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The Ancient of Days

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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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"The Invisible Cloth": What is the Metaphor Embedded in this Tale?
Date: 3/28/2018 5:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Formal Science
Presenter: Jeanette Castro
Synopsis: “The invisible Cloth”, cleverly altered by Andersen in “The Emperors new Cloth”, is a story from Spains fourteenth century, "The Fifty Pleasant Stories of Patronio." The story is about two impostor weavers who promise a king a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those who are illegitimate sons of their father. When the King parades before his subjects in his new clothes, no one dares to say what they see until a slave, who happened to notice the king thus equipped; for he, having nothing to lose, came to him and said, "Sire, to me it matters not whose son I am, therefore I tell you that you are riding without any clothes." Why do we deny truth despite evidence? What do Freemasons think about how and why truth should be pursued? Why do we assume statements that do not stand in any reasonable argument without criticism?

Does Nihilism Lead to a Fulfilling Life?
Date: 4/25/2018 6:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Isaac Levy
Synopsis: Human beings are blessed (or cursed) with intelligence. We use this ability to gain insights into our selves and the world around us and we develop meaning from it. Even if we dont understand something, our brain will make up an answer to justify its existence. The Nihilist will argue that it is better to not believe in anything than to believe in something that is false. Does the philosophy of Nihilism lead to a fulfilling life and is this philosophy in opposition to everything Freemasonry stands for?

The U.S. Electoral College: Effective System or Outdated Paradigm?
Date: 5/23/2018 6:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Elaine Phelen
Synopsis: In the 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost to Donald Trump in the Electoral College, which gave him the Presidency. Are American citizens qualified to elect the President? The political philosophy that ordinary citizens are not qualified to choose their leaders was common practice in the early years of popular voting. Instead, nations made use of indirect voting, whereby the voters would elect a group of representatives to select public leaders on their behalf. The Electoral College is the last vestige of this arcane system still operating in the United States. Thus, when Americans go to vote for the President on Election Day they are not voting for the President, they are choosing representatives who will vote on their behalf. Freemasonry rests under the banner of the universality of all mankind and operates under the principles of Tolerance, Justice, and Equality. When American Citizens are withheld the electoral power to choose our President, are we truly operating as, “We the People,” as stated in the U.S. Constitution? Join the discussion to learn about the U.S. Electoral College, Freemasonry, and the role of Equality in our electoral process.

What Can the Life of Samurai Miyamoto Musashi Teach Us About Freemasonry?
Date: 6/27/2018 6:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Aksel Suvari
Synopsis: At the height of feudal Japan there lived a samurai by the name of Miyamoto Musashi. First tested in battle at the age of 13, Musashi would go on to become one of the most feared and legendary swordsmen in history. Not content merely with the mastery of the sword, Musashi was adept in the ways of poetry, art, music, and philosophy. In the few writings we have of his we can find a worldview in absolute harmony with the precepts of Freemasonry. By studying the accomplishments of his life we can better understand the warrior spirit and how it can help us lead a more noble life.

Was Judas’ Betrayal of Jesus an Act of a Compassionate Sacrifice?
Date: 7/25/2018 5:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Theology
Presenter: Dennis Garza
Synopsis: The revelation of the events in the second chapter of acts could not have been possible without the events that led to the replacement of Judas, with Matthias. Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve original disciples of Jesus, is perhaps the most famous and the most widely misunderstood of the disciples. Even the Gospels disagree as to how the events occurred, to his possible motive, and to how he died. Despite the inconsistencies, or as a result, the story of Judas gives us a treasure trove of ideas to ponder. Let us explore!

Do Ancient Alchemical Beliefs on the Cycle of the Elements Have any Bearing to the Modern World?
Date: 8/22/2018 6:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Esotericism
Presenter: Byron Gorrell
Synopsis: Ancient practitioners of alchemy believed that the four basic elements, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, formed a cycle which describes, in mesmerizing detail, how Humanity evolves. Moreover, the cycle is described as a precise sequence, paralleling aspects of the world as they then understood it. Do those philosophical and pseudoscientific practices dating from around the 13th century really have any bearing on modern society?

Do the Ends Justify the Means?
Date: 9/26/2018 6:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Jeanette 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 months MPS will focus on the different ethical meanings that this controversial maxim contains.

Is the evolution of language an indication of the evolution of man?
Date: 10/24/2018 6:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Formal Science
Presenter: Katie Cumsille
Synopsis: How well do you understand your native language? Its intricate and complex nature causes misunderstandings and conflict as well as communicates feelings and emotions. There is no group of people, including Freemasons, that do not exhibit a level of language, whether it be complex or simple. Such variation in language leads one to ask: Is there a connection between an extensive language system and the evolution of its speakers? Join us as we study the foundation of psycholinguistics and see if we can correlate it to Man's evolution, and more especially to our own personal evolution.

