Love of Truth – Manly P. Hall
I wrote up the audio for the “Love of Truth” lecture by Manly P. Hall. I kept the aspects related to Truth. He mentions other things, like Nature, but I wanted to keep it as condensed as possible. It is great and empowering to understand. It’s related to the previous post on Solitude. You can find a torrent of the whole Manly P. Hall lectures, or you can watch it on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9u0jlBCte-c
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“Truth alone can lead man to perfection. And this perfection he has to earn by giving his own life to truth.”
Boethius was told by this radiant vision that she had been with him since the beginning, the moment he dedicated his life to truth she was with him, and she would be with him until the end of the days and be with all others under the same conditions. Because no one walks through life entirely alone, and those who give themselves to unselfish service to others will walk constantly with the radiant presence beside them. Something that is going to guard them and protect them because they have deserved it, because they have earned the peace of inner life, they will have it regardless of what happens in the outer world.
Truth is alive and walks with those that serve it.
Truth is a being, a power, a quality. Truth is the most dynamic way that leads to reality. What is truth to us? How do we understand truth?
We understand that by little efforts to grow. We try to be a little better today than we were yesterday, and we continue to grow a little everyday. But the first step we take towards reality, brings us this contact, that walks with us the rest of the way. The first sincere dedicated effort to live the life of truth brings truth to you, and truth walks with you to the end of your days. This was the idea of the Pythagoreans and Platonists. It was the result of the individual earning dedication by his own dedication. When we do a definite good thing, when we serve those in need, when we improve the nature of our own contemplations, we make an important connection in life, and once this connection is made it cannot die. Once we become aware, once we have given birth out of our own souls to the soul of truth, that soul will live on. When I backslide, forget and lose, transgress, but once we have made a sincere effort to try, we have taken the first step to eternity. We have taken the first step and move in the direction of everlasting peace.
Buddha brings us to same point, he says that the journey to truth begins with a single step. The single step in the Greek system was the first absolutely unselfish dedicated effort to serve. The one moment in life when we strip ourselves, when we are bigger than ourselves, and place a common good above our personal advantage. As long as we are selfish, truth remains alone from us and weeps. The moment we are selfish in our thinking, our actions, in our codes of life, we cut ourselves off from the eternal love which is saved for us in the wonders and mysteries of Mystic life.
It is a step from the selfish to the unselfish, from the dark into the light, and once an individual makes this dedication, he is pressed gradually forward one step at a time to the fullness he seeks to possess in the fullness of his own maturity.
Therefore this is all part of the idea of the love of truth, the love of the way it really is, the way we can really see if we can climb out of the slough of our own despond. If we can rise out of the ignorance with which we have locked ourselves, we can begin to see over the edge to things beyond. When we do that, we will grow a little. As we grow a little, the problems will become less.
Everything that tries is rewarded for trying. Why and how? No one tries, nothing tries, unless it has a vision of something better. It may not know how to attain that something better, but if it is willing to try it means it grasps the possibility of improvement. The moment the individual grasps this moment of realization that improvement is possible, he begins to grow.
Now, if in the first time he has this realization, he looks around and says to himself, “yes I think I will be a little better than I was and I will correct some of my faults.” So he goes out, and the next day is out he has a little bit of trouble with something, and gets a little irritated. Then a little later, something else comes along and he gets a little more irritated. And gradually this one moment of enlightenment fades out, and he’s back again in all of his problems, all of his miseries. This may happen many times. There are false starts, well intended, but not supported by sufficient energy, sufficient libido, to survive and amount to anything. But ultimately, the effort to grow will produce a fast start.
In a moment like this we come across another entity, another wonderful being that we have intimate contact with, and that most people do not understand, recognize or serve adequately. This other wonderful being is our own body. We have a body over which we rule as lord and master. It can be that this body becomes a slave. It is not given proper attention, it is misused, it is victimized, is allowed to suffer merely to the gratification of the mind that dwells within it. Truth will never permit the misuse of energy, therefore this body which is our house for the time, has laws and rules that must be kept.
As we look around us today, we realize that as a school, our daily life is not much of a success. We do not have a discipline to take care of us through these years of growth by which we must finally reach our own adult physical years. So nature depends upon this problem and gives us a certain ultimatum to face it with. Nature gives us the rules, and when we do not keep the rules, nature gives us the example of the broken rule. One of the most beautiful and wonderful displays we have today is this great tapestry of broken rules. Everyone is worried about these broken rules because they are a danger to us. But we have not worried enough yet to correct it. We are still trying to play hooky in the school of life. We are still convinced we are here to have fun, wealth, influence, fame. As long as we do that, the great genius of truth will not be with us. When any ambition is false, it is not sanctified and is not fulfilled by the laws of life.
