The values by
which we are to survive are not rules for just and unjust conduct, but are those
deeper illuminations in whose light justice and injustice, good and evil, means
and ends are seen in fearful sharpness of outline.
I have coined the
term ‘greenMasonry’ to focus on what I see as the principal sense of
unease facing me as a Freemason. It also points to the legacy facing my
children’s children if I—and others like me—do not act to persuade our
decision-makers and our citizens of the need for a turnaround in our thinking.
When I began this
paper over two years ago, community thinking on climate change and global
warming relegated these to the fringe of politics and the realm of econuts and
tree huggers—the ‘noughties’ equivalent of flower power in the sixties.
Fortunately, the voices of a concerned few now seem to be seeping into our
general consciousness, helped along by the ‘bandwagon effect’ engendered by
mainstream politicians and the media joining the fray. With this new awareness
of climate change in the community comes this once in an aeon opportunity
for Freemasonry once more to become influential in diffusing the light of Wisdom
and aiding the strength of Reason to the world at large.
ANZMRC publishes a quarterly newsletter, Harashim (Hebrew for Craftsmen), which is circulated worldwide in PDF format by email.
preoccupation for Masons in many jurisdictions is the attrition in membership.
This was a serious topic as long ago as 1976, when Sir Asher Joel addressed the
December Grand Communication in Sydney, at the Grand Master’s invitation.
In his address at
the inaugural conference of the Australian Masonic Research Council in 1992,
Harry Kellerman observed that:
and those interested in Freemasonry have watched with dismay the regular annual
drop in membership throughout the world, especially during the past 25 years. It
is felt that for Freemasonry to survive, this tendency has to be reversed.
Perhaps it is not too much to say that today the majority of Masons interested
in the Craft hold the view that our most urgent problems are how to retain the
members we have and how to recruit new ones. These are the vital issues
exercising the minds of Freemasons in every Masonic jurisdiction.
There have been
numerous other instances of learned papers on the topic of membership attrition
and how the tide can be stemmed. To date it seems that these plans and
strategies have met with little or no success—whether through implementation
failures, or flawed planning is not blindingly evident to me, although some
evidence would suggest that flawed planning may be at the heart of the matter.
In his address to the Masonic Secretaries Association
 in March
2008, PAGM Bill Deeley
 discoursed on a strategy for membership. In discussing
various initiatives to arrest the decline, he stated:
There have been a
number of initiatives over the past 50 years to deal with the decline in
membership. With the exception of the One for Ten Program, which resulted in a
slight variation in the graph, none of these initiatives resulted in any real
impact on the membership decline.
have been more about numbers than about addressing the reasons for decline. They
have generally been directed at patching up our existing systems and practices,
rather than going back to basics, and getting the systems right. There is also
the ever present difficulty in Masonry not creating controversy, and this has
stifled genuine debate.
There is no doubt
that some of the things that I say this afternoon will not be readily accepted
by many brethren. This is because I believe that we need change our views on
many issues, and make changes to many of our procedures. No one likes change,
but history has proved that those organisations that do not change in order to
remain relevant, do not survive.
Deeley went on to say that he was not ‘suggesting changes to our core principles
I wonder whether we as Masons can afford the luxury of taking such a
Humans, as members
of organisations, seem to be averse to change although, as individuals, we deal
with change every day of our lives, be it as trite as a bus not arriving at the
scheduled time or as shattering as the untimely death of a loved one. When the
viability of an organisation such as Freemasonry is threatened, there is
invariably an assumption that the fundamentals do not need to be taken into
account in planning to meet the threat. It makes it easier to sell change, but,
if the root causes are not addressed, then all resulting changes provide
illusory solutions. If root cause analysis reveals that the core principles of
an organisation are flawed, then, unless those are corrected, solutions will
continue to deal with symptoms and only delay the inevitable.
As a project
manager with many years of experience in the IT industry, managing and
implementing organisational change is my daily occupation. It is my experience
that the concept of change is inevitably linked to ‘loss’ in one sense or
another. This stems from our daily individual experiences and while ‘change =
loss’ can be argued to be more or less true in these circumstances,
it is not necessarily the case in organisational change. A change to the ‘core
principles and rituals of Freemasonry’ might well result in an additive instead
of a subtractive outcome. To preclude such an outcome at the outset is to deny
ourselves the opportunity to trace the chain of causality in direct increments
from the effect through all the layers of abstraction to a root cause that still
has some connection to the original problem.
