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Manly P. Hall: the Maestro of Esoteric Philosophy (II)
Part 2 | America's Philosopher in a Time of War
8. Novus Ordo Seclorum
As the 1920s moved into the 1930s, with the publication of his landmark work “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” already under his belt, Manly P. Hall’s career catapulted to a new level.
In a recent biography on Hall, reporter Louis Sahagun overviewed Hall’s activities during this critical phase of his career, noting that “the early 1930s were Hall’s most intensive years of books and artifact collecting, a quest he called ‘rich in adventures’ (and which put him) in contact with many unusual individuals and institutions.”
During this period, “Hall gave well-attended lectures on Eastern and Western philosophies. The authority in his voice, the magical themes of his books and lectures, and his intensely private nature all gave an aura of mystery to everything he said or did.”
According to Sahagun, the decade began with “a six month lecture campaign, (which) carried him to the nation’s largest cities, including Chicago and New York, where he attracted capacity audiences at Town Hall, the Pythian Temple, and Carnegie Hall.”
Then, “in the spring of 1931, he left New York for the … Yucatan to conduct research at Mayan ruins on the … snake-bird god, Quetzalcoatl. Then, he proceeded by train to Mexico City, where he made short trips to the region’s Toltec and Aztec archaeological sites.”Subsequently, “Hall traveled to France and England, where he acquired his most extensive collection of rare books and manuscripts on alchemy.”
Sahagun writes how, during his time on the East Coast during this period, Hall’s “circle of friends expanded … and included some of the nation’s most famous thinkers and mystics.” In particular, “Hall was an especially popular lecturer among the ‘town-car’ audiences at the 29-story (Master Building) on New York’s Riverside Drive.”
This large Manhattan apartment complex featured on its ground level a museum dedicated to the works of famed Russian artist, mystic, and initiate Nicholas Roerich. Roerich helped design the building and financier Louis Horch constructed it in his honor. Alongside serving as a museum to house Roerich’s works, the building’s original intention was to “be a creative center for outstanding writers, spiritual leaders, and artists.” Joseph Campbell was one of the building’s early prominent tenants.
Meanwhile, at the apex of the building was “an upper-floor penthouse suite with spectacular views of the Hudson River and city in all directions.” This private suite was used by Nicholas Roerich and his wife Helena “for private gatherings and occult explorations.”
Here, an elite network of prominent East Coast esotericists and Masons would meet to host “spiritual gatherings” and seances, presumably lead by Nicholas Roerich’s wife Helena, who claimed to be psychically in tune with the same elite esoteric society of Mahatmas that Helena Blavatsky had previously communed with during her writing of “The Secret Doctrine.”
Here, we discover an interesting congruence of events taking place. To begin with, Helena Roerich was not the only individual involved here who held a special relationship with Blavatsky’s “Mahatmas”; Manly P. Hall did as well. At least, that’s what Obadiah Harris suggests, he being the man who succeeded Hall as the president of the Philosophic Research Society after Hall’s passing in 1990.
Harris stated in an interview during the mid-00s that Manly Hall had felt a special connection to Blavatsky, as if she were a kindred spirit. More specifically, Harris stated that “there’s a feeling that Manly Hall had a bond with (Blavatsky), a kind of spiritual bond. And that when he wrote ‘The Secret Teachings of All Ages', he was writing the next book (that was to follow) her previous book, ‘The Secret Doctrine.’ He was taking it further. And he did. So he felt that, in her, was something of the (same) spirit that gave birth to the Philosophical Research Society.”
Harris also mentions that Hall held a personal affinity for Nicholas Roerich, who he knew and used to meet with in the exclusive penthouse of Roerich’s Master Building. More specifically, Harris stated that “Mr. Hall used to go to the Roerich museum … because there, in the penthouse of the Roerich building, met the very elite - the esoteric elite you might say - who were really into not only the Mysteries of the great world religions but also the Mysteries that many people don’t know (were) part of the very motivation for the founding of our country.”
Documentarian Christopher Pinto, who conducted this interview with Obadiah Harris, wonders “is it possible that inside the mysterious penthouse at the upper level of the Master Building, the so-called ‘esoteric elite' decided on the design for America’s dollar bill? Remember, the Master Building was finished in 1929; the Great Seal was not placed on America’s currency until 6 years later, in 1935.”
Let’s also remember that it was in Hall’s magnum opus “The Secret Teachings of All Ages, published in 1928, that the long-forgotten Great Seal imagery was unearthed and presented once again to the world.
Pinto further observes that “all of the players in this drama were involved in Masonry,” including Secretary of Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Vice President Henry Wallace, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and of course Manly P. Hall, who is widely-regarded as the greatest philosopher in Freemasonry’s history.
Putting it all together, we discover that Hall, throughout the 1920s, while still a young man, was revealing in lectures and publications - some public, some private - invaluable (and in some cases, previously unavailable) knowledge about the inner architecture of the Mystery Schools. He also disclosed the governance model followed by its elite orders of initiates and masters (i.e. its “Mahatmas”), the esoteric origin story of their fraternity, as well as of the human race as a whole, and the idea that America has a secret destiny it has not yet fulfilled.
Surveying these early works of Manly Hall’s, a body of work which includes more than one in-depth analysis of Helena Blavatsky’s epic “The Secret Doctrine” and its concept of the “Mahatmas”, it becomes clear that Hall was, like Blavatsky, also in conscious communication with an “Invisible College” of spiritual Masters or Mahatmas that Blavatsky, her colleague Henry Steel Olcott, Nicholas Roerich’s wife Helena, and esotericist Alice Bailey all claimed to have been in communication with.
As Hall’s later colleague Stephen Hoeller once described, “(Hall) was someone who was in communication or has been in communication with a power beyond this world.” As such, like Blavatsky, he derived his knowledge not only from a survey of available literature on the topic of esoteric philosophy, but also from inner “sources only available to himself.”
It seems to me that the plan to resurrect the twin images of the Great Seal - The All-Seeing Eye and the Eagle, which is actually a disguised Phoenix - came at least in part from the remote esoteric order of Masters or Mahatmas that Hall, Blavatsky, and Roerich all explicitly reference in their teachings. Certainly, Francis Bacon’s legacy network of Rosicrucian and Freemasonic societies also played a significant role in the formulation and implementation of the plan.
The plan to put the All-Seeing Eye on the dollar bill was a campaign hatched and carried out from the top-down. It originated at the level of the Masters, Mahatmas, or Adepts, which Hall and Blavatsky had both been in psychic communication with. The plan was then implemented at the level of disciples, which in this case was represented by the Masons FDR, Henry Wallace, Louis Horch, and Henry Morgenthau, who all played their part in implementing the plan.
Documentary filmmaker Christopher Pinto offers supporting evidence for this conclusion, pointing out that the unorthodox design of Roerich’s “Master Building” penthouse meditation room bears a strong resemblance to a painting of his titled “Arhat”. This painting features an enlightened Adept seated in meditation in the center of a jagged rock structure - the shape of this rock structure comparing favorably to the shape of the Master Building’s penthouse suite (pictured above).
Was it here, in the Master Building penthouse suite, that the plan to resurrect the Great Seal and put its imagery on the design of the American dollar bill was originally conceived? Were Hall and Roerich the initiates put in charge of implementing this operation? And was an esoteric lodge of spiritual Masters or “Mahatmas” the mysterious inspirers of the whole plot? I believe a strong argument can be made in each case that the answer is yes.
If the answer truly is yes, then the next question becomes: “Why?” Why go through all this effort? And furthermore, what are the significance of the symbols? What kind of clues do they offer?
The symbolism of the Eagle we’ll cover in the section below, so for now let’s begin by looking at the pyramid capped by the All-Seeing Eye. What does this symbol suggest? In his 1944 book, “The Secret Destiny of America” Hall reveals its esoteric meaning, writing that the pyramid “represents human society itself, imperfect and incomplete. The structure’s ascending converging angles and faces represent the common aspiration of humankind; and above floats the symbol of the esoteric orders, the radiant triangle with its all-seeing eye.”
In other words, the symbol is the mark of the Mystery Schools and their quiet custodianship over human affairs on Earth. The fact that it was placed on the US dollar bill - perhaps the most significant single object in 20th century history - is no minor feat. Hall calls it the “monogram of the New Atlantis” and comments that its purpose is to reveal that the American continent has been “set apart for the accomplishment of a great work.”
