On Philosophy, by Manly P. Hall


PHILOSOPHY teaches that the completion of the great work of social regeneration must be accomplished not in society but in man himself.

The democratic commonwealth can never be legislated into existence. Nor can it result from formal treaties or conferences. This is clearly indicated in the tragedy of the League of Nations. The League failed to prevent war because the nations which composed the League lacked the courage of high conviction; they failed the very institution which they themselves had established.

Permanent progress results from education, and not from legislation. The true purpose of education is to inform the mind in basic truths concerning conduct and the consequences of conduct. Education is not merely the fitting of the individual for the problems of economic survival. This is only the lesser part of learning. The greater part deals with the intangibles of right motivation and right use. No human being who is moved to action through wrong motivations, or misuses the privileges of his times, can be regarded as educated, regardless of the amount of formal schooling he has received.

The human mind is established in knowledge not alone by the reading of books or the study of arts and sciences, but by the examples set up by leaders and the personal experiences of living. According to the Baconian system, there are three sources of learning. The first is tradition, which may be derived from books.The second is observation, by which we learn from the actions of each other. And the third is by experimentation, which is a study of causes and consequences brought about by personal conduct.

The supreme human purpose is the perfection of man. This must come first, and when this end has been achieved all good things will inevitably follow.

Only enlightened men can sustain enlightened leadership; only the wise can recognize and reward wisdom.

In a democratic way of life the very survival of the State depends upon the intelligent cooperation of its people. Where men make their own laws, they must live according to the merits and demerits of the statutes which they have framed.

The Greek law giver, Solon, declared that in the ideal State laws are few and simple, because they have been derived from certainties. In the corrupt State, laws are many and confused, because they have been derived from uncertainties. These corrupt laws are like the web of a spider which catches small insects but permits the stronger creatures to break through and escape. Where there are many laws there is much lawlessness, and men come to despise and ridicule the restraints that are imposed upon freedom of action. Corrupt laws, resulting from efforts to amend inadequate legislation by further inadequate legislation, reveal a general ignorance of right and wrong. Where such
ignorance exists the ideal function of democracy is impossible, and liberty degenerates into license.

The half-truth is the most dangerous form of lie, because it can be defended in part by incontestable logic. Wherever the body of learning is broken up, the fragments become partial truths. We live in a day of partial truths; and until we remedy the condition we must suffer the inevitable consequences of division.

Excerpt from 20 The End of the Quest
Manly Palmer Hall – The Secret Destiny of America

Artwork by Serdar Camlica

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