This paper is not
a treatise on turning the tide of membership. While it is argued by many that
nothing is more fundamental to the continuing growth of Freemasonry than a
viable membership, my concern is more fundamental. Root cause analysis is not
the province of the individual. It is best undertaken by key members of the
organisation through using brainstorming techniques and by critically analysing
each iteration of ‘cause and effect’ to verify that the cause results in the
effect. I am convinced that such an analysis is needed and needs to be performed
at a wider level than is customarily the case—that is, not at the jurisdictional
level but across jurisdictions—for instance, across Australia and New Zealand.
It would take a great deal of time, money and cross-jurisdictional commitment to
plan and manage such a program.
As one individual
among many in Freemasonry, what I hope to achieve is to persuade
our community to think particularly about the future for
Freemasonry, rather than the future of Freemasonry. My hope is that this
small and, I trust, thought-provoking contribution to ANZMRC can be one spur to
achieving the fundamental and concerted analysis that will provide us with
In taking the
stance that greenMasonry is a fundamental concern for Freemasonry, I do
so on the basis that a concern for the well-being of our planet is fundamental
to life, to our continuing existence on this planet, and that without it
Freemasonry would cease to exist; so would everything else of human origin.
The scenarios for
the planet are well documented and I do not intend to delve deeply into these,
or into the dissenting scientific views that also abound. Suffice it to say that
the mainstream view—that is, that the planet is in trouble—is now widely
accepted by the United Nations and by governments worldwide.
The mainstream view is succinctly put by the Union of Concerned Scientists
Global warming is
already under way. The evidence is vast and the urgency of taking action becomes
clearer with every new scientific study. Some of the most obvious signs are
visible in the Arctic, where rising temperatures and melting ice are
dramatically changing the region’s unique landscapes and wildlife—as well as
people’s lives and livelihoods. Across the globe, other early warning signs
include melting glaciers, shifting ranges of plants and animals, and the earlier
onset of spring.
Global warming is
caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases that are
emitted primarily by the burning of fossil fuels and the clearing of forests.
These gases remain in our atmosphere for decades or even centuries.
impact rising temperatures have had in the Arctic provides a window into a
future we may all experience. With continued warming, we can expect more extreme
heat and drought, rising sea levels, and higher-intensity tropical storms. At
risk are our coastal property and resources, the livability [sic] of our
cities in summer, and the productivity of our farms, forests, and fisheries.
We can’t avoid all
the consequences of global warming, but committing ourselves to action today can
help ensure our children and grandchildren inherit a healthy world full of
It is also well to
remember that the ‘greenhouse effect’—the phenomenon whereby atmospheric gases
trap solar energy, increasing the Earth’s surface temperature—is not new to
science; nor is the increase in the levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s
atmosphere. For instance:
* The French
mathematician and physicist, Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier,
is credited with the discovery in 1824 that gases in the atmosphere might
increase the surface temperature of the Earth, the effect now known as the
‘greenhouse effect’; and
* In 1896 the
Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius, in concert with a colleague, Arvid Högbom,
noted an increase in carbon dioxide—the greenhouse gas now blamed for climate
change—in the Earth’s atmosphere, and ascribed the increase to the burning of
What is greenMasonry?
Such a seemingly
simple question, yet the answer is both simple and complex. Let me put it this
way: Do we need Nature? The answer to this simple question must be a
blindingly obvious ‘Yes!’ at all levels. Do we as Freemasons need Nature?
If we turn to the Second Degree
 in Freemasonry, then there are three examples we can draw
* When the
candidate is invested in the Second Degree, the Master observes that he (the
Craftsman) is ‘expected to make the liberal arts and sciences your future study,
in order that you may be better enabled to discharge your duty as a Mason and
rightly estimate the works of the Almighty Creator’;
* The South-East
Charge to the candidate ends with ‘you are now in a position to extend your
researches into the hidden paths of Nature and Science’;
The candidate is
earnestly recommended in the Final Charge to consider ‘The study of the liberal
arts and sciences, that valuable branch of education which tends so effectively
to polish and adorn the mind’.
