Theosophy and Ethical Psychology
Can Heal the Disease of Disrespect for Life
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
The historical experience of theosophical organizations shows that developing false clairvoyance and performing vain ceremonialism of medieval style, including pseudo-masonry, does not help those who want to seek universal truth.
Instead, the pioneers of a brotherly civilization must study and understand themselves in the first place.
They have to examine their own wisdom and their ignorance, and solve the mystery of human relationships. Psychology, if defined as the knowledge of the soul, is central and decisive to the theosophical effort in the present century. It is correct to paraphrase Terence and say:
“I am a human being, and nothing human is alien to me.”
In the 1960s, Transactional Analysis brought common sense to the psychological approach to human relations.
Best-sellers like “I’m OK – You’re OK”, by Thomas A. Harris, popularized an accurate knowledge of different levels of consciousness in human soul and taught practical ways to find balance and harmony, while promoting sincerity in daily life. Also in the 20th century, Erich Fromm, Viktor Frankl, Karen Horney, Rollo May and others denounced and fought the materialization and “mercantilization” of human life.
More recently, a new wave of psychological awareness discusses the process of dehumanization of relationships. It uses the concept of “bullying”, which has been defined as “the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others”. Patricia Evans is among the authors of books about verbal abuse.
Indeed, if we look beneath surface, disrespect is not difficult to find in human relations. We are facing a collective crisis of disrespect for life and denial of ethics. Churches and “esoteric” ceremonialism offer no solution. They are part of the problem, in fact, for religious fakeness and pious lies are among the worst forms of abuse. Attachment to mystical frauds is an obstacle to the learning of one’s soul. Hypocrisy is a disguised form of aggression and leads to hatred.
People must learn to love truth, and to respect themselves, before they can really respect others. And this depends on expanding their antahkarana, the connection to their own spiritual souls, which has nothing to do with blindly adhering to a creed or belief system.
Self-esteem generates peace, while self-disrespect leads to disrespect for others. Inter-personal verbal abuse is connected with wider forms of abuse that take place on economic and social levels.
Personal disrespect is inseparable from various political, financial, cultural and religious forms of contempt for life. War and terrorism are two forms of contempt for human beings. Whenever bankers and politicians develop occult partnerships with drug-dealers and merchants of weapons, there is a significant crime against humanity.
Down the long line of abuses, a theosophist perhaps secretly envies his fellow truth-seeker. The husband may verbally abuse his wife and vice-versa, or the parents abuse their children, and a child can use of violence against other children.
Such abuses may be ostensible or disguised. They may explode, or they may be subtle and implicit. They all result from ignorance. They come from innerly powerless people who want to make others become what they think they are: blind to truth, and unable to love.
It is the duty of the theosophist to fight such a chain of causation and vicious circle. In order to effectively help mankind, the esoteric movement must see the essential identity among theosophy, ethics and psychology, when psychology is seen as self-knowledge. True knowledge of ourselves implies the knowledge of all human beings.
The wording of esoteric philosophy must be used to attain and share knowledge, not to make propaganda of some corporation and win blind followers.
The irrelevance of many a theosophical association teaches us all a lesson in sincerity. No one is above criticism. Self-responsibility leads to self-knowledge, and self-knowledge brings about brotherhood. Wisdom is associated to a knowledge of the Law of Equilibrium. The esoteric movement must get rid of politics and politicking, and become a federation of researchers who look for truth and do not pay undue attention to mere appearance. For that to take place, students must have the ability to stand alone and transcend organized ignorance.
Confronting Criticism and Ridicule
Right action often seems to be silly, while foolishness uses the most shining garments of wisdom. No pilgrim should expect applause along the path. Wisdom is often perceived as meaningless, and – according to the Mahatma Letters – ridicule must be fearlessly confronted in order for anyone to live up to theosophy. 
The daily practices related to self-discipline appear as senseless and foolish to those aspects of oneself who resist wisdom; and to other people as well. In order to follow one’s heart, it is necessary to perform actions every day that seem to be idiotic, for selfishness presents itself as morally beautiful, and wise action can be easily described as wrong.
A feeling of unconditional goodwill towards other beings is also inevitable if one is to learn esoteric philosophy indeed. There are reasons to be especially cautious while thinking about the mistakes of our colleagues in the search for truth. In an initial approach, one should mention at least two of them:
1) Our brothers along the path are mirrors which reflect different parts of our being. The aspects of their nature which irritate us surely touch some points in ourselves which need improvement. Otherwise we would feel deep solidarity, instead of anger.
2) As long as our colleagues in study and search are sincerely working for a noble cause, we must remember that, in the alchemical process of the soul’s transmutation, all the inner failures (either real or potential) become visible. They are even exaggerated, like in a fever, at the same time as their roots get invisibly eliminated in the soul of the learner.
Let us be cautious, then.
Let us think the best about the others. Let us take their higher selves and spiritual souls into consideration. Let us support those who have visible limitations and are trying to improve themselves while helping an altruistic cause.
Let us try to correct our own mistakes. Perhaps our inner shortcomings are not so few, and not so small as we would like them to be. We can always improve.
 “The Mahatma Letters”, TUP edition, Pasadena, Letter LXII, pp. 351-352.
The above article updates and combines three notes published in the May 2015 edition of “The Aquarian Theosophist”, with no indication as to the name of the author: “How Kindness Defeats Aggression” (pp. 4-5), “Confronting Criticism and Ridicule” (pp. 1-2), and “Respect for One’s Fellow-Pilgrims”(p. 6).
On Psychology and Theosophy, see also the article “The Theosophy of Namaste”, by Carlos Cardoso Aveline. The text is available in our websites.
In September 2016, after a careful analysis of the state of the esoteric movement worldwide, a group of students decided to form the Independent Lodge of Theosophists, whose priorities include the building of a better future in the different dimensions of life.
E-Theosophy e-group offers a regular study of the classic, intercultural theosophy taught by Helena P. Blavatsky (photo).
Those who want to join E-Theosophy e-group at YahooGroups can do that by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/E-Theosophy/info.