Friday, January 1, 2016

Theosophy and Nationalism

In "The Key to Theosophy: Being a Clear Exposition, in the Form of Question and Answer, of the Ethics, Science, and Philosophy for the Study of which the Theosophical Society Has Been Founded", Helena Petrovna Blavatsky wrote the following: (page 44)
The organization of Society, depicted by Edward Bellamy, in his magnificent work "Looking Backwards," admirably represents the Theosophical idea of what should be the first great step towards the full realization of universal brotherhood. The state of things he depicts falls short of perfection, because selfishness still exists and operates in the hearts of men. But in the main, selfishness and individualism have been overcome by the feeling of solidarity and mutual brotherhood; and the scheme of life there described reduces the causes tending to create and foster selfishness to a minimum.

Madame Blavatsky was a noted member of the British Fabian Society, and the founder of the Theosophical Society. Her glowing endorsement of Bellamy's book Looking Backward is quite interesting. Like Blavatsky, Annie Besant, another Fabian and top leader within the Theosophical Society, wrote this: (The Changing World and Lectures to Theosophical Students, page 40)

If you are going to make the men who should give better work to the country than the weeding of paths weed their own paths for themselves, then you are putting a check on the whole of the higher kinds of labour on which the nobler national life depends, for it is as true now as it ever was that man does not live by bread alone. If you are going to make every man do manual labour, you can get nothing more than the kind of paradise that you find in "Looking Backward," which is more a paradise for the respectable suburb than for a nation that needs art and beauty, music and literature. Those things want leisure to produce and time to perfect.

After Bellamy passed away, other Fabians cheered the fact that under the guise and title of "Nationalism",(which is the name that Bellamy gave his socialist ideas) Bellamy was the first to successfully(in a major way) foster socialist ideas in the United States.

When Bellamy talked about "Nationalism", what he meant was the other meaning of the word - the nationalization of all industry in the hands of government. That's a large part of what Blavatsky and Besant like so much about his work.

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