The timing of this symbol’s placement on the dollar bill is also significant. The original imagery of the Great Seal dates back during the days of the Founding Fathers (1782), but languished in obscurity until 1928, when Manly Hall published it in his famous book “The Secret Teachings of All Ages.” Then, in 1935, it suddenly appears on the US dollar bill.
Hall himself informs us that the symbol’s appearance on the dollar bill at this time “coincides with great changes affecting democracy in all parts of the world. As early as 1935, the long shadows of a world tyranny had extended themselves across the surface of the globe. Democracy was on the threshold of its most severe testing. The rights of man were being assailed on every hand by selfishness, ambition, and tyranny. Then, on the common medium of our currency, appeared the eternal emblem of our purpose.”
Thus, we discover that the imagery of the Great Seal was placed on the dollar bill as a marker to indicate to all “with eyes to see” that America was quietly and secretly being lead by a greater Over-souling presence toward the fulfillment of an inevitable destiny whose fate is written in the stars.
In his book “America’s Assignment with Destiny”, Hall tells us exactly why it was these symbols appeared on the dollar when they did: the Vision of the Great Schools “must be communicated. It must be extended throughout human society until humanity redeems itself by the experience of enlightenment.”
This is the “Destiny” that the American nation must one day fulfill. And the imagery on the dollar was placed there to declare this esoteric truth for anyone to discover, if you can correctly interpret its symbolism.
9. The Eagle and the Phoenix
In 1934, Manly P. Hall founded his official non-profit, the Philosophic Research Society, which would house his library of rare occult works, host his weekly lectures, and serve as the publishing house for his journals and books.
That same year, 1934, Hall gave a lecture titled “1942: The Critical Year in Modern Civilization”, where he made a prediction based off astrological analysis that between 1940 and 1942 a new world war would commence, with the major nations of the world falling once more into a state of global conflict.
Later, in 1940, Hall was quoted in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle stating his belief that “America will not become seriously involved in European affairs before 1942.” He also predicted that Russia would soon become involved in the war, partnering with England, and that England would not suffer defeat, nor the US economy destroyed.
Furthermore, he also stated his view that the Nazi regime was “working against time” and therefore “incapable of achieving ultimate success.” Instead, in place of a Global Reich ruled by the Nazis was to come a “new world” born from “the disintegration of the old.”
What is this “new world” Hall speaks of - the one that was to come into place after the war?
As we noted in our previous chapter on the secret history of the 20th century, the conclusion of WWII brought many significant transformations to the global world order. For one, America rose to become the new world “superpower”, which is a nice way of saying “empire”.
Another significant change was that, within the heart of the American military-industrial complex, there emerged a new governance entity: a scientific ruling body I term the “technocratic superstate”, which arose to develop and protect a covert arsenal of exotic energy technologies based around a highly classified, scientific-age version of alchemy.
But the emergence of this entity is not what I think Hall is referring to; rather, its emergence marks a stage in a longer process, with the birth of the “New World” coming only at the end of this process - something that still has not yet been achieved. Therefore, the quest to build a New World Order remains a long-term ideal, one that we inherit today.
What the phrase “Novus Ordo Seclorum”, placed on the dollar bill, represents is not merely the rise of American Empire. Rather, it indicates a long-term idealistic vision, one aligning with Plato’s concept of the Philosophic Empire, a state prefacing the rise of a new golden age when the governance of world society will be placed in the hands of the Mystery Schools and their hierarchies of Adepts, initiates, and disciples.
In this light, the rise of America’s capitalist empire and the emergence of the technocratic superstate are stages in a long-term growth and development process. In this manner, they are a necessary means to an inevitable end: the eventual attainment of the Philosophic Empire.
This Philosophic Empire is the vehicle that will in time bring about a new golden age or “New Atlantis”, as Francis Bacon called it. This long-prophesied golden age is the actual “New Order of the Ages” that is declared on the dollar bill - it is a goal that has not yet been achieved, and therefore the Mystery Schools still secretly labor today in the quest for its eventual fulfillment.
The contrast between an eventual good thing that is to one day come (the new golden age; the Philosophic Empire) and a present evil that must first be overcome (American Empire; a world of tyranny) is exemplified in the image of the Eagle, which accompanies the All-Seeing Eye as the reverse image on America’s Great Seal.
Hall explains that the image of the Eagle is actually a veiled Phoenix, which is a symbol of the Adept hierarchy in charge of the Mystery Schools, who together serve as the “hands and feet” of the Great Lord.
But, in his 1945 article “The Bird of Wisdom, the Bird of War,” Hall points out that the substitution of the Eagle for the Phoenix is not arbitrary: the Phoenix represents a high spiritual ideal that must be incrementally worked towards, while the Eagle is the harsh, imperfect reality of the present moment, one that must be first worked through and evolved past before the higher Phoenix ideal can be reached.
Going into the details of the symbolism involved, Hall associates the Eagle with “the intellectual principle behind form”. In using the word “intellectual”, Hall is referencing the teachings of Plato, who contrasted two realms of cosmic existence: a lower “intellectual” realm associated with material form and comprised of quantitive factors such as number, geometry, and mathematics; and a higher “intelligible” realm comprised of transcendent qualitative factors, this realm bearing a close resemblance to the “archetypal” realm of the psyche theorized by psychologist Carl Jung.
In essence, the lower “intellectual” realm of material reality is primarily quantitative and involved with the build out of the mathematics and geometry of material creation and its hierarchy of systems-within-systems. The higher “intelligible” realm, by contrast, transcends the limitations of material form and concerns the pure, archetypal qualities of consciousness that exist within the Divine Mind.
In terms of symbolism, this latter, “intelligible” dimension of reality is the proper home of the Phoenix, while the lower, “intellectual” realm is the proper domain of the Eagle.
In Greek mythology, the “intellectual” world of material form was ruled over by Zeus, who, with his thunderbolts, reigned as absolute monarch over the entirety of material creation. The “intelligible” world, meanwhile, was overseen by a higher order of super-mundane gods.
Zeus, as the divine principle tasked with building, preserving, and ultimately destroying the world of physical form, is the “dictator" of material creation; he alone is empowered to decree the structure, function, and design of the world system. This he does by personifying “the patterns which … mark the boundaries and limits of all elementary motion and combination.”
The ancient Greeks symbolized this process through mythic stories. According to their legends, Zeus “called together the twelve Olympian deities and distributed the world among them. He set up their boundaries, allotted their zones, and bound them as vassals to himself. He codified the laws decreeing obedience or death, and hurled the thunderbolts of his displeasure at any mortal or immortal who dared to oppose his will.”
Following the classic philosophical adage of “As Above, So Below”, Hall points out that, within the human psyche, there is a corollary of Zeus that we can intuitively recognize and connect with: the “Ego”. He also points out that, at a collective, social level, another corollary can be found: the king or tyrant.
At the collective level - that of human society - Hall notes that any time a tyrant rises to take the throne and decree his laws over the people of the kingdoms, dividing “among his generals the lands he has subjugated” and setting up “his autocracies in their midst,“ he is “playing the game of the gods.”
In other words, the tyrant is attempting to usurp Zeus’s role in heaven. This is inevitably a losing game, as there can only be one Lord of Form, and all who attempt to install themselves as his usurpers will inevitably feel his wrath, as the Atlanteans once discovered to their eternal chagrin.
Hall puts it simply: “all who enter into the state of form, taking upon themselves bodies, mental, emotional, or physical, must give allegiance to the Lord of Form”.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned above, on the level of the individual human psyche, the part of Zeus can be found in the psychic principle that Carl Jung called the “ego” or “personality complex”.
Here, within the human psyche, we discover the ego functioning as a miniature, imperfect replication of Zeus, one that, in its undisciplined, unredeemed form, attempts to usurp power from the Lord of Form by claiming the realm of the body and personality as its own personal fiefdom. For this reason, Hall calls the ego “the king of the personality; the supreme tyrant in the tyranny of matter.”
As a microcosmic expression of Zeus, Hall states that the ego is “an intellectual entity”: meaning, it falls under the dominion of material form. He also declares that the eagle is its appropriate symbol.
In Jung’s model of the psyche, we find the ego counterbalanced by a higher, transcendent principle: that of the Higher Self, which is the Phoenix. In this way, within the human psyche the ego is the Eagle, and the Higher Self is the Phoenix, which in Plato’s system equates to a transcendent “intelligible” center of consciousness within the Soul.
