Franklin Merrell-Wolff is at times dense reading. He often seems primarily concerned with reconciling divisions between philosophic schools of thought. Of course, this is a man who considered pure mathematics excellent training for the spiritual life and loved to read Kant. It takes enlightened voices of all ranges to reach the varieties of seekers, so many, I am sure, will enjoy Merrell-Wolff’s style.
For me, the depth of his experience shines through when he talks of practical methods of seeking, in some of his poems, and especially in the paper The Induction. That paper is a transcription of a meeting in which Merrell-Wolff deliberately attempted to induce a Realization in the participants. It is a fascinating, plainly written paper that goes to the heart of the practice of watching your thoughts, and watching the watching of thoughts until Realization occurs. The secret of Realization is there. Not that reading this paper will cause a Realization for you, but the secret is there, nonetheless.
Here is Merrell-Wolff speaking of his own search:
I was finally convinced that, at least in all probability, there was such a thing or event [Realization], while I was in the midst of the discussions of a metaphysical seminary held at Harvard during the academic year of 1912-1913. I saw, at once, that if such Knowledge were an actuality it was of far greater importance than even the greatest intellectual achievement within the limits of the subject-object field. … I resolved to make the search and pay what price might be demanded. In the years since, I have been more than once discouraged and have permitted lateral desires to lead me into side-excursions. But I always returned to the search. I tested various different routes, finding values and defects in all, and then at last by combining the best that India has to offer in the field of metaphysics with the best of western science and philosophy, and then adding thereto some modifications of my own, I found a road that has proved successful. While during the interim there have been partial Transformations and Recognitions, it has taken twenty-four years of search to attain a culminating point which I can recognize as definitely culminating. … If I had known in the beginning all that is here for the first time collected together between the covers of one book [Pathways Through To Space], many years of time would have been saved.
My final word on this particular subject is: I sought a Goal the existence of which I had become convinced was highly probable. I succeeded in finding this Goal, and now I KNOW, and can also say to all others: “IT IS ABSOLUTELY WORTH ANYTHING THAT IT MAY COST, AND IMMEASURABLY MORE.”
With that same emphasis, I recommend you read Franklin Merrell-Wolff. He is authentic. His Pathways Through to Space is now available together with Consciousness without an Object in a SUNY Press book entitled Experience and Philosophy.
If you read only one thing by Merrell-Wolff, read this excerpt that appeared in the March 2004 TAT Forum. It is entitled Finding the Way.
The Merrell-Wolff Fellowship website has a large collection of his writing available for free.
See also, the site created by his granddaughter with information on the Great Space Center (Merrell-Wolff’s original property) as well as to order unpublished papers and lectures:
More information on Franklin Merrell-Wolff is available in Thomas McFarlane’s article “The Nondual Philosophy of Franklin Merrell-Wolff.” Thomas McFarlane is associated with Joel Morwood, who tells a few stories of his time with “Dr. Wolff” in my podcast interview.
An extraordinary biographical sketch of Franklin Merrell-Wolff.
Additionally, Merrell-Wolff’s step-granddaughter has written a biography titled Franklin Merrell-Wolff: An American Philosopher and Mystic.
Lastly, old video:
7 thoughts on “Franklin Merrell-Wolff: Words that blaze with Truth”
Seems like nonsense the more that I read about these spiritual teachers. I don’t think they found truth, just something that they believe to be so (which accounts for anyone).
So why are you here? You must be looking for something. What is it?
Even if I were there isn’t a guarantee that what I find is truth and more like what I believe to be truth. I’m just trying to sway people from spirituality.
The spiritual systems advocated by this site involve the questioning of beliefs, not the substitution of one belief system for another.
Why was FMW moved from a 5 star teacher to a 4 star teacher? Curious to hear your take on it Shawn. Thanks.
That’s my attempt to make the 5-star category a little more “lively.” Every teacher I previously had in that category was dead, so I wanted to make room for a couple of living ones. I considered completely flipping the 4-star and 5-star categories, but thought there might be a riot.
Haha thanks for the response!