The musings of a previously unemployed Jewish Freemason. I write about the job search, about Judaism, and about Freemasonry.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cognitive Surplus and Freemasonry

Author Clay Shirky writes about cognitive surplus, the excess brain energy we're not using in labor or industry. While the term may seem slightly crude in the following context, it seems to me that Freemasonry gets its strength from a force akin to cognitive surplus, and that this force effects the fraternity in every way, from membership and attendance, to the commitment of officers, to innovations within the fraternity and participation in the attendant bodies. It seems to me that if the fraternity can channel even a trickle of the cognitive surplus of its brothers and of men interested in the fraternity, it could greatly expand its current level of societal impact.

Here's the link. It is a societal phenomenon that the fraternity would do well to pay attention to. Think of what one Wikipedia worth of cognition would do to Freemasonry. Shirky mentions gin as the first attempt to dampen cognitive surplus, and that happened during the era that the first Grand Lodges emerged, and the sitcom emerged during the last great masonic boom in membership. Coincidences? We are having a new peak in cognitive surplus. Can the fraternity channel some of this energy?

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