Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Geometry of God

'God is ever doing Geometry.' - Plato

'Form follows function.' - Louis Henri Sullivan

'If you want to make an apple pie from scratch...first you have to create the universe.' - Carl Sagan

The square and compass with the letter 'G' in the center is easily the most recognizable and universal symbol of Freemasonry. But even many Masons themselves do not readily understand its meaning. Indeed, Freemasonry is synonymous with mystical architecture, science, philosophy and allegory. Its lexicon of symbols, words and ritual elements serve to reveal (re-veil) deeper truths, thus obscuring those truths even when making them plainly obvious. So what is the truth revealed within the square and compass?

Long ago, men looked up to the stars and marvelled at the workings of the heavens. They feared the dying winter sun and they placated their gods of storms and earthquakes with virgin sacrifices and blood offerings. Of course, our ancestors could be written off simply as ignorant or superstitious. But this supernatural order of theirs was no more or less than a paradigm encompassing their own role in the natural order. They both recognized and unconsciously projected their own patterns of mind into the world about them. The mystical man is an innocent not yet divested of his own connection to nature. Man in the Garden walks with God.

In 585 BCE. Thales of Miletus posited that all things were made of a single substance (he assumed this substance was water). Importantly, he reasoned that the processes of change, or the principles of motion, might arise from within the substance itself.

Whether there are gods or natural forces at work behind the universal curtain, it is the question of will that has driven debates of God's design and man's personal consciousness. Who is behind the scene? Indeed, perhaps all any man can do is observe the effect of the forces (or gods?) for how can a man, as small as he is, look upon the face of God? And, as a man, could he recognize it if he saw it?

Whatever it is that drives the change in the cosmos must then be the very will of the universe. It is the initial cause, the archetype (blueprint) for what will come to be. Today, science seems to agree with Thales in that the universe is a singularity (perhaps not H2O). Still, it is the causal dynamic, the finger on the trigger, or the seed that proves elusive.

Following Thales and others of like mind, the Greek philosopher Pythagoras opened schools of study and learning. Pythagoras looked to mathematical congruence and geometric forms to uncover the Divine. The knowing of one thing would reveal the other. It was the Hermetic maxim...'As Above...So Below.' The macrocosm was revealed in the microcosm. Math was no less a philosophy or mystical approach than a hard science. It was also a very useful tool.

As every Master Mason should already know, the square and compass together represent the width, breadth and depth of all creation that may be so 'formed' or 'encompassed' by such as four corners and squares or circles and compasses. And there, in the center (though not always symbolized by a 'G' or a star), rests the will, the seed, the Light, the Supreme Being that is the mind within the form. Perhaps there is no true distinction between mind and form, between body and soul. And so, the square and compass is All.

The earliest philosphers came to understand geometry as sacred, for with these mathematical tools Order became apparent amidst the seeming chaos of nature. The face of God could be approached at last. This form of gnostic 'knowing' of the Divine was immediately anathema to early Church authorities. And because there was no clear separation of Church and State, these philosophies and sciences were demonized and considered heretical.

Ancient Freemasonry represented one form of philisophical preservation and inquiry. The Mystery Schools were just that, centers of learning. Men of reason were drawn to tenets of freedom, inquiry and a personal relationship with the Divine, free of the abuses of the times and the Inquisition of the Church.

The Square and Compass of Freemasonry represents the succinct ideology and the most sacred wisdom of the Order. The 'G' that sometimes stands for God also represents the natural order of Geometry. What or who that god is is not for me to say. For we all have our own distinct paradigms in which we find our own personal meaning and place. Perhaps it is All a Mind or just simply a mathematical Order. Respectfully, I dont see much of a difference either way.

Sacred math and geometry were not only for the Greek minds. Jewish scholars passed the oral and written traditions of the Kabbalah from generation to generation. Within the Kabbalah can be found the exposition of entire worlds from the simple interactions of numbers.

The Great Philosophy points to a Stairway to Heaven. Indeed the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, made of its ten primary sephiroth (each an Archetypal next step) is a kind of Jacob's Ladder for man to approach the Ineffable. For centuries, men sought to master those very steps whether it was their purpose to reach to God or to understand how the Universe came to be.

When one draws together these philosophies, one arrives at a concise and illuminating explanation for the creation and workings of the cosmos. A simple interaction of space and form beginning from the singularity of 1 leads to a progression of forms, solids, forces and dynamics. This principle remains sound even within biology as the single fertilized egg replicates in accordance to a precise set of parameters set forth by dna. Going back much further evolutionarily, we find the simplest of early forms...and finally single cells.

