in 1875. In today’s New Age jargon, HPB became the main "channeler" for TS. Within a few decades TS stimulated an ever-splintering amalgam of groups and cults, the more important of which Washington portrays with solid reporting from an impressive array of source material and his personal research. In each case a charismatic "guru" has either received "ancient wisdom" from some mysterious sect, self-proclaimed enlightenment, or metaphysical source, while also assuming an exalted position as guru, messenger, teacher, master, or adept in the eyes of the disciples and students.
Following HPB and Olcott (aka Jack and Maloney), Washington tackles the lives and influences of the second generation of Theosophists, including the politically motivated Annie Besant, channeler Charles W. Leadbeater, Katherine Tingley, Rudolf Steiner (who broke from TS and founded Anthroposophy and the Waldorf schools), G.I. Gurdjieff, and many of their significant followers. Jiddu Krishnamurti, who became famous for abdicating his title of "the world teacher" or Theosophical messiah in 1929, a role imposed on him at age 13 by Leadbeater, is given a thorough treatment by Washington. In contrast, he only briefly describes and sometimes only mentions more recent splinter groups and leaders from the TS amalgam, like Elizabeth Prophet and her Church Universal and Triumphant, George King and the Aetherius Church, Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov and the Universal White Brotherhood, Lloyd Meeker and the Emissaries of Divine Light, Idries Shah and the Society for Understanding Fundamental Ideas, and the Raëlian Movement. Washington also covers the history of the esoteric School of Economic Science founded by Leon MacLaren and his connection with Transcendental Meditation’s Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He concludes his text with a solid, dispassionate look at J.G. Bennett’s life as it was influenced by Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Shah, the Subud cult, and finally Catholicism.
Some important TS offshoots are missing in Washington’s survey, such as the Agni Yoga Society founded by Nicolas and Helena Roerich in the early 1920s, the Arcane School founded also in the 1920s by Alice A. Bailey, and the I AM Activity founded by Guy and Edna Ballard in the mid-1930s. To those who have studied the history of Theosophy as it has influenced these and other groups not mentioned by Washington, these may appear as glaring omissions. But the pervasiveness of Theosophy’s influence, especially with the thousands of New Age movement teachers and sects throughout the world, would take volumes to merely summarize. Washington nevertheless accomplishes his mission to give us a clear taste of the Western guru tradition, its roots, and its effects on certain disciples.
The book’s title is derived from a stuffed baboon that stood prominently among Blavatsky’s exotic paraphernalia in her flat in New York. The baboon was dressed complete with spectacles holding a copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species, mocking that controversial scientist. Blavatsky saw herself as Ancient Wisdom’s counterpoint to that "strutting gamecock" of science, whom she often railed against in her two fantastic, notoriously plagiarized tomes, Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. HPB more than anyone has influenced the Western occult tradition with the notion of spiritual evolution as it allegedly occurs through rounds of "root races" reincarnating. Some of her racist notions later crept into Nazi philosophy, even though Hitler disavowed the Theosophical Societies.
A most revealing passage from Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon describes P.D. Ouspensky, a Fourth Way or Gurdjieff School leader, who near the end of his life in 1947 was very depressed (confusion and depression have been common ailments of lifelong disciples of the Western guru tradition). He took to escaping from students in his car with his cats. Ouspensky would park his car at some destination, sit in the back seat staring out of a window while cuddling his pets. "Returning home from one journey, he spent the rest of the night in the car while a female pupil stood over him at the window, her arm raised as if in benediction. A cat would never be so stupid" (p. 337). This passage not only reveals the depths of delusion both guru and follower might reach, but it also reveals Washington’s insensitivity to the perhaps deluded but nevertheless struggling, dedicated victims of such gurus.
Washington’s sources are many and significant. Three noteworthy ones are Ancient Wisdom Revived by Bruce F. Campbell, Blavatsky by Marian Meade, and The Harmonious Circle by James Webb, the latter being a complete history of Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and their followers. A biography of Blavatsky was also written by Theosophist Sylvia Cranston, who clumsily tries to portray HPB as a maligned saint of the New Age. Meade’s biography is far superior and accomplishes even more than Washington’s or Campbell’s books in presenting Blavatsky’s complex persona to us. Another valuable resource on HPB and the Western guru type not mentioned by Washington was written in 1948 by E.M. Butler—The Myth of the Magus (Cambridge Canto edition, 1993). In any case, if you wish to read an updated, critical look at Blavatsky and her influence, pick up Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon.
Joseph P. Szimhart
Cult Information Specialist/Exit Counselor
Pottstown, Pennsylvania Copyright ©1997-99 AFF, Inc.” (1)
The so-called Western guru tradition they refer to is just a superficial label. I could demonstrate how Unitarianism and Christian Science are similarly polysolipsist or panentheist in effect. Emerson, Whitehead and even Teilhard de Chardin are all part of the same line of thought as are old line Gnostic or Arian Christians and even many more mystical sects of Catholicism or Christianity including Carmelites, Quakers, Sandemanians and others. You must ask yourself if their purpose is really about stopping cultish or sheepish behavior. Is there an agenda? Why do we pay people to deprogram New Age philosophy-inspired people and allow so much Fundamentalist programming including even overlooking outright proselytizing in public schools and from the mouths of Presidents?
Their references to Krishnamurti having Messiahhood thrust upon him at age thirteen is contrary to my understanding of what Krishnamurti wrote under the name of Alcyon and how he operated all his life. He also continued to work with people inside Theosophy despite rejecting the mantle of Messiah which they do get correct. In fact if they had any desire to be fair they would point out Krishnamurti was against having others tell you how to find your true and faithful calling. Here are some words by fair biographers on this great man that illustrate his aversion to dogma or any form of cult.
“Education had always been one of Krishnamurti's chief concerns. If a young person could learn to see his conditioning of race, nationality, religion, dogma, tradition, opinion etc., which inevitably leads to conflict, then he might become a fully intelligent human being for whom right action would follow. A prejudiced or dogmatic mind can never be free.” (2)
Annie Besant adopted Krishnamurti and was a great social activist as well as one of the few female Masons. Why don’t they mention that? She founded a College in India and was a vital part of getting India its independence. Her work in women’s rights in England preceded Margaret Sanger in the fight to educate people about what causes children despite the social taboos against education. It is sad to see this travesty is allowed to go under the heading of cult de-programming. Yes, Blavatsky was a promoter and plagiarist – so are most pulpit-pounders. In fact you can learn by reading her books and researching what she says. This is what the reviewer should have pointed out rather than saying some of these people suffer depression. They go so far as to say “confusion and depression have been common ailments of lifelong disciples of the Western guru tradition”. Sure they put it in brackets as if it was a side thought – it is the main purpose of this outright spin or lie. Yogananda was a far better psychologist than this guy could ever hope to be. I am reminded of how Erickson was a guru of psychology until he saw the truth in the Eastern thought and science of soul. Then he was mercilessly abandoned. I was expecting to read Krishnamurti committed suicide at the age of ninety, after that nonsense. These people allow a far greater insight to the soul and our connectiveness than most psychiatrists and other programmers passing themselves off as healers will ever do.
Please read the passage carefully and note all the pejorative words and ways they demean without fair reportage. Do some research and study hard or you will continue to be made more of a sheep for the paradigm. Ask yourself what role the Masons had in all of this on both sides of the issue including the Mormons, Hitler and other real mind control cults like Scientology.
About the Author
Columnist in The ES Press Magazine
Author of Diverse Druids
World-Mysteries.com guest writer
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