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Manly P. Hall: The Maestro of Esoteric Philosophy (IV)
Part 4: Initiation in the Modern Age
21. The Mystery Schools in the Modern Era
This article is the fourth in a multi-part series on the life and teachings of 20th century American philosopher Manly P. Hall. In particular, the goal of this series is to focus on Hall’s interpretation of contemporary challenges and opportunities facing mankind in the modern era.
In the previous article of this series (Part 3), we examined Hall’s body of teachings on the UFO mystery. As we discovered, he takes a multivariable approach to the topic, factoring in a wide-ranging number of views and perspectives, ranging from the practical geopolitical implications of the phenomenon, to the psychological principles involved with our interpretation of it, to the greater philosophical themes it directs our attention towards.
My analysis of Hall’s discussion of the UFO topic follows an earlier series of articles I presented on the history of the phenomenon, which I put out as part of a larger chapter on the “secret history” of the 20th century. In that series we delved into the historical backstory of the UFO mystery, discussing its largely unknown 19th century origins, when it first emerged in the form of what were then called “flying airships”.
To summarize the material presented in that previous chapter, we learned that, back during the 19th century, there were numerous reported sightings of early, crude prototypes of UFOs - then called “flying airships”.
The 19th-century sightings of these “flying airships” span across decades, with some reports dating back to even before the time of the Civil War. The vast majority of these early sightings came during the 1890s, however, with newspaper reports about them appearing across the Americas, from North to South.
In descriptions of these early UFOs given by onlookers, it is clear that these “flying airships” were utilizing an early form of antigravity propulsion technology. They appeared in a variety of makes and models, ones demonstrating a distinctly “steampunk-like” quality to their design. Meaning: the design they demonstrated was very much “of the time period”. Later, as the industrial age progressed and engineering capabilities advanced, these designs would change, eventually evolving into the metallic disc-shaped “flying saucer” design that became prominent during mid-20th century.
Here we come to an important point, one worth emphasizing: during the early, 19th-century phase of the UFO mystery, it was abundantly clear that secretive humans groups - and not aliens - were behind the operation of these technologies.
In fact, in a few of the 19th century “flying airship” sightings, bystanders reported directly encountering and conversing with the pilots of these strange vehicles. In every case, they were humans.
The idea that this technology is the product of humans is also evidenced in the fact that a clear pathway of technological development and innovation can be tracked from the more crude 19th century airship designs to the more advanced 20th century “flying saucer” models. Clearly, the UFO mystery originates with human groups here on Earth rather than with an extraterrestrial presence out in space.
Apparently, the main technology that makes them possible was discovered back during the formative days of science in the early 19th century, and has been iterated upon and fine-tuned over the decades, eventually evolving into the sleek models that modern observers report encountering today.
Furthermore, it is also clear that concepts like Etheric energy and telluric currents were behind their mode of operation, and not “reverse engineered” alien technology. That meme is a distinctly modern one, and has no corollary in the early, 19th century phase of the UFO story.
The meme about UFOs being the product of aliens or ETs is nowhere to be found during the 19th century; this story did not emerge until much later in the mid-20th century. Actually, we can trace the beginning of this meme specifically to the year 1947, this being the year of Roswell and the passing of the National Security Act.
In my view, Roswell, along with other events like it, were part of a larger strategic campaign, enacted on national security grounds, to sell an “alien” explanation for UFOs as a cover story to mask the activities of these secretive human groups who had been at work already for decades to develop these technologies.
By creating this cover story, curious onlookers would be distracted from probing into the truth of the matter, and as a result, this technology could continue to be developed and utilized free from outside interference.
According to my research, the campaign to conceal the science and technology behind UFOs began as early as the late 1890s. Around this time, several key synchronistic events came together which suggest that, during this period, there arose within America a secret, elite group with the ambition to consolidate the entire paradigm of Ether physics under its control, monopolizing it for itself.
As part of this process, the science and technology behind UFOs would go “classified” and disappear from public awareness. It would be written out of science and history books, and the entire topic would become publicly discredited, with the “alien” meme arising as part of this concealment campaign.
The first piece of evidence suggesting the onset of a conspiracy during this era was the sudden halting of the flying airship phenomenon. After hundreds of sightings were recorded over the course of 1896-7, the phenomenon suddenly ceased, not to reappear again until the mid-20th century. By this point, these craft no longer look like flying “airships”; now, they demonstrate the familiar flying saucer design.
Furthermore, not long after the original airship sightings cease, a number of important social, intellectual, political, and economic transformations begin taking place within American society. For one, the Federal Reserve banking system is formally installed, with the financial and economic sectors of society becoming privatized. At the same time, we see America adopt an imperialistic foreign policy agenda.
Meanwhile, the beginning of a deliberate campaign to establish a world energy cartel begins emerging. One of the benefits of this type of cartel system is that patent agreements can be standardized and enforced globally: if an entire paradigm of science and technology is to be centralized and kept secret, then this is the type of legal structure that would need to be created in order to enforce this policy on a global level.
Right around this same period, we begin discovering instances where blueprints and patents from inventors working in the area of Etheric energy and antigravity became deliberately interfered with and subjugated. One prominent example of this is with J.P. Morgan’s subjugation of Nikola Tesla’s work to develop a “world wireless” energy system. Clearly, a centralized, coordinated campaign was taking place behind the scenes to make this entire paradigm disappear from public view.
Manly Hall gives his own account of having once been presented with the blueprints for an Ether-based energy technology: one that was never allowed to make it to market. In the 1950s, he wrote: “many years ago the plans for a gyroscopic motor were shown to me by an inventor who was unable at that time to get any support for his ideas. His design was not essentially different from that suspected to be used to motivate the flying saucers.”