As we discover, the human psyche is polarized between two dimensions, one higher, the other lower. The higher, “Intelligible” realm is the home of the immortal Self, from whence is extended an evolving sequence of mortal personalities or “lower selves”.
The lower personality complex of each incarnating entity is centered around its ego principle, which organizes and directs the personality’s actions over the course of its lifespan. It is for this reason that Hall calls the ego or personality complex “the king who rulers for a day”, with each day representing “one incarnation in a life cycle.”
In a passage from a 1947 issue of his journal “Horizon,” Hall describes the personality as a “localized area of consciousness within the soul,” one that has “no life or identity apart from the soul.” Its purpose is to enable “the extension of the soul downward into the sphere of experience.”
Hall explains that “the soul is actually the growing Self, and it accomplishes its own ends through a sequence of personalities.”
He also tells us that “all the powers of the soul are not used in any single experience or even in one incarnation.” By implication, “all of the soul’s unfinished business is not projected into manifestation in a single personality.”
“All experiences of the personality are registered by the soul itself. It is (therefore) the soul that suffers remorse and sorrow; pleasure and pain.” These are stored within “the substance of the soul,” alongside past life memories and the full spectrum of “soul powers” that have been unlocked thus far within it.
This deposited soul-knowledge, gained from experience, is used “in the molding of new personalities,” through which “the soul builds ever more noble mansions through which to perfect (itself).”
Hall emphasizes that “it is not the whole of the soul that sleeps with the body or personality; it is only the ray or extension of the soul which is involved in that particular incarnation. It is therefore this ray or fragment which must (in time) be awakened into conscious manifestation.”
This reveals the purpose for each human lifespan: “When the soul projects a personality it does so in order to perfect … some particular pattern of living. If the soul were already perfect in that pattern it would not project such a personality.” Therefore, “each personality is born of the soul necessity.”
Hall point out that ultimately “it is the soul, and not the personality, who suffers for its own imperfections”. These imperfections are held as karma within the Soul, which the personality must confront and act through over the course of a series of circumstances it confronts in its outer life.
Life after life, “the soul grows through its personalities.” Indeed, “the life of the soul is fulfilled in the personalities, which are the blossoms and the fruit.”
The problem for the soul is that its ego principle, emerging into place during each physical incarnation as the central coordinator over each individual’s personality complex, demonstrates a tendency to imitate Zeus and exert its own “will to power” and “desire for conquest.” This inevitably leads to conflict between not only the ego and the Higher Self, but also between the ego and the Divine Will, personified by Zeus. The ego inevitably loses this battle every time, with suffering arising as an inevitable result.
Because of the frequent catastrophes the unredeemed ego principle causes for the soul, Hall writes that the soul “begs to be delivered from the tyranny of the personality.” But this can only happen once the Higher Self gains the experience, strength, and wisdom to gain complete control over the lower personality complex, bringing it into harmony with the Law.
In the symbolism of esoteric philosophy, the fully mature human soul is the Phoenix. This describes the rare individual within whom the Higher Self has perfected and redeemed the lower psychic elements, the physical body, and the personality complex. In so doing, the Great Work is achieved, the resurrection attained, and the Adept-Self born, this representing the full evolution and enlightenment of the human soul, as it attains identity with its own archetype.
The famous “Hermetic Marriage” of the alchemists is actually a description of the integration within the psyche of the lower principle of Ego with the higher principle of Self. Here, the personal self (i.e. the ego) sacrifices its status as king and tyrant over the incarnating personality by relinquishing its title to the Universal Self in heaven.
Here, the ego is not destroyed or annihilated, but rather kneels down as loyal disciple of a greater spiritual Master, this being the true Guru within - the Higher Self.
Hall explains that accomplishment of this feat “leads to the production of a final personality. In this final personality, all of the potentials of the creature have been fully released and the human being stands forth in the glory of his human accomplishment. He has received into himself all the streams of experience, and has transmuted this experience into soul power,” becoming the reborn Phoenix as a result.
For this reason, the Phoenix “was one of the most ancient symbols of the initiates of the Mysteries.” More specifically, the symbol is associated with the Adept: a philosopher-king or hierophant, who presides over a Mystery School’s student body of initiates and disciples.
As the hierophants of the Mystery Schools, Adepts are the messengers between the gods above and mortals below. The Phoenix or Thunderbird represents the “Adept-King”, who “lived above the clouds and only appeared to mortals in their trances and vigils. It was immortal, and king over all the creatures of the air.”
It was known to appear in visions to shamans and initiates, where “it might be of monstrous size, seeming to fill all space. It could be winged or plumed, or develop feet or a plurality of heads.” Sometimes it sent forth long spiral plumes.
In Plato’s vision of the Philosophic Empire, the ultimate form of human government came when the Phoenix was enthroned as its central hierarch. Around this philosopher-king orbited the Mystery Schools, with their hierarchies of Adepts. initiates, and disciples. Together, these form what Plato called the “Philosophic Elect”, their responsibility being to teach the Doctrine, fulfill the Law, and guide the people.
Hall states in his 1945 book “Journey in Truth,” that “the ultimate rulership of the world is consummated in the philosopher-king (or Adept). He is the one, who by virtue of being the best of all men, is the natural ruler of the rest.”
Elsewhere he elaborates, writing that, in Plato’s vision, the “ideal king was the wise man perfect in the virtues and the natural ruler of those less informed than himself. This king was the father of his people, impersonal and unselfish, dedicated to the public good, a servant of both the gods and his fellow men. This king was descended of a divine race. That is, he belonged to the Order of the Illumined.”
Hall concludes that “the philosopher-king must ultimately inherit the earth. Of all men, he alone is adequately equipped to direct the course of empire.”
As the consummate human, “he must include within his own nature the attributes of a priest, a philosopher, a scientist, and a statesman. He must understand all men according to their own natures, and he must lead them gently and wisely to a state of security appropriate to their needs and temperaments.”
In short, “the philosopher-king must be an ever-flowing fountain of spiritual good, and through him his people must partake in the divine will. He does not rule by the divine right of kings; rather, he is a king by divine right.”
The wisdom possessed by the Adept is embodied in the doctrine of philosophy taught and practiced in the Mystery Schools. As the initiates and disciples of these Schools learn, internalize, practice and teach the Doctrine, they gradually transcend materiality and elevate themselves toward an eventual realization of the Adept ideal within themselves - an end-state that we are all, in the fullness, of time, destined to achieve.
In his book “The Road to Inner Light”, Hall writes that “the esoteric tradition, first embodied in its adepts and later incarnated in the whole body of mankind, brings the kingdom of heaven to earth.”
What results is “a renovated human society, unfolding under the disciplines of the Mysteries, fashioned in the image of the Eternal City, which bears witness to the Laws of Heaven.”
This is what the promise of the Phoenix represents: the coming of the Philosophic Empire and the blossoming forth of a “New Order of the Ages”. This message is symbolically encoded on the dollar bill for all to see, but few grasp its significance.
That this is so is not a mistake or coincidence: in the current age, grand philosophical ideals are not valued or believed in. Instead, we have embraced a worldview that celebrates the ego, the persona, the pursuit of temporal power, and the control of material resources above all else.
Hall elaborates, writing that "human beings, accepting the shadow for the substance, have given themselves over to ambition and the false belief that physical domination of others is an indication of personal superiority.”
This is ultimately what the symbolism of the eagle represents: the tyranny caused by an undeveloped ego principle attempting to “play the game of the gods,” so to speak. Under the banner of the eagle, “strong men have gone forth … to enslave the world. These tyrants, autocrats, and despots have been motivated by the pressure of self-will. The martial urge has forced them to their various destinies.”
Indeed, “the tyranny of the eagle lies at the root of the whole competitive way of life” - politically, economically, culturally, socially. Is it not appropriate, then, for this symbol to appear on the dollar at the present moment instead of the Phoenix, whose imagery it masks? Isn’t the substitution of the Eagle for the Phoenix a perfect symbolic representation of what is actually happening in real life?
It is particularly notable that this symbol was placed on the dollar bill in 1935: right when the long-term project for a new American Century was being put into place by America’s oligarchical elite. Is the rise of this American Empire not a literal personification of this Eagle principle - the literal actualization of its symbology? Is it not appropriate, then, for this symbol to have been placed on the dollar bill right as this capitalist empire was coming into formation?
