The Maestro and The Boy: The Kindness of Manly P. Hall

Mystical philosopher Manly Palmer Hall wasn’t my grandfather, yet he was.  Both my grandfathers had been killed in a war, but fate provided a friend who gave me all the grandfatherly gifts of wisdom and opportunity anyone could hope for.  I was there when this photo was taken in the PRS vault; my girlfriend and I arranged the books and artifacts around him to represent the depth and breadth of his learning.


The net is a wonderful resource, a worldwide flea market, a massive if haphazard library of Alexandria, offering insights from every culture, and cult on planet Earth, and many that claim to be extraterrestrial.  But the Internet offers more misinformation than fact.  Out of context illustrations and quotations are used by careless researchers to allege satanic cults and malevolent political plots.  Further complicating the situation, popular definitions of key words have changed.  When Manly Hall wrote about the illuminati he meant something roughly equivalent to “the most enlightened of every age,” western bodhisattvas, no one could be more devoted to the good of human beings.  Today illuminati usually refer to a secret organization of elite oligarchs with nefarious plans whose influence behind the scenes of history has caused terrible suffering.  The meanings could not be more opposed.  But with his knowledge of the ironies of history MPH would not have been surprised to find himself on the black list.

I knew Manly personally near the end of his life.  He worked his alchemy on me in a most daoist way.  His friendship transformed me from an angry and despairing devotee of nihilism to a seeker of truth and harmony.  The biographical writing about him available online and off, including his own, fails to convey a sense of the man I knew.  Even simple facts are missing.  For example, none mention that Marianne Williamson, founder of Project Angel Food, the Peace Alliance and Sister Giant, began her career at the Philosophical Research Society where she honed her oratory skills under the wing of the man who was one of the great extemporaneous speakers of his time.  Consequently I find myself confronted with the task of breaking a promise I made to him.

When his personal secretary and his head librarian both decided that “the boy” as he usually called me would someday write the great man’s life story, I asked him if he thought I should.  He shook his head no and told me to let his enemies write his biography.  Though I was fiercely intent on devoting myself to him and to his teachings, throughout our friendship he took care to keep me on the path to my own way in life.  So I’ve arrived at a compromise.  I won’t write his biography.  But I will share a few vignettes of my experience with him that I hope will convey his genuine wisdom and kindness.

Read more here: The Maestro and The Boy: The Kindness of Manly P. Hall