“If anyone can refute me—show me I’m making a mistake or looking at things from the wrong perspective—I’ll gladly change. It’s the truth I’m after, and the truth never harmed anyone.” – Marcus Aurelius
Throughout the ages, many schools of philosophy have emerged in an attempt to give man a prism through which to analyze the light of his life. In fact, Freemasonry can be viewed and explained as a system for intellectual and moral self improvement akin to the most influential schools of philosophy from antiquity. In an effort to better understand ourselves and our gentle craft, the Valley of Dayton Study circle is sponsoring a 3 part educational series focusing on one of the foundational philosophies that permeates our rituals, traditions, and teachings. This series, open to all members of the Valley of Dayton, will focus on the philosophical tradition of Stoicism. During this educational experience, we will learn the history of Stoicism, read one of its core texts, and host a round table discussion regarding the intersection of Stoic thought and Freemasonry. The first section of the series will be an evening with Dr. G. Matthew Adkins from the Humanities Department at Columbus State held on Zoom. Dr Adkins, the author of The Idea of the Sciences in French Enlightenment, A Reinterpretation, will speak on the history, origins, and tenets of Stoicism on Sunday January 24, 2021 at 7 PM. Dr Adkins has kindly provided a copy of one of his research papers, Was Condorcet a Stoic? Rousseau, Universal Education, and Rational Autonomy in the French Enlightenment as a background piece. This paper is merely additional information for those interested and not necessary to attend, understand, or appreciate his presentation on Stoicism. The second portion of this series, to be held February 21, 2021, will be a group discussion on one of the seminal texts of Stoicism, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. This work is a compilation of the personal reflections of Marcus Aurelius, the last of the 5 Good Emperors of Rome. It is an intimate look into the private thoughts of a powerful man on how he could best improve himself on a daily basis. This work is available through your local bookseller, Amazon, Google Play Books (free version available), and Apple Books (free version available). During this discussion, participants are encouraged to bring their favorite quotes from Meditations to the group so that all can consider the importance and impact those words have for them. Details on the format (virtual or in person) will be given at a later date when the health situation in the Valley of Dayton can be better gauged. During the ultimate session of the series, to be held on March 21, 2021 via Zoom, Bro. Michael Cockroft, a past presenter on the Sunday Stoic podcast (episode 186), will lead the group in a discussion of Stoicism from a Masonic point of view. He will help us uncover the stoic influences and themes present in the rituals and traditions of Freemasonry, especially in the Scottish Rite. This will be an open dialogue for the brethren to explore their thoughts on what they have read and learned, and examine how they feel about the tenets of Stoicism within the Craft. Links and details for this discussion will be provided in early March via email and Facebook. The Valley is looking forward to having you join in with us for this unique educational opportunity.
WB. George E. Moore is an officer in Datyon Consistory.
“An Empty Chair” – A Masonic Poem by George E. Moore
It’s every Mason’s dream to fill up all the chairs;
A Brother in every seat, just like yesteryear.
When a Masonic function was “the place to go”;
Back when we used the folding chairs to make a second row.
When Brothers would fill every seat to watch the work be done;
Then retire to the dining room: food, fellowship and fun!
But in our zeal for this task, to fill every one of them;
Perhaps leave “an empty chair” for our Departed Brethren.
For the Brothers that have gone before us, some many years ago;
And some that used to sit in Lodge and tell us all “hello”.
Some of them we’d shake their hands, many we never met;
But they’re all our Masonic Brothers, ‘n may we not forget:
We perform the same Rituals, wear the same Aprons and Jewels;
‘N we all took to heart the lessons of the Working Tools.
Some sat in the Officer’s chairs, some even in the East;
We miss them all regardless, their Labors have now ceased.
But it matters not what chair they took, or how often they’d attend;
For they are all our Brothers, that’s all that matters in the end.
Masonry is timeless, the same throughout the years;
We thank them for the path they blazed, which helped us all get here.