Looking back, we discover that, around the turn of the last century, mankind was on the cusp of a breakthrough in science and technology. And right at the point when the dam was about to break, a Hidden Hand stepped in and interfered with the trajectory of events, monopolizing these breakthroughs for itself and giving public society a terminally flawed paradigm of science and technology in its place, one based on materialism and fueled by the use of coal and oil.
So instead of a new era of “free energy” like Tesla envisioned coming about, we got Edison’s oligarch-friendly system, with all competition to it disappearing from record.
It was atop Edison’s closed-system energy model, and not Tesla’s open-system design, that the entire economic order of the 20th century was built. The question is: while this was happening, what happened to the Ether paradigm? Was it completely erased, or did it go deeply “black” (i.e. classified) at this early period? And if it did go classified, what can we infer about the secretive entity that took over monopoly possession of it?
While no formal documentation has emerged to clarify who exactly this mysterious group was that took over exclusive control of the Etheric paradigm of science and technology, we can infer certain attributes about it.
For one, there may have been two separate concealment campaigns happening at once: one at the level of the “flying airship” societies, the other at the level of oligarchs like J.P. Morgan.
This means that the inner organizational structure of the Hidden Hand that moved to take control of the Etheric energy paradigm may have been polarized into two camps: a higher scientific camp of “technocrats” who specialize in science, engineering, and technology development; and a lower oligarchical group, one related to figures like J.P. Morgan and focused on leveraging this technology in order to further their ambitions for world empire.
In addition to these two groups, I believe that a third party was also involved in these events: an apex secret society, one possibly connected to Francis Bacon’s “Rosicrucian Order”.
As we covered extensively in previously chapters, Bacon’s esoteric society, working through the outer vehicle of Freemasonry, was heavily involved in the circumstances surrounding the American Revolutionary War. After the War, however, this esoteric society disappears from view. Apparently, around this time it moved into a new institutional vehicle, one scientific and economic in focus and thus ideally suited for the age to come.
In my view, this new vehicle is within the unknown entity that, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, maneuvered to take control of the entire paradigm of Etheric physics. In time, as the 20th century progressed, this entity rose to become what I call the “technocratic superstate”, this being the organizational superstructure in charge of America’s highly classified research into Etheric energy and antigravity.
To summarize: in my view, in the modern age, the sacred institution of the Mystery Schools has positioned itself at the apex of the “technocratic superstate”, where it maintains its monopoly on the most prized occult secrets of Etheric energy.
Part of my thinking on this is influenced by the fact that Ether-physics is directly related to the sacred science of alchemy, and alchemy has always been contained within the protective umbrella of the Mystery Schools. This was true in the past, and it remains true to this day.
As the outer institutions of human society have evolved, these Mystery Schools have evolved alongside them, expressing themselves through a series of changing forms, ones custom-suited to the needs and dynamics of each age.
With the rise of the age of science, industry, capitalism, and democratic politics, it appears that the Mystery Schools relocated their base of operations into a new vehicle, one suitable to the challenges of the new age man was entering into.
In this way, I believe the Mystery Schools came to quietly over-soul and direct the secret societies behind the “flying airship” mysteries of the 19th century. When these societies were later consolidated to create the entity I call the “technocratic superstate”, the Mystery Schools then took up their abode within this new institutional structure, where they remain to this day.
22. The Adepts in a World at War
Looking back, it seems clear that, as world civilization moved en masse toward the new age of science and industry, the Mystery Schools would have transformed their base of operations as well, transitioning their activities into a new vehicle appropriate to the changing world circumstances of the time.
As the industrial age progressed and the institutions of capitalism grew to become dominant, the most powerful and influential leaders on the world stage shifted from being kings and popes to capitalists and scientists.
Keeping in mind the idea that the Mystery Schools’ primary function is to guide man’s evolution from age to age, is it realistic to assume that, in the new era of science and industry that was to come, the Mystery Schools would have made no plans to continue their influence over the trajectory mankind’s collective fate?
Manly Hall reminds us that, during the medieval era, “all the petty princes in Europe … had their Merlins, wise old men who in many instances were the actual rulers of the State.” If that was true then, would it not also continue to be true to this day?
Wouldn’t the Mystery Schools - the sacred institution of illuminated beings divinely ordained to bring about the ultimate evolutionary completion of humanity - have had a strong interest in directing their initiates and agents into those areas of world society most important to guiding the continued development of the collective race?
Building on this point, Hall tells us that “history is a record of crises and of the extraordinary circumstances by which men have survived them. … In each of these critical periods the required direction has been available. The world has received the assistance which it needed. … These opportune interventions are always associated with deep and secret philosophies and prophets who combined in themselves the attributes of the sage and the saint.”
Hall tells us that in the medieval era these prophets and sages worked quietly behind the scenes, working to move “the crowns of Europe as on a mighty chessboard.” In the modern era, they still fulfill the same duty, only the characters on the chessboard have changed, with capitalists, industrialists, and scientists now occupying the primary positions of influence.
In his 1942 article “The Adepts in a World at War”, Manly Hall expands on these ideas, writing that whenever in history a “big man” has done a “big thing”, “there has been someone standing like a ghost behind him. In physical history these people fade in and out of the pages for no known reason. Curious conferences are held. The men are seen in one place and then another. … But no one says who these men are, or where they came from.”
In the article, Hall recounts an anecdote about the time a researcher told him that he planned to one day write a history “of these ghostly people who have stood behind the great” leaders of history. Hall cautioned this researcher that such a book “would be getting awfully close to very dangerous ground. He probably does not know it, but that book is not going to be written; that book would be entirely too vital a document. For it is the ghostly ones who are responsible for building up the world.”