What would our Founding Fathers think of the Supreme Court Today?
Date: 11/28/2018 6:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Doyle Slack
Synopsis: Many of the Founding Fathers of this country were either Freemasons, or their ideals aligned closely with Masonic principles. They defined a system of government with checks and balances consisting of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches. All of these have evolved over time, but the role of the Supreme Court has changed significantly, some would say far beyond what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Date: 12/26/2018 6:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Literature
Presenter: Dark
Synopsis: Bro. Matias has authorized the Center going dark for the holiday season

Camus, The Stranger, and the Absurd
Date: 1/23/2019 7:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Dennis Garza
Synopsis: In this classic novel introducing the unique absurdism of Albert Camus, Meursault refuses to be emotionally governed by the expectations of others. He does not show emotion at his mother’s funeral and seemed to have a detached indifference to a myriad of bizarre events unfolding in the novel. The courts and society in general conclude that Meursault is a “soulless monster” but Camus is expressing a belief that the main character is simply embodying the nature of the universe, absurd, and without meaning.

Is the worldview that the ultimate reality of the universe is Mental(or Spiritual) rather than physical/material relevant today? 
Date: 2/27/2019 3:31:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Diego Segatore
Synopsis: Since the inception of Western Philosophy in Ancient Greece the Mind vs. Matter debate has been central to ontology.  While Materialists believe that the world is ultimately material/physical and that mind is merely activity of the brain, the idealists' view is that reality and our universe is itself mental or immaterial.  After Newtonian physics took hold of our scientific worldview many Materialist Philosophers declared victory over their Idealists rivals but the convulsions in physics caused by Relativity and Quantum Theory has put a large dent on this worldview.  As early as the first half of the 20th century, British scientist Sir.  James Jean wrote: "The Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine." Further, scientific studies on ESP and other paranormal phenomena provide evidence for mind over matter.  

How do Stories, Epics, and Myths Communicate our Human Behavior?
Date: 3/27/2019 3:34:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Katie Cumsille
Synopsis: Religions stories and theological myths have been the method by which humans across the eras have communicated certain immutable truths. The ignorant cast these tales aside calling them antiquated or superstitious. The zealot takes them for literal truth. The Human should take it as neither; for Truth is Truth no matter its source. The Human Mind is more than a complex system. It is a portal into the inner world of the Universe, personified through the senses. Great epics are a projection of the Human Mind and it is our job as Benefactors of Humanity to dig deep into its allegories to uncover the Truth it is trying to convey. Join us this month as we take a psychological approach to such stories as the Garden of Eden, Prometheus, and Arjuna. 

Does the Trivium Method provide a path to intellectual freedom?
Date: 4/24/2019 3:35:00 PM
Topic of Study: Formal Science
Presenter: Aksel Suvari
Synopsis: Freedom is a necessary requirement for any candidate to Freemasonry. In the modern age, and especially in the West, we think of ourselves as inherently free, but how independent are our thoughts? Are we really free from those who would control our minds? Throughout history, the Trivium Method of critical thinking has been used by great minds to explore the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science. By examining the Trivium Method and the logical fallacies we will carve a path toward the mental freedom required to pursue these same mysteries and come one step closer to the door of Freemasonry.

Do fractals represent the Nature of our reality?
Date: 5/22/2019 3:36:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Byron Gorrell
Synopsis: Humans have a remarkable ability to discern patterns. Repeating patterns are a phenomenon seen throughout nature, such as thefractal. Could our ability to discern those patterns and their existence be an indication of deeper truths for this existence? Join us as discussion topics range from geometrical constructs to quantum mechanics to theoretical combinations of spirit and matter and how they all are woven into our fabric of reality to infer some potentially surprising implications

J.S. Bach, a brilliant composer, or an inspired rebel?
Date: 6/26/2019 7:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Art
Presenter: Bro. Lin Gold
Synopsis: Pictures of J.S. Bach present the very image of respectability. The fact is, he was incredibly tough, and he bucked authority. As a young man, he was a street brawler; he publically tangled with musicians who didn’t meet his standards, and he regularly challenged his employers. But what about the music? Bach fully developed the structure of modern tonal music, and then focused his rebellious nature to transcend form and create art of incredible depth and breadth. In Freemasonry, we study the arts and sciences so we can better understand the structure of our world, learn to focus our energies and manifest our potential. What clues do Bach’s life and music have for a traveler on the path of evolution?

Is the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho merely a story of chasing after your dreams or is it about self discovery and improvement?
Date: 1/22/2020 7:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Literature
Presenter: Diego Segatore
Synopsis: The book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is about a lonely Shepard named Santiago who, after dreaming of the pyramids of Egypt, goes to a gypsy who tells him to find his personal treasure/dream. This is further encouraged by an old man claiming to be a king. He sells his flock, and with the money he sets out on an adventure that starts by crossing to Mediterranean and losing all of his money in Morocco. This does not dissuade him and he keeps on following his personal treasure. On the way he is met with not just monetary set-backs, he also falls in love with a woman and is tempted to not continue with his journey. Ultimately he keeps on going and meets an alchemist who reveals to him what the true treasure in life is. When Santiago asks the Alchemist why others haven't been able to turn base metals into gold the alchemist states "They were only looking for Gold.", this sentence sums up the conclusion of the book that the treasure Santiago finds is nothing like what he expected at the beginning of his journey.

"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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