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The Ancient of Days

West Boylston 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.

West Boylston Study Center
Ioof, 7 Newton St, West Boylston, MA 01583
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What is the Nature of Man according to Plato?
Date: 9/9/2017 3:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Janet Castro
Synopsis: For Plato man is made up of two parts: body and soul. In The Phaedrus, and through the allegory of the charioteer, he explains what the composition of the human soul is, and how it is tripartite in its nature. Socrates says that to define the soul would be a matter “for utterly superhuman and long discourse, but it is within human power to describe it briefly in a figure; let us therefore speak in that way. We will liken the soul to the composite nature of a pair of winged horses and a charioteer […] one of the horses is noble and of noble breed, but the other quite the opposite in breed and character. Therefore […] the driving is necessarily difficult and troublesome.” What is soul and what is its nature? Are there any similarities between Freemasonry and Plato’s idea about the nature of the soul?

Is a robot more noble than a human?
Date: 10/28/2017 3:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Isaac Levy
Synopsis: Robots in science fiction books have been bound by the Three Laws of Robotics; 1) A robot must not harm a human, 2) A robot must obey all orders given to it as long as they don't interfere with Law 1, and 3) A robot must preserve their existence as long as it doesn't interfere with Laws 1 and 2. A robot must place the lives of others above its own. Generally speaking, human beings value their own survival above others. It seems almost as if we operate on the inverse of the Laws of Robotics. Are robots more noble than human beings and how does Robotics relate to Freemasonry?

How do we make tough decision?
Date: 12/9/2017 3:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Anouk Van Opstal
Synopsis: We spend an inordinate amount of time, and a tremendous amount of energy, making choices in everyday situations. We also manage to often turn trivial choices into a tortured mental task. How do we make hard choices? How does one navigate a world of seemingly infinite alternatives? And what happens when the choice is "made" for us"? We will discuss the relationship between reason, value, and instinct and how we navigate the sea of pros and cons as we make decisions that shape our lives. How does Freemasonry help us in making these choices?

Do the ends justify the means?
Date: 2/10/2018 3:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Jeannette Castro
Synopsis: This is a phrase taken from the Latin text "Medulla theologiae moralis" (1645). The phrase found literally says: “Cum finis est licitus, etiam media sunt tender” which means “When the end is licit so is the mean." The Freemason is inclined to investigate this powerful axiom as both the means and the end carry a moral burden and an inevitable impact. This month's MPS will focus on the different ethical meanings that this controversial maxim contains.

“The Ugly Duckling”, an initiatory journey?
Date: 12/8/2018 3:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Literature
Presenter: Jeanette Castro
Synopsis: The Ugly Duckling is a classic-contemporary tale written by Hans Christian Andersen in 1843. The story tells of an Ugly Duckling born in a barnyard. Teased by his brothers and sisters as well as by other animals he decided to leave home and run far away. After a series of dangerous adventures and experiencing a harsh winter where the poor duckling almost died frozen; spring came just for him to discover he had transformed into a beautiful swam. The need for acceptance is a basic human instinct. We want to belong, to fit in, … but at what cost? What conditions and attitudes make us embrace a journey for self-discovery?

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest ... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Albert Einstien
Personal Writings

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