Are Ghosts Real?
Date: 1/28/2017 10:00:00 AM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Bro Carolyn Bellinger-Kawahara
Synopsis: Seemingly from time immemorial people the world over have held beliefs in spirits or ghosts of their departed family or loved ones. Although there is little if any scientific evidence to prove the existence of such phenomena, the strong concordance of anecdotal evidence of sightings and visitations along with the purported photographs of ghosts do present a compelling picture. Accounts from persons who have undergone a near-death experience are remarkably consistent in both emotional and physical content with the specific events that took place when their bodies were clinically dead. Some researchers have speculated that these experiences are due to the final neuronal activity in the dying brain; others believe that it may represent that moment when the spirit, or some non-material component, starts to separate from the body. As Freemasons, we are strongly encourage to contemplate our mortality. Do ghosts, whether or not they exist, prompt Freemasons to consider what might be part and parcel without our mortality? After a brief introduction of current research, we will discuss the many implications of a definitive answer to the question, "Are ghosts real?"
Is Freemasonry a Hobby?
Date: 2/25/2017 10:00:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Karen Kidd
Synopsis: Chambers Universal Learners' Dictionary, International Student's Edition, (by E.M. Kirkpatrick, Allied Publishers, 1994) defines a "hobby" as "something a person enjoys doing in his spare time." Other definitions add that it's done only for pleasure or to pass the time but that tends to add a more modern meaning to the word. Some older definitions talk about a hobby as a form of self improvement. Making that distinction is important because Freemasonry isn't new and, when the word "hobby" is applied to it, it invariable falls under that older definition.
Laura Hanes Cadwallader, in her "Business Forms and Customs for Everyday Use" (John C. Winston Company, 1922), said a hobby is the first step toward self-improvement. "General self-improvement means, first, cultivate a hobby - no matter how simple it is and pursue it hard. It will lead you to books and shops, even if the hobby is an outdoor sport."
Obviously, Freemasonry is not an outdoor sport but it can be very intense and, as such, naturally leads to self-improvement. Cadwallader, not herself a Freemason, urged her readers to find the most intense hobby they most cared about to make the most of themselves. "Begin with the kind you care for, and if you care enough, you will gradually like the best," she said. ". . . Again, be one of those who have eyes and ears. Educate yourself to go higher."
Does Freemasonry fit that definition? Is Freemasonry a hobby? If Freemasonry is not a hobby, what is it?