Sunday, April 25, 2010

Truth and Accuracy

In one of her notebooks in the TS Archives at Adyar, HPB writes under the above heading:

An eminent man of science (Mr. W. Crookes) once called my attention to the distinction necessary to be made between truth and accuracy. A person may be truthful, that is to say, may be filled with the desire both to receive truth and to teach it—but unless that person have great natural powers of observation or have been trained by scientific study of some kind to observe, note, compare and report accurately, and in detail, he will not be able to give a trustworthy, accurate and therefore true account of his experiences. His intentions may be honest, but if he have a spark of enthusiasm, he will be apt to proceed to generalizations which may be both false and dangerous.

This quote came to mind while looking over the online version of “The Wills of Helena Blavatsky” (taken from Ernest E. Pelletier’s 2004 The Judge Case, A Conspiracy Which Ruined The Theosophical Cause), now making the rounds. His argument is that after HPB died, Olcott and Annie Besant conspired to destroy HPB’s Will to the detriment of W.Q. Judge. Though there is no factual evidence for this (even if one is relying on psychical impressions), it forms the major part of Pelletier’s account.

But this narrative also works to HPB’s discredit. Here were two people who before they came in contact with Blavatsky were regarded as individuals of integrity, self-sacrificing (the N.Y. Tribune in 1871 wrote of Olcott: “Colonel Olcott is a witness whose word nobody will question,” while one of the London journals in the 1890s opined, “If there is one person who is not playing a game, it is Annie Besant”), but when they became her followers they lost their moral compass and were capable of the most egregious actions (if we are to believe Mr. Pelletier). It should serve as a warning to others, and Blavatsky’s critics, who regard her as a dangerous person and corruptor of morals, have been saying this for years. 

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