The Phoenix is the ideal; the Eagle is the present reality. The challenge is to raise the Eagle into the Phoenix, a task that can only be fulfilled when the Doctrine is revealed and taught openly, when the Philosophic Elect are enthroned as the leaders and inspirers of society, and when the institutional architecture of world society is centered around a global Mystery School system, as it once had been during the long-forgotten golden age of lost Atlantis.
In sum, the dollar bill can be read as an occult message, one indicating three things:
a) First, that the Mystery Schools are operating quietly behind and through the body of American Empire. This is what the symbol of the All-Seeing Eye indicates. The placement of this symbol on the dollar therefore marks this object as a “vehicle of the Dharma” - i.e. as a means through which a larger initiatic plan, purpose, and destiny is being fulfilled.
b) Second, the Latin phrase “Novus Ordo Seclorum” or “The New Order of the Ages”, which circles the All-Seeing Eye image, indicates that the ultimate goal of these Mystery Schools is to bring about a new golden age, one that Francis Bacon once termed the “New Atlantis”.
c) Third, that this vision for a new golden age is a long-term goal, not to be achieved immediately or easily. The symbol of its achievement is the Phoenix. But masking this Phoenix is the Eagle, which personifies the undisciplined, unredeemed ego. The eagle’s placement on the dollar bill therefore symbolizes the idea that the American nation is going through an “eagle” phase of its development, where its base tendencies toward egoism, greed, materiality, and shadow projection are coming into expression, so that they can be confronted, worked through, and eventually overcome. Only once this Eagle phase of America’s development has been worked through and transcended can the higher archetype of the symbol - the Phoenix - be released.
10. The Causes and Purposes of War
When people today are introduced to the idea that behind worldly affairs exists a “spiritual hierarchy” who quietly guide and direct the evolution of world events, the natural reaction many have is to be skeptical or critical of the idea. After all, if this were true, why does this entity not reveal itself openly and act directly on mankind’s behalf in order to save a world that is mentally and physically tearing itself apart at the seams?
Manly Hall once addressed this issue in one of his later lectures, stating that: “many younger persons in wisdom say, ‘Oh, why doesn’t the hierarchy come out and do something quick? What we really need now is some very powerful exhibition of divine intercession.’ But this isn’t the way it can be done. It will never be done this way, because if it were done this way, then authoritarianism takes over. If a power greater than our own is known to be ruling us, then our growing morality is disadvantaged.”
In a 1942 article titled “The Adepts in a World at War”, Hall further elaborates on this point, writing that “It would be a terrific mistake if man (were to ever become) generally aware that his freedom of action was inhibited. The moment we become aware that our freedom of action was not our own, all action would cease and we would become dead fatalists. We would assume nothing we did would matter, because of everything being rounded out by inevitables. … We would not try to save ourselves if we did not believe we could be lost.”
Therefore, it is absolutely essential that our involvement with this mysterious over-souling presence - the Mystery Schools - “should be so subtle and so carefully timed that we are never actually aware of its presence. For we must never be discouraged from trying to do the thing for ourselves.”
Hall believes that it is divinely ordained that mankind should achieve its own evolution as a result of learning and growing from its own experiences in life. Part of this process involves facing the negative consequences of its own actions and learning to overcome them. It overcomes them by working to eliminate the cause of human suffering at its source, which is the creation of negative karma within the soul.
In other words, in order to develop and grow towards wisdom, the soul requires conflict, this conflict being the inevitable result of the accumulation of negative karma, which is created when the personality succumbs to the three great evils of ignorance, fear, and superstition.
To illustrate the point, Hall draws an analogy, writing that “raising humanity is not so different from raising a precocious child. … Human beings will not and cannot progress unless they are made to face the consequences of their own mistakes. Those who sow a whirlwind must reap a whirlwind.” In this way, “punishment should not be regarded as the despotism of an offended Divinity, but as the wisdom of a loving parent whose judgment is far greater than our own.”
Hall emphasizes that, “in this universe, everything we desire must be earned,” with merit and integrity being the basis of reward. By implication, suffering must also arise from adequate causes, it resulting as the negative consequence of unmeritorious and unlawful action.
In particular, the source of man’s suffering is threefold: ignorance, superstition, and fear. These are the three great adversaries of philosophy, ones that esoteric philosophy’s core doctrine of teachings are specially designed to address and overcome.
Hall expands on this point, writing that “the forces opposing the essential progress of humanity are always embodiments of the three great enemies: ignorance, superstition, and fear. As man advances in his collective evolution, these negative obstacles supply a necessary incentive for individual improvement toward collective security. … Until every possible interpretation of the qualities of the three adversaries have been exhausted, the work of human enlightenment must continue.”
In other words, until mankind learns to embrace, of its own volition, a philosophical viewpoint on life, then we have a right - as far as the Mystery Schools are concerned - to continue our suffering and our wallowing in the mud. For it is through the experience of suffering that eventually we learn to turn our backs on the materialism and egotism that keep us trapped in a cycle of suffering.
In searching for the causes for the widespread suffering we see taking place all across the world at present, we inevitably discover that the experiences of the present are rooted in the perpetuation of unresolved karma initially built up in the past.
Hall writes that “thousands of years ago we began the building of a line of karma. In the very dawn of our existence, we strayed and have never returned to the original fold. We began building a world contrary to and in defiance of natural law.”
Consequently, throughout recorded history, we see humanity bringing down upon itself “a constant, almost unbroken series of punishments.” These catastrophes all form a pattern, one held and perpetuated within the World Soul. To break the pattern, we must change ourselves, one person as a time.
It’s helpful to imagine civilization as a great schoolhouse where souls are tutored in the way of the Dharma or Divine Law. In other words, as Hall puts it, “civilization is the place for the tutoring of souls in Universals.”
The rise and fall of nations and empires is part of this grand education scheme. In his 1942 article “The Rebirth of Empire”, Hall states that, “as temperamental entities, (nations) exist primarily for the manifestation and evolution of great groups of evolving creatures. It is in this community that the individual develops and evolves, and community existence in turn” arises in relation to each individual soul’s own participation in it.
Thus, we discover that “the nations of the world, all taken together, constitute a great community (within) which individuals are unfolding natural tendencies and temperaments.” In each nation, “a group of human beings (comes into existence) united by some basic necessity of consciousness” and sense of shared destiny.
Here, we discover that the karma of the individual is linked with the collective karma of groups and nations - and vice versa.
Hall explains that “rebirth brings the individual into those national levels which are consistent with their own spiritual necessity.” Nations provide specialized “platforms of experience” in other words: ones that individuals incarnate into and inhabit depending on the developmental needs of their own soul.
For example, “the entity which has still a great deal of economics in its consciousness comes into an environment where economics is a dominant force.” Likewise, “the individual who has for centuries developed artistic, aesthetic impulses is born into an environment where these impulses have an opportunity for expression.”
Overall, we discover that “these levels which we call nations, races, and states are little autonomic groups in Space of people of similar interest who are drawn together by their common impulses. They create little nuclei of energies here and there, each fulfilling its little collective destiny.”
Going into further detail regrading the mechanics of karma and reincarnation, Hall states that “the average man does not bring all his previous accomplishments into manifestation in any one life. (Rather,) he brings only that part which is concerned with a certain spiritual lesson … and the development of special attributes.”
What is true of the microcosm is also true of the macrocosm. Therefore, “by analogy, human beings in large collective groups incarnate when and where they will be exposed to the particular experiences required by that phase of karma with which that entity is laboring at the time.”
Therefore, “when situations arise in society which offer unusual opportunity for lessons which certain entities require, these experiences draw into life large population groups.”
For example, when it comes to the rise and fall of great empires, we discover that, metaphysically, each functions like great, spiraling vortex of concentrated psychic energy, one that countless individual souls with karmic connections to its activities will orbit around. When the right circumstances arise, the entire structure will incarnate: the empire, and the vast host of individual souls that together comprise it.
This brings us now to an examination of World War II: in a series of articles written in his journal “Horizon” during and around the war, Hall applies these larger philosophical ideas and themes about reincarnation and karma to an investigation of the war itself.
Hall expresses his belief that those entities who came into incarnation during the war era appeared “at the proper time for themselves” and did so in order express "an assortment of diversified actions and consequences.”
Delving deeper, Hall writes that the various nations and individuals involved in the war - in all their various aspects, good or bad - were all karmically connected to each other as part of a larger cycle of empire taking place within the World Soul itself. According to Hall, this cycle tends to express itself in approximately 500 year increments and takes place as part of a greater astrological motion that he calls the “Phoenix Cycle.”
