The Way to Wisdom Depends on
the Correct Use of Personal Energies
John Garrigues
Discernment and a careful examination of facts are necessary in theosophy
Editorial Note:
The following article was first published
at “Theosophy” magazine, Los Angeles, in
its edition dated December 1927, pp. 63-64.
Its original title is: “The Modern Vice”.
An analysis of its contents and style
indicates it was written by Mr. Garrigues.
“Thou seest in another
what thine own heart holds”.
No vice more aptly illustrates the ancient aphorism than that of hypocrisy. No vice more despised, yet none so universal. Without its all-pervading presence the fabric of civilization would fall apart. Do we exaggerate? Let any man for himself picture the sequelae of one day spent in acting precisely as he feels!
No philosophy is more inimical to this universal vice than Theosophy, yet no human being is under greater temptation to its indulgence than the individual theosophist.  His character – that is to say, his Karma – is part and parcel of racial and national Karma. The conscious and unconscious deceit in his Soul is that of the human race. But in study and appreciation of a high and noble philosophy lies a subtle trap: such exercise stimulates in one a self-esteem based upon that very ability to understand and appreciate. Altruism is oft-times another name for spiritual self-indulgence. Meditation upon high philosophy too many times leads to forgetfulness that the meditation is – only meditation. In that case the plant of self-esteem, growing from the mud of the human nature, transforms itself subtly into a growth of hypocrisy out of all proportion to the normal ratio.
Having become theosophists intellectually, we gratify ourselves with the heady wine of contempt for those who do not choose to be theosophists, theoretical or otherwise.
Having some knowledge of Karma, our feelings for those who understand it not, become, instead of impersonal compassion, a contemptuous derision – a self-satisfied wonder at the obvious follies of human race.  It is quite within human power to refuse to entertain the thought of one’s deficiencies, and in course of time to hypnotize oneself into the belief that they have been overcome.
Better by far to recognize one’s own faults, even that of hypocrisy, than to become hypocritical to oneself as well as to the outer world. The recognition of a deficiency, by the pain involved and the relative humbleness entailed, will open a breach where the light of Spirit can shine into the lower nature.
Vices cannot be uprooted by a single act of will, for sometimes they penetrate every fibre of the nature. On the other hand, all powers are spiritual, though forever self-transformative.
The whole problem, then, is soluble by the wise distribution and use of personal forces. Power turned to spiritual and altruistic use is power drained from the areas of the lower personal self, and so with the converse.  If personal energies are fully devoted to spiritual use, leakage into the world of the lower self will cease.
Times there are, certainly, when the lower nature, endowed by our own folly with a vigorous and maleficent life, will awake to the danger of starvation and take a ravening offensive. In such cases the utmost of repressive will-power may be necessary for a time. But in general, self-reformation depends upon constructive work in the opposite direction. Many there are who, after years or a lifetime of battle with the lower self, have resolved no more to concentrate upon that self, but forget all of self  in service, without regard of personal victory or personal defeat. It is the better way.
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.