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Why are columns such a profound statement in architecture, and what are their possible symbolic meanings?

The column is an impressive visual part of ancient and modern architecture, but is it really useful or necessary in the building and stabilization processes of architecture? In our modern buildings we tend to still incorporate columns wherever we can, even though steel struts and concrete hold the mainframe of most industrial or large structures. We know that the arch/dome is an extremely stable building method, and that a sphere is the best way of opposing pressure. Why is it that culture prefers the visual concept of the column?

This discussion will explore the functional, aesthetic, and symbolic properties of columns and how these qualities relate to Freemasonry.