In particular, Hall connects the events of WWII with two previous stages of recent human history: one taking place approximately five hundred years ago during the age of feudalism, and the other 2,000 years ago during the time of Rome.
Regarding the war’s connection to Medieval Europe, Hall writes that “going from the 20th century back 500 years to the 15th century, we recognize that we land in the midst of another great cycle: feudalism.” During this age, "the serf belonged to his liege” and “the petty noble of the 15th century had complete power of life and death over his serfs and slaves. His domination and control was complete; .. whatever the action against them, they had no redress.”
Fast forwarding 500 years later, Hall points out that “the condition of feudal Europe then and the condition within Axis nations today are almost identical: the innumerable petty barons and lords that operated by intrigue five hundred years ago appear now as various officers and officials of the Axis parties. They are up to the same old tricks they were five hundred years ago; they have the same basic impulses and ambitions. They once died because of these ambitions and impulses; today, they have returned again.”
He then asks: “Is it impossible for us to realize we are (still) living in the dark ages? We are. And why? Because of an incoming of entities that belonged to that cycle. And they have to pass through it.” Why? Because their karma attracts them to it; and they will not be liberated from its clutches until the negative karmic forces that keep them bound to the cycle of samsara or reincarnation are finally broken.
Turning his attention now to America, in his 1943 article “Our Hour and Time,” Hall connects the collective karma working through the USA with a previous epoch of empire that once played itself out in ancient Rome.
As you’ll recall from discussions held in previous chapters (notably, the one on Plato), the Roman Empire was driven by the rise of a powerful capitalist oligarchy, one whose addiction to wealth drove it to create a vast economic imperium extending across the face of Europe.
Likewise, the rise of American Empire has similarly been driven by a powerful oligarchical class, whose claim to power rests on their control of the nation’s capitalist economic and financial institutions.
Just as the Romans had two millennia prior, today in America “we have developed an unholy zeal for accumulation, where the belief is that money is just about the most important thing in the world. This is not natural law; it is not part of the Plan.”
Offering further comparisons between the two, Hall writes that just “as the American industrial tycoon goes to his office in his limousine, … so did the Roman descend at his office from a chariot and in the course of the day buy and sell other men’s products for profit. They had the fundamentals of a stock exchange and they had lobbies.” In fact, Rome, “had as fine a system of lobbying as you would want to find.” Just like we find today, they “had their own politicians who were tools of the industrial-magnates.”
Hall points out that, most of all, just as we find today in America, “Rome had empire consciousness, rooted in the belief that it was good for other countries for Rome to rule them, because Rome could rule them far better than they could rule themselves.”
Overall, the emphasis of Hall’s message regarding war, empire, karma, and reincarnation is that “the weakness of man, not the failure of the Universe, confronts us.”
Behind all the suffering caused by the war is an immutable truth: that “beyond all injustice is justice” and that “everything we call injustice” is actually a reflection of the fact that “our understanding is inadequate.”
Hall emphasizes that “no one is to blame” for this reality and “no thought pattern dominating a generation can punish a person who did not deserve appropriate retribution.” The truth is, “no one can suffer for a vice he does not participate in himself.” Therefore, we should accept that “it is man who permits evil and he should not blame Providence for his troubles.”
These are poignant, if not difficult, words to hear, because everything Hall is saying about WWII is equally applicable to us today.
The 2020 lockdowns, the vaccine mandates, the Great Reset, the emergence of AI, the UFO disclosures: all of these major world events are affecting huge numbers of people across the globe, each in their own way.
What Hall is implying is that it is no mistake that each of us, each for our own individual reasons, have incarnated during this period to play our part in this great saga.
It is also no mistake of history that the rise of American Empire has come into being: as Hall was explaining, nations have their own karmic history and destiny, ones that stretch back untold thousands of years, back even before the time of Rome to the days of lost Atlantis.
If there’s one major conceptual breakthrough that must take place in this moment - one that each of the many global crises we are facing today is pushing us toward realizing - it’s to understand that this whole system of karma, reincarnation, empire, and soul development we have been discussing is all taking part within the inner space of one Divine Mind.
We must rediscover the truth that all life is part of one life, that all consciousness is part of one consciousness, and that “a great oneness sustains all things.”
In truth, “the world is a great spiral motion, where one race is coming of age throughout the evolution of many races. It is one great cycle, one great pattern of purpose that is being released century after century throughout the extravagant diversity of human pattern.”
This “tremendous flowing power, in motion like the whirling of a mighty whirlpool, … produces from within itself nations and races, and they become the temporary dwelling places for God, the immortal principle.”
If we can remember this lesson that Manly Hall is teaching us - that “humanity is one being, growing up through innumerable beings, one motion moving through innumerable forms, one terrific impulse, ministering through a diversity of impulse structures” - if we can remember this, then can set the stage for the next great motion in human civilization to take place.
Today we’re locked in the psychology of individuality and egotism, where heterogeneity is prioritized over homogeneity. But actually, “what we call difference is a unified source manifesting through diversified phenomena. … Many structures are apparently different, but they are all manifesting phases or degrees of one thing.”
If we finally embrace this truth and dedicate ourselves to creating a civilization founded upon its simple premise, then we will have made a great leap forward, one that will inevitably put us on the path of the restoration of the Philosophic Empire.
11. The Metaphysics of Human Evolution
Today, as we sit on the cusp of world civilization, where every major problem and opportunity we face is global in nature, we are presented with a real opportunity: to embrace esoteric philosophy’s doctrine of “the Unity of God and the Brotherhood of Man” and to build a world order fashioned upon its premise.
From the simple realization of the Unity and Oneness that underlies all things, everything else falls into place: the Mystery Schools, the Adepts, the processes of initiation, the destiny of civilization, the unfoldment of the Divine Plan - all are components of one vast, overarching, interconnected system of consciousness manifesting through this planet.
Man, as the microcosm, is made in the image of this unified consciousness. Meaning, all of mankind is part of one unified expression of life, one that begins as a unity, then fragments itself into the experience of many differentiated, specialized parts, before eventually rediscovering itself as a unity once again.
In this way, each soul is the creation of a common Overself, this Overself being the “source of each personality, which it projects from itself for the purpose of its own fulfillment.”
In an issue of his journal Horizon, published in 1948, Hall explains that this Overself manifests its consciousness into human form as a unified “life wave” comprised of about “sixty billion egos.”
This life wave “is in itself a complete entity: it is a composite being, an archetypal man. This one being individualized to become a diversity of human beings.” These “individualizations are fixed in number, and they are also set in certain orbits from which they never depart. … Once this individualization takes place, no additional groups of entities are actually added.”
The whole time, this process of “diversification is governed by immutable laws.” This means that the whole program proceeds according to a lawful pattern, one that ensures that, at the completion of the cycle, the primordial condition of Unity will once again be restored.
Coming into manifestation, the human life wave does not incarnate all at once, but rather comes into existence gradually, over the course of a series of oscillating waves. This partitioning of the incarnation process allows for specialization and differentiation to take place between population groups.
The whole time, unity remains. But, by following this process of incremental incarnation, the archetypal Man or “Manu” is provided the opportunity to experience a wide range of diverse activities, perspectives, and experiences.
This desire of the Manu to express and experience the fullness of its own powers and potentials explains the emergence of differentiated races and nations: each offers a different psycho-physical environment for the Manu to inhabit and incarnate its consciousness through.
Over time, these specialized environments influence the disposition of the entities inhabiting them, while also influencing “what type of body (they) have, and what type of impulses are most naturally distributed by that type of body.” Eventually, over “the course of thousands of years, these specializations become part of the psychological heredity of races or nations.”
The creation of this situation where diverse environments are fashioned for differentiated, individualized human souls to inhabit is part of a downward “involutionary” arc of the creation process. This motion is counterbalanced by an ascending “evolutionary” arc, where each individualized, diversified element within creation gradually evolves back upward toward a re-realization of unity within its consciousness, as well as to the attainment of a perfected state within its own soul design.
Through the process of attaining perfection within each of its own individualized parts, the Divine Power behind Creation gradually attains its own macrocosmic completion and fulfillment.
As Hall further explains, “the evolution … of the separate personalities results in the final perfection or liberation of the archetype. Thus, growth is not primarily personal but collective; humanity is an idea unfolding through the human beings which compose its substance.”
