I attended my first normal lodge meeting as a mason this evening. We are continuing our lecture series on the seven liberal arts. Tonight, the guest speaker spoke on logic and Aristotle. He's a philosophy professor at Seattle Pacific University, where the master of the lodge is also a professor.
The lecture went fairly well. It was a bit drier than the on on rhetoric last month and I wonder how much some got out of it but most of the guys seemed pretty engaged. There was a lively discussion of the examples used for some of his logical proofs (The Problem of Evil was one). He was quite into the topic overall, which one would hope for in a visiting lecturer.
During the closing ritual, I was allowed to fill a minor officer role because not all of the members had stayed for some of the closing business. The lodge did me the courtesy of opening in my degree so I could witness how it was done. I'm going to be working off and on over the next few weeks to do the things necessary to take the next degree. It should be a fairly straightforward process.
Leaving, it occurred to me that the kind of fellowship and tradition that I feel in fraternal settings is a strong antidote to much of the alienation that I normally feel towards the world. Most of the time, I feel that I have so little in common with the people that I talk to and that they have so little interest in me. I also feel disconnected from much of the culture around me with its focus on superficialities and consumerism. Being in lodge together addresses a lot of that for me, I believe. I felt this in the Odd Fellows to some degree as well. Here is a group of men, most of whom I don't know, who are interested in being, truly, my brothers and in talking to me as a person. I had some good conversation this evening. Even the ones that I know that I won't meet eye to eye with are friendly and warm. Contrast that to much of the aggression of my work environment with its lack of fraternity outside of my own team. Also, feeling connected to a four hundred year old tradition and the language and forms of it allows me to feel a stronger connection to the history of my own people and culture.
It's nice to feel that sometimes. I spend so much time with the "lunatic fringe" of occultists, magicians, yogis, sorcerers, and other edge people (as mainstream as they might feel in other ways) that I feel on the edges of anything like American culture. The matters of our concern have been on the periphery for a couple of centuries and it shows at times in our inability to connect with the ongoing culture. I've often said that I feel so outside the mainstream at times that I can't even see it from where I am anymore. (Of course, the amusing bit is that to many of the fringe types, I'm terribly mundane and normal. It's all a matter of perspective in the end.)
In any case, it was a good lodge meeting.
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