The Virtual Goose and Gridiron

Today many people are very involved and interested in gaming as well as virtual reality (“VR”). What makes this different than the gaming done in the age of the Gen X is that these games are primarily internet based and may have many people playing at the same time.

In addition to true gaming there are many discussion groups where individuals can meet online and have a conversation.

The newest trend is the use of devices to allow for VR and augmented reality for games, meetings and education. Simulators of the past are now being replaced by VR equipment and software.

This paper is a follow on of the papers titled “Not the Jetsons: Use of a Fully Immersive Experience For Transmitting and Conferring Degree into the Future”

Not the Jetsons

The article explores using Virtual Reality (VR) for Masonic rituals, offering immersive experiences beyond traditional methods. While VR ensures consistent quality and flexibility, it might reduce group interactions. The author suggests Masonic bodies consider VR for specific rituals, highlighting its future potential.

This is of interest to Masons because the Mason of the future will more likely than not have spent a considerable part of the life involved in gaming. They likely have made friends and exchanged ideas on the internet.

If Masonry wants to find new recruits, it needs to go to where they are. While some may consider gaming and online activities as a waste of time, many Millennials and Gen Z would disagree.

These are the generations that have moved past emails and into quick messaging systems and posting many elements of their lives online.

Masonry is about personal contact, fraternity and personal growth. This is extremely valuable and relates to making ‘good people better’. Historically this connection, this process, was done face to face, or as it is known now: “ITRW”, in the real world.

Having just experienced more than two years of limits on being ITRW because of COVID, Masonry has had to find ways to connect virtually. Primarily this has been done through Zoom and MS Teams and equivalent.

VR is moving past a simple game or simulation and becoming a virtual universe, or ‘metaverse’ as it is often known. Today the metaverse is still in its infancy. However, there will be rapid changes to the technology and how humans interact with it.

Companies are setting up initial ‘universes’ where users can interact and create things. Users can make purchases of virtual, SD space, on various platforms which can then be used to host many types of virtual ‘things’; things could include virtual buildings, with virtual rooms, where the avatars of users could meet and interact.

An opportunity exists today for a group of Masons to purchase space on one of the metaverse platforms and from there build its own site that could be used by seekers and members.

Primarily this could be a location that those that are curious about Masonry could enter and find answers to their questions. In one way it would simply be a curated site that includes images, videos, and information that could answer many questions.

But the real power would be in the ability to have conversations with other seekers as well as members.

To bring some ‘reality’ to this non-reality, an image can be formed of what this could look like. On the metaverse platform, there would be a connection to this Masonic virtual world.

This would be expressed as a giant Masonic Hall or temple, replete with all the public symbols of Masonry. Anyone could enter the building and the public spaces connected.

These spaces would hold the curated materials and allow a person to move from room to room learning more about all types of Masonry.

There could also be private rooms as well that only those who are able to prove themselves can enter. More on this in a minute. As there is no requirement to follow physics or the physical world, the building and rooms can be put together in anyway desired and connect however one wants.

Connected to the Masonic Hall would be the rest of the building in the form of the Goose and Gridiron Virtual Pub.

This would be a general area where avatars would mingle and could have conversations. There would be planted in the room, experienced Masons who could answer questions.

The Pub could also have rooms (in a pub these are known as snugs) where a few of the avatars could enter for a more private conversation. Of course the Pub would be connected into the Masonic Hall.

At its entrance level, Masonic secrecy could be maintained by not presenting any information or image that isn’t already readily found on approved Masonic sites. Members would be warned that in public areas, they should treat everyone they meet as a non-Mason.

However, even in todays early systems there is the possibility of having security to prove who an avatar is. This could be used to prove a person is a Mason. As this issue is looked after, the opportunity for more fulsome discussions among Masons will be created.

Perhaps when sufficient security exists to prevent unwanted eyes from seeing, and the ability to hold off cowans, and prove all virtually present are Masons, there will be an opportunity to practice some rituals in a private room within the virtual Masonic Lodge (i.e. Lodge room).
 
We may not all live to see the completion of the fully functioning virtual Masonic Lodge but the secret or at least the first connection to the secret should be found on the metaverse.

Other reading:
 
Nicholas Broadway ‘Great Architect of the Metaverse’ The Square Magazine

Great Architect of the Metaverse

Are you ready to meet in the metaverse ? what can you expect to see and do ?

Article by: Scott Wisdahl

RWBro. Scott Wisdahl
Junior Warden, Fort St. John Masonic Lodge No. 131. Grand Lodge of BC & Yukon

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