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The Ancient of Days

Santa Cruz 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.

Santa Cruz Study Center
828 N Branciforte Avenue Santa Cruz, CA 95062
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Is the reporting of facts more susceptible to manipulation than in the past?
Date: 4/23/2017 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Karoli Clever
Synopsis: Recent observation show that global awareness grows with the arrival of the world wide web and internet technology these past two decades, and younger generations across the nations seem to search for a unifying history of mankind predating the tailored history of the recent past. The importance of rituals and mystical practices that have the thread of ancient wisdom and spiritual growth woven through them, such as ancient Freemansonry, are a key factor in preserving what makes us equals.

What is Epigenetics?
Date: 2/25/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Courtney Faulkner
Synopsis: Professor Meaney hypothesized that a parent's brain could change as a result of a trauma, which could then be passed down and inherited by his or her child. This MPS topic will explore the field of behavioral epigenetics and whether trauma can be inherited. If so, what does that mean for the offspring of those who have experienced trauma? Can lessons learned in Masonry change the Mason's genetics, and can such changes also be passed down to the children or grandchildren of Masons?

Are there Organizations that Foster Appropriate Gender Relations?
Date: 3/25/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Josh Fradenburg
Synopsis: One does not have to go far in modern society to find reports of inappropriate sexualized conduct. Reports permeate our sports, entertainment, political, business, construction, and service industries. The source of such antisocial misconduct may derive from improper social programming of our youth. However the effect of such programming may be counteracted by retraining social norms. Co-educational organizations that focus on self-development may be a fertile environment for such retraining. As one, Universal Co-Masonry fosters an environment that nurtures the development of all of its members, regardless of gender identity.

Are Facts More Susceptible to Manipulation in Todays Era of Social Media?
Date: 4/22/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Karoli Clever
Synopsis: Technology closes the information gap as the internet allows people from different regions and countries to communicate and exchange ideas. There are many positives to what technology can do for civilization. The quickness in which one can access information helps expedite and increases ones learning and the ability to quickly fact check statements made by others. It seems that technology can lead us more readily to the "truth." Being of great interest to any Seeker, even the Freemason, obtaining of truth is ever in the minds eye. However, are facts more susceptible to manipulation due to social media mass output and Photoshop? It is necessary for all of us to determine whether "facts" are more unreliable today because of the ease by which they can be altered and whether its it just a misconception that we easily followed.

Is the Conflict Between Science and Spirituality Rooted in Our Brain?
Date: 5/27/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Karen Phelps
Synopsis: Research has discovered that some people favor “fact-based” and others “faith-based” ways of thinking and explaining the world. In this study group we will explore whether there is a conflict rooted in the structure of our brains and if we can come to respect the insights that Science and Spirituality offer by training our brains to use both methods to understand life. Co-Masons are encouraged to develop analytical thinking and moral concern, which implies using conflicting networks of the brain. Its members are expected to defend a point based on facts (not feelings) and to avoid superstition…and yet the rituals teach a path of moral improvement, with a faith in God being essential. In this Meetup, we will explore if Co-Masonry calls for more “evidence-based” or “faith-based” thinking.

Can Ritual be Expressed as an Equation?
Date: 6/24/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Formal Science
Presenter: Kris Wilson-Slack
Synopsis: As humans have matured in their thought processes and theology over thousands of years, numbers have come to be incorporated into complex universal studies, such as quantum mechanics. Calculus is a particular method or system of calculation or reasoning, expressed as equations. It then leads towards the idea of ritual, particularly Masonic ritual, being expressed as an equation that may be understood by the brotherhood of mankind. Yet, it might not be possible to incorporate the variation of human intervention into this equation. We'll discuss whether it's possible to create mathematical equations to explain human ritualistic behavior.

Is Achieving Perfection Realistic?
Date: 8/26/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
Presenter: Charlotte Achen
Synopsis: Throughout Masonic teachings and within our society, perfection is an ever-present theme. However, is the goal of achieving perfection something we constantly strive for or can it be achieved within our mortal lifetime? For this month's discussion we will examine this question and both the symbolical and historical uses of the notion of perfection that have interwoven itself within the fabric of our society.

How Fast, If At All, is the Climate Changing?
Date: 9/23/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Celso Batalha
Synopsis: Weather and climate are two different physical aspects of a region, with the former measured by different quantities, such as wind speed and direction, pressure, temperature, etc, and the other quantified by an average of these measurable's over long periods of time. Earth geological history has witnessed five major extinctions of biological life, all driven by specific external forces acting on large scale, AND in a blink of an eye as far as the geological time scale is concerned. Life has little tolerance to abrupt environmental changes, and new dominant species will succeed those incapable of adapting to sudden changes in global climate. Over the last decades, the scientific community has presented overwhelming evidence of a steep rise on global temperature, and this rise has been consistently associated with greenhouse gases released by human activity. The discussion will follow three steps: (step 1) Do you agree that global temperature is rising? (step 2) If so, are humans responsible for this rise? In case humans are to blame, then (step 3) what should the public in general, and Masons in particular, should do to meliorate the suffering of future generations and ensuring the survival of our species?

What is Meant by the Phrase, "As Above, So Below?"
Date: 10/28/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Esotericism
Presenter: Andrea Katzer
Synopsis: “As above, so below” is a phrase that is believed to hold the key to all mysteries. It is commonly understood as the concept of the microcosm vs. the macrocosm. Thus, from the beginning, was created the dual nature of human existence: the Inner and the Outer, the Above and the Below. The symbols of Freemasonry also present tools for contemplating the dual nature of reality. The concept of duality may be misleading and perhaps it obscures rather than provides an understanding of the nature of reality. If there is no "above," there may be no below. We'll explore the ideas of dualism, as it relates to our world, and to 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
Personal Writings

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