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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The esoteric philosophy of Alice A. Bailey: Ageless wisdom for a new age
by Borsos, David, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, 291; 3517075
Abstract (Summary)

During a thirty year period Alice A. Bailey (1880–1949), in telepathic collaboration with the Tibetan teacher Djwhal Khul, wrote two dozen volumes on the origins and evolutionary development of Matter and Consciousness within our solar system, our planet, and the human kingdom. Her writings elucidate the forces and energies underlying the world of phenomena which can be consciously developed, controlled, and directed. Based on the ageless wisdom of the world's religious traditions, yet updated for the needs of our modern intelligence, these teachings reveal a path to soul consciousness and the establishment of right human relations.

The purpose of this dissertation is to introduce Bailey's esoteric philosophy in a way that will stimulate academic study, critique, and debate. My claim is that her writings embody a transcendent wisdom and intelligence which illuminate the problems of humanity and provide practical means for their solution.

In this dissertation I provide an overview of Bailey's life, her worldview, and the major themes expressed in her writings. I also address criticisms of universal wisdom traditions and structural-hierarchical models of human development that have arisen in the field of transpersonal studies. The criticisms of three leading scholars in this field, Ken Wilber, Michael Washburn, and Jorge Ferrer, while not directed at Bailey's writings, draw into question many traditional metaphysical assumptions that appear to be unwarranted in light of our modern understanding. I argue that their criticisms do not apply to Bailey's esoteric philosophy.

I then demonstrate the strength, comprehensive logic, and moral force of Bailey's writings by using them to outline the possibilities for reconstructing the theory of communicative rationality put forth by philosopher and social theorist Jürgen Habermas. I argue that his intuitions regarding the universal and emancipatory potentials of rationality are correct, but limited by his relatively narrow worldview, and that the force he finds inherent in intersubjective communication is a faint reflection of the transformative powers of the Soul.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Williams, Bernard O.
Commitee: Gunaratne, Shelton A., Jones, Constance A.
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Humanities with a concentration in Transformative Learning and Change
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Metaphysics, Philosophy, Spirituality
Keywords: Ascended masters, Bailey, Alice A., East-West philosophy, Esoteric philosophy, Theosophy, Transpersonal consciousness, Western esotericism
Publication Number: 3517075
ISBN: 978-1-267-47126-0
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