Looking Forward

27 May 2022

Wolfgang Smith

Several years have passed since our Foundation became a reality, and it may be time to reflect once again upon its mission. But first of all I wish to say a few words about the man who started it all: our beloved friend, Rick DeLano.

As all of you may have heard, Rick has recently departed from this world; and for those of us who knew him well, it would be a drastic understatement to say that he is “missed.” Let me emphasize, first of all, that Rick was in truth a great man: one of the greatest I have ever been privileged to meet. He was gifted, moreover, with many vocations and diverse talents, all of which came together in the final stage of his life to make a giant of a man.

I suggested to Rick1Portrait by Betty Davies that he write an autobiography, knowing that it would fascinate millions. I wanted him to recount his early years as the leader of a rock band — enrapturing audiences, as well as winning and breaking hearts — and thence move on to the years of arduous striving in quest of spiritual roots. I wanted him to speak of the agonies and the ecstasies through which he passed, and how eventually, after many discoveries and resultant turns, this high school dropout came to be so highly versed in contemporary physics — from quantum theory to relativistic cosmology — as to debate these issues in public, and leave many a proud pundit crestfallen in the dust. Such a biography, I am persuaded, written with Rick’s inimitable flair, might well have become a bestseller; but apparently it was not meant to be.

What Rick does however leave behind is the Philos-Sophia Initiative Foundation, which is as much his very own as his autobiography would have been. The clear recognition, namely, of what this Foundation is meant to accomplish for the world is something Rick derived, not from book-learning, but from a battle well fought, and a life culminating in victory. Requiescat in pace.

Let me try then, as best I can, to indicate what that function is. We live in a time of great confusion and bewilderment, driven by spurious premises claiming to be science-based. In the hallowed name of scientific enlightenment we have succumbed en masse  to an ideology of the worst kind:  what in fact can be identified as a neo-Gnosticism. For a long time now, I have made it my business, first to expose that imposture, and then to convey what might properly be termed the inspired and salvific wisdom of mankind. So far, namely, from constituting a so-called prescientific superstition, as we are generally taught to believe, these teachings prove to be in truth a knowledge of a distinctly higher kind. And let me be clear: our task is not to invent anything, but simply to discover and transmit.

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The remarkable fact, it turns out, is that this enterprise bears fruit even on a scientific plane: can, for example, lead to the resolution of a basic conundrum of quantum mechanics which has puzzled the experts for close to a century. So too can it help to unlock the secrets of visual perception, which has been grossly misconceived for centuries. The point is that not only our philosophy and culture, but present-day science itself stands in dire need of these.

But fascinating and indeed vital as all this may be,  it yet falls short of the ultimate,  a designation which should by right be reserved — as perhaps we can all agree — for the spiritual and religious sphere. How, then, should the Foundation stand in that regard? And I can tell you exactly what Rick thought on that score: though profoundly religious himself, he was adamant that the Foundation should not involve itself directly in matters of religion. Nor is there, perhaps, such a need: it may suffice just to cut down the brambles of scientistic belief planted along the way by our contemporary periti,  and then leave folks to follow their own better judgment. Besides, it seems we have enough on our hands just dealing with the ravages of scientism!

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As no doubt most of you know, Rick was succeeded by Dr. Richard Smith, who has now served for about a year as President of the Foundation. We are exceedingly fortunate: it is not easy to guide a Foundation so unique in its conception and its goals! In addition to the standard requisites of corporate leadership, the task calls for someone deeply versed in both modern science and traditional metaphysics, who is endowed moreover with the faculty to put the two together in fruitful ways. Well, believe it or not: Richard has it all — with a Ph.D. in mathematics to boot. We have been blessed.

Soon after Richard came into our orbit he visited here for a few days, and we had the opportunity to become acquainted. I was struck by how profoundly concordant his outlook is with my own. We both discern the growing signs of cultural crisis and recognize its scientistic roots. And we both realize that the remedy is not something to be invented, but something, rather, which has been known to mankind long before the gurus of modernity began to appear: it needs only to be re-discerned and put to use. And we concur, finally, that the first step in that recovery should be the rectification of science itself: that what is called for is a sharp and well documented discernment between true science and its scientistic counterfeit. If a falsified science has brought about our present malaise, a rectified and chastened science may bring us back to health.

One of the first things Richard did was to consolidate our infrastructure by establishing regular meetings, thereby reaffirming and invigorating our corporate identity. Next he identified scholars around the world who empathize with our fundamental ideas, and brought them together as a group to meet via Zoom periodically. The beauty is that scholars representing many different fields — from physics and metaphysics to psychology and economics — can thus meet on ground wide enough to encompass them all. Suffice it to say that I am profoundly impressed: as someone who has spent most of his professional life in the academic domain, I have never before seen the likes of such an exchange. It is something new, and I believe it is something sorely needed.

A major project Richard is currently grappling with is to establish a well-organized digital outreach to the general public on a secondary educational level. The intellectual resources for such a program we definitely have, and the need, quite obviously, could not be more imperative. Yet on the logistic level the problems are formidable. But as the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day.

Another major project is now actually under way. As many of you may know, most of my books are presently published by Angelico Press. It is however desirable, for a variety of reasons, to bring these out under the aegis of the Foundation, to be disseminated on a worldwide basis. And I am happy to say that this rather delicate issue has been most amicably resolved between Richard and John Riess, the publisher of Angelico Press, who has very graciously consented to release these books one by one, as the Foundation is ready to republish them. Cosmos & Transcendence  has recently been released as a PSIF edition, and the work of republication continues.

Just about one year has passed under Richard’s leadership, and a great deal has already been accomplished. From what I can observe and glean from our conversations, moreover, a lot more is in the offing: these are but the first steps of a very broad and long-sighted agenda. Clearly Richard and his team have their work cut out. And I have every confidence that, with the help of God, they will succeed.

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1 Portrait by Betty Davies