Sunday, March 28, 2010

The End of the World as We Know It

Sooner or later anyone doing research on Helena Petrovna Blavatsky will come across the website Blavatsky Archives. Started by Daniel Caldwell of Tucson, Arizona, in the U.S., it is a massive collection of historical material about HPB, primarily 19th century and often from hard to find sources, as well as a lengthy selection of Mr. Caldwell’s self-published writings. Critics have assailed him since some items are not HPB-friendly. One thing is certain, Blavatsky Archives, now part of the larger Blavatsky Study Center, has changed the way people do research on the subject.

In response to our query about this, an old-timer replied:

You can’t imagine how different it was just some forty years ago. So little was available. Olcott’s Old Diary Leaves was out of print till 1975. One read through the available sources, digested it, and was spurred on to the next layer of hard-to-find material, often having to travel to libraries and out-of-the-way places. It was almost like an archeological dig, sifting layer by layer. Now all this has changed and there is a surplus of material, good, bad, and unoriginal, available at the click of a mouse. So the ability one developed through this sifting process is lost, and the discernment that comes with it, as well as the breath of scope from actually interacting with the documents, magazines, journals, as opposed to extracted material. People may know more but be less insightful in their opinions.

Perhaps new skills will develop from trying to make all the disparate images of HPB now so abundantly available fit. It is doubtful that anyone will want to go back to those days of effort and enquiry now that everything is so easily accessible thanks to Daniel Caldwell’s brainchild. If you don’t know it by now, Blavatsky Archives can be accessed here.

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