In truth, “many important changes that have taken place in the history of the world have come about through the ghosts who have, without credit, stood behind the great” leaders that our textbooks record. And this situation remains the case to this day: the initiates and Adepts of the Mystery Schools “are still functioning and still at work. … This protective mechanism (still) exists. Those who have the right to know, know where it is, and how it works. The School of Adepts is still functioning as it always has and always will: as the silent power behind the throne.”
Writing in 1942, right in the middle of WWII, Hall declared that "every government has ghostly personalities somewhere in the background, and day after day, as nations hurl themselves against each other, as this struggle of great continents goes on, the world is bound together by a strange network of interrelated forces working both physically and metaphysically all at the same time to make sure that the game cannot be played outside the rules.”
When we remember that Hall himself held direct connections to president FDR, Vice President Henry Wallace, and prominent internationalist Nicholas Roerich, we come to the realization that he himself may have served as one of these “ghostly personalities”, quietly working to shape the destiny of the nation.
Hall, an initiate of numerous esoteric orders, asks: “how does this power basically and primarily work? It works as a secret society - great, intangible. It cannot be captured or caught up in politics. It cannot in any way be brought under the dominion of any nation or state. … It remains … an intangible government over the whole Earth, … hidden completely from the gaze of the profane.”
Hall informs us that, today, “in every nation of the civilized world, great institutions of learning (i.e. Mystery Schools) have sprung up, richly endowed and fully equipped to meet the challenge of a new age.”
He declares that the “real Esoteric Schools still labor toward the goal of the World Commonwealth. … The old Secret Societies remain as they have always been, custodians of an over-conviction, (and their) Plan remains utopian.”
Their goals today are the same as they ever were: to preserve the sacred arts and sciences from abuse by the profane; to stimulate mankind toward the realization of a grand collective destiny; and to, as Manly Hall put it, “make sure that the game cannot be played outside the rules.” Ultimately, “universal enlightenment and universal fraternity are the natural ends which reward the social struggle.”
Given their predilection for secrecy, it makes sense that the Mystery Schools would set up shop within the concealed inner core of the US national security state, within the entity I call the “technocratic superstate”.
Like the secret societies of before, this is an institution that is also “hidden from the gaze” of outer, public society, this time for practical national security reasons. But unlike these earlier secret societies, who had to remain hidden from the state, this entity is formally enthroned at the heart of the American nation, where it can now explicitly direct the course of world events from “on high”.
Notably, the organizational culture institutionalized within the US national security state where the Mystery Schools now reside is characterized by many of the same attributes traditionally associated with the Mystery Schools, including: a preoccupation with secrecy; the practice of deliberately veiling knowledge from public view; the creation of a public mythology that conceals inner, occults truths; etc.
In the introduction to his famous 1944 work “The Secret Destiny of America”, Hall gave clear indication that it is indeed here, within the technocratic superstate and the world cartel system that it lords over, that the Mystery Schools are today to be found.
In this book, Hall declares that “the future of human society is intimately associated with the destinies of these vast enterprises which have inherited, along with physical success, the duty - or more correctly, the privilege - of world guardianship.” Thus, “there is every indication that the esoteric tradition will next function through that complex of vast interrelated organisms of production and distribution which now dominate the human imagination.”
At the time he was writing this, the foundations for a world cartel system, centered around an elite technological core, was already well-established. Given that, even then, this vast industrial and financial cartel system already functioned as the backbone of the entire economy of the West, in my eyes this is clearly the entity that Hall is referring to as the current home of the esoteric orders.
Hall further writes that these "vast organizations - industrial, political, social, and educational - have been made possible by the modern life-way. They have become the molders of public opinion, feared or respected according to the measure of integrity revealed in their management.” For this reason, the superstructure that contains them and brings them into organization represents “the largest and most powerful potential instrument for the advancement of mankind ever yet devised.”
In another one of his famous books from the period, one titled “Masonic Orders of Fraternity”, Manly Hall goes deeper into the backstory of how the Mystery Schools came to occupy their current position.
According to him, the transition of the Mystery Schools out of their previous home in the ancient pagan temples and into their current domicile in the world cartel system took place gradually, proceeding along a number of stages.
He explains that, after the fall of classical civilization, mankind fell into a Dark Ages, during which time the Mystery Schools disappeared from public view. But they did not disappear altogether: during this period of concealment, Hall informs us that “the descent of the program of the Esoteric Schools was entrusted to guilds, trade unions, and similar protective and benevolent Societies.”
As the medieval age gradually came to a close in the West, the esoteric tradition moved into the vehicle of secret societies such as the Freemasons and Rosicrucians. These societies in turn brought it over to America during the early stages of the colonization effort.
Once implanted here, these societies conspired to catalyze the American Revolution and establish the American nation. Afterwards, they embedded themselves within the fabric of elite sectors of American society, occupying this position from the very outset of the nation's birth and leaving traces of their presence in the symbolism and architecture of key national monuments, particularly those found in and around Washington DC.
Over time, as the world transitioned into the industrial age, the Mystery Schools moved their operations into a new institutional vehicle, one appropriate to the times. This new vehicle was the world cartel system, whose operations are centered within the mysterious inner realms of the US national security state.
Hall discusses the rationale behind the transition of the Mystery Schools into this new institutional form, noting that, after the success of the Revolutionary Wars of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, “the power of the Church and State to plague the destiny of the average man was broken.
