Saturday, May 14, 2022

‘A simple symposium?’

Freemasonry in the United States likes symposia. Actually, in France too. Often day-long affairs, these events attract audiences of Masons either generally curious or drawn to a specific theme to hear the thoughts and scholarship of the empaneled speakers.

The Masonic Restoration Foundation terms its annual event a symposium. The Pennsylvania Academy does likewise for its biannual meetings. The California Symposium is next month. The George Washington Memorial has one planned for November. The Masonic Cons are symposia by another name. You get the gist.

How’s that for an etymology?

Aaanywaaay, there was a call for papers yesterday in preparation for “Now We Have Faces: The First Annual C.S. Lewis Symposium at Ulster University,” free willed (see what I did there?) for November 3.

Ignoring the nails-on-chalkboard solecism of “first annual,” this announcement illumined the novelty lightbulb I wear over my head. Brilliant! A symposium delving into one author!

Why don’t we do that in Freemasonry? Do we do that? I’m not aware of it being done.

Supposing such a symposium, I reckon it would have to focus on a prolific writer from a previous century. (The author must be deceased.) I’ll throw out a name: H.L. Haywood. A sharp thinker whose clear prose distilled Masonic teachings for readers of all levels. Plus, he was a member of my lodge ninety or so years ago.

I feel too tired to organize a day like this—and I don’t have the clout anymore—but it’s a good idea.


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