The Philosopher's Center of Columbus Ohio
by Charles Baldeck
The Philosophers Center in Columbus, Ohio started about 40 years ago as a group of friends who discovered that they shared a common interest in what might best be described as Spiritual Philosophy. Dissatisfied with some of the answers to life’s fundamental questions offered by political doctrines, religious dogmas, and scientific materialism, they shared a common curiosity about where the “Truth” really lies, and they met to discuss some interesting books that some of them had found, written by people who had asked and found answers to the same questions they were asking.
The common thread seemed to be a sincere desire to uncover the “Truth” and its meaning, both individually and collectively, wherever that inquiry might lead. Whether comfortable or not, whether familiar or not, whether consistent with existing pre-suppositions or not, what seemed to matter most was the persistent question: “Is it True”? By making Truth the common goal and thread of inquiry, it was possible for people with very different backgrounds but a common interest in, and sincere dedication to the Truth to discuss, debate, and evaluate different viewpoints, philosophies, systems, religions, esoteric teachings, and spiritual paths, trying to extract what each had to offer, without creating divisive conflicts.
We soon found that others before us had researched deeply into many of these same questions we were exploring, and some had even left a legacy of their quest, either in writings or as contemporary teachings. We found some of these legacies to be more comprehensive and intuitively authoritative than others. We also found other people, both groups and individuals, who were actively engaged on a similar quest for Truth and Meaning, and we learned much from them. We found that a philosophical approach to understanding was the real key to putting all of the many threads together in a way that revealed both the part of Truth that each different viewpoint or system contained, and the parts wherein it might be lacking.
It is said that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” We found this to be completely true, and were fortunate enough to encounter authentic and exceptional teachers, who were not only dedicated to the Truth themselves, but, just as importantly, who were willing to share the insights they had gleaned while helping us to develop our own powers of thinking, intuition and understanding—which is the real measure of an authentic spiritual teacher.
By its very nature, philosophy as a spiritual path will never be a popular one. We started as about a dozen spiritual friends, and the number of those actively meeting and studying together has changed very little over 40 years. Since we began studying and practicing together, some have passed on, others have joined us, and some of the original friends still remain; but all are joined by a bond that others can scarcely imagined. After 40 years, I can personally attest that the study and practice of the philosophic path to Truth has not been the easiest, but without exaggeration, it has certainly been the most worthwhile and permanently rewarding spiritual quest I could ever have chosen.