Category Archives: Liberal Arts

Continued Fellowship

dscn9890In my lasts two posts I discussed my work and practice in the Fraternity since joining. In this last short post, I wanted to share some of my thoughts and hopes going forward.  You might not know this but there are many opportunities to participate in Masonry beyond your lodge.  However, you must be careful with how many commitments you take on and manage your time. As an engineer, I can usually find gems of wisdom in the popular TV and Movie Series Star Trek. For example, here is a conversation between two chief engineers, Scotty and La Forge, that speaks to time commitments:

Lt. Commander La Forge: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I’d have this analysis done in an hour.

Scotty: How long will it really take?

La Forge: An hour!

Scotty: Oh, you didn’t tell him how long it would really take, did ya?

La Forge: Well, of course I did.

Scotty: Oh, laddie. You’ve got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

In this conversation is a helpful rule of thumb; if you commit yourself to do something you must do it, do your best to be on time for any commitments, and it is always better to be seen as a miracle worker versus a person that is late or fails to perform up to commitments that they take on. Scotty’s message is to give yourself some time for the inevitable life happenings that may impact your plans.

As for myself, in my first very active year, I have taken this to heart. While I try to help and offer myself, my time, and my abilities to my Lodge, I take the commitment very serious and I want to be successful, not just for myself or personal pride, but for the lodge and the fraternity. I have taken several rolls onto myself with my Blue Lodge:

  • I create, maintain, and upgrade the Lodge web presence, including but not limited to; Blogs, Website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress.
  • I have had the privilege to stand in as Chaplain
  • I have had the privilege to stand in as a Steward
  • I have tried to help in degree practices as needed
  • I even offered to be Secretary when one was needed, given my experience in life running several companies, I thought I could help, My W.M. Informed me that I was not qualified and not a Mason for a sufficient period – but I tried!

Beyond my Lodge, I have become a member of the Scottish Rite, an Appendant body of the Masons, in the Valley of Concord, NH.  I have completed a set of degrees including the 32nd Degree http://www.nh32degreemason.org/ .  I have found myself volunteering again with the Scottish Rite, where I have volunteered to be an editor of the Valley of Concord Newsletter, and I agreed to take a part in what is known as the 14th Degree. It is a different responsibility. When you take a part in the line or chairs you are committing that you have the time to take learn and perform the role as once accepted the fraternity is counting on you. Life gets busy as does work and family, but if you make the commitment to learn and do a task for your lodge or the Rite you must follow through and after some conversation with my family I accepted the commitment.
What is perhaps most exciting to me can be expressed by the Scottish Rite Passport.  When you become a member, you receive a passport book with Pages describing each degree. When completing a degree, you get a stamp – like a passport stamp! This made me think of my US Passport. I added pages twice and have many pages and many stamps, they are emblematic of my travel and my collected experience, understanding, and new friends on six of the seven continents. I do have friends that go to the seventh (Antarctica), but none of them live there!  One may view the Scottish Rite Passport in the same way. As you go through degrees you learn some things, you reinforce the fraternity’s values and you make friends.  I look forward to travelling all over the USA to experience all of the degrees. I look forward to meeting new friends and reconnecting with other brothers along the way.

As in any other organization, this fellowship requires work- but do not worry – the oaths and obligations that you will take upon yourself do provide guidance on getting along with other brothers, and truly accepting people who you might not know outside of the lodge.  If you can live up to those principals, you will do just fine with any Mason that you meet. At the very least, you are living up to your oath and obligations.

There is a huge benefit as well, in that the discipline that I believe is required for managing your commitments as a Mason can help you in other areas of your life. As an example, I will share a story. As an engineer I have come up with many processes. One process, that I’ve used professionally, for all of my teams, has been specifically around managing tasks and the progress towards completion of them. I’ve used status reports to communicate this kind of regular progress. In my experience, it was a good way to manage teams of Scientists, Sales People, Marketing, or any type of person.  One day, one of my sales managers came into my office to talk to me.  He said “I wanted to thank you.”  I responded, “For what?” He then told me that his son had been having problem managing schoolwork and sports and his grades were falling to the point of concern. He said that he implemented the Status report that we used in the company to manage tasks, and it relieved all the pressures for his family and his son improved in both grades and sports.

