Talk:Alice Bailey

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 Definition Author of spiritual, occult, esoteric and religious themes; early popularizer of terms New Age and Age of Aquarius. [d] [e]

Attribution

Note: I was the primary author of the Alice Bailey article on Wikipedia. When I left, I brought the best portions of it here (or rather what the article use to be.) The portions I brought here were already substantially different than the stormy and unstable version on Wikipedia. I've done new major revisions, reworking, and condensing in this Citizendium version so that the material reflects some key points of her life, her main themes and the thoughts of some of her more reputable critics. When I last looked, the Wikipedia version was being turned into a caricature of Alice Bailey's ideas with excessive focus on minor themes. The Wikipedia version is what results from an unchecked edit war with many contributions from some editors who did not know much about the subject or how to distance their personal views from it. James Davis 13:56, 12 October 2007 (CDT)

Quotes

Just FYI--my observation is that articles which contain more quotes than substance, or significant quote amounts often come under scrutiny. I'm pretty sure that's what happened to the article on Mien Kampf (it's redlinked now.) --Robert W King 18:34, 11 October 2007 (CDT)

Robert, thanks for your observation. I've followed your implicit suggestion and radically reduced the number of quotations and made the whole article much tighter. James Davis 10:51, 12 October 2007 (CDT)

Linking

Can you also go through and link the article to others, by placing [[ and ]] around keywords? Thanks. John Stephenson 01:11, 27 October 2007 (CDT)

John, thanks for the reminder. I've put in ten or so CZ links though many of the articles I need to link to are not yet in CZ. I've coded it as not under linked at the moment since I think most of what can be done has been. More links are needed but can't be done until they become available in CZ. Also, many are relatively esoteric subjects like Theosophy and Mysticism and it may be some time before these appear in CZ. James Davis 16:30, 28 October 2007 (CDT)
Thanks. You can still add links to articles that don't exist yet. Use your own judgement, however: if you think it unlikely that we'll have an article on this in the medium to long term, or ever, then don't add it. John Stephenson 23:56, 28 October 2007 (CDT)

Photos

If anyone has print publications with photos of this woman, kindly add some sources for the photos that may appear so we can find out the provenance. I've turned up dead ends on this and this. Stephen Ewen 00:48, 29 October 2007 (CDT)

Hi Stephen, thanks for you input. I just wrote to the publishers of her books requesting permission for use of a photo or photos in the article. James Davis 10:16, 29 October 2007 (CDT)
Photo permission received from the copyright holder on and picture added. James Davis 15:05, 16 November 2007 (CST)

Serious problems

There are some very serious problems with the way this article is written. Perhaps foremost among the problems is the selective way that sources are used. For instance, one of the few scholarly studies that includes discussion of Alice Bailey, Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age [1], but the article does not mention any of the important observations that the author makes about Bailey, such as this comment on Bailey's book The Consciousnesses of the Atom

The last sentence is of particular importance. It links "science" with authority, presenting it as a body of doctrines imposed from without rather than as a method of systematic inquiry. As the quote unfolds, we are led to a position one recognizes as a standard theosophical point of view: normal science is not in error, it is just a limited version, a subset of a vaster, spiritualized science. P.229

In other words, the author of Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age, Olav Hammer, is saying that Bailey's presentation of science, as she see it, is fringe theory science. But the article only uses Olav Hammer as a support for Alice Bailey's own quotes, with the critical analysis removed. That seems not to be an honest use of sources. Malcolm Schosha 14:31, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

