We had the good fortune of connecting with Greg Salyer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Greg, is there something you believe many others might not?
Plans are made to be broken. While you certainly have to think ahead, writing out your detailed plan is at best an exercise in the futility of such planning and in the folly of predictions. I like to think of imagining ahead instead of planning ahead, and since I am a literature professor, I see imagining ahead as a kind of storytelling: what happens to this character if this happens? what happens to this place if that happens. Having an x-year plan is to imagine a story that will not come to be. Imagining your story in multiple plot lines and character development is not only more realistic it’s also more fun.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
To provide “practical and profound wisdom for the twenty-first century,” as the Philosophical Research Society (PRS) does, is both burden and blessing. We see people seeking, suffering, wondering how to live better lives, or just to survive this one. We also want people to do more, to have lives fuller and more meaningful than they imagined. Fortunately, we have the world’s wisdom to guide us, along with our founder’s articulation of it. Manly P. Hall was a singular individual who read everything, remembered everything, and had the added gifts of eloquent speaking and profound teaching. Because PRS’s mission involves deeper and long-term rewards, it has been difficult to survive in a world driven to shallower and shorter-term ends. Still, eighty-seven years later, thanks to our board, dedicated staff, and ever-growing community of seekers, here we are.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
First of all, I would do the Los Angeles Conservancy walking tours, so that my visitors would know there is a downtown and that it is fascinating in its own right. Next, I would show them, Griffith Park on a hike to the Observatory. I would then do an esoteric tour of Los Angeles that would include the Philosophical Research Society, Besant Lodge, the Vendanta Center, and the Self-Realization Fellowship. We would eat at Musso and Frank’s, The Dresden, El Coyote, and have drinks at the Bonaventure Lounge.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Amanda Brass came to us like most everyone else: she wanted to hear a lecture by PRS President Greg Salyer. She kept coming, and eventually, she asked to volunteer as a docent in our art gallery. While opening the gallery one day, President Salyer said, “You know, you should work here,” and Amanda replied, “You know, I would love that.” As these things go, something opened up, and Amanda was right there and ready to go. She came on board during a difficult time but simply got to work, and she’s been working ever since. Amanda is our fulfillment specialist, that is, she ships out the orders from our bookstore, but she does it like no one else. Sometimes she films herself packing the shipment with a whiteboard behind her showing information about the town. She always includes a hand-written note of thanks and inspiration. Along with shipping, Amanda manages our grounds, making sure the plants are healthy and their surroundings clean. The squirrels like her too because she buys a variety of nuts for them (from Whole Foods, no less). Finally, Amanda is our resident astrologer and comic, a true theatre kid who (thankfully) never grew out of it.