Consequently, “it was no longer needful to struggle against the despotism of feudalism or the perversities of princes.” Instead, a new set of challenges was rising to confront mankind, ones associated with the transition of world civilization from a feudal, agrarian era to a democratic, industrial one.
The new challenges confronting mankind during this period include: a mass transformation of social institutions worldwide; the rise in importance of science, technology, and industry; the emergence of globalization, the internet, and the information control grid; the development of modern warfare technologies and strategies; and the growth of economics and finance as key components of human life.
In Hall’s view, while the modern world order that has brought us these challenges “may appear to the superficial-minded as heartless and soulless,” in truth this world system is still growing and developing and has not yet obtained its full maturity.
One of mankind’s primary tasks during the present age is to bring this economic, political, and technological superstructure into a state of enlightened management, one informed by the principles of philosophy. Only then, once philosophy is enthroned as the dominant institution of the technocratic superstate and its ruling elite, can the vast cartel system it lords over evolve itself into an instrument to advance the collective enlightenment of the race, as it is ultimately intended to do.
What will civilization look like once philosophy is brought into this entity and used to raise it into its ideal form? Francis Bacon gave us an inclination in his famous work, “New Atlantis.” Here, he “describes a philosophic empire, ruled over by enlightened men, which is someday to be established upon the Earth. In the midst of this empire is the City of Wisdom, and in the midst of this city a university of the arts and sciences named Solomon’s House.”
In Bacon’s novel, there is a passage where the master of this great university describes the purpose of his school, stating: “the end of our foundation is the knowledge of Causes, and the secret motions of things, and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.”
Explaining the meaning of this passage, Bacon scholar Peter Dawkins (who I recently had on my podcast as a featured guest) writes that “the novel suggests a kind of morally decent and friendly utopian society, governed by a democratically elected parliament with a sovereign head of state, in which exists an organized body of science known as Salomon’s House, (which is) guided by divine Providence and dedicated to discovering the mysteries of heaven and earth, and to charitable purposes.”
Hall expands on these notions, writing that, in Bacon’s vision of a perfect civilization, at the center of world society "shall stand a mighty university wherein both the sacred and secular sciences concerning the mysteries of life will be freely taught to all who will assume the philosophic life.”
This gives a clue to the future that the Mystery Schools are slowly but surely drawing world civilization inevitably towards:
According to Hall, the Mystery Schools are currently working to reform the world-education concept. He declares: “the great universities and schools must fulfill the destiny which conceived them”, this destiny relating to the ideal university that Francis Bacon first envisioned back in the opening decades of the 17th century - the College of the Six Days Work, described above.
As Hall is here implying, this world university system, modeled after Bacon’s College of the Six Days Work and featuring a synthesis of religion, science, and philosophy within its curriculum, is the great need of our age. And this is what the Mystery Schools are laboring behind the scenes to create.
This university system cannot exist separately from the institutions of state, economy, or religion; all must be interlinked together within its structure. In its final form, this university will be enthroned at the center of the world cartel system and the world nation, with its initiates and disciples promoted to key leadership positions within each of the main sectors of global society. Here, they will function as the Philosophic Elect and take on the responsibility of guiding world civilization and collective humanity to the next phase of its evolutionary destiny.
It is only by means of this type of enlightened World University that the Mystery Schools will ever allow the esoteric secrets of Etheric Energy to be released into open public use. Until then, the rise of a new golden age will remain a dream, and the Great Work of the Mystery Schools must continue in secret.
23. The Necessity of Initiation
When considering the idea that human life is over-souled by a greater guiding spiritual intelligence - an Invisible Government of enlightened beings - it is normal and natural to ask: if this invisible spiritual government exists and is wise and benevolent, how could it allow the atrocities taking place on Earth to persist?
To answer this question, we must first remember that the enlightened sages governing the Mystery Schools look at life and death differently than we do. In their eyes, there is only one life, moving in various states of itself, seeking its own self-perfection through time.
Therefore, birth and death are two polarities existing within one greater cycle, with consciousness remaining throughout. Through the vehicle of soul or mind, this consciousness moves into and out of creative expression. At birth, the soul moves into an active phase; at death, it returns to a passive one. Death is therefore a transition, not an end, and rebirth for those who have departed is certain, at least until a final state of enlightenment is achieved.
Each person has a unique and personal connection to the One Life: we recognize it as the principle of self-consciousness or Self which is enthroned at the apex of each person’s psyche.
This spiritual center - this principle of Self within each person - never dies, but incarnates in repeated cycles within the outer world of material creation. Here, it lives out a lifespan and acts out a personality, before eventually dissolving the compound, harvesting the experiences of the lifetime, and transmuting them to soul power.
At death, the psychic energy previously locked within the body is liberated so that, after a period of rest and assimilation, it may return to embodiment in a new form, during a new time period, in a new locale. In this future life, the soul will continue its evolutionary development, picking things up where the previous personality left off.
Keeping this viewpoint in mind, we come to understand that the true person is the soul and not the body.
The immortal aspect of each soul never dies, and it is this spiritual Self within each person that the Mystery Schools are ultimately seeking to reach, inspire, mature, and evolve.
As the inner Spirit with each person develops, refines, and blossoms, the fruits of its labor manifest in the outer personality. In this way, the soul is engaged in a process of building “ever more beautiful mansions” for itself, as the saying goes.
This is how evolution actually happens: it takes place first within the soul, and then manifests afterward in the physical personality, where these inner transformations are then made apparent to the perception of others.
The goal of the Mystery Schools is to stimulate the growth of the Self within. This they accomplish by educating it and presenting it with a variety of targeted stimulations, proddings, challenges, opportunities, and tests.