As part of this divine growth process, human souls are constantly evolving upward through a lawful and deliberate program of development. This evolutionary procedure does not take place all at once; rather, it proceeds in waves, with an initial wave incarnating and evolving upward, before a second wave follows it. This process then repeats with subsequent waves, with the whole situation following a lawful program of development.
The differentiation of races, nations, and tribes proceeds from this idea, as does the differentiation of castes within a social group.
When a later wave incarnates, it discovers an earlier wave already existing, it having already developed to a more advanced state. This doesn’t mean that these more advanced humans are inherently superior; rather, they have had more time to develop, and consequently are older in experience and the development of soul power.
In the course of man’s long-term evolutionary development, Hall tells us that “there is a constant motion of entities upward from lower social groups toward those on a higher cultural level.” Thus, “in the processes of evolution, the primitive levels of a species are the first to disappear.”
Hall illustrates this point by noting that “the number of entities now limited to incarnation in an (uncivilized,) savage state is considerably smaller than even a century ago. So-called primitive communities are rapidly taking on the more advanced social patterns of dominant races and nations.”
Hall also points out that “the general evolutionary progress (of the life wave) is indicated by the ever increasing number (of incarnating souls) capable of receiving advanced training in various subjects.”
Keeping with this theme, in terms of civilization's archetypal four-tiered caste system, at our present state of evolution we should expect that the majority of people will incarnate in the lowest Earth or “labor” caste, with comparably fewer individuals incarnating in the higher castes associated with Water, Fire, and Air.
Hall elaborates, explaining that, during our present age, “materialism is the magnet controlling the motions of huge groups.” Therefore, we should expect large swathes of entities with materialistic tendencies in their souls to be drawn toward incarnation during this period.
This helps explains why, at the present moment, as the world population hovers around 8 billion people, and with civilization having long ago descended into a highly materialistic phase, we find a large proportion of the overall human life (comprising 60 billion souls in total) incarnating in order to work through materialistic attachments.
In other words, the materialistic age of civilization that we are currently experiencing is in large part a reflection of the level of development of each of the souls incarnating within it. But over time, as the life wave collectively matures, this dynamic will change, with more and more of humanity transcending this earthly phase of existence and elevating instead toward an increasingly philosophic estate. As this happens, a new age of civilization will gradually come into being.
Our present age of materiality was called the Kali Yuga by the ancient Hindu philosophers. In his writings, Manly Hall indicates that mankind moved into this materialistic era sometime around 3100 BC. During the 5,000+ years we’ve been in this age, a large cohort of souls have been caught in a perpetual cycle of reincarnation within it, with the Kali Yuga serving as an ideal breeding ground for materialistic and egotistic attachments and illusions to be expressed, worked through, and overcome.
The Kali Yuga provides a fertile “experiential platform” for certain soul powers to be expressed and developed, while also providing many opportunities to express and work through unresolved materialistic and egotistic tendencies. Therefore, souls in need of development in these areas will be continuously attracted to this environment.
Hall explains that “the greater the emphasis upon material projects during life, the more difficult it is for the entity to remain out of incarnation.” What Hall is implying here is that vast groups of incarnating souls have been caught up in repeated cycles of incarnation here on Earth, appearing again and again in successive waves during the Kali Yuga in order to work through a materialistic and egotistical phase of their own soul growth.
This situation helps explains the reason why, over the past 5,000 years, we have seen wave after wave of empires emerge: these successive empires are actually comprised of the same cohorts of souls, who, due to their own karma, are drawn back again and again to work through and learn from the types of experiences the Kali Yuga provides.
Hall elaborates on this idea, noting that “one of the rewards for living badly is to come back sooner; and if you are living badly you will have to come back with the same old group that you were with before. If you are still utterly entangled in a situation, you have to be reborn every time that situation is reborn.”
The idea here is that we all must come back again and again to face problems we have not yet solved. Consequently, “we are constantly repeating experiences until those experiences are no longer necessary.”
By implication, the same soul groups who previously experienced the rise and fall of empires in the past must incarnate again within the structure of new waves of empires in order to re-experience the lessons they provide. And they will continue to do so until, one by one, their souls transcend the egotism, materiality, ignorance, superstition, and fear that keep them trapped in this cycle of suffering.
Putting these ideas together, what Hall is implying is that many of us who are currently alive on Earth today have long been trapped in a materialistic phase of soul development. This is not because we’re inherently stupid, bad, or inferior; rather, materiality is a phase of human experience that the soul, both individually and collectively, must confront and work through in order to gain the experience and wisdom necessary to advance to a higher phase of evolutionary existence.
Hall writes that, in order to complete its evolutionary development, the human soul requires an average of over 800 incarnations. Each of us is somewhere in middle of this pattern; consequently, “behind each one of us is a history of tyranny and oppression. We have all been false to everything true and real sometime in the course of our evolution.” But, out of the suffering and sorrow of these mistakes, we gradually gain philosophic insight.
By implication, nothing that we go through here on Earth is arbitrary; “every part of the Plan is intrinsically interrelated.” This Plan plays itself “out of hundreds of experiences through race after race and life after life.” The final end of this motion is bringing us toward - the “supreme discovery that awaits us at the moment of our final enlightenment” this being a realization of the “inevitability of the Law. When (man) achieves realization of this Law, he becomes enlightened.”
Hall offers an anecdote to illustrate the point: “Buddha told his disciples what he had experienced in his previous lives: in one life he was a murderer; in another a tyrant; in another he had born false witness; and all the hundreds of incarnations that preceded his adeptship were incarnations filled with experiences of misfortune, temptations, and sorrow. But out of the tremendous experiencing which this entity passed through, came final emancipation through the realization of the inevitability of Law moving through action.”
In his 1942 article, “The Rebirth of Empires,” Hall uses WWII as a case study to illustrate how these ideas all come together, focusing specifically on the conflict between the Germans and Soviets.
Hall writes that “when they leave this world, these young men of Russia and Germany are going to return again to the eternal condition of which they were a part; they will no longer be Russians or Germans, but evolving centers of consciousness experiencing growth and passing through the various modifications of development through which all consciousness must pass. In this universalized condition they are going to be in no way seriously limited or affected by the experiences of this life, except to the degree that they have contributed consciously or knowingly to the detriment of humanity or civilization. To that degree the karma must be paid.”
After death, “having passed out of the environment that is the cause of their present conditions, these entities become immediately free souls in space, carrying the burden of karma which they have earned, and gaining from this experience of living and dying the keys to an eternal life. Experience will justify and perfect all things in the end.”
Overall, Hall concludes that at the current stage of our development, the present human life wave incarnating on Earth is still in an “embryonic phase.” By implication, we are not yet capable of complete self-control and therefore we require guidance. Here’s where the ideas of the spiritual hierarchy, the bodhisattva tradition, and the Mystery Schools come into play.
Hall assures us that “man cannot be allowed to continue blindly beyond the point of useful experiment. Therefore, over, around, and about man is a curious, protective mechanism: a strange school of philosophy, identified as the Lodge of Adepts.”
“This Lodge of Adepts is the governing body which makes the laws which protect men from themselves. It administrates certain aspects of universal integrity; it also protects man from excessive motions in directions contrary to universals.”
Through the secret operations of this Great Lodge, which operates without mankind’s awareness of its existence, a force “beyond human control (is) forever breaking down the limitations which man places upon his own future.”
The great spiritual leaders who comprise this Lodge “accept the social problem of life as part of religion. They see the duty of the ruler to protect beauty, to nourish it, and to give every possible opportunity for its expression and perfection within the hearts of the people.”
Having attained the great enlightenment that leads to Adepthood, Gautama Buddha was a member of this Lodge. Other great world teachers such as Plato and Pythagoras were as well. After having gone through hundreds of incarnations of struggle and strife, each finally attained to the state of perfect sage, taking the great vow of the Bodhisattva in the process, where they pledged to remain with evolving humanity until the day of its final liberation.
In this manner, these "great initiate-teachers have offered their own souls as channels for the distribution of cosmic truths. … Through long periods of discipleship, they have become learned in statecraft, law, medicine, art, literature, and science. In their natures, philosophy and mysticism have been unfolded far beyond the understanding of the profane.”
Having taken the vow of the Bodhisattva, these enlightened souls return to become the spiritual leaders and guides of humanity. Their home base is the Mystery Schools, and in the final vision of Plato, they must one day be enthroned as the natural inspirers of human civilization. As Hall declares, in the end, “destiny and the Mysteries must win, for they are on the side of the Great Plan.”
