I'm turning 45 this month. At age 44 I decided I was going to learn to snap with my left hand before I turned 45. Mission accomplished. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
Next I decided I was finally going to solve a Rubik's cube. After some 30+ years of not being able to figure it out on my own, I cheated and learned some algorithms from YouTube. Same place where I learned to tie a bow tie, same place I learned to stabilize the temperature of my Kamado grill. I so enjoy learning new things that I believe I'll know when I'm done living when I'm done learning things.
In the Fellowcraft lecture, no where is Youtube mentioned. But the seven liberal arts and sciences are introduced, and in the charge we are admonished that:
"The study of the liberal arts, that valuable branch of education which tends so effectually to polish and adorn the mind, is earnestly recommended to your consideration"
The liberal arts are the disciplines essential for a free (liberalis) person to master, as deemed by those old dudes of classic antiquity. To be an effective and productive citizen you had to have to had a solid grasp of the Trivium: grammar, logic, rhetoric; and the Quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy.
It really bums me out that I don't know more of each art. I've always admired the "Renaissance Men" -- the Leonardo Da Vincis and the Isaac Newtons.
In classical antiquity though, there was only so much discovered, so much depth of knowledge. There was room to push understanding in every direction. Even later on during the Renaissance when the idea of the 7 liberal arts were adopted from the old dudes of antiquity, one could learn a solid understanding and expertise in multiple disciplines and be a true Renaissance Man. And from there they naturally found their way into our Fellowcraft Lecture.
Can we still learn them all?
Nowadays math is full of Fermat's Last Theorems, astronomy is full of quantum tunnelings, geometry is full of pseudoholomorphic curves, and philosophy is rife with abstract thought that makes my head spin (Existential phenomenology anyone?). A single person mastering so much knowledge is impractical.
This surprisingly, is liberating to me (pun intended). There is so much to learn that you just have to take your time and pace yourself because you're never going to know everything. But you can have a lot of fun learning as much as you can along the way. There are many opportunities to learn, to breach the barriers of your personal unknowns and learn from the experts who stand on the shoulders of all those who came before them, who can trace their knowledge back to antiquity.
So while snapping and solving Rubik's cubes are trivial skills not at all essential in modern life, they're things I never thought I'd learn and I did. Little victories in the little time we have in our busy lives. They're symbolic of my own personal forward motion in learning. Now to find time to get through the stack of books in my back log.
I hope you make it to lodge soon, every business meeting we have an education, another great opportunity for learning.
Sincerely And Fraternally,
UPCOMING EVENTS - See our Calendar for details
Apr 4 - Regular Communication | Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
Apr 18 - Special Communication [EA]| Pittsfield Union Grange Hall
Apr 25 - Happy Hour - Significant others invited!! | Null Taphouse, Dexter