Mankind is currently in an adolescent phase of its development, meaning that the soul within it still has a lot of growing and developing to do until it achieves the condition of full mastery and control over its physical personalities.
Because of its immaturity, the unawakened, materialistic, and egotistic aspects of human nature remain dominant, and for this reason the Mystery Schools must continue to guide and instruct the lower body of mankind as its initiators.
Following this line of thinking, we come to understand that, for very deliberate reasons, it is not the policy of the Mystery Schools to actively interfere in an authoritarian manner with the activities of evolving mankind in order to save it from its own self-inflicted wounds. The reason why is easy to understand; as Manly Hall puts it, “man must cure the disease that man has caused.”
For this reason, “it is not within the province of Law that this mysterious hierarchy should obviously manifest itself.” Instead, “the individual should discover his own fault and remedy it. There is no safety in vicarious protection.”
In other words, the human soul must grow by confronting and overcoming its own self-created problems - i.e. its own negative karma, built up within the soul as the accumulated inheritance of many lifetimes. Man must reap what he has sown, for the reason that the experience of the negative effects or consequences of past action inspires us to course-correct and put forth a new and better sequence of causation in the future.
Looking at this issue from an evolutionary perspective, we discover that it is both the responsibility and privilege of mankind to actively, self-consciously, and lovingly fulfill its own evolutionary completion.
Mother Nature already contains within herself the archetype specifying the ultimate plan, pattern, and purpose of human evolution. But for mankind to achieve the full realization of this archetype and bring itself to a state of final evolutionary completion, we must self-consciously and self-willingly traverse the path that will bring us there.
Nature will not bestow us the great rewards of life freely or easily. The path to attain them is already laid, but we must traverse it ourselves and actually do the work of obtaining the treasure that lies at its end.
Elaborating on these points, Manly Hall writes that “man as a being was intended to grow. For whatever purposes the Universe intends, man must attain that purpose by the gradual unfoldment of his own resources. … Man therefore must release his inner life by a direct action.”
Hall informs us that man’s ultimate destiny "is to become an enlightened administrator of the consciousness dimensions with himself.” But in order to successfully do this, “he must take the necessary training so that he can use this power constructively and in accordance with Law.”
Here’s where the concept of initiation comes in: the task of the Mystery Schools is to guide mankind through this training process by means of initiation. As part of this process, the Mysteries seek to raise each individual, group, and nation gradually upward in a stepwise manner, bringing each closer and closer to a point of ultimate achievement, when it will one day be capable of self-consciously participating in the fulfillment of Nature’s ultimate plans.
In other words, through initiation, man makes “a proper application to the Infinite for the right to have the resource of all life revealed to him.”
Looking back in time, Hall notes that the Mystery Schools “have existed since the beginning of human society.” We are where we are today because of their efforts in the past; and today they are still in charge of mankind’s long-term evolutionary growth.
Hall tells us that “such schools exist in all parts of the world, and are the proper custodians of the esoteric lore which descended from the distant past.” This esoteric lore concerns the mysteries of God’s Plan, the secrets of Nature’s processes, and the keys to using this knowledge in order to accomplish the evolutionary fulfillment of the soul.
Hall also emphasizes that this sacred body of knowledge, due to its overwhelming power and importance, “has always been taught by means of secret organizations to which candidates are admitted only after appropriate initiatory rites.” There is a clear reason for this: namely, that the esoteric doctrine that the Mysteries protect contains advanced knowledge about how to control and manipulate the energetic substrate underlying material existence. In other words, the Mysteries contain advanced knowledge about the secrets of Etheric energy, and this knowledge must be protected from misuse by the profane, lest they bring about another “Fall of Atlantis” situation due to their misuse of it.
Put simply: esoteric knowledge is entirely too dangerous for an immature, undisciplined, and delusional person to gain access to. If misused, it could bring about an ultimate disaster for mankind, as the Atlanteans once learned long ago. Consequently, this knowledge must be protected, and mankind must be gradually initiated into being granted access to it.
Elaborating, Manly Hall informs us that, since the beginning, one of the primary duties of the Mystery Schools has been to protect the human being “against the misuse of those spiritual forces which are beyond the understanding of the average person.”
As Manly Hall puts it, “man must grow up to truth, for truth by its nature cannot be brought down to the level of a selfish and intolerant humankind.” Consequently, “the security that the world seeks cannot be bestowed; it must be earned.”
By means of initiation through the various grades of the Mystery Schools, man learns the knowledge and skills required to complete his own evolutionary destiny. At each degree, the candidate is tested as to what they have learned on the level they are at; until they pass their test, they won’t be allowed to advance further, and the higher teachings of the esoteric doctrine will be kept from them.
Considering the many sagas and adventures that mankind has been through in its long history, we must come to appreciate that, at every moment, behind the scenes, the Mystery Schools have been there, quietly fulfilling their initiatic works.
Hall tells us that, at every moment of mankind’s evolutionary journey here on Earth, “everything that is done is being supervised. … Against the tragedy of man destroying himself there stands an absolute protection which no human power can interfere with.”
Try as he might, “man cannot destroy or pervert the works of destiny. He can only divide himself from those works, and by so doing cease to share in the essential vitality of progress.”
In the modern age, the human soul is learning to develop several new soul capacities, such as the intellect’s capacity to discern truth rationally and the ego’s capacity to express itself individually.
Together, the institutions of democracy, science, industrialization, and capitalism have provided a rich “developmental environment” suitable for stimulating and bringing out these attributes or soul powers.
In past ages, they had been kept latent. But, in many ways, the modern world order seems tailor-made to actively stimulate and develop them.