12. Plato’s Vision of the Philosophic Empire Restated
Plato’s vision of the Philosophic Empire was to create an ideal system of world government premised upon the idea that those most qualified to lead and teach evolving mankind - the initiates and philosopher-kings of the Mystery Schools - should be empowered to govern the social, political, and economic institutions of human civilization.
Hall explains that “in order to be well governed, the world must be ruled over by those best fitted for leadership. Of all men, the philosopher is the most completely informed, therefore the philosopher is the natural ruler of human beings.”
Based on this idea, Plato’s vision was to create “a form of dictatorship by the enlightened, regardless of race, on the assumption that humanity will develop and improve most rapidly when it is pointed in the right direction and lead by the world’s best minds.”
Here we come to an idea that some might interpret as a paradox: Plato was one of the originators of the concept of republican democracy; his works have been a huge inspiration in setting up the institutions of democracy that have become a staple in today’s global world order.
And yet, at the same time he was advocating democracy, he was also advocating for a philosophic form of monarchy. In his view, the two were to go together, with the philosopher-king serving as the ruling monarch, not by force, but by popular democratic consent.
In this manner, as Hall explains, “Plato taught that the ultimate form of human government is rulership by one with the consent and support of the many.”
In conceiving this pattern, Plato was merely copying the plan of Nature, with his vision of an ideal state being one patterned after the design of the Cosmos. In his view, “the government of men should be in harmony with the larger government of the world.”
In the Cosmos, “the ultimate ruler of all nature is God, the one supreme principle. Thus, as the universe is ruled by one, the pattern is established; and universal patterns are the absolute governors of all mortal institutions.”
Hall elaborates, writing that “men may govern themselves in such particulars as are within their scope and province. But beyond particulars are universals, upon which there must be common agreements and to the laws of which there must be common obedience.”
The Philosophic Elect are those best qualified to lead because they are the ones most in tune with Universals: they are “in communication with the gods, receiving into (their souls) the pattern of the Divine Will.” This is what makes them ideal leaders: they serve as “a link between universals and particulars” and therefore “belong to the order of the Heroes.”
Ultimately, this is what the Adept is - a messenger between God and Man; “a channel through which spiritual realities flow into the mortal sphere.”
This conscious communion with Spirit is what qualifies the Adept as the natural leader of men: “to the degree that he is sensitive to divine inspiration, he is truly a superior person.”
In his book “Journey in Truth” published near the end of the war, Hall elaborates on the reasons that the philosopher is the ideal leader of human civilization, writing that: “in order to be well governed, the world must be ruled over by those best fitted for leadership. Of all men, the philosopher is the most completely informed, therefore the philosopher is the natural ruler of human beings.”
“Plato’s definition of a philosopher includes the requirements of unselfishness and the complete overcoming of all impulse toward personal ambition. Only the unselfish man is worthy to possess anything. Only the man whose personal ambitions have been neutralized by a profound love for the common good is qualified for rulership”
Plato also “believed that public servants should be instructed in every branch of learning and should acquire a basic love of wisdom,” for the reason that “men who truly love wisdom will have no part in any scheme which is against the public good. But most of all, they will have an idealistic conception as to what constitutes both private and public good.”
Furthermore, “philosophy bestows vision, and vision is necessary in directing the policy of the state. Civilization can only progress when present action is related to future purpose. Thus, there must be a vision of things to be attained in order that action may be directed to its reasonable and legitimate ends.”
Plato’s lofty vision of the Philosophic Empire blends these idealistic concepts together with the traditional notions of democracy that we know and practice today:
Hall explains that “within the all-embracing power of unity, democracy can be set up in which the parts are self-governing according to capacity, and where this capacity fails there is recourse to the sovereign unity.”
Based on this rationale, the “great philosophers and mystics dreaming of a better time to come have visualized the world of tomorrow in terms of an enlightened commonwealth administrated by the wise, and populated with a self-governing humankind.”
This ideal is not just a fantasy; it actually existed in an early prototype form during the heyday of classical civilization. And actually, in some form or another, this governance structure has always existed, it being an expression of the fundamental pattern of the Cosmos itself.
Hall writes that “humanity was guided through its long and troubled history by an invisible government of wonderfully self-enlightened beings, sometimes referred to as guardians or elder brothers. During the infancy of the race, these parental teachers were the lawmakers and instructors of mankind. They labored behind the dark curtain which concealed countless ages of prehistory.“
Later, as human history moved into “the period of classical philosophy, a form of the Philosophic Empire (once again) existed in the State Mysteries, (which) were created for the purpose of the perpetuation of a divine tradition concerning the spiritual nature and dignity of man, the plan of evolution (he was intended to follow), and the responsibilities for which he was first differentiated in the Divine Cause.”
In the golden age of this system, before the old social order collapsed, “rulers and princes (were required to be) initiated before they could hold office. Thus the Mysteries stood behind the state; they did not rule in an obvious way, but they ruled the rulers.”
As the collective soul of mankind slipped into the Kali Yuga - an age of materiality and egotism - the old Mystery Schools gradually vanished from view. They did not disappear entirely - the Invisible Government of the World is always present - but during the Kali Yuga, they have chosen to remain hidden from the awareness of the developing body of mankind.
By disappearing from view, a condition has been created where developing souls here on earth are enabled to go through an initiatic period of “trial by fire”. Here, mankind plays out and learns to confront its own shadow complexes, materialistic attachments, and egotistical tendencies. In so do doing, it learns, step-by-step, to shed illusion, embrace reality, and walk on its own two feet.
As Hall further explains, “in the course of time, it became necessary for human society to assume the burdens of its own growth and unfoldment.” Consequently, “the philosophical empire set up by the initiated philosophers of antiquity … retired ever deeper into secrecy and restriction,” with the esoteric schools concealing their existence from all except their closest disciples.
Today, this remains the state of affairs, but perhaps this is changing. As the Kali Yuga comes to completion, and as the age of world government rapidly approaches, the Mystery Schools have once more announced their presence on the world stage.
This is what the symbolism of the imagery on the dollar bill prophesies: the coming of a new age when the Philosophic Empire will declare its presence once more on the world stage and enthrone itself as the rightful ruler over the destiny of evolving mankind.
The timing of the placement of this imagery is fortuitous. For thousands of years, mankind has been in what Plato called an age of “iron”, which is the lowest phase in a four-staged cycle of fertility.
Hall explains that “according to the teachings of Plato, the world is subject to alternating periods of fertility and sterility. Fertility is to be understood as an abundance of life, so that all growth is accelerated. Sterility infers a privation of the life principle, with a consequent deterioration throughout nature.”
During the Kali Yuga - or “the age of iron”, as Plato puts it - fertility decreases and sterility increases. Here, “the destructive tendencies (in human nature) gain domination and men devote their lives to the gratification of selfishness and ambition. Thus, the least degree of fertility produces the greatest degree of sterility and all noble institutions languish.”
Hall informs us that “the decline of the Pagan Mysteries and their final corruption was due to the motion of the world from a state of fertility to one of sterility. The outward indication was the increase in the political ambition of governing classes, with resultant wars and internal dissension.”
This age of sterility is one we have been in for a long time, but Hall believes that “humanity is now approaching the end of an age of iron. Revulsion mechanisms are setting in; humanity is becoming weary with the sterility of its conditions."
Inevitably, “this revolt against the limitations of materialism will result in the re-establishment of the golden age, that blessed time when the gods walk with men. Supported by an increase of natural vitality, the race is moving slowly but surely toward a new birth in wisdom and truth.”
As we move toward this new age, we discover that the experiences and stimulations we have received during this period of sterility haven’t been arbitrary or meaningless; rather, they have served to help us express and work through unresolved karma, while at the same time working to stimulate the development of soul power.
Hall further explains, writing that “man must be conditioned for wisdom, and this conditioning takes the form of war, crime, and poverty, all of which must be experienced to the fullest before the mind will reject them in favor of a simpler and more mature course of action.”
By experiencing the chain of cause-effect that leads to the manifestation of evil here on Earth, gradually we learn to abandon those causes within ourselves that lead to the emergence of suffering as an effect.
In this way, life here on Earth is part of a great cycle of necessity. As Hall puts it, “the world that we know is the kindergarten of spirit. Here, child souls in the making are instructed in realities by means of unrealities.”
“Few here realize that they are on probation in this world, but such is the case. We are forced to hug the spokes of the wheel of illusion until, like the child in school, we outgrow our class and are promoted to a higher one.”