The Craftsman is
also instructed to excel in all that is ‘great, useful and good’. This all seems
very straightforward and clear. Yet it is all left to the individual to achieve.
Achieve what? one may ask. Personal development—the development of the
individual, that is what the Second Degree aims to achieve as part of the
Masonic process of taking a good man and making him better.
So why ask the
question? Because it demands more than a simple answer and—in my opinion—demands
by extension that Freemasonry, not just its individual members, should excel in
all that is ‘great, useful and good’.
What is the
purpose of Freemasonry? Is it just to take good men and make them better through
the practice of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth? This is a laudable purpose and
of the highest calling. It is an elegant sufficiency in times of calm seas and
prosperous voyages. Is it enough, though, when we are in wildly rolling ships,
with seas breaking over the decks, with driven rain and icy spindrift, a broken
rudder and the looming menace of a lee shore.
Is it enough when
our very existence is under threat?
arms of the many jurisdictions in Freemasonry exist to serve the current purpose
of Freemasonry. These organisations set the standards against which the notions
of correct Masonic behaviour are judged, and from the commonality of these
standards, stemming as they do from common origins, we now have an international
brotherhood of Freemasonry. Without a change in standards there is very little
scope for new notions of correctness to develop. As a brotherhood, we must not
just stand by in abject denial, or be ensnared in the clutches of despair as we
contemplate the end. There is a middle ground between denial and despair. As the
former US Vice President Al Gore said:
what denial and
despair have in common is they both let you off the hook. You don't have to do
anything. And actually the mature approach is, that all of us have to take, we
have to find our way to it, is to act to solve this. And we can solve it.
I contend that
Freemasonry must play its part in the survival of the human species, not just
through the efforts of individuals but also through its many organisational
arms. Here is an untapped force for the greater good of humankind. The corollary
is that if Freemasonry does not, then it will have abdicated its responsibility
and, by doing so, the consequences are likely to be dire, arising from the mere,
natural consequence of the accumulated actions of humankind.
On that gloomy
prognostication I contend that humans need Nature, if only at one level to
satisfy some primordial instinct; and at another level if only to survive and
evolve with the planet. In the development of this premise, I will explore five
themes, first by posing four questions:
* What is amiss
with the attitude of humans towards nature?
* Is there any
alternative to needing nature?
* What do we
humans do now to redress the balance?
* How do we
achieve a transformation in our attitude?
The first theme
defines ‘nature’ and explores the dynamics between humans and nature, focusing
on four major groupings in human society: governments, corporations, interest
groups and individuals. Theme two briefly explores potential technological
solutions as alternatives to nature. The essayist takes a stance, in the third
theme, that humans should assume the worst until a deep and profound
understanding of nature is acquired. The fourth theme—transformation—asks and
answers some of the questions which humans need to ask to ensure not only their
survival but also their growth.
concludes simply: transform, or face extinction. Freemasonry must make a stance.
What’s amiss with
our attitude towards Nature?
Cut my shadow. Deliver me from the torture of beholding myself fruitless
. . .’ So wrote Federico Garcia Lorca.
I find the image particularly evocative in this context, and ask: ‘Is humankind
stripping bare of its fruit the tree of nature?’
nature, if only at one level to satisfy some primordial instinct; and at another
level if only to exist. For the fortunate few—and this is a matter of
perspective—there is no distinction between physiological and psychological
needs. They are one with nature. Nature is life, and life is nature. We tend to
call them ‘primitives’, when in fact they seem to have achieved, as a society,
Maslow’s fifth state of ‘self-actualisation’ in his hierarchy of needs.
Many humans at the
other end of the ‘primitive-developed’ continuum—the affluent and the
‘comfortable ones’ (and their aspirants)—would see these few primitives as eking
out a tenuous existence in some forsaken, disease-ridden rat hole. Many of these
‘affluents’ view nature as a commodity, as a resource to be exploited. These two
groups, the ‘affluents’ and the ‘primitives’, are out in the wings.
