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The Ancient of Days

Austin 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.

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Does Freemasonry Have its Own Philosophy?
Date: 3/24/2018 1:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Matias Cumsille
Synopsis: Throughout the ages, people have developed systems of philosophy for the improvement of Mankind - to seek the Truth behind reality. Freemasonry, being a system also designed for the improvement of mankind and to seek Truth, therefore must possess a specific philosophy as well. However, there is no central authority figure in Masonry to regulate its ideas, so how are we to determine its philosophy? We will explore a myriad of Masonic writers in an attempt to uncover the core of Masonic Teachings.

Is the Study of Hermeneutics a Gateway to the Unfolding of Truth?
Date: 4/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Theology
Presenter: Dennis Garza
Synopsis: Although most widely understood to refer to the methodology of interpretation of religious and sacred texts, hermeneutics has a much broader application. Modern hermeneutics is a methodology now used in interpretation and understanding in a variety of fields, to include: Theology, Philosophy, Architecture, Law, Sociology, and Psychology. In the scholarly study of Theology, hermeneutics has become a cornerstone to modern interpretation. Friedrich Schleiemacher, a German theologian, philosopher, and biblical scholar, and the father of modern Theology, posited that a constant re-examining and re-understanding of written text, in both the grammatical and phycological aspects of interpretation, was necessary for the greatest understanding. Can a methodology of hermeneutics be applied to the symbolic language of Freemasonry?

In our World Today, is it Possible to Still Feel Wonder?
Date: 5/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Jill Alessandra
Synopsis: In his The Passions of the Soul, René Descartes proposed that wonderment is the first passion of all and asserted that those without this passion are very ignorant. With all of the pathways to information in our modern world, is it possible to still feel wonder, to experience a sense of mystery, and is it a sign of ignorance or of intelligence to do so? In Freemasonry we begin to wonder at the Universe, usually by a further study of ourselves, our world, and the seven liberal arts and sciences. We will look to Descartes’ idea of wonderment as a starting point to see what happens to us when our curiosity is piqued and we begin to ask “Why?"

Can Symbologies in Masonry and the I Ching be Mutually Supportive?
Date: 6/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Literature
Presenter: Lynne Nevill
Synopsis: How can the I Ching enrich our lives? Our focus will be on the contemplative use of the I Ching, rather than on the divination use. We will especially highlight the fascinating ways that the archetypes and symbolism in the I Ching literature differ from our standard Western symbols and imagery. Particular emphasis will be placed on a deep understanding of the eight foundational trigrams. Can Masonic training in symbols and archetypes help us to better understand and absorb the messages of the I Ching? And can contemplation of the I Ching likewise enrich our Masonic Labors?

Is History a Reliable Guide to Predicting the Future?
Date: 7/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Patrick H. Alessandra
Synopsis: The Spanish writer George Santayana wrote in 1905: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Conventional wisdom holds that a proper understanding of the past is the way to a better future for humanity. But does this always hold true?

How Might the Contemporary, Creative Revolutionary Interpret Renaissance?
Date: 8/25/2018 1:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Starshine Nolan
Synopsis: Renaissance summons a glance back to an ideal past of exploration, invention, and beauty. A time when we recalled ancient wisdom to evolve into the modern world. The word renaissance means “rebirth”, calling us to gaze forward to the next stage of human progress. It is part of a natural, developmental cycle of birth, growth, and death. Historians confine the Renaissance to a few hundred years in European history. How might the contemporary, creative revolutionary interpret renaissance?

Can Color Theory Serve As A Guide For A More Harmonic Relational Society?
Date: 10/27/2018 1:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Art
Presenter: Dennis Garza
Synopsis: Modern color theory divides the eight primary colors into two categories of six chromatic (red, green, blue, cyan, magenta and yellow) and two achromatic colors (black and white). It then divides them into two categories of “additive” and “subtractive” colors. If we consider the chromatic additive colors as “yang/masculine” and the chromatic subtractive colors as “yin/feminine," and the two achromatic colors as sums of each, we end up with the eight primary colors in a format that is a perfect representation of the eight trigrams of the I-Ching. Freemasonry attempts to guide the individual into a more harmonious relationship with others through a greater understanding of the self. Can a study of the yin and yang relational aspects of the trigrams in the ancient art of divination known as the I Ching, as seen through the eyes of modern color theory, serve as a guide to a greater understanding of the self, a greater understanding of others, and thus, to a more harmonic relational society?

"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
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