“As there are children in school who never seem to learn and stay year after year in the same grade, so those who do not master the problems of the greater school of life must remain involved in matter until they realize the plan and live in accordance with the reality they have discovered.”
Earth truly is a great Mystery School, and every soul here is in some stage of development within it. The dream of the Philosophic Empire is simply to acknowledge this, and to empower those best suited to guide and teach us - the adepts and initiates of the Mystery Schools - to lead us into the “New Order of the Ages”, as the phrase on the dollar bill so poignantly declares.
With the Philosophic Elect empowered as our leaders and inspirers, “we shall build toward eternal empire - not an empire based upon the conquest of the world, but an empire based upon the conquest of ignorance, which is the supreme enemy of mankind.”
“Ignorance is primarily the absence of ideal. This is the great disease. For this disease there is only one remedy, and that is wisdom.” And “the beginning of wisdom for man is to know that at the root of all things is a great eternal oneness.”
This is, I think, is the role that Manly P. Hall played in the furtherance of the Great Plan: to remind of us of the great ideal that lies behind the manifestation of life here on Earth.
As he himself puts it in his book “The Secret Destiny of America”, published near the end of the war, “the great problem of our people in the vast emergency which confronts us is the clear statement of an ideal. … An ideal for the eternity of our people; an ideal … toward which we aspire through a series of consistent attainment achieved generation after generation.”
“We need a great restatement of our ideals of life. … Without vision, the people perish. … Without ideal, how can we build an enduring state? … If we have the ideal, we will find the way. But if we do not have the ideal we cannot even recognize the way.”
But “when we begin to understand and think of a world of one people; when we begin to find friends in far places, and discover the humanity in all humanity, this discovery will be the end of our own inhumanity to man.”
13. The Coming World Nation
Writing in 1945, Manly Hall declared that “the real beginning of the Philosophic Empire is the world state - the world democracy - in which we dissolve competition by the recognition of cooperation.”
Explaining why the psychology of competition must die out in order for this better future to be obtained, he writes: “To survive, the spirit of competition must maintain within itself a spirit of exploitation. … We do this in international relationships most effectively by looking out upon a world of strangers whose lives mean nothing to us. Upon these strangers we turn our exploiting impulses with a good spirit. We believe that they are different from ourselves, and because they are different they were fashioned for our exploitation.”
By contrast, “we do not exploit those whom we know and love. We do not turn our avarice upon those near to us, but upon those far from us whose pain we cannot feel.” For this reason, “Plato knew that the world state was the beginning of civilization. … the international perspective is the beginning of the true perspective. The international viewpoint is the beginning of the human viewpoint, … Until cooperation is the rule of life, there is no civilization; there is only cultivated, educated barbarism.”
Writing at the end of the war, Hall stated prophetically that “the beginning of the world state is at hand,” one that will be ruled by “a government of the philosophic elect.”
Elaborating, he states that this forthcoming world state “will not be a government that has its origin in any one race, but selected from all races according to merit. If we can ever achieve the status of being governed by a group of selected superior human beings, we shall then set in motion one of the most powerful forces in history.”
The international governing body put in charge of this World Nation “must come to view the whole human race as one family.” At the same time, the individual members of this family must come to the inevitable recognition that the maintenance of world peace is a shared responsibility. For this reason, “the international nation, once created, (must) become so interdependent that it would be impossible for its parts to ever separate and engage in warfare.”
With warfare eliminated and economic competition overcome, “the resources now spent on competitive action and security can be directed toward the actual development of the human race.”
Hall states that the leaders of the world nation must look upon it as their religious duty to elevate every human life, for the reason that “the social state of man cannot be separated from the spiritual purposes of the race.”
Hall reminds us that “the human being was created not to engage in barter and exchange, but to perfect himself through reason as the natural ruler of the material world.” Therefore, the coming of the world nation must coincide with the emergence of a new philosophy of life, one that features wisdom as its ultimate goal and unity as its primary emphasis. Here, it must be understood all souls have the right to become wise through self-discipline and self-improvement.
In this new paradigm, we will also discover the joys of living in a communal state, and we will be enabled to follow occupations that we prefer and which suit us. "It is upon this new foundation, with its new psychology of life, its new interpretation of sciences, its new application of arts, its new reading of traditions - it is upon all this great and glorious newness of things that we shall build this great future of which we dream and look toward.”
Hall reminds us that the maintenance of an enlightened world state - such as that we are describing - requires “properly trained and disciplined minds capable of interpreting ideals in terms of the common good. … The mind has to be trained in the laws of thinking before men can be capable of self-rulership.” Therefore, “the democratic commonwealth can be a reality only when our world is a world of self-ruling men.”
Elaborating, he states that “the future of a democracy depends upon one thing above all others - it is that the people of a democracy must be capable of self-government. That does not mean merely representative government.” Rather, “self-government must mean basically the government of each individual by himself, according to a code of national or social convictions which preserve and protect the structure of our social order and political state.”
Therefore, “in order to function as a democracy, a nation must be made up of thoughtful persons. We cannot hope that collective legislation can neutralize the thoughtlessness, ignorance, or stupidity of an individual citizenry. … We must each of us come face to face with the challenge of our own living.”
Philosophy is the solution to the task at hand: it provides the doctrine of wisdom teachings necessary for a civilized world state to be created and maintained.
“Philosophy is an adventure in living - in living toward light, in living toward conviction, in creating within ourselves enduring convictions that are worth living. … Philosophy is an ideal way of life. It is the process of setting up certain great universal beautifies and living those beauties in our daily life.”
Through philosophy, we learn the ways of wisdom. And the way of wisdom is to obey the sovereign rulership of Unity. “Men obey by practicing the virtue of unity. … Men become like gods by finding unity in themselves, unity in life, unity in the world, unity in purpose. … All motion in life is toward oneness. All that which unifies is good.”
The way of Unity is the way of wisdom. And wisdom is the great ideal of philosophy. Therefore, it is only as a Philosophic Empire that the world nation can be secured.
As Hall declares, “wisdom must be our goal. It must be the source of a new dedication.”
By implication, we should rejoice those great in wisdom as the natural leaders of our race. these are the philosophic elect, the ones who, through wisdom, have become “immovable in time and space” and are therefore sufficient to themselves. They are thus “accountable to no man … only to the gods in whom wisdom is perfect.”
Hall connects the attainment of Plato’s ideal with the “secret destiny of America”, implying that the ultimate fate of the nation is not for its oligarchs and technocrats to rule despotically over a global population of vassals and serfs; rather, it is to gradually build out and empower the formation of a World Nation, one which will serve as the proper home for Plato’s long-prophesied Philosophic Empire.
Hall writes that “it is our present task to discover the great work to which America is predestined, and to dedicate ourselves to it; so that our world will go forward to its rightful destiny, no longer encumbered by the horrible burden of man’s selfishness and inhumanity to man.”
America, the nation, must therefore become the Phoenix, dying to its old self - the competitive empire - so that a new birth in enlightenment can take place, one where America yields its world hegemony to the wise leadership of the Philosophic Elect.
“At the end, then, lies the philosophic world, the empire ruled over by the wise, the empire of the priest-king who is also the great spiritual inspiration for his people, the true leader who is the free and open channel for the divine law and its manifestation in the world of men.”
Hall poetically writes that “we have slept a troubled dream of ages. We are stirring in our sleep, afflicted by this nightmare through which we have passed. It is our privilege, when we will, to awaken from the dream, and in awaking find that larger world which has always been.”
“The things that we are doing are part of that great pageantry of things that must pass away. There is no permanence in material things, and there never will be. … Every physical thing (must eventually be) cast aside as a derelict form (existing) along the shores of space, but the human being goes on. Humanity is our investment.”
Hall reminds us that it is “man’s ultimate destiny to be godlike, perfect in wisdom and understanding, a lover of beauty and good in all things, and one educated to the practice of virtue. These are his ends, these are the purposes for which he was fashioned, and to these ends every means available to the race should be dedicated.”
“The wise man’s world is the world toward which all suffering and pain is bringing us, because through suffering and pain we are becoming wise. The wisdom at the end is inevitable, but it is our privilege to hasten the day and to remove much of the pain in the process of becoming wise.”
“At the end of our journey is the one humanity, one people under the sun. We may fight it, we may evade it, we may avoid it, but the end is there - one people fulfilling its destiny.”
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