Greetings of Peace. This blog contains selections from my correspondence and other sources on a variety of subjects related to religion, philosophy, and spirituality. I hope that they may be of benefit to the interested reader. Concerning the title of the blog, read this entry.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Defense of Practical Idealism

I just stumbled across this defense of the integrity of the occult philosopher Manly P. Hall that I wrote over a decade ago. I still find Hall's work as charming now as I did back then.

--- In, curt wrote:
> I apologize for being such a complete snob - but seriously, Manly P.
> Hall was a fool. There is absolutely no reason to slog through his
> drivel unless you are doing research on what I call the "Esoteric Brain
> Drain". This is process by which Western Esotericism went from geniuses
> like Ficino and Agrippa to fools like Hall.

It would be unwise of me say that I agree wholeheartedly with everything that Manly P. Hall had to say on every subject, but I believe that this applies to any author and not just the ones that we are fond of. It seems to me that to call him a fool and his work drivel simply indicates that you have not studied much of him or his work and are perhaps judging him by his lowest qualities rather than his highest. He had an active public teaching career spanning nearly 70 years and throughout this time he was constantly learning and allowing others to share in this process. Among his many works throughout this great span of years you will find a mildly disparate range of quality. Nevertheless, when reflecting on his accomplishments after 20 years of public work he was able to state the following:

"The last twenty years of my life have been devoted to an examination and classification of essential learning. During this time my research has covered over forty great systems of religion and philosophy. It has been my purpose to focus the light of an ageless wisdom upon the problems of today; to discover if possible, from those who have lived well, the secret of right living, from those who have thought well, the secret of noble action. I believe that to some measure at least I have succeeded in this effort and have recovered from the obscurity of centuries the essential elements of that enlightened mode of existence which Pythogoras called the 'philosophic life'."

You say that in your "snobishness" you would prefer the genius of Agrippa to that of Hall. I also appreciate Agrippa and the manner in which he organized a diverse collection of obscure ancient teachings in his "Three Books of Occult Philosophy" which are not unlike Manly Hall's "Secret Teachings of All Ages" in this respect but certainly if we are to be honest in our appraisal we would also have to take into consideration Agrippa's own assessment of his life's work.

"But of Magic," he states, "I wrote whilst I was very young three large books, which I called Of Occult Philosophy, in which what was then through the curiosity of my youth erroneous, I now being more advised, am willing to have retracted, by this recantation; I formerly spent much time and costs in these vanities. At last I grew so wise as to be able to dissuade others from this destruction. For whosoever do not in the truth, nor in the power of God, but in the deceits of devils, according to the operation of wicked spirits presume to divine and prophesy, and practising through magical vanities, exorcisms, incantations and other demoniacal works and deciets of idolotry, boasting of delusions, and phantasms, presently ceasing, brag that they can do miracles, I say all these shall with Jannes, Jambres, and Simon Magus, be destined to the torments of eternal fire."

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Wisdom of the Chariot

"Know the Self to be the Master sitting in the chariot, and the body the chariot. Consider the intellect as the charioteer, and the mind as the reins. The senses are the horses and the sense-objects, the road. He who is always of restrained mind and possesses right understanding has his senses controlled like the good horses of a cha­rioteer. He, who has wisdom for his cha­rioteer and the mind as the well-controlled reins, reaches the end of the spiritual journey- the realisation of the Supreme, all-pervading Spirit."

 ~ Katha Upanishad. III : 3, 4, 6, 9.

 "As to soul’s immortality then we have said enough, but as to its nature there is this that must be said. What manner of thing it is would be a long tale to tell, and most assuredly a god alone could tell it but what it resembles, that a man might tell in briefer compass. Let this therefore be our manner of discourse. Let it be likened to the union of powers in a team of winged steeds and their winged charioteer. Now all the gods’ steeds and all their charioteers are good, and of good stock, but with other beings it is not wholly so. With us men, in the first place, it is a pair of steeds that the charioteer controls; moreover one of them is noble and good, and of good stock, while the other has the opposite character, and his stock is opposite. Hence the task of our charioteer is difficult and troublesome."

 ~ Plato, Phaedrus