HISTORY

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THE SCHOOL OF PRACTICAL PHILOSOPHY WAS FOUNDED IN 1967 TO MAKE THE PHILOSOPHICAL STUDY THAT BEGUN IN LONDON AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA.

Throughout it’s history tutors at the school have worked to make the pursuit of philosophy and it’s related subjects available to as many people as possible throughout NSW & ACT. Some of our students have joined us for just one term and others have remained with for decades.

In group sessions tutors and students discuss themes from many philosophies and belief structures that can be applied in a directly practical way to the individual experiences of course participants. Each of these themes builds on study undertaken by the school’s founders. These topics were found to be valuable in their exploration of the pursuit of “Truth and Justice”

The School of Practical Philosophy in Australia was founded by students of the London School and we continue to operate as an affiliated organization as we share a common interest and bond through the same philosophical teaching.

ORIGINS IN THE ECONOMICS OF HENRY GEORGE

While we are an independent organisation, the School does have its roots in the School of Economic Science in London which was founded in 1937 by Leon MacLaren, against the background of severe economic depression.

Initially it was founded to “promote the study of the natural laws governing relations in human society, and the study of the laws, customs and practices by which communities are governed largely as a response to the severe economic depression of the early 1930’s.”

During the late 1950’s as the school’s founders became aware of the significant role of emotional wellness in alleviating economic circumstances. Soon after, philosophy became the central subject of study and practice within the School. In the early 1960’s the School developed a relationship with a leading figure of the Advaita [uh d-vahy-tuh] Vedanta tradition in India, Sri Shantananda Saraswati. The School received invaluable guidance in the study and practice of philosophy from him for over 30 years, and during that time also adopted traditional meditation and mindfulness techniques. These have become a cornerstone of the School’s approach to the full development of human potential.

LEON MACLAREN

Mr MacLaren (1910–1994) was a British philosopher and the founder of the School of Economic Science. Leon MacLaren was one of a number of men who, mainly from the mid nineteenth century on, were instrumental in bringing the ancient Eastern and particularly Advaita Vedanta Philosophy to the West. MacLaren was inspired by Henry George, Socrates, Dr Francis Roles, Pyotr Ouspensky, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and finally the philosophy of Advaita Vedānta through the Shankaracharyas of Jyoti Math.

IN SEARCH OF TRUTH

This 7-minute video was produced in 2017 to describe the early roots of the School in London. The film introduces the founder, Leon MacLaren, and provides some historical background about the practical philosophy that is now shared in more than 80 cities and 50 countries around the world.

TIMELINE

1879

Publication of Progress and Poverty by Henry George (1839-1897)

1910

Birth of the School's founder, Leon Maclaren

1937

Henry George School of Economics founded (renamed The School of Economic Science n 1942)

1954

First series of Philosophy courses offered, developed from the teachings of Ouspensky and Gurdjieff

1957

First overseas school established in Wellington, New Zealand

1959

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi visits the UK, bringing the next stage of development - meditation.

1965

First meeting of Leon Maclaren with Sri Santananda Saravasti.

1967

School opens it doors in Sydney, Australia. Sydney opened branches in Newcastle, Canberra and Lismore.

1977

The School opens in Melbourne, as a legally independent organisation.

1991

 The School opens in Perth, as a legally independent organisation.

1994 

Mr Maclaren passes away. Mr Donald Lambie succeeds him as School leader.

2017 

The Sydney School opens branches on the Central Coast and at Kangaroo Valley. As part of the
50th year celebration, the School offers the Mindful Wisdom course free.

CELEBRATING 50 YEARS IN AUSTRALIA

In 2017, the School celebrated 50 years in Australia.

A remarkable achievement for a not-for-profit, volunteer organisation working in this sector. For fifty years, the School of Practical Philosophy has been running courses, seminars, workshops and retreats for anyone who wants to find freedom, self-reliance and purpose in their life and work.

Over the course of these five decades, we’ve seen the ideas and teachings that we quietly pioneered in Australia become the mainstay for a booming wellness-mindfulness-industry. An industry which continues to flourish! We’ve seen the business world start to look for deeper purpose in what they do and how they do it. We’ve seen a generation of people rise who are looking for more than productivity and profit in their work.

And we’ve seen meditation become a part of mainstream culture. When we first offered meditation here in Australia, the very practice was viewed with uncertainty and suspicion. Today, the School continues to offer training and support in the same authentic meditation practice it first offered fifty years ago. It is simple, direct and easy to practice in the confines of modern life.