In the meantime, while mankind is collectively working to develop these new soul powers within itself, we are also struggling to overcome old unresolved karmic patterns from the past.
Cause leads to effect, and until our old addictions to ignorance, superstition, and fear are overcome and resolved, they will remain the cause of the present suffering we are experiencing today on this Earth.
In the form of negative karma, the sins from the past continue to confront us and demand our attention. They linger on, continuing to exist right alongside the new challenges that modern civilization is bringing to us and confronting us with.
The world order we find ourselves in today is the product of the intermingling of these two dynamics: old karma meeting new environment, with a highly combustable situation being produced as a result.
Stepping back and considering the story of how we got here, we come again to an idea I have referenced repeatedly in my writings: that mankind, for the past 5,000+ years, has been trapped in a dark age, one foretold by ancient prophets and associated with the characteristics of ignorance, egotism, darkness, and materiality.
The ancient Hindus called this age the “Kali Yuga”; Plato referred to it as the “Age of Iron”. In both cases, the idea is the same: that mankind is moving through a great astrological period that itself exists as a sub-cycle within a larger developmental pattern.
In relation to the greater cycle it is a part of, the Kali Yuga represents the “winter” season, where the light of Spirit is comparatively obscured and the darkness of materiality correspondingly increased.
Manly P. Hall places the astrological beginning of the Kali Yuga at around 3100 BC. Curiously, this is a period when several key shifts within the institutional architecture of pagan civilization began to take place. Notably, the changes brought about during this period, which I covered in detail in my earlier chapter on Plato, set the stage for the rise of oligarchy, capitalism, and empire as dominant institutions.
Different Hindu traditions offer conflicting accounts of how long the Kali Yuga cycle is supposed to last. One of the more well-known accounts offers a date of approximately 5,000 years. If this is true, this implies that the ending of the Kali Yuga is taking place either now or sometime in the near future.
In other words, we are currently living through the culminating phase of a dark age. At this important juncture, a mass of accumulated negative karma from the past, built up and stored within the collective soul over the course of the past 5,000+ years, is coming home to roost.
The reason for this is simple: Nature is requiring us to confront our unresolved karma from the past and to build up the underdeveloped soul powers that remain latent within us, before we can move onto the future.
Hall explains that, as mankind moved en mass into the modern age, “the ills that men must bear changed their appearances, not their substance.” Consequently, “it was still necessary for the human spirit to struggle against the intolerances of the human mind,” and this struggle must continue until those intolerances are transmuted into soul power.
While on one hand, civilization has been both challenged and “liberated by the new code of freedom” that the rise of democracy, science, and industry have brought about, still we have continued to “perpetuate most of the instruments of the old tyranny.”
After the overthrow of the old tyrannies of church and crown during the 18th and 19th centuries and the installation of a new age of democracy, science, and industry to replace it, mankind immediately set about creating a new set of tyrannies for itself. These relate to the formation of a massive capitalistic and militaristic machine that has been built up over the course of recent centuries, one "highly competitive in principle and highly destructive in practice“.
The higher evolutionary archetype that this superstructure is destined to eventually evolve into and attain is one that promises to one day bring mankind into a new golden age. But until this higher state is fulfilled as a result of man’s own labors, this entity will continue to operate in an imbalanced, immature, neurotic, egotistic, self-destructive manner.
While it remains in this condition, it will continue to block mankind’s ambition to transcend its current state and evolve into a new and higher phase of evolutionary existence. Consequently, the challenge of our age is to overcome the obstacles it presents to us and transmute its infrastructure into a new and higher state of expression.
It is not the ambition or purpose of the Mystery Schools to solve our own problems for us and overthrow this behemoth on our behalf. Rather, its mission is to gradually teach us, through a mix of experience and guided instruction, how to overcome this self-created monster on our own and defeat it as a result of our own labors.
Hall tells us that, in the modern age, the destructive social environment we have created for ourselves is forcing us to come to the “unhappy realization that tyrannical systems (in the world out there) are only symbols of those tyrannical instincts which exist” within us as individuals.
Thus, tyranny in the world will continue to confront us until at last, as Manly Hall tells us, we “are overcome by enlightened understanding” and become wise enough to eliminate the root causes of suffering within ourselves, which is where it begins, as Gautama Buddha emphasized so long ago.
24. The Marriage of Education and Experience
Many Hall reminds us that ”all this great chaos through which we are passing is pointed toward the release of man toward progress.” And the Mystery Schools are here to facilitate this process.
As Hall reminds us, “conditions beyond human control are forever breaking down the limitations which man has placed upon his future. … Destiny and the Mysteries must win, for they are on the side of the Great Plan.”
Thus, in actuality, “the world and all that inhabits it are moving triumphantly toward peace and security. At any given time the vision may be obscured, but in the larger dimensions of time, all things work together for the fulfillment of the greater good.”
It is God’s Plan that man achieve this “greater good” for himself. In other words, the attainment of a new golden age will not be granted to mankind freely or easily, but it exists as an ideal which mankind is granted the privilege to earn for itself through discipline, dedication, and perseverance.
The Mystery Schools are comprised of elevated souls who have already advanced themselves toward a higher evolutionary state than what the majority has achieved. Having “passed beyond”, they return in order to labor with the outer body of mankind which is still wallowing in the mud. Their mission is to teach and inspire others to attain what they have already accomplished: illumination and enlightenment. This is the way of the Bodhisattva: the path that all initiates of the Mystery Schools must walk.
The adepts and initiates of the Mysteries are always there in the background, working to educate and instruct us, while at the same time giving us the freedom to both make our own mistakes and to suffer the consequences of those mistakes. The suffering we experience is actually intended to be educational: it draws our attention to where we have fallen short, and inspires us to course-correct.