And so, perhaps, the Universe began most simply as an undivided whole. Now it is still one, just as the human body might be, but it is somehow more as well...revealed unto itself. For every passing moment it becomes more defined. It grows. Perhaps it learns. How much it knew in the beginning or started with may always evade even our most far reaching philosophies. Yet those philosophies are our eyes to see the invisible webs of order...the very Order at the center of the square and compass.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Best of Ruffians 08'!

The Ancient and Illustrious Order of the Three Ruffians is honored that you have checked out what we have had to say and we all appreciate your support within the Fraternity. We hope that you continue with us along our the East!

Here are some of the most frequented Ruffian Posts from the last year...

April 2008,
"21st Century Freemason"

May 2008,
"McMorals and McDogma"

May 2008,
"The Masonic Revolution"

May 2008,
"Meet Our Tyler...Durden"

June 2008,
"That All Men Are Created Equal"

June 2008,
"All Those Empty Chairs"

August 2008,
"The Towers"

September 2008,
"The Esoterica"

September 2008,
"The Esoterica-Part 2"

October 2008,
"Speculative Wisdom"

November 2008,
"Here's to the Brothers!'

December 2008,
"The Treasure of Freemasonry"

Check out some of these posts and thumb through our hallowed Archive for much more.

Thanks for being a part of the Ruffian Revolution!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

'The Courtesies of Angels'

Brother Tim Couch always has great things to say. He has a knack for words. But its the way Tim looks at things, at life, that I like. Writing in his own blog, Tim had this to say about the recent airliner crash in the Hudson...

"My wish for you today is that you recognize a miracle.

Every now and then something happens that leaves no doubt about the existence of divine intervention. We had a great example of it this past week. An airliner carrying a hundred and fifty-five people is knocked out of the sky by a flock of birds over a city of eight million people, and no one is seriously injured. How can anyone not see the miracle in that?

The news media keeps calling it a “story of luck and heroism.” Certainly, the flight crew are all heroes, but luck? Luck is drawing to a straight flush. Luck is not skirting skyscrapers and threading crowded airspace with a flying brick and then landing it in heavily trafficked waters without hitting anything. That is miraculous.

But then, if the Great Architect were going to intervene why didn’t he simply move the birds out of the way? He could’ve done that, but if he had it would’ve been just another uneventful flight. It would’ve still been a miracle, but we would not have noticed. Miracles happen every day all around us. We just don’t recognize them.

Every time we climb behind the wheel and hurl ourselves down the highway at high speeds but somehow arrive safely at our destination, it’s a miracle. Consider all the people on the road at the same time who have to do the right thing at the right instant in order for nothing to happen. Every time we cross a street, go for a walk, cross a room, turn over a rock, a miracle might have happened. We just don’t recognize it.

Miracles are happening all around us. Perhaps they are the courtesies of angels, and like most courtesies they are more readily given when they are appreciated. So keep an eye out for your miracles because I assure you they are there. Appreciate them. Be grateful. And, recognize that in a world of possibilities angels are doing miraculous things in your behalf."

Bro. Tim Couch

I for one know a little something about living by 'the courtesies of angels.' I wouldnt be here without them.

I think that we all need to pay attention in life. We need to wake up and recognize that indeed life itself is the greatest of miracles. We humans learn so fast and adapt so quickly that a lot of the finery is lost on us. We need to appreciate more. To borrow the cliche, we need to smell the roses.

It's all perspective. It's not how we look at things so much as how we 'see' them.

I remember reading Carlos Castaneda's book 'The Teachings of Don Juan' about his experiences with a Yaqui Indian shaman. Don Juan, the shaman, had to teach Castaneda how to 'See' all over again because, like all Westerners, Castaneda had 'learned' to see what he expected, what he wanted, and what he feared. But he missed what was there and he missed something much greater than that...he missed the bigger picture...and the personal metaphor.

'The Kingdom of Heaven is Within.' 'For those who have ears to hear and eyes to see...'
Both quotes from the Gospels.

And how true that all is. You can't miss the Angels if you have such eyes...if you watch the sunrise...and you 'See.'

That's not spiritualism. That's philosophy. That's a perspective.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Site Maintenance Completed

Greetings Fellow Ruffians.

A few of you might have recently noticed that for the last week wasnt showing up in your browser. Basically, I was running some maintenance and making some changes to the site, its domain redirection and the like. Things like that take a while for servers to process.

Everything should be in order and posts will resume as usual!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away." --Unknown

"Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one is watching." --Satchel Paige

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing." --Michael Pritchard

"Life is a great big canvas; throw all the paint on it you can." --Danny Kaye

"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much." --Bessie A. Stanley

"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It's never too late to be who you might have been." --George Eliot

"You only live once - but if you work it right, once is enough." --Joe E. Lewis

"Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death." --James F. Byrnes

"Success is a journey, not a destination." --Arthur Ashe

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