Ron Leonard is the foremost Franklin Merrell-Wolff scholar, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Franklin’s philosophy as the most important subject he could find. He found that it transformed his life by meeting Franklin and Doroethy and becoming his grandson-in-law.
I was an only child, born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where my daughter still lives. I earned a B.Sc. (Mathematics) and MA (Philosophy) from the University of Alberta, and a PhD (Philosophy) from the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario). Along the way I twice won the Alberta chess championship.
Presently, I am a retired professor from the Department of Philosophy, UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and Department of Philosophical and Regional Studies, CCSN (Community College of Southern Nevada).
I was initially attracted to philosophy in its original meaning of love of wisdom, and engaged in it, as both student and instructor, as a vehicle for the spiritual quest—as expressed by the mandala that I created as the logo for the U. of W. Philosophy Department.
I first learned of FMW in 1974, my first year of doctoral studies at U. of W. There the Philosophy Department displays the jackets of new books in philosophy, including The Philosophy of Consciousness without an Object, on a bulletin board in the coffee/mail room. Intuitively I knew that it was a work concerning mysticism and I felt immediately compelled to buy it. I found (and still consider) it to be the most profound treatment of mysticism of which I am aware.
In 1982 I traveled to Lone Pine to research Franklin’s philosophy for my doctoral thesis. There I met Doroethy (his granddaughter). The following Easter Franklin was very pleased to perform the ceremony for our spiritual marriage.
Our secular wedding followed in June in Phoenix. Now that we are both ‘retired’ we live in Phoenix during the winter and the Great Space (Franklin’s former home) in summer. We feel honored to be able to continue Franklin’s work.
I find Franklin’s teaching appealing because
- it is grounded in immediate awareness, rather than mere speculation,
- he deals explicitly with the central philosophical issues concerning mysticism,
- his philosophy provides an authentic way to harmonize diverse schools and traditions, and
- he emphasizes our individual autonomy and uniqueness in the spiritual quest.
My interests that relate to Franklin’s philosophy include
- my relationship with his granddaughter, Doroethy (and her family),
- our ongoing involvement with his work through the Great Space Center, the Sangha newsletter, and this website,
- my doctoral thesis, The Transcendental Philosophy of Franklin Merrell-Wolff,1 and
- dzogchen—the Tibetan teaching that essentially transcends all traditions, but that deals with the notion of rig-pa (Primordial Awareness), which Franklin says coincides with attaining nondualistic Consciousness transcending the subject-object structure.
Besides philosophy, my interests include mysticism, spirituality and consciousness studies, cosmology and quantum physics, psychology (phenomenological, analytic, para- and meta-), mythology, dreams, tarot, politics, investments, chess, martial arts, football, working out and health.