Unfortunately, the number of ‘primitives’ continues to diminish as they are
forced out of their niches by the exploitation and the destruction of their
habitats, swelling the ranks of the dispossessed.
humankind’s vast centre stage are the poor and dispossessed, most unaware of
Nature, their waking hours occupied solely with the pressing needs of survival
in an environment that is totally unsupportive. They are unknown to the
‘primitives’, and are either a problem for the ‘affluents’ or just another
commodity to be exploited.
We see this
exploitation not only in the dispossession of people’s habitats in the dubious
name of progress, but also as a cheap and replenishable form of energy sustained
by their labour. It is an unjust and unsustainable labour which fuels the
economies of the developed and developing nations. As examples, take these three
* The athletic
shoe produced by a factory in a developing (or third world) nation. That factory
would have been accredited by the brand owner as fit to manufacture its product.
It would have competed against other such accredited third world factories to
win the manufacturing tender, the successful bidder being the one with the
lowest price. The manufactured shoe would be sold to the brand owner at an unit
cost around $2, a sufficient return to ensure the continuing affluence of the
factory owner, who belongs to his country’s ruling elite. The brand owner
eventually retails that $2 product for over $200 in the first world. One can
only imagine how little those factory workers were paid for their piecework.
* We see a growing
number of poor in the first world as well, as jobs are lost to the
factory-fodder nations of the third world in the short-term pursuit of monetary
* We see the bread
baskets of the world—those great grain-growing regions of the US, Russia and
Australia—using a significant proportion of their grain to feed livestock or to
produce ethanol as fuel in what is a dreadful misuse of food resources. While
estimates vary wildly—depending on the source—averaging the various inputs
indicates that 28% of the projected US grain harvest in 2008 will be used to
produce fuel for cars. Add to that the grain used to feed livestock to meet an
increasing worldwide demand for meat. Per capita meat consumption in the
burgeoning Chinese economy alone has more than doubled in the last twelve
years—to 53 kg per person and is estimated to increase by 12% per year on a per
capita basis. Applying grain needs to meat consumption, China would have
required 350.1 million metric tonnes of grain in 2007 to supply livestock for
its meat demands.
I can refer
readers to an excellent Canadian documentary film written by Joel Bakan,
entitled ‘The Corporation’, which sets out with alarming clarity the
exploitative power and clout wielded by industrial corporations.
Bakan also brought out a book with the film, which is a compelling read.
How can we humans
harvest the fruits of nature in a manner which ensures that we take only what we
need? That we give as much as we receive? To do so we first need to understand
what is amiss with our attitude towards nature. We need to understand what truly
constitutes progress. We need to dismiss any notion that technology can replace
nature. We need to be aware of the consequences of our actions; and we need to
What is Nature?
To understand what
is amiss in our attitude towards Nature, we must ask ourselves, ‘What is
Nature?’ There is an inference in our Western society that Nature is something
that is ‘out there’—an arena in which humans are pitted against Nature. Patently
it is not. ‘Man masters nature not by force but by understanding’ is a
quotation attributed to Jacob Bronowski. The concept of Gaea—that Nature is the
planet and all of its systems, the biological and the physical, operating as one
vast, inter-dependent web—demands understanding. Humans are just one small
strand in that web. These strands interact in a dynamic and evolutionary way
with each other; that much at least we are now beginning to know.
This concept of
nature being something ‘out there’ is largely what is amiss with our attitude,
and has its roots in the phenomenal ability of humans to acquire knowledge. It
is an acquisition which is invariably accompanied by the arrogance that
knowledge is synonymous with understanding, an arrogance which distances most
humans from a true understanding of that knowledge.
We can see the
accumulated legacy of that arrogance today: governments focused on short-term
electoral survival; corporations focused on short-term share price gains, the
yardstick by which their executives are judged; ‘green’ movements which are
one-eyed and bloody-minded; and individuals who are apathetic. All are bound by
a common thread of self-interest.
