I’ve just sent a letter to Radha telling her I support some of her recent decisions. While I don’t want to further increase online hostility, I do feel the main points in that e-mail need to be shared more widely.
First of all: Radha has been replacing some of the old hands within her inner circle. Some have suggested that she did this out of a sense of outrage at their insinuations that she is losing it. I can’t look into her mind, but I would like to point out that there is one other excellent reason to do what she is doing. Replacing John Algeo for instance means that someone younger and perhaps qualified to become president of the TS in seven years time will get a chance to learn the ropes at Adyar. The old guard does need to be replaced somewhere in the next 10 years. It is in all of our interests that people under 60 get trained up so that we have enough people ready to replace Radha and John when the time comes. Whenever that may be.
Further. I have no access to Radha’s memory banks, but what I’ve seen of her recent decisions makes me feel sure that she still has the wisdom necessary to run the TS. She also has a competent secretary who is likely to help her keep organized. I may not agree with Radha on all issues of policy, but in the main I feel she is the best person for the job of president at the moment. Even if I did not think that, she was elected and we all need to respect that and get on with our theosophical business of trying to practice brotherhood, live wisdom and research the religions of the world (etc.).
As for those issues of policy…
The results of my poll make it very clear that western members of the TS feel the president of the TS should be elected directly by the members. I think this is also the outcome of the online discussions. I feel that point should be withdrawn from the table by those who supported it originally.
Other parts of the original proposal were however supported by most of the people who voted in the poll. I do think the general council should take these up at the next available moment. However these points are generally of lesser importance in my opinion.
Discussions online bring out two other points of difficulty.
First of all the rules around lodges make them hard to start and maintain and give them little freedom to organize things as they wish. Beyond that it is clear that national theosophical organizations should be made into sections when they have enough members. Whether they have seven lodges or not should not be a consideration.
The essential point about lodges is that they are study groups where people practice the three objects. Whether they give a yearly report and help keep national headquarters busy with bureaucratic formalities should not be seen as essential. I also think it is fair that lodges have the freedom to decide on their own property, even if that means that in some cases the TS does not get access to them when the lodge disbands. Lodges sometimes feel that local interests are best dealt with by keeping the resources local. The decisions of the members of a lodge on such points should, I think, be respected.
The other point is that of transparency. While I don’t think members need to be kept abreast of every little detail the general council discusses, we do want to know the main points. I don’t really enjoy being whistle blower. I’d rather see the TS reinvent itself as an open organization where nobody feels threatened by honest discussion of organizational points. And where members are kept informed about major issues as a matter of course.
This does imply obviously that members take the responsibility of let’s say ‘acting their age’. We each represent the TS. That does mean we should keep our disagreements civil and on the point. It also means we need not repeat our opinions too often. [Yes, this is a response to recent flame wars online]