Widsom: Security In Times of Trouble

Obadiah S. Harris, Ph.D.UPR President Obadiah Harris

The famous athlete, and sometimes philosopher, “Yogi” Berra says, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” I cannot agree more. Most people seem to see the fork as divergent paths, a few seem to see them as having a potential of convergence or integration which can lead to balanced growth and harmonious living. That is what we have done. We have taken the wisdom traditions and combined them with the latest findings in science and psychology.

In doing so, we have followed the example and vision of the philosopher-sage Manly Hall, founder of PRS. Listen to these opening lines to the preface of his work entitled Twelve World Teachers, written in the middle of the previous Great Depression. It was the year of 1937. He says, “Wisdom is security in times of trouble. The wise person is free from those fears and worries which afflict the life of the uninformed. In these strenuous times we all need knowledge and understanding, that fortified by these we face courageously the problems of each passing day. Even the most informed man, is not wise enough in his own judgments to live well without recourse to the accumulated wisdom of the race…. This generation is in desperate need of essential knowledge.”

Here we are again in the midst of a national and world crisis, a global economic meltdown, brought on in part by a lack of regulation and greed. So it’s a spiritual crisis too, a value crisis.

We have come to a “fork in the road,” and we all feel this enormous pressure bearing down upon us. It seems to be evolution calling for a new kind of species more fully human who could take us to a new stage of consciousness which is more integrative, beyond partisan politics, transcending ugly racism, narrow provincialism, arrogant nationalism, self centered egoism and outmoded religious sectarianism. Otherwise, evolution could decide to pass us by.

By “essential knowledge” Manly Hall means, “the knowledge made spiritual and philosophical through vision and experience.” For this he summarized the collective wisdom of twelve great sages of the past.

Who are our heroes? Who do we venerate today? Those who have given us hope in the face of great difficulty, whatever the age or time or circumstance. They are the few among us who can see the light in darkness, the great opportunity provided by enormous challenge, the possibility of  transformation in the depths of despair, the profound potential of fulfillment against impossible odds. Throughout history such heroes and heroines emerge from the most unlikely of backgrounds. They are like agents of evolution.

The historical emergence now of even one very gifted person, of heroic proportions, is encouraging and helpful, but is not enough. This crisis calls for a higher level of consciousness, the evolution of  a fuller human. That is why our university curriculum is about consciousness and transformation. It is that “shift” we are beginning to see among a few of our students. What we envision is the few becoming more and the more becoming many and the many becoming a multitude and the multitude becoming the norm.

Manly Hall says the 21st Century can be seen as symbolic of humanity coming of age and reaching towards maturity. We are attempting to accelerate that process. If you can hear this call, we hope you will join us with your support and participation.

Obadiah Harris, President