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The Ancient of Days

Dallas 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.

Dallas Study Center
Unity Church 210 Virginia StreetIrving, TX
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Is the worldview that the universe is Mental (or Spiritual) rather than Physical relevant today?
Date: 4/15/2017 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
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 in 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 mater. Is the world in general, and the scientific world specifically, ready for the comeback of idealism?

Popular Biblical Beliefs: What do you believe and why?
Date: 5/20/2017 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Theology
Presenter: Shawna Depuente
Synopsis: Freemasonry encourages everyone to examine their beliefs and question why they believe as they do. During this conversation we will explore what we believe concerning some of the most popular beliefs in Christianity such as the Rapture and the Crucifixion. It is also important for us to discuss how historically accurate the Bible is and how does that history affect what we believe. The purpose of this study group is not to convince others of one's truth but come into knowing our own personal understanding of what happened so long ago.

Does the evolution of art over the centuries reflect the evolution of human consciousness?
Date: 6/17/2017 3:30:00 AM
Topic of Study: Art
Presenter: Lynne Nevill
Synopsis: Do the developments in visual artistic media progressing through many types of media illustrate a development in human consciousness, and if so, how? Likewise, do the developments in technical style and subject (progressing through many styles, beginning with -- to name a few -- the highly formulaic/symbolic, then increasing degrees of realism, then on to impressionism, expressionism, abstraction, etc.) also illustrate a development in consciousness? During a thumbnail sketch tour through many centuries of art, we will highlight the major technical and stylistic shifts in Western art. Masonry may provide a useful groundwork perspective from which we can understand and evaluate art as an expression of consciousness.

What is Esotericism?
Date: 7/15/2017 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Esotericism
Presenter: Judith Champion
Synopsis: Esotericism is the studies of the Initiate who seeks to know the hidden mysteries of nature and science; thus leading him to inner knowledge.” Historically priests, initiates, and kings had knowledge which they kept hidden from the masses of ordinary people who might not understand it, or from those who might mis-use the power and control it could bestow. What are the definitions of the words occult, arcane, and esoteric? How do they differ? An esotericist is someone seeking deeper meaning, striving to pierce the veil of exoteric appearance to find higher truths, or to align with divine mind or plan. Some fields considered esoteric are: alchemy, Hermeticism, Astrology, theosophy and the seven rays, Gematria, and numerology. We will take a look at astrology and numerology in particular and explore how each is used as a key to understanding oneself or others.

Why does Le Petit Prince so connect with people that it can be read in over 300 languages and dialects from around the world?
Date: 8/19/2017 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Literature
Presenter: Jill Alessandra
Synopsis: Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) is a novella for children, written and illustrated by a French pilot in 1942 while in the United States after the French Air Force was demobilized. When first released, it was considered to be too cryptic to fully understand yet has gone on to be one of the most loved children’s stories. As with masonry, symbols and allegory are used by Antoine de Saint-Exupery to convey deeper meaning. Some say Le Petite Prince is about life and death, about falsehoods and hypocrisy. Others say it is a war story at heart, where isolation, fear and uncertainty are alleviated by intimately dealing with one person, by connecting, by love. We will delve into the mysteries of this little novella, discovering its value and possibly why it was written as story for children.

How can we use historical astrology to understand historical events and illuminate our current political landscape?
Date: 9/16/2017 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Lin Gold
Synopsis: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana What are the historical lessons of societal upheavals, populists movements and other times of crisis? What were the pitfalls and what were the benefits of these events? Are there any astrological clues to help us understand and benefit from the broad trend of populism we see now? “Now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together … the political shift shows the majority of people are sick of the status quo and felt they had been “abandoned by their leaders.” … It was the moment when the forgotten spoke, finding their voices to reject the advice and guidance of experts and the elite everywhere.” - Stephen Hawking

Is language a bridge from the unreal to the real, or is the real unattainable through language?
Date: 11/18/2017 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Dennis Garza
Synopsis: French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan describes the theory of mind in three categories; “the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real”. The real for Lacan is posited as “that which is impossible to say or imagine”. But in the mystic tradition these terms may have a different meaning. There is a beautiful Sanskrit mantram from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad that says, “Asat oma Sat Gamaya Tamas oma Jyotir Gamaya Mrity orma amritam Gamaya” It translates as, “Lead me from the unreal to the real Lead me from the darkness to the Light Lead me from the temporal to the eternal” Psychoanalysts, philosophers, poets, and prophets have attempted to explain this concept of “the real” through the use of language for millennia. But is the portal to this illusive understanding found through the medium of language? Does the symbolic “language” of Freemasonry offer us a clue to the attainment of “the real?” Is this “the real” of Lacan, or “the real” of the mystic journey? Or both?

Is the worldview that the universe is Mental (or Spiritual) rather than Physical relevant today?
Date: 12/16/2017 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Philosophy
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.

Is Alzheimer’s a manifestation of consciousness?
Date: 3/17/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Lin Gold
Synopsis: There are myriad hypotheses about the causes of Alzheimers Disease (AD), mostly focused on environmental factors or lifestyle, and there is convincing evidence behind each one. But this diversity of causes implies that we don’t really understand the nature of the disease. A growing body of evidence shows that negative attitudes toward the elderly (and towards our own aging) has a profound influence on brain structure, and may be at the root of AD. What can we do about this fear and misconception? Freemasonry provides us with the tools to chip away illusion, reveal our true nature, and build a healthy understanding of self and of community. Can we change our attitudes, our consciousness, and turn the rising tide of Alzheimers Disease?

