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San Francisco Study Center

The Masonic Philosophical Society has been growing throughout the world steadily. While we offer many different resources for our members to grow and learn online, there is simply no substitute for attending the Study Center nearest you. When you attend a Study Center of the Masonic Philosophical Society you will have the opportunity, not only to hear from a speaker, but to participate in the dialogue.

San Francisco Study Center
2312 Alameda Ave., Alameda, CA 94501
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Is artistic expression inherently good?
Date: 4/8/2017 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: Art
Presenter: Joshua Fradenburg
Synopsis: How does art reflect the inner man? Throughout history, art has been used to inspire, educate, and create social movements. The exchange of art has stimulated new thinking and brought forth curiosity and the exploration of the potential of human possibility. As a promoter of the arts, we will explore how Freemasonry plays a role in ensuring that artistic expression is vibrant and lifting humanity towards its highest ideals.

Is there Freewill?
Date: 5/13/2017 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Celso Batlha
Synopsis: In this discussion group, we will examine if humans are entirely free to exercise choices in their daily lives. Citizens of a social free world may believe they are free; we suggest that by focusing on the “here and now,” we will evaluate ideas associated with freewill, such as building knowledge. Masonic rituals can be interpreted as artistic dramas performed by members as designed to improve human behavior and bring an understanding of how nature operates on the physical and psychological levels. These dramas may help members develop learning tools, enabling them to perform “unconditioned and free” actions. We will explore if freedom can be exercised in rituals.

Is Literature as important as we think it is?
Date: 6/10/2017 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: Literature
Presenter: Jenel Murray
Synopsis: Literature is a term used to describe written as well as spoken art that evolves from the creative mind; imagination developed into poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction. In some instances, song may be literature. Literature represents the culture and tradition of a language or people. Ergo, Literature evolves. For many, the word literature suggests a higher art form; merely putting words on a page does not necessarily mean creating literature. In this study group, we will explore the Masonic views of literature and if literature is as important as the Freemason may believe it to be.

Can Wisdom be communicated?
Date: 7/8/2017 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Jenel Murray
Synopsis: Many people mistake knowledge for wisdom because they are intimately related, and this is unfortunate because they are quite different in an important way. Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and information. Wisdom is the synthesis of knowledge and experiences into insights that deepen one’s understanding of relationships and the meaning of life. In other words, knowledge is a tool, and wisdom is the craft in which the tool is used. Freemasons value both wisdom and knowledge, but in different ways. This discussion will surround the question of the difference of the two, and if Wisdom can truly be communicated.

Were medieval stonemasons keepers of arcane wisdom?
Date: 9/9/2017 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Andrea Katzer
Synopsis: The stonemasons of Medieval England were highly-skilled craftsmen to whom the principles of building made up a living science. They kept secret their methods of building and established the apprentice-to-journeyman-to-master system of educating men in their craft. The testimony to their exceptional work stands today in the many cathedrals and castles that still exist. As it is theorized that Freemasonry developed from the medieval stonemason's guilds, we will explore the question: "Did these medieval artisans have access to an arcane wisdom that they encoded into the Gothic cathedrals and numerous other structures they created?"

Is music the purest form of communication known to man?
Date: 10/14/2017 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: Art
Presenter: Doyle Slack
Synopsis: TAs Freemasons, we are encouraged to study all the arts and sciences to help widen our world view. Music is an interesting paradox - based in concrete math and science, but driven by the imagination and the abstract mind. It is often thought that music has the ability to affect our emotions, intellect and psychology; it can assuage our loneliness or incite our passions. The philosopher Plato suggests in the Republic that music has a direct effect on the soul. We will discuss how different music affects people differently, and whether or not this is a more direct method of communication than the written or spoken word.

Is the Scientific Method obsolete?
Date: 12/9/2017 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: Formal Science
Presenter: Kristine Wilson-Slack
Synopsis: The overall process of the scientific method involves making conjectures (hypotheses), deriving predictions from them as logical consequences, and then carrying out experiments based on those predictions. Some scientists have declared, as far back as 30 years ago, that "All models are wrong, but some are useful." The deluge of data and analytics may make the scientific method a thing of the past. Freemasons, who are lovers of nature and science have often used the Scientific method to explain the world and support their philosophies. We'll explore the ways that the scientific method hiders, and helps, Freemason's quests for Truth.

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Wisdom of Neoplatonism

"Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fantasies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after years relieved of them."
Hypatia of Alexandria
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