Freemasonry is practiced by people who are exciting, ...",
study of the historical role of Freemasons in Masonry is appropriate. For some
decades now, it has excited some sections of academia. Why should it not also
excite Freemasons? Indeed, it could
be suggested that essential Freemasonry is practiced by people who are exciting,
who are doing exciting things and who are exciting others in the process. Also,
and by virtue of this workmanship, the world is becoming an improving place.
excitement is not about entertainment and festivity. Rather, it is about having
the moral expansiveness to visualise a bigger human picture; to see ways forward
and taking up the mantle of exciting and active personal participation.
an insight into this bigger picture would be to recognise three things that
should be clear to any person with a Masonic awareness:- Firstly, there is a
need for economic growth to ensure that each has sufficient food, clothing and
shelter. But secondly, the achievement of this economic growth must be tempered
by social justice thereby ensuring fair distribution and a commensurate
reduction of disadvantage. Thirdly, this economic growth must be environmentally
sustainable; that is to say, not taking from the planet more than can be
better than Freemasons to lead on this activity and why? Freemasonry is a
cultural phenomenon and has certain definable characteristics. These include the
work ethic, a valuing of education, participatory citizenship and charitablility.
a commensurability of square work and square life."
every Freemason can unite in a celebration of square work; and, that in this
life - we are what we do. Civilisation is only possible with material surplus.
Wealth creation must do more than feed, cloth and shelter; that is to say, more
than just support our animal existence. A surplus enables and facilitates
morality and the arts - that which makes our humanity possible and by which it
is defined. Therefore, we work to produce for ourselves, for our dependents, the
deserving in need and human celebrations of form - the arts in all their
manifestations. Yes, a commensurability of square work and square life.
order to be able to produce and create we need the compass of education; by
which means, we are rendered citizens that are fit for purpose. Masonic history
teaches us that in the lodge scientifically gifted members shared the wonders of
the newly-dawning Newtonian world-view. That the lodge could be a centre for the
dissemination of new learning is surely an exciting thought.
Learning history is about neither sentiment nor nostalgia. It is about
understanding the lessons of the past in order to guide, form, mould, and direct
the future; again, shaping that improving place - and avoiding the mistakes of
outcomes have often required direct action and may well require it again. There
are polities that proscribe Freemasonry - such totalitarianism must be
mitigated. We are always taken up with the "masonry" but let us not forget
the "free". It is only through personal freedom that we can acquire the
knowledge of ourselves, to thrive, and to hope that we can become, truly
should be based upon providing education and empowerment."
has been suggested that is only possible for Freemasons to be Charitable if they
have created material surplus; thereby, on that basis, they can give without
detriment to self or connections. Supporting a dependency culture is the
antithesis of Freemasonry; giving must be sustainable - for both giver and
receiver. Perhaps Masonic giving should be based upon providing education and
Freemasons, where we are must be the better for us being there..."
then the appropriate Masonic world-view is for equitable economic
growth within due environmental possibilities then the way forward is
clear - we know what must be done. But, having thought globally and before we
can think locally, we must engage personally. That is to say, we must understand
Freemasonry as being a process of personal improvement for the benefit of those
around us and whose lives we touch. As Freemasons, and where we are, must be the
better for us being there. If not, our Masonry is more regalia than reality.
personal improvement, our ability to be more serviceable to humankind, can
emanate from lodge meetings as well as from personal study, reflection and
exchanges via e-communication. It
is helpful if the lead can come from the lodge. But there is the logistical
problem - do we serve our own neighbourhood or do we serve the environs of the
lodge. If the lodge is committed to be a beacon of humanity - where it is placed,
then that is an expedient that should be grasped.
course it is much easier to pay for repairs to the cathedral roof!
lodge building can be a centre within its community for education in many useful
even essential things. This could include civic matters and the governance of
the area. Why not invite the local politicians to hold public meetings in the
lodge to consult on putative developments in the built environment and changes
in how public services are going to be, or might be managed? If there
are problems of anti-social behaviour, could not lodge members engage with such
people, tease out underlying causes and advocate on their behalf? Perhaps
teach poorer people financial management and provide debt counselling to those
who can not see a way through. Perhaps
provide support for young parents who are without wider family networks. Of
course it is much easier to pay for repairs to the cathedral roof!
history teaches us that Freemasons have been active politically at both national
and local levels. In those days Freemasonry thrived and why was that? It thrived
because it was relevant, engaged in the then and there and wherever it touched
lives a difference was made. In many parts of the world, people are not engaging
with politics or religions; a black hole is opening up between the stratosphere
of global government and the street corner of those being governed. The person
in the state capital can not possibly understand the problems at the local level
and has no idea of what programmes to initiate.
the people natural for this exciting task will come forward..."
is there to meet the yearning, fill this black hole and reunite fragmented
society? Surely it is people who can work and learn and communicate; and, who
have been initiated into an organisation purposed for the improvement of mankind
here on earth - right here and right now. Perhaps less festivity, less elitist
worthy causes, less reinforcement of dependency culture and then people fit and
natural for this exciting task might then be available to come forward; that is
to say, Freemasons in Masonry.