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An Individual Letter
Society of Rosicrucians/Societas Rosicruciana in America
In the rush and activity of the world today, man has neither the time nor the tranquility to indulge in philosophical supposition. Nor has he the interest. What we want is the answer which satisfies us individually and according to which we can lead a daily life, which is active, constructive and above all productive of results. No one can answer these questions for us in detail, for the circumstances composing the life of one individual vary from those of the next. The answer, which has meaning for one, will be meaningless for another. Just as these queries arise in ourselves and addressed to ourselves, so must the answer arise in ourselves and apply to ourselves. Its meaning has importance because it is a personal realization of truth. A personal realization of truth is essentially a first hand affair. It is something, which we have learned from ourselves and not from what others have taught or told us by book or by word.
Philosophy interprets fundamental laws by which the Universe exists. The sciences, each in its specialized direction, show how fundamental laws operate objectively, how they manifest in the physical world about us. A law is a principle. That is what is referred to in the phrase "It is the principle that counts." A code of ethics is man's interpretation of these laws into the manner in which he is to conduct himself in reference to the particular society in which he finds himself. Thus, the rules laid down arbitrarily by a code of ethics are man-made. To wit, what the oriental would consider an honest action, is often thought by the occidental as its antipathy. However, the principle of honesty or truth remains constant, it being man's interpretation or code which is variable.
In these days our old codes seem to have failed us. We live in a constantly changing state of social organization. The codes of ethics or behavior, which held good for one generation, do not remain standard for the next. But the principles behind them remain unchanged. Thus it is the principle which we must seek to learn and once learned, personally realized, it is this principle with which we must learn to live in harmony. Such harmony is the meaning in that often heard phrase "being true to oneself."
KNOWLEDGE OF MAN
Principles operate or manifest in all expressions of life, as the laws in the various departments of the sciences prove to us. Thus we know that they also operate in the mental, emotional and physical aspects of man's growth and activity. Therefore, the best, for it is the most immediate, way in which to learn these principles is through the study of man and primarily of one's self. This procedure is the basis of the psychologist and psychoanalyst of modern times. It has been expressed philosophically for the ages in the famous charge of Sendivogious, "Oh man, know thyself."
The question that immediately comes to mind in view of the foregoing is "How does one set about knowing one's self? How can one reach these principles? How is one to arrive at their truth?
To repeat that the best and most immediate method is through the study of man and of one's self, though true, is insufficiently specific to be practical. It brings up the vista of years devoted exclusively to the study of philosophies and sciences. These are subjects so specialized that one lifetime could hardly embrace a thorough research of them and of their seemingly conflicting viewpoints. However, a general study of the thought of man from his primitive state to the present day, does give an insight into the truths which he has discovered. From the time they first appear in the forms we today would term "superstitious beliefs" to the proven scientific facts of the present.
Electricity is an example of this. Today it is so accepted a power and principle as to be a common utility in daily life. But not so long ago it was a force which man sensed irrationally. In so doing he regarded it with awe as belonging to a hidden, higher, occult or mystical world.
What one wants is a practical, easily understood exegesis of the highlights, ideas and principles, which make human life understandable.
Such a correlation of the primary laws, which underlie the life of man and life as a whole, is what the Rosicrucian philosophy gives. It is not a startling, awe-inspiring, mysterious religion, cult or sect, but a practical analysis of nature's laws, showing how they operate and how they are expressed through the medium of the sciences and all the great world philosophies.
The Rosicrucian Fraternity has existed for many centuries, with established branches in many countries. Its objective is to help man to think for himself, to understand himself, to acquire a greater insight into the meaning of life. Students of its philosophy have been leaders in the fields of literature, art, music, science, medicine, economics, and practical every day affairs. Its leaders have been and are active, practical people, people who above all lead constructive lives. They have spoken with authority primarily because the application of the knowledge they gained brought results. Results which enormously benefited them personally as well as enabling them to progress very far in their own particular field of endeavor.
The Rosicrucian philosophy is a progressive philosophy. It is not standardized through traditional interpretation. Based on universal laws or principles, it shows man how to apply these in his daily life, whether that life was lead in the fifteenth century, or is being led today in the twenty-first century.
A NEW POINT OF VIEW
Today, we are rapidly approaching the age of mental freedom. In fact this is an attitude of mind and understanding which we as individuals must cultivate if our personal lives are to keep pace with the rapidly accelerating tempo of scientific discovery. What is needed is a moratorium on preconceptions.
The span of man's life is a continuous process of expansion and reconstruction. Experience, if assimilated, always necessitates reconstruction - Reconstruction in our mental, moral and economic life.
Modern mechanical inventions are the channels into which science has taught us to direct fundamental laws, that they may better serve our objective life. These inventions have destroyed man's old concepts of the limitations of time and space. They have given man a greater freedom of action. Scientific discovery has done this for man. To maintain the balance, man must find in himself similar channels into which to direct these same fundamental laws. An automobile to be useful must have a driver. A driver implies one who can direct and control the machine once he has set the motor in action. An uncontrolled motor is destructive to everything with which it comes in contact and it eventually destroys itself. An uncontrolled human being is destructive to society at large and eventually destroys himself in one way or another.
Fundamental laws or principles are universal, therefore, we know that they must manifest in ourselves. If we as individuals can once have a personal realization of them and can find the proper channels through which to direct them, we will do for ourselves what scientific discovery has done for objective life. The same results must follow. Our old mental concepts of the limitations of time and space will be destroyed, and we will have real freedom of thought, vision, and action.
The Societas Rosicruciana in America offers you a series of instructive essays, which correlate these principles as they express in science and philosophy, with daily life. They show you very simply how they apply to man. They point the way for you to see for yourself how they apply in your own daily life. It does not tell you what you must think or believe, or the kind of life you must lead. It leaves you your independence of thought, action and feeling. It does show you a way of opening the doors leading to a fuller, happier more self-satisfying life. A life which is the birthright of every human being.
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