Whenever we have an ambition that is contrary to good that ambition will ultimately destroy us. Whenever we forget our relationship with other living things, when we forget the brotherhood of life, we forget the parenthood of life, we begin to sound out our own troubles. This has been very clearly indicated today.
We know that the rules of life we have broken have put us exactly where we are now. The question still remains why does it do this and how? Why is it that when we support the wrong thing to get into trouble? That is because there is a rule back a bit that tells us what the right thing is. And that rule is immutable. If honesty is a universal law decreed in the infinite pattern of things, no individual human dishonesty can survive. Survival does not mean the individual personality will perish, but it means the goal or attitude will have to change. There is no possible way in which evil can achieve rulership over the world. The battle for the struggle for this control grows much more violent everyday. The greater the ambitions of the individual, the more terrible his mistakes will be. The more desperate he tries to escape the consequences of his own conduct, the more desperately the consequences will close in around him, he cannot, because there is something in life that says says he cannot escape them.
He cannot say to himself “I have to tell a lie”, and therefore he must correct it. The individual that tells a lie, thinks they get away with it, and then a consequence sets in. The consequence that sets in is the only way that he can learn not to lie. He cannot expect it at this time to come to the moral solution all by himself. If he does come to that solution it is because he is already on the road that leads to light, he is on the way to something better. But for most persons, responsibilities must be evaded, they must be avoided in every way possible, because they interfered with the smooth passing of a useless life. But that is the problem, there can be no smooth passing of ignorance. There can never be a success built upon stupidity. There can never be a peace built upon violence. There can never be wisdom based upon the principle of ignorance. All of these things have to be worked out in their own nature.
And therefore, we are often concerned every day with the world around us, but the great mother of mysteries is with us. She is brooding over us now just as she always has. She is the one that is constantly waiting to bring the wayward children back into the rules, and she will never stop until they come back. No one will ever be permitted to be a truant. The truant will hate punishment. The dope addict will hate to be prevented from gaining his justification or pleasure from the narcotics. He will try anything he can and hate the laws that prevent him from doing anything he pleases. But above the laws that will make us do what we please, there is the great Law that tells us we must do that which is right.
And in this way, we gradually discover that there is a universe of intelligence, a universe of wisdom, a universal good, a universe dedicated to the service of eternal truth, dwelling forever in the presence of the divine being. Therefore, if we go along a little, as Boethius did, we may come to the gate that leads out from this life into something else. But when we go through we will make the discovery that we have not been cast again into shadows, but the light in ourselves if it is there, will never leave us, and no matter what happens from that time on, truth will prevail and that means that peace will prevail.
Take an example of how this operates. Maintaining the health of the physical body.
This is something very significant today. The physical body is in a sense our child. Each person has a body that is kind of a psychological infant which he has been endowed. He must train this body to serve him, or else he must relinquish his leadership and let the body take over. If the body takes over he is in trouble, but he doesn’t know he’s in trouble because if the body is gratified than the rest of them goes to sleep. The real fact of the matter is that the body has to be brought into harmony, it has to be disciplined. When the body has grown into discipline, it is said to be healthy. When the soul is brought into discipline, it is said to be healthy. When the infinite in man is brought into discipline, then the universal being is healthy.
We know from every experience of living that we can and do have the power to change things, to make them what they should be, to accomplish that which is necessary for the common good and our own. But before we settle down to the processes of changing the world which we are most interested in at the moment, we should give thought to changing ourselves. We find this world is very hard to change and become more and more disillusioned as we see nation a nation, country after country exploiting other countries. If we look down from the heights of those things into private relationships, we find people and groups out to destroy each other. We find exploitation. We find the effort to dishonorably exploit at the expense of others. We find the broken home, heart and body. We find that the great changes necessary we have not even been able to make in ourselves.
There are ways that health can be improved. Improving our health is always a discipline. We have to do some things differently. We have to sacrifice excess in order to achieve moderation. We have to do something right in order to nullify something wrong. So, we discover that only through discipline can we bring ourselves back into harmony. The moment we come back into harmony, the mysterious power, of nutrition, another radiant character, nutrition can take over and do properly for us. All of the gods of antiquity must manifests through discipline the bodies.
We think of wisdom, it is only possible through discipline of the body. Wisdom in keeping with the foolish one is folly. We know that there is only one way that we can achieve courage, and that is if we dedicated to a cause worthy of courage. If we try to use courage to defend negative things we will hurt some more. Everything is there to challenge, but nothing is there to hurt for the reason of destroying us. It is because it is the only way to prevent us from destroying ourselves.
