Column by Vahram G. Diehl
It should be superfluous for me to say that listening to the words of Jay Snelson and meeting him gave me a startlingly more accurate and useful understanding of reality and in particular its subsection called human society. There have been and will continue to be many to reflect upon Jay's life's work and the enormous number of paradigms he swayed toward a viable methodology of sustainable peace. This series of accomplishments in itself would be enough to earn Jay esteem as a powerful and important teacher. There has, however, been an even greater blessing for me in having had him as an influence at the time I did.
Through the use of his dynamically self-assured speaking, Jay consistently has imprinted upon me and surely everyone else who has heard him a powerful intuitive conviction that whatever he was saying was worthy of careful attention and consideration. He has thoroughly convinced me against all previous inclination to the contrary that individuals working together and applying their skills in the proper ways can achieve enough leverage to make a staggering difference in the world in spite of its numerous barriers to progress. Before I had been convinced of the practical potential of this leverage, I could certainly never have amounted to much great accomplishment in my life. It is impossible to live a life of any real purpose or strive toward the achievement of any important goal without the confidence that one's actions will be effective. Jay's confidence in spreading this message was a drive for me to develop myself to the best of my natural abilities, to never stop seeking progress in the face of momentary externally-imposed hopelessness.
I, like others before me, have for most of my life felt utterly isolated in my manner of interpreting reality. For two decades, I was owner and operator of a systematic and structurally sound reasoning machine with hardly a single external influence to challenge me to optimize my intellectual facilities. Jay's captivating voice was my first real encouragement to develop an integral and ever-expanding intellectual understanding of causality in all endeavors, not merely in those fields where intellectuals of the past had been most successful in their compartmentalized application of scientific methodology. I cannot explain the powerful emotional relief I first experienced as his voice carried on over the hours and demonstrated conclusively to me that whatsoever currently lacks explanation requires only further and more efficient examination. Most people will probably never know the discomfort and pain that comes from believing you are the only one who thinks the way you do about the most important things in life. Jay and his associates made me feel tremendously less lost and alone in a world that commanded me to stifle my interpretation and voice.
Jay's teachings have played a crucial role in bringing me to want to help others to fulfill their own potentials, just as he has inspired me to follow my own. Because of Jay's influence, I began to desire to use my own voice to give others what he had helped me achieve within myself. From Jay I received a most core reminder of what I so desperately wanted to accomplish with my life, and how unfulfilled I would remain until I was doing the work I had been built for. Without that reminder, I might for many years to come still have been searching for my role to play in this world. I know now today that I am a teacher, a purveyor of truth and a guide for those still wandering in the intellectual dark of conventional doctrine and dogma, unable to think for themselves and stand solidly in their own deductions against seas of opposition and ignorance. He has shown me what a right concept of deserved self-esteem really is and how to live a life of honest reward and purpose.
There is a certain irony in the fact that Jay never sired any children, considering all the progressive ideals he espoused on proper parenting and the raising of outstanding offspring. I feel confident in claiming that if he had, he would have been a father who expected nothing but the best from his children and pushed them toward excellence in every regard. By entering the line of work he did as a lecturer and educator, he played a partial parental role over his students, who eagerly soaked up the knowledge and experience he had to offer. In this way, he has been an ideological father to thousands. Jay in no small way helped me to realize my own destiny and push myself out of the comfortably idle nest of post-adolescence and into free fall over the chasm of manhood. I am grateful beyond words to Jay for having had the courage to throw this challenge down before me in such an irresistible fashion.
More than any other lesson, Jay showed me how much folly lies in being ashamed of one's own intellect, curiosity, and inclinations to be outspoken and opinionated about unpopular viewpoints. As he repeatedly demonstrated through historical retellings and his own actions, the greatest and most long-term influential members of our species have been those who were not afraid to speak their minds when it was most dangerous and socially inconvenient to do so. Jay's mighty influence stems from his power to think his own thoughts and articulate this propensity infectiously to others. I am proud of who I am and the virtues I embody because I have been given treasured support by his words and actions; I have looked up to him in so many ways as the kind of intellectual hero I wish to become in my most glorious moments of productive enterprise in the decades to come.
Jay Stuart Snelson has taught me to live to the best of my abilities and be proud to make as much positive change in the world as I can manage during my time in it. I can think of no lesson or message more important or humanitarian to leave behind for the world. The ripples of his mighty influence will resound in incomprehensible ways for an incalculable amount of time. In such a relatively short time that I have been under his influence, his life has empowered mine in so many ways that I will require far more introspection than I have allotted here to begin to realize and acknowledge them all. Although imperfect in practice like all people, Jay was a man of principle. By devoting his life to an ideal, he has achieved a sort of ideological immortality in the minds of those who also adopted such ideals. His journey does not end here; it will continue on through those he has taught, touched, and inspired to live up to a higher standard of humanity. We are the torch-carriers of reason, education, and uninhibited liberty for all now. We will make our teacher proud.
Jay Stuart Snelson lectured for over four decades on alternatives to organized violence and war. His seminars on Optimization Theory and Win-Win Theory, presented through his Institute for Human Progress, have shown that through observational analysis and verification, a truer and more reliable understanding of social causality can be achieved. In “Taming the Violence of Faith,” Snelson reveals a practical, viable solution to the endless crises unleashed by war, poverty and servitude.