In his book “The Road to Inner Life”, Manly Hall emphasizes why the highs and lows of the human experience are necessary for the spiritual growth of the soul to take place.
He writes that ”from the combination of consciousness and environment rises the primary educating power - and that is experience.”
Philosophically considered, “the phenomenal world is just another expression of the nature of Deity.” Therefore, “man, searching for the nature of God, advances his purposes through the contemplation of experience.”
As we look to take a critical look at our own life experiences and to learn from them, the question becomes: how do we correctly interpret their meaning? This is where philosophy comes in: philosophy is about bringing discipline to the mind so that it can correctly discern the laws, symbols, and patterns that are continually revealing themselves through our experiences and engagements with the phenomenal world.
For the destiny of the scientific age to ever to be fulfilled, scientific knowledge must be reconnected to its proper foundation in philosophy, because it is through philosophy that we learn to intelligently discern the laws, patterns, and truths that Mother Nature is at all times revealing to us.
At the very outset of the scientific age, its godfather, Francis Bacon, revealed to us the proper relationship between science and philosophy, noting how science is an inductive process that is forever attempting to reason upward from the contemplation of discreet facts to the discernment of fundamental axioms, principles, and truths.
But this inductive process must be balanced within a deductive one, and it is only through philosophy and its contemplation of first principles that deduction can be properly fitted with induction in order to produce a sound process of reasoning.
So, as we discover, science needs to be fitted with philosophy for its higher potential to ever be realized; secular science will always remain incomplete. Likewise, democracy also needs philosophy to attain its own perfection, as the mind must first be “trained in the laws of thinking” before true democracy - the philosophic democracy of Plato - can ever come into being.
Hall reminds us that democracy, in its highest, philosophical form, is not something that a simple act of legislation can bring about. Instead, it must be carried forth as a way of life by the citizenry. He writes that, “under a democratic concept of living, the responsibilities for progress pass to the keeping of the people,” with “the very survival of the state (depending) upon the intelligent cooperation of its people.”
By implication, if the people are not yet ready to intelligently cooperate and assume the responsibilities required to make democracy work, then true democracy cannot exist, for the reason that "the democratic commonwealth can be a reality only when our world is a world of self-ruling men.”
Therefore, “men (must) be capable of self-rulership” before good government is possible, because only the self-ruling man is fit to lead others. So long as those occupying the key positions of power and influence within society fail in their capacity to be self-ruling, then tyranny will persist and our collective suffering will continue.
Simply put, we need philosophy; without it, true democracy of the type Plato originally envisioned can never come about.
Instruction in philosophy requires a marriage of education and experience: the two compliment each other and go hand in hand.
Education without experience is sterile; and experience without education leads to unenlightened action and the creation of negative karma. Both must go together, and the Mystery Schools work quietly behind the scenes to ensure that they do.
Manly Hall explains that, because they revered the value of human experience so highly, “the Mystery Schools neither restrained nor limited the unfoldment of human institutions. Man fashioned his civilization according to his natural instincts and convictions” and “this process must continue” despite the negative consequences it may bring about, “for growth is not hastened by the interference of authority.”
Here we again return to the topic of initiation. The Mystery Schools, in preparing their candidates to undergo the process of initiation, approached the task in two ways, one focusing on education, the other on experience. During the initiatory process, these two elements are fused together, with the ultimate goal being to synthesize them into soul power within the spiritual nature of each disciple.
On the experiential front, the Mystery Schools use rituals, tests, near-death experiences, mysticism, psychedelic experiences, and other initiatic measures to provide their disciples with certain key experiences that they need in order to progress their development at a deeper soul level.
The method here is to intentionally and thoughtfully design an experiential environment that will serve to test their candidates by presenting them with certain archetypal challenges and experiences that they will be forced to confront and overcome. Sometimes, these challenges can be very intense, with death coming as the price of failure.
The initiatory challenges that the initiates of the Mystery Schools design and put us through are actually tests, and the successful candidate for initiation is the one who meets and overcomes the obstacles presented to them, learning the lessons they have to teach and transmuting past experiences into new soul power, which they will then use and further develop in the next higher degree that they will subsequently be moving into.
Looking at things from this perspective, we discover that the challenges we face today in the modern age are actually tests, ones being presented to us in a deliberately initiatic manner. “The Plan remains utopian”, as Hall put it, “and all things are ultimately working together for the greater good.”
The challenges we are currently being presented with are intensely karmic in nature, meaning our own shortcomings are very much present within them. This is intentional and part of the initiatic process.
The initiates of the Mystery Schools, being masters of astrology and alchemy, are well aware of what our shortcomings are, and part of the aim of their testing is to draw our attention to these shortcomings so that we may confront, engage with, and correct them within ourselves on both an individual and collective level.
These ideas all interlink with the notion that, at present, we are moving into the culminating stage of the Kali Yuga. This is a time of mass testing and initiation, and nothing we are going today is arbitrary.
The human soul is being prepared for the next phase of its evolution, and the Mystery Schools are working behind the scenes to guide this process toward a predestined end point, while at the same time giving us the freedom to continue to make our own mistakes and learn from them.
In this way, it stands to reason that the behind the drama of the current world situation are the Mystery Schools, testing us, stimulating us, and drawing us forward into a great awakening. They don’t create our present suffering - we create that ourselves as a result of our own negative accumulated karma - but they are gradually working to mold the trajectory of world events so that a great forward evolution of the human soul will take place and set the stage for a new age of civilization that is to come.
