Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Square

Last night I was privileged to visit Esoterika Lodge #227 in Portland, OR. They put on a good lodge meeting. One of the talks that night was by our own Jason Thu, speaking about the Confucian Man and the Masonic Man, and the similarities between Confucian and Masonic virtues.

I love going to the masonic lodge. It's really a place to both dress up and put on your best face, and at the same time let your hair down* with people who will most likely understand what you're talking about when you bring up Giadorno Bruno, the Art of Memory, Pseudo-Dionysus, or other various topics which are near and dear to my heart, and to few other people.

No series on Geometry would be complete without talking about the Square. When we get to 4 points, 4 lines, 4 angles, our choice of shapes becomes manifold. We have rectangle, the square (a special rectangle), the parallelogram, the rhombus, the trapezoid, and last but not least, the quadrilateral.

But it is the square I'm primarily concerned with in this case, as it is unique. It has 4 sides of the same length. It has 90 degree angles. If any one angle gets out of 90 degrees, or if one side gets longer than the others, it's no longer a square. Unlike the other quads, every angle and length is the same.

And this is why masons use the square (the tool) as one of their symbols. Masonic ideal holds that you should be fair and equal in your dealings with other masons, and humanity in general. One must always 'square' your actions. Make sure they meet the ideal, the equality. Know that the person opposite you is simply opposite, not an opponent nor an enemy.

It also makes Freemasons unique, much like the square itself. Among men, they are not the only ones to try to improve themselves, to hold themselves to a higher standard. However, they are unique in that they emphasize that part of their higher standard is to raise their fellow masons, and all humans, to that higher standard. They take close looks at themselves, not just in and of themselves, but in community, and they encourage the others; raise them up to that standard with both a good example, an instructive tongue, a receptive ear, and a helping hand. That is the ideal, and the ideal has that much more of an impact for the fact that built into it is the idea of continually working towards that ideal, rather than ever reaching it.

*I am speaking metaphorically, of course. I am generally quite bald.


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