THEOSOPHICAL NOTES April 1952
Leaders and Leadership
Throughout the operations of
the United Lodge of Theosophists, it has been insisted upon that there were
no "Leaders," or "Special Persons" in it. Some confusion has been created
in critical minds by the rather obvious fact that the bulk of teaching and
speaking activities is carried by relatively few, and that some activities
are quite clearly "directed" by various persons. Sometimes deference
paid to some, has raised questions. Now and then some ambitious person,
imbued with the idea that such an amorphous organization ought to be quite
malleable, has penetrated a certain distance and met with a stone wall, deciding
thereupon that not only were there "Leaders" but that the outfit was a particularly
monolithic dictatorship; what was worse, a disguised one.
For the most part, in the experience of the writer for many years in U.L.T., occasional usage of the iron hand has seldom been through any desire to dominate. It has been a rigidity in "holding the line laid down" that in some cases was accentuated to the point of phobia by sight of, and frequent dealing with, the lamentable results of too much "tolerance" and easygoing in other bodies, in the matter of keeping straight Theosophy before the public.
One of the most obnoxiously "rigid" of all the members that the writer ever knew, feared every duty she had to perform; was afraid of people, and was rendered physically ill by every conflict. Very few liked her and many feared her. But there were few who did not recognize in her an unbreakable devotion that sacrificed herself first of all. Innumerable mistakes she made, some serious. She never made the mistake of weak effort or faltering purpose. She frightened people because of an iron will that crushed her personal life first of all.
We were about to apologize for the above digression - then realized that it is, perhaps, as good an illustration as any of what Robert Crosbie thought of as proper "leadership" in U.L.T. - or would be if divested of the outer hardness and rigidity born of fear of others and fear of self.
The notion of any kind of unified human effort devoid in every sense of "Leaders", "leaders", or "leadership", is the dream of a dolt. It was never meant in such sense either by Robert Crosbie or any who spoke after him and thought whereof they spoke. Human beings just do not work on the basis of mathematical equality in any relationship soever. The very law of evolution forbids it. Good, bad; or indifferent; material, political, scientific, or occult, at the center of every living effort will be found one or two, three or a half-dozen, whose efforts hold together those of the majority.
Is it the rule of Leaders, or sacrificial "leadership" in its true sense? Certain facts give the answer if one can determine them. Do the "leaders" seek to rule, advise, govern personally, or "interpret"? Or do they eschew all such efforts and devote their energies to holding true a teaching handed on? Are they themselves leaders in time,
money, and work given, or do they expect to be supported by others? Are they eager for the platform, or is it their constant effort to encourage others to get up there? Are they jealous of their own selected duties or are they glad to have anybody do anything he can or will do along the dedicated line? Above all, do they claim for themselves any special knowledge, any occult connections, any outstanding talents?
The distinction crosses organizational boundary lines. One who never works anonymously misses some and self-knowledge that he will not obtain otherwise. Yet it is true that personal ambition can burn poisonously hot under "anonymity" and that men roared in another tradition can work loyally even though their names stand in print. The true distinction lies in the heart; not in rule, regulation, or custom.
Some of the most important clues in the Secret Doctrine are in the form of innocent, seemingly casual remarks. One of them is a reference to "Adepts so great that their very existence is known to but a few of their fellows." In this reversed scale of the mundane measure of greatness, we think, lies the whole difference of spirit between the world occult and material. One who ponders long on all the implications may indeed sound the difference between "Leaders" "and "leadership "