The Trivium/Socrates Cafe
"The Trivium Is The Answer. What Is The Question?"
For the month of August, we will be having our discussion group on Sunday, August 7th, and Sunday, August 14th. Both sessions will begin at 12 pm. Check your emails for locations.
"The concept of a 'better man' was a crucial component of Renaissance thought, and the way to attain that condition was through engaging and challenging our minds, maximizing their potential, seeking a higher level of communion with and understanding of the Supreme Being"
Observing the Craft p.14
There is a need for honest, open, searching discussion on critical questions vital to being a well-rounded man.
We therefore have dedicated every 3rd Tuesday of the month at our Temple ( Our charitable contribution to our communities) to assist in returning the legacy of critical thinking and dialog into the community by studying both the Trivium and having discussions on important and relevant topics.
Through the study of the Trivium (Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric) we learn an "Integrated approach to unlocking the power of the mind."
So what does this have to do with the Trivium and discussion?
Freemasonry has always been associated with the seven liberal arts and sciences (see below)
“The earliest evidence linking Masonry to the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences is the Regius Poem, possibly written by a monk from Llanthony Priory, Monmoushire, around 1390”
This poem proclaimed that Masonry has always been associated with “Grammar, Logicke, Rhetorick, Arithmatic, Geometry, Musick, and Astronomie.” This is an unmistakable reference to the 7 liberal arts composed of the Trivium (Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric) and the Quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy).
The early Lodges of the 18th century were brought about in a time of great change in the world. The Enlightenment was just getting into full swing and everything was changing: religion, education, science, and politics. Not everyone was thrilled with all these changes, especially those formerly in control of all aspects of the common man’s life. So where else could these things be discussed safely if not in a Lodge? Many of the concepts of Masonry, while considered part of our culture today, were quite radical in their time. The simplest example being the acceptance of people of a wide range of faiths. That kind of thinking would have got you killed in earlier times and in fact did account for a great many deaths. (see picture at bottom of page)
In looking at the ritual and lectures one can see the Enlightenment ideas over and over. The various philosophic paths are represented as well. So it is very likely that Masonic Lodges were in fact places of great learning and discussion about topics of great importance to all men in an atmosphere of safety and cooperation.
People everywhere are realizing this practice of getting people together to obtain critical thinking skills and the art of holding discussions have been missing in our society for some time.
Our charitable contribution to the community is to get people thinking and sharing views on important questions. Not just surface discussion but deep thinking, challenging your beliefs, really digging down, enabling you to figure out why you believe what you believe.
Our ritual and lectures repeatedly teach us skills for better learning and improving oneself. How?
The study of the Trivium teaches us to learn how to learn. We are taught to think critically for ourselves.
We want the community to become first-hand independent thinkers beginning with the individual, rather than remain second-hand, dependent thinkers.
We wish to produce appropriate critical, creative, self-sufficient individuals who become equipped to attract intellectual abundance into their lives as well as that which naturally follows from it- material abundance.
The ultimate goal of learning and practicing the Trivium is to enable one to reach an awakened state of education where everyone can thoroughly and critically entertain various ideas without necessarily embracing them. In other words, we come into possession of an open mind, freeing ourselves from our own opinions and prejudices.
This is our charitable contribution to the community, our community service. "Charity" to us means something different. At the time when our rituals were being written, charity was understood as the translation of the Latin word caritas, the meaning of which to the Romans was "preciousness" or referring to "something of a high price". It later became the Latin translation for the Greek word Agape, which is known to us as an unconditional spiritual love for God and humanity.
Therefore the promotion of Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, in the form of patronage to the very arts and humanities which we have always taught, is the best philanthropic hand we believe Masonry can extend to the community and the world. We who are seeking to do good works have chosen this course over all other options, it speaks directly to the principles laid down in our several lectures, as well as to who we are individually and what we should become as Masons.
Come join us every second Tuesday of the month. We hold a social hour beginning at 6pm. The sessions are 7-8pm. We delve into deep discussion on two to three questions of the evening. There are discussion etiquette guidelines which are followed NOTE: We are holding discussions not debates. We have a dress code. Button-down shirt and slacks or similar. NO SHORTS, T-SHIRTS OR SANDALS.
Because the truth is; "A superb education doesn't cost a penny to deliver"
John Taylor Gatto - The Ultimate History Lesson