They’ve laid down their earthly working tools the Master handed them;
To serve the Supreme Grand Master, whose Lodge is up in Heaven.
But their Labor is but far from done, in far and distant lands;
Serving in that Lodge above, that “House Made Not With Hands”.
And may they continue to help us here, to guide us down the paths;
That serve the Supreme Grand Master, from the first to the last.
Yes, we strive to fill all the seats, but maybe leave just one;
For our departed Brethren whose work down here is done.
Author: George E. Moore
P.M. of Celina #241 F. & A.M., Celina, Ohio; K.Y.C.H.
November 23, 2020
We had such a great response to our first speaker series that we’ve scheduled a second, longer series starting a month from now on November 17. Watch for the individual presentations to appear in the featured events on the main page. All fo them are on the calendar with the registration links added as they become available.
Registration is required in advance for each event and can be found by clicking the links below
Thanks to Ill. Bro. John Rhodes for this story and reflection on a long-standing tradition that may be changing…
There it was, I did not anticipate it and as a matter of fact have been avoiding it, I walked up to my poolside friend friend, Pete, to talk about our upcoming tee time. Without thinking, and instinctively, almost as a reflex, there it was right in front of me.
Pete was a Mason, from the southern jurisdiction, now living in New Jersey. He had noticed my Scottish Rite ring last year, and thus began a new friendship, and many masonic stories. Pete was Greek and spoke with soft tones and with a Jersey accent, but he loved to play golf and like me was tired of the quarantine and isolation that comes with it. We were both anxious to get out, to get away for a few hours, and hit the links.
As I walked up to Pete, he smiled and out came his right hand. It was unanticipated, and yes, without thinking, and without disinfectant, I accepted his warm greeting. We knew better, both of us. We were wintering in Florida, when the virus struck our nation, until then, we had both been enjoying the sunshine, and saltwater, and poolside chats. He like I, had been raised in a time, when attending a lodge function, or meeting a new friend, you shook hands. My own father gave me lessons on the proper way to shake a man’s hand, we practiced on each other, it was a sign of manhood, of respect, it sealed the deal! “A firm handshake is a sign of character!”, he would say, and “You don’t try to crush someone’s hand, but don’t ever give him a wet fish either!”, and the most impressive lesson, “You shake the hand of every Mason in your lodge room!”
It made perfect sense in 1975, to get married in the middle of a quarter of undergrad study, and live in an $85 a month hole in the wall apartment. I interviewed, with Howard, then starting up a machine/ instrument shop on the Wright State campus. Howard needed an assistant, a gopher, someone to help organize, and clean up, and perhaps learn simple machining. I got the work study job, and learned many lessons from the old machinist, lessons that helped carry me through the rest of my education and through life. One day, after some months of working together, Howard asked me if I knew why he had hired me? I confessed ignorance, and Howard replied that it was because of my handshake. You came in for your interview and you shook my hand, others had interviewed before me, “But your handshake was quick, and not weak!” After graduation and 35 years of life, I again was reunited with my old friend Howard. I thanked him for giving me that much needed opportunity, and am grateful to have been able to enjoy a couple of suppers together with him before his passing.
Pete and I stopped, and picked up Billy on our way to the course. Bill also came from a masonic family, and so we enjoyed a great day of conversation and brotherhood on the golf course. Yes, we all shook hands, and probably stood too close, and occasionally picked up each other’s club or golfball. We knew better, and yes we also shared hand cleaner and wipes, after our round.
I suppose this is our new dilemma, do we act like we don’t know each other? Is handshaking a thing of the past? Are we doomed if we shake a friend’s hand? I guess we shall find out. I myself, will try to get use to carrying and using hand sanitizer more often. The handshake will be hard to unlearn!
Persevere my masonic friends.
We have the dates for all four of the summer speakers – check back July 1 for registration and additional details for the entire series. Don’t forget to register for the Mark Tabbert presentation on June 24.