Looking around in society today, we see the problems. The problems of space, housing, food, health, all of these things we see very definitely. We realize something has to be done about them. We try to plant trees, try to purify water, try to find ways to cleanse the earth of the pollution we have set upon it, we try to find ways to control populations, prevent the destruction of natural resources. Let us for a moment turn all of these things back into ourselves and realize the reason that we cannot solve the problem on the inside is because we have not solved it on the inside. We have not made the contact which make it possible.
When Boethius was given the presence of vision of this saintly being that came to serve him in his sorrow, he gave us an account of a wonderful discipline, and a wonderful courage against circumstances. If we want to do any of these things on the outside, something must come to us on the inside. We cannot improve the world if we cannot save our own necks. We can’t bring peace to the world if we can’t have it in our own families. How can we declare the ambitions at fault when we can’t stop using narcotics for our own pleasure?
If we continue to wish to be divided, we not only have the problems of society, we have the problems of ourselves. The individual who has not transcended his own selfishness is a very poor candidate for reforming the world. It is necessary for each person to recognize that he must make a personal contribution to the integrity’s of things. He must become aware of truth. You must become aware of what truth means. Not a formula, not a prayer in church, not something in the textbook, or the advancement of science. The truth we need is the love of truth, of the love of God as truth, deity recognized in the manifested form of the infinite parent always solicitous of the good of its children.
We must think of the faith of man as being the gateways to conduct. We must think also of all the dreams and hopes of the ages, and realize they cannot be fulfilled until the individual loves truth better than he loves himself. There is no way of solving the problem unless we become aware of the strange and wonderful beauty, as Boethius saw it in his prison cell, a radiant being. We can call it peace, wisdom, love. It is a radiant power that blesses dedication. That rewards definite effort to perfect and fulfill. It is something that can take over the life of the individual when he is no longer willing to dedicate that life to the fulfillment of his private ambitions. There is a wonderful moment that comes, which Boethius noted, which is the love of truth.
Love to the average individual is a very physical world. Love to the theologian is an emotional experience. Life and love to the philosopher is an intellectual experience. But beyond this is the simple direct fact of the love of truth. The love which does not require rationalizations, does not require scientific truths, it does not require anything but the evident fact that if we love peace we will serve it, and if we served peace we will have peace. If we serve and love truth we will dedicate ourselves to truth. A dedication to the fulfillment of the works of truth.
These works of truth are not simply strange things floating around in space somewhere, because truth is a kind of being that lives but never dies, born but never ceases. It is another name for the human soul, but whatever we call it, it is the inevitable victory of good over evil. It is the complete victory of faith over fear, it is the complete victory of virtue over vice. And it is achieved because it is potentially possible for the individual. And each individual human being is born with the potential of the perfection of truth, within himself. There’s nothing that can prevent an individual from attaining truth except his own reluctance to improve his ways.
It is possible for him to realize that some of the truths that he must ultimately know are beyond him. He will not be able to be perfect at the moment. He will not be able to be perfect as his father in heaven is perfect. But he will be able to move forward, step by step, in a dedicated search for reality. The moment he starts the steps, the moment he begins to make an effort to direct and vitalize his own integrity, the journey towards reality begins. And in that moment, the shining being of truth takes his hand and leads him to eternity, nothing will interrupt it, nothing can prevent it, nothing can have victory over the inevitable victory of reality over illusion.
We have lived for a long time and illusion, and some of this illusion wee call learned knowledge. We think science is very wise. We think science is solving everything. We think that Einstein was incredible when he found the formula for atomic fission. These are not the truths we need. These are not truths at all. They are struggling with the misuse of universal potentials. The atom, the cell, all of these things, are each of them a unit. Each is a truth in itself and must be treated as one. It must be recognized. And if we wish to advance things we must work together to make these various parts work together well in us. If we can make the cells in our own body cooperate we have health. If we can make various forms of knowledge of truth cooperate we will have peace in the world.
These things were well known to Plato and Pythagoras, and the foreign Eastern nations. Everyone has realized that it is impossible to solve our present problem unless the individual moves from a theoretical standpoint, and ceases simply talking about how things should be done, to the dynamic experience of personal growth. He can start where he is, he doesn’t have to worry.
The problem may be a need for a job, a domestic difficulty, a wayward child, whatever it is, if at this time he has not found a footing in a pattern for his own personal growth, that problem which he faces today must become that footing or one of its equivalents. It must be something done by the individual himself to prove a sincere dedication to advancing the cause of the common good. Once he makes one statement, the seed is planted, and will never die. One good deed leads to another. One bit of wisdom leads to greater wisdom.