Friday, September 28, 2012

Read This Column!

Welcome to The Modern Vitruvian, a new regular column in The Valley of Pittsburgh’s The Rite News as well as the blog you are currently reading.  Since you read that sentence, I can only assume that the title hasn’t scared you away.  That’s a good thing.
Because you have done me the honor of reading this far, I will once, and once only, do the following: give a blessedly brief biography (avoiding all awkward alliteration) of this column’s namesake, explain why I chose to attach his name to it, and detail what I hope to bring you, my beloved Scottish Rite Brothers in each and every issue of this fine award-winning publication (and at random times in between issues via the blog, but I’ll explain that later).
Marcus Vitruvius Pollio was born c. 80-70BCE and was…
You know what?  None of that matters.  The basic idea was this, Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, or Vitruvius as his close friends no doubt called him, was a very early author of books on architecture.  In one of them, he described the geometric proportions of the ideal man.  Later another guy, Leonardo da Vinci – I’m certain his friends called him Lenny – drew the very famous, albeit immodest, picture of the ideal man seen below.  That work is known, quite creatively, as Vitruvian Man.  That’s it.  I promised brief and I hope I delivered.

Next up: Why did I decide to call this column “The Modern Vitruvian?”  That’s simple. 
Freemasonry has so many scholarly publications which reference our history (or histories since we really have no definitive, singular answer to that question), our ritual, and the beautiful symbols of the Craft as well as biographies of our famous and infamous Brethren.   What we have too little of (in my opinion anyhow), are pieces which challenge us as 21st Century (Modern) Masons to seek things in our daily lives that have hidden Masonic lessons in them and ways to apply our teachings to them to become more ideal (Vitruvian) men.  In short, I’m looking to find the Masonic in the mundane.
That is the premise and mission – at least for now – of “The Modern Vitruvian.”  How can you help?  I’m glad you asked.  This column will also appear as a blog at  If you do not know what a blog is, that’s okay, I’ll explain.  Basically, a blog – short for web log – is like a journal.  This column will be posted on the internet and will be interactive.  If what I write here reminds you of a similar story, moves you to share or has you so worked up because I’ve missed the point entirely, you may go to the blog and post your own thoughts for the world to read.  My hope is that we see some wonderful discussions there.  Time will tell.  When posting, remember the old adage “It’s okay to be disagreeable, just don’t disagree.”  Do I have that backward?
If you are too shy to write on the blog, you may always write me privately to share thoughts, musings or ideas for upcoming columns.
If you like what you have read so far, please consider subscribing and/or (preferrably and) and sharing with your friends. The more readers we have, the better the discussions will be.  As a bonus for those who do subscribe, there will be occasional columns exclusive to the blog as subjects and stories present themselves. 
Marcel Proust said “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”  I look forward to journeying through today’s landscape with you my Brother’s seeing with new eyes – those of a Modern Vitruvian.

Join the discussion now. . .

P.J. Roup, 32° is Junior Warden of The Gourgas Lodge of Perfection, Valley of Pittsburgh.  In addition to The Modern Vitruvian, he owns The Point Within the Circle (   He can be reached at


  1. PJ I always enjoy your lectures during your visitations as DDGM and I am sure your blog will be no exception. If you can darken up the print for these weak eyes it will make it that much more enjoyable. Thanks Jim Tomson

  2. Love it, PJ! Thanks for making us aware of Freemasonry in the new millennium. I posted a related piece on FB on the Valley of Pittsburgh page, if anyone's interested. A bit too lengthy for the blog response. Looking forward to future posts and discussions. Thanks!