Does Reincarnation Account for Unexplained Talents and Historical Knowledge?
Date: 4/21/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Esotericism
Presenter: Shawna De Puente
Synopsis: The idea of reincarnation has early roots in the Vedic period (c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE) predating Buddha and the Mahavira. Religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Janism, Sikhism and Native American traditions embrace reincarnation as their central belief in the explanation of the afterlife. Dr. Ian Stevenson became internationally known for his research into Reincarnation. He traveled extensively over a period of forty years investigating three thousand cases of children around the world who claimed to remember past lives. We will discuss Dr. Stevenson’s research and review some of his case studies including those of Peter Avery who was born in England as a Christian but appears to have had a past lifetime as a Muslim in Iran and Ruprecht Schultz whose past lifetime included owning a successful company and committing suicide only to come back and relive similar circumstances. What is the stance of Freemasonry on reincarnation? As we review these case studies and discuss them openly, we may all walk away with a better understanding of where our own opinions and beliefs rest concerning reincarnation.

What is Spectrum Disorder?
Date: 5/19/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Formal Science
Presenter: Judith Champion
Synopsis: Conditions such as autism, ADHD, and Aspergers Syndrome are now designated as part of a spectrum of mental, emotional, and physical problems. Autism, in particular, can range from mild to disabling. An alarming trend is disclosed by recent CDC figures: autism has risen from 1 in 2,500 to 1 in 36 affected children in the last 19 years. As Freemasons we study the sciences. When we find some knowledge that might benefit others, it is shared. We will explore symptoms, possible causes, and ways to deal with spectrum problems. What is causing the increase? How must education methods change to help the affected individuals function in society?

Can symbologies & archetypes in Masonry & the I Ching be mutually supportive?
Date: 6/16/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Literature
Presenter: Lynne Neville
Synopsis: How can the I Ching enrich our lives? 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?

In Our World Today, is it Possible to Still Feel Wonder?
Date: 7/21/2018 2:30:00 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?"

Was J.S. Bach a Brilliant or an Inspired Rebel?
Date: 8/18/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Art
Presenter: 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. But what about the music? Was it “the great conclusion of all the music that came before it” – even though it was unlike anything that preceded it? In his music, Bach developed both toughness and resilience, mathematically precise, but infused with beauty and inspiration on many levels. He 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 Bachs life and music have for a traveler on the path of evolution?

Who Were The Order of the Knights Templar and what led to their rise and fall?
Date: 9/15/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: History
Presenter: Shawna De Puente
Synopsis: There are many facts but much more fiction surrounding who The Order of the Knights Templar were and what their real purpose was intended to be. There is much that we do know to be factual such has how the Order first came into existence, how they invented the modern banking system, and a very lucrative import/export business. There is plenty of hype that has been generated through movies such as the Di Vinci Code surrounding the Templars. Some believe the Templars are still in existence living in secrecy. Others believe the Templars exist today through Freemasonry. How does an organization who amassed wealth and prestige just disappear? We will explore the rise and fall of The ‘Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon,’ more commonly known as the Knights Templar, or the Templars, was one of the most renowned military orders during the Middle Ages.

Does the Theory of a Holographic Universe Prove that Reality Is not Simple As We Believe?
Date: 10/20/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Natural Science
Presenter: Diego Segatore
Synopsis: With the Copernican revolution we were forced to accept that the earth is not at the center of the Universe. With the advent of Relativity Theory and Quantum Theory, we realized what we experience in time and space is not exactly what everyone else around us experiences. A relatively new theory in Physics, mostly due to discoveries in astrophysics, is the idea that the universe we experience is really a 4-Dimensional hologram of a two-dimensiona. As Freemasons are always in search for truth, can studying the ideas and implications of a holographic universe help us find truth, or at least get a little closer to it?

Is it possible to talk in a way that kids will listen and to listen so that kids will talk?
Date: 11/17/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Behavioral Science
Presenter: Jill Alessandra
Synopsis: There are many ways that people deal with children, giving advice, instruction, demands. Some see children as empty slates, needing us to fill them full of information. Others may see children as a fountain of possibility, needing the right conditions to unfold their inner potential. Is it possible to talk in a way that kids will listen? As Masons, we envision ourselves as rough material that must be hewn and polished to become a useful part of something bigger. Is there a way to work with children that is cooperative from both the adult and child? That touches and unfolds the child’s genuine self?

Can a number reveal your destiny?
Date: 12/15/2018 2:30:00 PM
Topic of Study: Esotericism
Presenter: Judith Champion
Synopsis: Numbers are not simply tools for measuring and quantifying. Where and when did written numbers arise? As mathematics became more abstract, numbers and formulas became the universal language of science. Philosophers have attributed properties and energies to them, metaphysical and even spiritual. In religious contexts, 3, 7, 12, 30 and 40 occur frequently. Why was five revered by the Phythagoreans? Numerology grew out of their philosophy of numbers. The numerical values of your birth date and name may indicate lifelong energy patterns or influences. Certain numbers are prominent in Freemasonry and carry symbolic meaning especially when combined with geometry: 3-triangle, 4-square, etc. Are numbers entities that help us understand the natural world and forces? We will explore these ideas together.

"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
Physicist
Personal Writings

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