25. Francis Bacon’s Vision for a World University
On the other side of the mass initiation process mankind is currently going through is the promise of a new golden age, indicating the rise of an ideal system of world civilization, one where philosophy, peace, and collective enlightenment are given the highest priorities.
Plato envisioned this enlightened civilization as the Philosophic Democracy; Francis Bacon, foresaw it as a scientific utopia, one he termed the “New Atlantis.”
To achieve this desired end state, we must first pass a number of collective tests; and to successfully pass these tests, we must learn from past experiences, using the wisdom teachings of ancient philosophy as our guide.
Because of philosophy’s importance to the destiny of civilization in the current age, Hall tells us that, at present, “the Secret Societies are now engaged upon a broad reformation of the world-educational concept.”
In the reformed approach to education they are working to bring about, philosophy will rise to become a central priority in human life. As part of this process, we will come to learn that “education is not merely the fitting of the individual for the problems of economic survival,” which is how we treat it today. Actually, “the true purpose of education is to inform the mind in basic truths concerning conduct and (its) consequences.”
More specifically, education in the principles and standards of philosophy is the great need of our age, because it is through philosophy that we learn to unlock the higher potentials of both democracy and science, which languish and fall into corruption without it.
To facilitate the spread of philosophical education, a world university is needed, one imitating the design of the College of the Six Days Work first laid out by Francis Bacon over four hundred years ago.
Elaborating, Manly Hall states that “it was part of the ancient plan that has descended to us to build again the ideal university - the College of the Six Days Work.” Here will be taught the arts and sciences from a different perspective than we teach today. For one, these will no longer be treated as secular, with each discipline ensouled with religious vitality and significance.
In this new approach, man will be taught that “the sciences are as sacred as the theologies, and the philosophies are as practical as the crafts and trades.” Furthermore, within these schools, “those mystical extrasensory perceptions viewed with suspicion by the materialist would then be developed according to the disciplines of the sciences, and all learning would be consecrated to the supreme end that men become as the gods, knowing good and evil.”
The world university system that we must create cannot exist separately from the domains of economics, politics, or culture; the leaders in each of these sectors must be graduates from this university, trained in philosophy, and initiated into the mysteries of mind and consciousness.
In the new paradigm we are moving into, philosophic education and training must be integrated into every area of human life. The leadership classes in every sector of society must be graduates of this university and elevated to become what Plato envisioned as the “Philosophic Elect”.
This philosophic leadership class formed the basis for his idea of the Philosophic Commonwealth, a democratic society in which the citizenry celebrates and elects those who are the most fit to lead. In his view, those most fit to lead are those who are the most accomplished in philosophy and who have obtained the highest degrees of initiation.
Armed with this new approach to education, Hall declares that the coming world university “is the beginning of the democratic empire.” The attainment of this ideal state of civilization requires “the education of the guardians of the state (and) the setting up of standards and basic principles" which all citizens will respect and live in accordance with.
In the future, no longer will the Mysteries “be a secret school - the House of the Unknown Philosophers. It will emerge from behind the clouds which have concealed it from the profane for thousands of years and take its rightful place as the center and fountainhead of the Ever-Living Good.”
Thus, we discover that this world university is actually an externalization of the Mystery Schools. By means of it, “the day will come when that which has been taught under oath and obligation shall belong equally and freely to all men, not because it has been brought down to them, but because they themselves have been raised up by vision and experience and have claimed their eternal heritage.”
Hall concludes that “the great University of the Six Days Work must be built here in our Western world, to become a guide unto the nations. About this shrine to Universal Truth shall rise the democratic Commonwealth - the wealth of all mankind.”
“This is the destiny for which we were brought into being. The plan, which was devised in secrecy long ago, and in far places, shall be fulfilled openly … as the greatest wonder born out of time.”
The destiny of modern civilization hinges upon our ability to create this world university, which itself will be patterned off “the design of the Invisible College. The very earth itself is to be the campus; nations and states, the classrooms; humanity, the student body; those dedicated to essential progress, the teachers; and the eternal sciences and arts revealed by God through Nature, the curriculum.”
By enthroning itself within a world university system, rather than taking direct control over the government and economy of human society directly, the Mystery Schools will continue to allow mankind the freedom to be self-governing, to maintain its own agency and autonomy, and to continue to learn through its own self-driven experiences.
The masters of the Mystery Schools will not move in by force and seize control of our civilization in order to save us from our own self-created problems. But they will provide us with the education we need to elevate ourselves, so that we can develop the wisdom and strength to create and maintain a high standard of civilization democratically.
This we do by creating and empowering, from within our own ranks, a new class of leaders that Plato envisioned as the “Philosophic Elect”. This class of philosophic leaders will not rise up to seize power autocratically, but will emerge as a new cohort of teachers and inspirers who will be democratically elected. Their mission is not only to govern wisely, but to also spread the doctrine of philosophy further into the outer body of mankind, raising more and more of the collective populace in the process so that they can join them as members of the “Philosophic Elect.”
Elaborating on this point, Hall writes that philosophic education must not be reserved only for a small elite, for the reason that “to establish a school or system for the education of specific groups is to force our democracy into an oligarchy.” Instead, “in a democracy, … the principles of true democratic idealism must be taught to all of the people, so that all, though not necessarily equal in ability, may preserve the fundamental democratic equality of opportunity.”
In sum, education in the principles of philosophy must be brought to all people, with the Philosophic Elect emerging as the primary promoters and inspirers of this process. In this way, the Light of Wisdom can be spread to all mankind, and civilization will prepare itself to move into the future age that awaits for it - a new golden age; the age of Etheric energy; the age of Aquarius.
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