By looking at the history, it appears to me that no one except the original author, James Davis, has really done any work on this article except for minor copyediting. So it's essentially as he wrote it and left it more than two years ago. Since then he has made only one other edit to CZ. So my suggestion is that you go in and edit and rewrite it as you see fit. Hayford Peirce 21:36, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
James Davis and I are are both veterans of a very acrimonious Wikipedia edit war that occurred over a nine month period, just before he brought this article here. I could not face editing the subject again. In any case, both James and I are are rather invested in the subject, but hold very different points of view on the accomplishments of Alice A. Bailey. Nevertheless, I did want to point out that the article does have sourcing problems that may not, at first sight, be obvious.
I also want to add that there are certain matters that are presented rather casually in that article that most encyclopedias would approach with greater caution. For example, statements that there is a hidden group of "Masters of the Ancient Wisdom", one of whom dictated 22 books telepathically to Alice Bailey; or that "all religions originate from the same spiritual source", ie from the same so-called Masters of Wisdom who live hidden in an inaccessible area of the Himalayas (some of these Masters apparently being hundreds or even thousands of years old). Malcolm Schosha 14:39, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I can see why you don't want to get into another editing war. But those don't happen at CZ, at least not in the same way as at WP. If there are obviously weird statements like you cited above, then they will have to be removed. If you don't do it, then I will take 20 seconds, sigh, to glance at this article and get rid of them. Hayford Peirce 15:04, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
Doing that may not be as simple as you seem to think. The problem is that that this article is about a woman who claimed that the 22 books she published were dictated to her telepathically by a Master of the Wisdom [2], while he was in Tibet, and she was first living in California, and later in New Jersey. So the difficulty is how to describe all that she believed was true, while at the same time making clear that the whole of it is outside of (and frequently contrary to) the findings of science. Nor are her claims that her New Age teaching are comparable with traditional religious belief supportable.
Probably the article is just too large. It is substantially longer than the article on Plato, which is absurdly out of proportion. Malcolm Schosha 12:00, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, there's far too much baloney in this article for me to wade all the way through it, but I did glance at it here and there and, as far as I can see, it always says, "She stated" or "She claimed" about where he got her sources and inspirations. I suppose we could change a couple of "stated" to "claimed" but then, in theory, we'd have to do the same for *any* article about any religion at all. If there are any sentences in this article that are clearly not objectively phrased, let me know and I'll edit them if you yourself don't want to. Hayford Peirce 15:18, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
As I said previously, a lot of the problem, as I see it, has to do with the sourcing. Much of it is primary from Bailey's own books, or from other writers who seem to have been her co-workers. Neutral secondary sources, such as Olav Hammer's Claiming Knowledge: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age, are used mostly just to support inserting even more of Bailey's own statements, and leave out the actual content of the source.
At this point I will leave this discussion for consideration. Perhaps I am being unfair. I have made a few criticisms, and will let others decide if there is any validity. Malcolm Schosha 20:08, 27 June 2010 (UTC)
You're obviously an expert on this subject. No one else here at CZ, as far as I can tell, gives a solitary hoot about it. If *you* don't go in and fix what you think needs to be done, then, at least for the moment, no one else is going to. You know, we *do* say, "Be bold" here at CZ. You've raised some points, no one except me has responded to them, so only two outcomes are possible: the article stays as it is, or you fix it. Once you've fixed it, if Mr. Davies objects, let him do so under the CZ guidelines. Cheers! Hayford Peirce 20:46, 27 June 2010 (UTC)

Comments?

I've edited this fairly aggressively and invite comments. I don't know anything about the subject, but have trimmed the article down to make it intelligible to me at least. I think it's an appropriate topic, if handled properly, but I can't vouch for its accuracy.Gareth Leng 13:56, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Looks to me like you're done a great job. What a truly tedious subject! I sure wish that some of the people who are/were actually *interested* in this dreary topic would come back and do some work of their own on it! Hayford Peirce 18:18, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
She's interesting to read about, in my opinion. I like her cosmopolitan idealism — it's a bit inspiring to know there were people like her a hundred years ago. (Chunbum Park 16:40, 9 August 2011 (UTC))
Hi Chunbum; there are many amazing things about this lady and her work, as also in the case of H P Blavatsky. Just looked at your self portrait; radical !; you actually see yourself that way??  :) ...said James Davis (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)
I only read half of the article but will finish it now and also read about Blavatsky as well. Thank you for your compliment. No I don't see myself that way in most circumstances, but I tried to control and react to what was being put down on the canvas — that is, I didn't have a previsualization of what I was going to paint. I hope to see more of your articles! (Chunbum Park 00:34, 10 August 2011 (UTC))
Hello gain. If you'd like to keep in touch by direct email, send me a note via the email-icon link at lower left of my webpage here: http://www.bookreader.org/m ...said James Davis (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)
That's a neat site. It looks like websites from the 90s. I'm reading "A Partial History of Attempts to Construct Interstellar Transport Using Small Pieces of Recycled Paper." Well I hope you also write about Blavatsky - the link is red. (Chunbum Park 17:49, 11 August 2011 (UTC))
There is a well done free for viewing Video on the life of Blavatsky (it's in 5 parts; part one is here): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gI_PtNjHmTc ...said James Davis (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.) Best Thoughts, James