Study Center | The Masonic Philosophical Society
The Ancient of Days

Minneapolis 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.

Minneapolis Study Center
St. Francis Church 3201 Pleasant Avenue SouthMinneapolis, MN 55408
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Are the Mind and Body Two Distinct Substances?
Date: 9/8/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Doyle Slack
Synopsis: Rene Descartes posited that the mind and the body of a person are separate but united, constantly influencing each other. Later scientists and philosophers, such as Gilbert Ryle, believed that the body and its activities are what comprise the mind. With several different theories of the nature of the Mind and Body, it is important for Freemasons to determine where their thoughts lay because the Mason is taught to work to use his mind to control his bodies actions - but is this truly possible?

Can a society based on competition, brutality, and fear change its ways?
Date: 10/13/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Max Cumsille
Synopsis: Our modern world seems to be heading in a direction of more hate and division between groups and individuals. If this is not where we want to go, is there any way to stop the momentum of society and re-direct our path? We will analyze the book “Freedom of the known” by J. Krisnamurti, which defines the basis for any change we want to make in the current situation of Humanity.

Does the quality of subjective ethics prevent the embodiment of morality?
Date: 12/8/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Lee Dunn
Synopsis: The responsibility to live ethically through the embracing of virtues is an opportunity presented in Freemasonry. For this discussion we will leave out religion, and try to find how ethics utilized in everyday life affects the efforts of morality in the greater society. Are there commonalities of ethics and morality? What might be the best system of morality and why?

Are we alone in the Galaxy?
Date: 1/12/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Formal Science
Presenter: Doyle Slack
Synopsis: Astronomy is one of the seven liberal arts and sciences that Freemasons use to bring understanding the universe and ourselves. In 1961, Frank Drake introduced Drake's Equation, a formula which can be used to estimate the number of advanced societies in a given population of stars. In the last few years, there has been a great deal of progress in identifying planets around stars, but that is only one factor in determining the likelihood of the presence of civilization elsewhere in our galaxy. We will look at Drake's equation and discuss the importance that man has historically placed on being the only advanced species in the universe.

Is technology destroying our social fabric?
Date: 4/13/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Nelly Fladstol
Synopsis: Social and digital media have become a huge part of today’s society. Social media may appear to make our lives easier, but at the same time it complicates them. Meanwhile, jobs which people have trained for and depend on for a living are disappearing as technology replaces humans in industry and the service sector. Freemasons are taught that the bonds of brotherhood are formed in human interaction - but what will happen if we continue to withdraw into our screens?

Is Alice representative of the ideal human in Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?
Date: 5/11/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Literature
Presenter: Jamie Shuler
Synopsis: Written in 1865, the tale of a 7-yr old falling down a rabbit hole and journeying through a nonsensical world has outlasted its own generation, seemingly permanently penned into the mainstream human consciousness. What exactly is it about Alice and her Adventure that we find so alluring, though? Is Wonderland a parallel of our same nonsensical Earth, and Alice the ultimate Heroine? Freemasonry is a system of ideals constructed to assist one’s evolution into a more perfect form, many of the traits undeniably exhibited by Alice during her journey.

Is there an Absolute Morality?
Date: 6/8/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Shawn Thorson
Synopsis: Co-Masonry puts great stress on the moral nature of it members, and claims to give instruction in morality. Is there an Absolute Morality which can be taught? What does it mean to be a “moral” person today?

What is Epigenetics and how does it affect our lives?
Date: 7/13/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Max Cumsille
Synopsis: When playing a song, knowing and reading the musical notes is as important as doing it at the right pace. In the score, the musical notes are placed sequentially, and different marks inform the musician about the style, speed and intensity with which they should be played. The human genome works in a similar way to a score, in which the DNA sequence contains instructions for producing proteins and other functional elements, and epigenetic mechanisms regulate how and to what degree they have to express themselves.

Is Deism really Atheism in disguise?
Date: 9/14/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Theology
Presenter: Doyle Slack
Synopsis: Deism is the belief that while God exists and he created the universe, He has since been a "hands off" being - He is the clockmaker that has no need or want of adoration. He has created the world and it need no longer to concern itself with His presence. Deism, created at the time of the Age of Reason values the mysteries of Science and Nature to explain the world. Much of what the Deist values are also valued by the Atheist - a strong sense of morality, a foundation in science and reason, and no need for organized religion. Freemasons value science, nature and God, concepts which, to either the Atheist or Deist, may seem at odds with each other. We will discuss the similarities and differences between Deism and Atheism and determine if these two are closer in belief and nature than they first appear.

Is all happiness created equal?
Date: 10/12/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Jake Schlichting
Synopsis: John Stewart Mill proposed that happiness is the goal of mankind, but that there are different levels of happiness and that some are "better" than others as they promote the betterment of mankind versus being purely hedonistic. Freemasonry purports to work toward the perfection of humanity. Does that mean that we should eliminate frivolous pleasures from our lives?

Has war ever benefited humanity?
Date: 11/9/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Shawn Thorson
Synopsis: War is terrible - death, destruction, and misery abound as its result. However, some might argue that we might never have reached our current level of technology and civilization if war had not forced the issue. Is there ever truly a "just" war? Many Freemasons have served with distinction in the 19th and 20th Centuries - how did they reconcile the concepts of brotherhood and violence?

Is the search for meaning in life a moral obligation?
Date: 12/14/2019 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Jamie Shuler
Synopsis: In his 1942 Philosophical Essay The Myth of Sisyphus, Albert Camus proclaims “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.” Camus believed man’s search for meaning and happiness was a moral obligation, posing the meaning of life as the most urgent of life’s questions. Does the Masonic ideal to seek truth, paired with the duties to speak truth, be tolerant, and practice solidarity, support Camus’ question in proclaiming a reason for the work that is living?

"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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