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The Ancient of Days

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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Were the first human spiritual beliefs inclusive?
Date: 4/14/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Karoli Clever
Synopsis: The dawn of mankind and anthropological sites all over the globe seem to point out the beginning of the concept of a deity or many deities was exclusive to few select individuals. These were shamans and holy deputies either by having extraordinary talents from birth or receiving very special training starting at extremely young ages. The acceptance of this exclusivity, like we display in Freemasonry, may have been more natural to these early societies, compared to the age of enlightenment with many outspoken devout believers that seem to constantly struggle to agree to a constructive guidance system.

Are Black Holes a Reflection of our Universe?
Date: 5/12/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Joshua Fradenbrug
Synopsis: Modern theories hold that Black Holes have a dramatic impact on matter, down to it’s very building blocks - the atoms described by Greek philosophers and myriad others since. Ancient Greeks studied universal natural forces but it is not clear how black holes factor into these natural forces, if at all. According to some modern physicists, like Kate Becker, the Black Hole is the "ultimate information storing device." There is a belief that Black Holes are synonymous with holograms, calling into question the entire nature of reality. Freemasons strive to understand nature and live in harmony with it. That calling might not apply in a universe that has no real substance.

Has War Ever Led to Good?
Date: 6/9/2018 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Jenel Murray
Synopsis: Eternal peace seems to be beyond human reach. Justifications for wars have been religious, financial, philosophical, and even familial. Human beings, according to Charles Darwin, have an innate struggle with themselves and with nature - always fighting for dominance and adaptability. Thus, war is necessary for growth. Yet, the horrors of war spread hatred, falsehood, and fanaticism - the very things which Freemasonry pledges to abolish. How? Through the relentless struggle which might be called "war." Destruction may bring about new life, but it may not be worth the price humanity has to pay. We will discuss these two visions of the outcome of war and how Freemasonry fits into this conundrum.

Does Platonism Teach Truth?
Date: 7/14/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Kristine Wilson-Slack
Synopsis: Plato believed that Truth was a virtue that was "objective," that is, the virtue itself had a value outside of the observer of the value. Plato stated that "Truth" lays in an abstract "Ideal". We can apply the fundamental principles of mathematical proofs to locate to the True form of these transcendent truths or Ideals. The natural world we perceive through our senses reveals only a fallen, shadow, incomplete versions of this Ideal Truth. However, Truth seems to be irrelevant if there were no human application of the ideal. As Truth lies in the abstract and exists more clearly in our minds than in the natural world, philosophical contemplation -- rather than observation -- is the road toward Truth. Freemasons have, as a goal, to strive for Truth. According to Plato, this may be a futile effort.

Does God Exist?
Date: 9/8/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Theology
Presenter: Karoli Clever
Synopsis: There is an unequivocal need in many individuals to believe that there is a chief creator of the universal consciousness. Although there are many ways to honor faith in this God source, the need for proof has not stopped most of mankind to accept something that cannot be justified by our general senses. Generally, Freemasons must have a belief in something greater than themselves, whether it is called God or by any other name. Well explore the manifestation of the unknown as evidence of the existence of God.

Are Human Pheromones Still Important in Human Interactions?
Date: 10/13/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Jenel Murray
Synopsis: Pheromones have been demonstrated clearly in other species but their existence and ability to affect humans is still under debate. Several studies have been conducted that have reached different conclusions, some pheromone effects seen in other mammals are definitely present in humans.We choose those in our "tribe" based on many factors, especially those using our senses, pheromones may simply be a way humans communicate. In Freemasonry, we place a special emphasis on our humanity, including those of our senses. We will discuss how this form of communication matters in human interactions, including those of "group" membership, like Freemasonry.

Is Diplomacy Important?
Date: 11/10/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Kristine Wilson-Slack
Synopsis: Diplomacy is the art of dealing with people in a sensitive and effective way, whether those people are nations, groups, or other individuals. Without diplomacy, you can neither protect your own interests and further your standing in life, nor can you work with others to accomplish more for yourself and others. Yet, many great leaders were terrible diplomats - boorish, crude, and thoroughly ignorant - and still accomplished much. Steve Jobs created a world class company worth billions and was horrible to his employees, while Richard Nixon opened the doors to China and the East, yet had no internal diplomatic skills. In Antifragile, by Nassim Taleb, its argued that the things which can withstand the least "diplomatic" treatment are the things that endure. While Freemasons value the ability to work together and be diplomatic and has produced many great leaders, there may be more life and passion in creating "Chaos out of Order." Perhaps we need a lack of diplomacy to shake up and improve the status quo.

Could Marcus Aurelius Been the First Freemason?
Date: 12/8/2018 12:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Andrea Katzer
Synopsis: Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161 to 180, was a practitioner of Stoicism. His writing called “Meditations” is a significant source of our modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy and could be considered the source of Masonic morality. The goal of Stoicism is freedom from passion through the pursuit of reason and apathy, in its ancient sense of being objective, unemotional and having clear judgment. In many respects, it bears a remarkable similarity to the ethical teachings of the Buddha and the four noble truths of Buddhism, and it also bears a remarkable similarity to Masonic teachings. Well explore how the writings of Marcus Aurelius perhaps built the foundations of Modern Freemasonry.

"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
Physicist
Personal Writings

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