I share this story because it illustrates for me, how practicing the values of the fraternity has not only improved me not only in the different roles I have performed in lodge, but also it has improved me in my non-related activities. We all can be better; we all have room to improve but sometimes we forget to set goals. The fraternity can help bring focus to what you value and therefore you can adjust your actions to better achieve your goals.  And more importantly, you can have some fun and help your community. I look forward to the Continued Fellowship with fellow Masons and to receive more light.

Share This:

Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices

By Herrad von Landsberg - Hortus Deliciarum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31438342Of the seven Liberal Arts & Sciences Rhetoric holds a special place because of its devices. Why is this so, you may ask? Well let’s look at a simple need that we all have at some point; persuading someone that your point of view or course of action is correct.  Rhetoric is actually a great way to persuade someone to your point of view but more than persuade, the use of rhetorical devices to provide information in a formal manner is good form!

Rhetoric gives you the tools to bring to a group of people a current situation or opportunity that you believe should be acted on or taken advantage of and then use the provided tools to prove your position.

Understanding Rhetoric and rhetorical devices will also help you to participate in discussions and actually persuade people to your point of view, without ever having to dictate or force your point of view.

Here is a list of rhetorical devices: https://quizlet.com/1563381/ap-english-rhetorical-devices-flash-cards/  one of my favorite devices is Argumentation, I like this because it uses reason alone to examine all sides of an argument in order to persuade.

One device to look out for and to avoid is the Ad Hominem device. The device is a logical fallacy and it is often used by someone who knows that their argument is very weak and when they have concluded they cannot win by Argumentation, instead they use this the method of attacking the person, character or motive of the same person versus the persons argument. This is actually very common – any user of Facebook knows this device or anyone following politics can attest to having witnessing this device. This sort of rhetoric device can be very harmful and it is best to avoid it unless you have exhausted all other devices.

In the end understanding rhetorical devices can increase harmony and fellowship in any lodge through respect, enlightenment and reason. I like this quote from the bible:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, 1 John 1:17

In closing, rhetorical devices can also help you in your workplace and all parts of your life!   The Teaching Company offers a great course on Argumentation (a rhetorical device) and at this time  they are offering a free 30 day trial of their online steaming, Great Courses Plus: http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgcplus1 . In one month you could easily complete this lecture series and more.

 

Share This:

The Perseid Meteor Shower

meteor showerAugust brings us the Perseid Meteor Shower. For anyone that has never experienced a meteor shower the Perseid, which is thanks to the Comet Swift-Tuttle, is a perfect opportunity! They are called the Persieds because they appear to come from the Constellation of Perseus.

The Perseids /ˈpərsiːɪdz/ are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The Perseids are so called because the point from which they appear to come, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. The name derives in part from the word Perseides (Περσείδες), a term found in Greek mythology referring to the sons of Perseus.

Perseids. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseids
Now if you are in NH and you want to watch these it should be a great year for viewing  as this year will be a big year because they expect an outburst.  What this means is that they will appear at twice the normal rate. The rate could top 100 to 200 per hour.
So if you have never seen a meteor shower this is the perfect year to do so. They are common in the first half of August.
What I normally do to watch them in Concord, NH is make a cup of hot chocolate and go out on my back porch at 11 pm.  Remember look to the Northeast and do not forget to look at the widest area of sky, Binoculars and telescope are not required, I find it better to not use them at all when viewing a meteor shower.

 

The light pollution in Concord is not that bad and my eyes adjust in about 15 minutes after going outside. For those of you outside of the city the viewing will be even better.   For more information on what meteor showers are and what causes the Perseids specifically go to this website: http://www.space.com/32868-perseid-meteor-shower-guide.html. This years showers have already started, so you can see them tonight but August 12th is when they will be peaking.

 

They are viewable now as I said and I am sure after our next stated on August 10th,  we can look up to the northeast when we are by our cars and catch a few as we are talking.

 

For those of you who are HAM radio operators remember that there is also a chance to talk using the ionized trails of the meteors and  to communicate with stations or other Ham Radio Mason nets up to 2250 Kilometers away.   More information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_burst_communications

Share This: