Kolbe Report 6/8/24

The Only Solution

Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

The foundation of our holy Catholic Faith is the dogma of creation, summarized in the First Article of the Apostles Creed.  When a man tries to build his life on any other foundation, he will inevitably experience instability, even if his efforts lead to fame and fortune.  In his book The Only Solution to the Self-Help Problem, author Roy Metter demonstrates that the metaphysical principles of traditional Catholic philosophy and the traditional Catholic doctrine of creation provide the foundation for a happy, healthy, holy life for anyone who embraces them.  In this newsletter I would like to share Roy’s Introduction to his book and encourage all of our readers to take advantage of a special offer on the print version of The Only Solution to the Self-Help Problem which we are publishing today.

Introduction to The Only Solution to the Self-Help Problem 

What is the purpose of life? Is there a question more worthy of your attention? Is the question even worth your attention? Is it possible to find a legitimate answer? An answer worthy of all your time and energy? A true bedrock for all that you do?

The most famous “wise men” of the past century say, “no.” There is no objective purpose to life, just a relative one. They put all emphasis on how to achieve rather than what to achieve. The goal itself, the purpose of life, they say, is ultimately up to you.

Earl Nightingale, one of the most influential figures in the self-help genre, or success literature, of the past century, claims that: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” In other words, as long as man is making progress in achieving a goal he deems worthy, he will be happy and successful.

This message is echoed to one degree or another by the most famous and accomplished men of the last century. Winston Churchill defined success as, “the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Yet, he failed to mention what should drive man’s enthusiasm. Og Mandino said, “Failure will never overtake [him] if [his] determination to succeed is strong enough.” However, what if his goal is less than his capability? Or what if it leads him in a direction unworthy of his life? What if he is determined to achieve a failing proposition? Would that not just magnify the failure? All the effort and progress in the world will fail if it is aimed at a failing proposition.

This neo-relativistic messaging has become much less subtle in the 21st century. Tony Robbins, a bestselling author of several motivational books, says, “Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.”

Imagine telling this to a child. Imagine saying, “Son, if you want to be happy and successful, just do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.” What would happen to that kid? What kind of a disordered home would that produce?

Any honest parents will confess that their child would become a monster. This does not mean that the child is evil or ill-willed; he is just a child. With no direction or moral guidance, he will do whatever makes him feel good, and his feelings are inherently disordered. This lack of moral order will naturally cause disorder, making life miserable for him and everyone around him.

Now imagine this message being given to the whole world. Imagine an echo chamber of the world’s most respected leaders, speakers, authors, and businessmen encouraging people to, “follow their passions,” or to do whatever they want just as long as they do not lose their enthusiasm. What kind of a society would that produce?

This message has overwhelmed the United States for the past century, and now, with only 4% of the world’s population, it harbors 25% of the world’s prison inmates. Couples can hardly stand to live with each other, as one in every two marriages ends in divorce. Despair has become so overwhelming that suicide is now a leading cause of death. Mental disorders have become so abundant that mental health experts believe one in five adults suffers from a mental illness. If we can know a tree by its fruit, this one clearly needs to be cut down.

Stephen Covey, in his bestselling, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, expresses his concern with the 20th century success literature and the negative effects it has on modern society. According to Covey, most people center their lives around goals or ideals that fall far short of “worthy,” thus causing man to fall short of realizing his full potential. His solution is for one to center life around principles. The “principle-centered” life is the best way to live, according to Covey. In discerning those principles, he tells the reader to imagine attending his own funeral. Imagine his closest family, friends, and colleagues at the podium describing him. The reader should spell out exactly what he wants the people in his life to say, using that reflection as a template of the person he will strive to become; the chief purpose of life.

However, as noble a practice as this may seem, the reader is still subject to disorder. Rather than focusing on a perfect, singular, unchanging, all-encompassing goal, he is open to the fleeting opinions of others. Unless his friends and family are perfect in every way (which is an impossible circumstance), this is a recipe for disaster. As one prominent philosopher put it: “The road to hell (i.e., misery), is paved out of human respect.”

If man is unqualified in assigning his own purpose, (as the statistics above reveal), what business does anyone else have doing it? Then again, if we cannot trust anyone, including ourselves, where could we feasibly go? What could possibly be a worthy goal or ideal for life? Who can tell us?

When I was about twenty-four years of age, I began seeking the answer in what is known as the “self-help” genre, because the best-selling authors claimed to know. I flooded my mind with ideas from many of the 20th century “self-help” thought giants like Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Bob Proctor, Earl Nightingale, Stephen Covey, Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Og Mandino and many others. I subscribed to the many self-help Youtube channels, listening to all kinds of motivational CDs, and was applying their methods the best I could.

I thought I was having about as much success as I could have at the time. My wife and boss were happy with my new proactive habits. My clearly defined— what I deemed worthy— goals gave me a “sense of purpose.” I was having much more fruitful conversations with the people around me, and I even achieved doubling my income in a year! In short, things were going great.

The problem I discovered with these philosophies, however, stemmed from Earl Nightingale’s relativistic message that is the undercurrent for almost all of the other self-help ideals of the last century. If “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal,” the necessary and logical question to ask is: “What could possibly be a worthy goal or ideal?”

While short-term goals of paying off debts and growing strong relationships are noble, I came to realize that they were not “the be all and end all” of worthy goals or ideals. All intuitively know that there must be one goal that is the pinnacle of all others, a supreme goal, the sum of all worthy short-term goals. It should drive man to improve in all facets of life, challenging him to remove bad habits and replace them with good ones. There must be a goal that will properly order man in the direction he was made for.

This goal should not only drive man to personal success, but also to fulfill his duties according to his state in life. If his worthy goal is a career achievement, like becoming a leader of a Fortune 1000 company, how much would he need to neglect his family to achieve such a goal? On the other hand, what if his goal is to help his kids fulfill their dreams? What happens if their dreams are ridiculous or would lead them down a bad path? And even if they were worthy dreams, what happens after they leave the house and it is just his wife and him? How will they restore their marriage when all their time and energy was devoted solely to their children?

Again, what in the world could possibly be a worthy goal or ideal?

I have arduously sought the answer in many places and have been led to many different conclusions. However, by the grace of God, I did discover the answer to all of life’s most important questions. Let me repeat that: I discovered the answer to all of the most meaningful questions mankind has ever asked. And yes, I do mean all of them. I found that the principles have not only been articulated with great depth and clarity by the greatest minds in history, but more importantly, they were lived out by the greatest people in history. People who accomplished things that you never thought possible. Though these people are of diverse backgrounds from kings to slaves, they all achieved perfection by the same means. Their levels of perfection directly corresponded to the levels in which they participated in what I am naming: “The Only Solution to the Self-Help Problem.”

The purpose of The Only Solution to the Self-Help Problem is to form you into one of those people. It is not only the purpose of the program but, as you will see, it is the purpose of your life.

This book will hardly scratch the surface of the wisdom and beauty found in The Only Solution to the Self-Help Problem. It will serve as a mere introduction, and an insufficient one at that. The intention is not to approach the matter from the standpoint of a teacher but more as a fellow student, a student who has combed through enough errors to find the truth about the purpose of life, a truth that is binding for all mankind.

In doing this, we will start with a common understanding of the subject matter at hand, the human person. Using basic, undeniable logic, we will explore the vital habits and operations common to all mankind, doing so through the lens of objective reality with the help of the greatest minds in history. We will look at the historical context in which man finds himself. As Marcus Cicero observed, “To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.” There are many competing theories about the history of mankind, and, consequently, many different ideas about the best way to live.

In the end, you will confidently arrive at the only possible answer. You will know your purpose, the source and summit of your life. It will be like nothing you could have anticipated. You will find that not only is it the only solution, but it also, like you, is subjected to a fallen world. Its perfect order implicates the disordered, and its divine truths repel the world’s lies. Like you, it is not of this world, but in it. It is exposed to it. It leads to true happiness in this life, but especially in the next.

However, one thing will be standing in the way. One thing will resist the truth for which you were made. The deeper you dive, the more it will resist. It cannot stand you leaving the surface. This one thing standing between you and your ultimate purpose is pride. Nowadays, it often exists under the guise of self-esteem or self-confidence. It is the source of the self-help problem and will blind anyone to the only solution.

However, if you keep diving, if you humbly persist in seeking truth, you will find the air you were made to breathe, the Truth for which you were made to live. You will find your purpose in life. It will be, without a doubt, the best way to live. And for reasons you never could have guessed, you will find that there is no better place, there is no better way, and there is no better time in the history of the world to conform your life to The Only Solution to the Self-Help Problem.

If you know a friend, a relative, or a neighbor who hasn’t yet found The Only Solution to the Self-Help Problem, or who is struggling to put it into practice, please read Roy’s book and prayerfully consider sharing it with that neighbor, relative or friend.

Yours in Christ through the Immaculata in union with St. Joseph,

Hugh Owen

P.S. I would like to introduce you to a new member of our advisory council, Dr. Marco Fasoli, whom I met on my recent visit to the UK for the Kolbe Center.  Marco is a great defender of the traditional doctrine of creation which he defends effectively from the perspective of theology and natural science.  Marco holds PhD, MA and BA degrees in Natural Science (Biochemistry) from the University of Cambridge. His PhD on the pyrimidine transport and salvage metabolism of pathogenic Candida was sponsored by the UK Science and Engineering Research Council and resulted in the publication of multiple papers in leading scientific journals, including the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.  His research work was presented at several international conferences, including the 1st International Conference on Drug Research in Immunological and Infectious Diseases.

Here is a link to a 1h30min talk that Marco recorded for Radio Immaculata, the Marian Franciscans' media channel.  It deals mainly with the Catholic doctrine of creation.

This other link is the part that was originally cut out from this talk (as otherwise it would have been too long), which goes into more detail on the scientific issues with evolution.  This was then later broadcast as a separate 30min release.  This is the one getting most views, including much vitriol!.

Finally, this is a link to the earlier video on Marco's conversion.  It explains Marco's scientific background and faith journey.

Please pray for Marco in his role as a leader in the restoration of the traditional doctrine of creation as the foundation of the Faith and as the only firm foundation for a culture of life in the UK and throughout the world.

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