Looking Over the Horizon: Freemasonry in 2112

Although Masonic ritual speaks of Freemasonry as an unchanging and unchanged institution, it has evolved over the centuries, and is expected to continue to evolve as a social institution. This paper looks as what Freemasonry might be like one hundred years from now. It examines what was actually “unchanging and unchanged” in the fraternity in the past, and what kinds of changes we can reasonably expect in the future. The paper is an update of the Anson Jones Lecture given at the Texas Lodge of Research by the author in 1994, and discusses the application of the concepts from “boundary theory” to the institution of Freemasonry.

John Cooper is a Past Grand Secretary of the Masonic Grand Lodge of California, having served for almost eighteen years when he retired in 2008. He holds a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont Graduate School, and before becoming Grand Secretary, he held various teaching and administrative posts in the public schools of California. A Mason since 1964, John served as Master of James A. Foshay Lodge No. 641 in Los Angeles, and is both a Thirty-Third Degree Mason in the Scottish Rite, and a Knight of the York Cross of Honor in the York Rite. His primary interest in Freemasonry has been the history and philosophy of the Craft, and he has published numerous papers on Freemasonry. He also served as Master of both Northern and Southern California Research Lodges, and is currently on the board of directors of the oldest Masonic research organization in the United States, the Philalethes Society.

John Cooper, Ph.D., Senior Grand Warden

The Role of Belief in Intelligence and Society

This talk examines how the concept of belief enters into scientific models of learning and intelligence. Although the full scope and beauty of this subject relies heavily upon all of the liberal arts and sciences, most importantly geometry, this talk will restrict itself to the simplest representation based upon logic and intuition. The central focus of discussion will be on how the evolution of belief is critical in making decisions at every scale, from individuals to collective societies. The principles contained will be illustrated interactively through the use of simple games, and the audience itself will collectively illustrate an important concept by participating in an evolutionary multi-player game.

Nicholas Wisniewski holds degrees in physics from Caltech and UCLA, and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Medicine at UCLA. His early publications stemmed from particle physics research conducted at CERN and Fermilab, where he developed computational algorithms employed in the searches for the Higgs boson and Supersymmetry. His current research is in the field of information geometry, developing novel techniques in artificial intelligence applied to systems genetics.

Nicholas Wisniewski, Ph.D.

University of California Los Angeles
Department of Geography