FOREWORD (from a 1929 lecture program)
MANLY P. HALL is an acknowledged international authority on the kindred subjects of comparative religion and ancient philosophy, his library constituting a unique collection of original manuscripts and early editions pertaining to these subjects. He has traveled in all parts of the civilized world and has delivered public addresses to audiences totaling over three million persons.
A student of over forty great religious and philosophic systems, Mr. Hall has sought and discovered those universal principles common to them all. Having no particular cult to promulgate, he does not attempt to interpret the ancient doctrines according to preconceived notions. This freedom from personal bias eminently qualifies him for the task of religious and philosophic comparison.
A renaissance of philosophic culture is at hand and thinkers of the twentieth century, rebelling against the burden of a commercial civilization, are turning to aesthetics and the rational disciplines of the mind as the only possible solution to the problem of life. The quest for happiness is identical with the quest for wisdom, and both are perfected in understanding.
Manly P. Hall is fundamentally a philosopher and an aesthetician. He believes that in the ancient orders of learning lies the solution to the apparently hopeless complexities of modern life. The speaker brings no cherished theories of his own, but substantiates his viewpoints with the opinions of the world’s most eminent thinkers from the beginning of time. He is primarily concerned with the education of the public mind as to its opportunities and responsibilities. He believes that philosophy is the hope of the world and, therefore, brings the essence of the great schools of thought within the reach of every individual who desires to improve the quality of his own thinking and living.
Mr. Hall is the author of a score of books, of which one of the most recent is described by The Grand Lodge Bulletin of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, Ancient Order of Free and Accepted Masons, as “such a volume as the present generation will probably not see duplicated. Those who are fortunate to have a copy will no doubt ‘Mention it within their wills bequeathing it as a rich legacy unto their issue.’ ”
During the last ten years, Mr. Hall has labored unceasingly to disseminate the magnificent philosophical systems of the ancients. He has broadcasted over the principal radio stations of the Pacific Coast and his books are read in all parts of the world. He is not a psychologist nor a metaphysician. but is primarily an educator and offers the fruits of his discoveries to all who desire to take advantage thereof. Mr. Hall occupies an absolutely unique position upon the American platform, and no classes or private instructions follow his public lectures.