Very few of us
have a vision of the future. Some of us are aware of the possible consequences
of our actions. Those with the power to influence and direct humans choose not
to do so for the greater good but for self-interest. When confronted with
growing evidence that the planet’s ecosystems may be in trouble, they prefer to
articulate a mantra that progress is the panacea for all our ills; or adopt
ostrich-like attitudes in the hope that, in the fullness of political time, a
diversion will occur. They usually do: war, natural disasters, terrorism—they
are always welcome. O wonderful diversions!
Technology as an
Is progress the
panacea? Envision this fictional future: massive cities encircling the globe,
housing the ever-growing human race, cities where disease is unknown, where all
basic needs are met, where all products are synthesised from their constituent
molecules, including the water we drink and the air we breathe. Such a future is
not beyond the realms of possibility. It is only a matter of time before humans
acquire the knowledge which will turn possibility into probability and, in turn,
Will nature afford
humankind that time? In denial, we hold fast to the belief that humans will
arise, phoenix like, from the ashes of any apocalypse. The record of extinctions
does not lend credence to that view.
If we had any
collective sense, we would take the worst possible view and work from that
premise, leave aside the possible external agents of extinction—errant asteroids
and the like—and consider us as the agents of our own extinction. Nature
is a vast array of dynamically linked components. As a tree will shed a diseased
branch to protect itself, so may nature shed humankind to ensure its own
survival—Nature ridding itself of its human cancer.
Tipping the scales
Is this mere
doomsaying? ‘Why do societies destroy the environment around them when they know
their actions will ultimately destroy them too?’ So asks author Jared Diamond,
professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los
Angeles, in Collapse.
After all, nature
seems to tolerate the indiscretions of humans: the destruction of forests, the
pollution of air and water, the extinction of other species, and so on. What if
it is not tolerance? It may well be nothing more than a fine balance between
viability and catastrophe. It may be a balance which permits the indiscretions
to accumulate imperceptibly, until just one more indiscretion tips the scales
the wrong way and we consign ourselves to oblivion.
What if humankind
is just a few indiscretions removed from catastrophe? The point is that we just
do not know.
We need to know;
we need to understand; and we need to change. Our very survival depends upon it.
It may already be too late. Fortunately, optimism is still a human trait—not the
apathetic attitudes that are often mistaken for optimism, but the optimism that
gives rise to action, the optimism that infects groups, leading to a groundswell
of opinion that is invariably a precursor to change.
Needing nature is
not an emotional, ‘tree-hugging’ thing. Tree-hugging has its place, but it’s not
going to get us to where we need to be. Needing nature needs to be an act of
will—an act of will by governments, corporations, interest groups, and
To get to where we
need to be will not be easy. It will require governments, corporations and
interest groups to abandon vested self-interest; to abandon apathy and embrace
cooperation and harmony. It will take outstanding leadership and massive effort
to leave behind the centuries-old and universal attitude of complacency,
enshrined in Australia by the saying, ‘She’ll be right, mate’.
Once we have the
powerbrokers on board, we can then turn our attention towards engaging the
disinterested individuals. That will prove far easier, as most people prefer to
Let us take that
optimism and that will, and use it to evolve into the species we are capable of
being. We need to take action—simultaneously—on a number of fronts.
One front is to
redefine progress, to take it from the mere advancement and undisciplined
application of knowledge to the wise application of knowledge. One way of
defining wisdom is that the application of knowledge should serve only the
greater good of humankind—no more the use and abuse of knowledge to furnish
weapons of mass destruction.
A second front
would see the diversion of resources into research to try and accelerate our
understanding of the dynamics of the planet’s systems. We need to be able to
model scenarios and predict outcomes with a reasonable degree of accuracy before
embarking on any ventures which have ecological implications.
Then there are the
poor and dispossessed. We cannot engage them if they are focused on survival. We
have to distribute wealth so that their basic needs are met. We have to achieve
that distribution not through charity but through education and reward for
effort. That means creating the opportunities and the returns, and doing it in
such a way that we do not foster greed or ecological vandalism.
Finally, we need
to actively put an end to blatant ecological abuse and unsustainable resource
use. We have been only too willing to act aggressively against other nations on
the dubious grounds that these nations possess weapons of mass destruction; or
are engaged in the manufacture of certain classes of addictive drugs and so on.
What more frightening weapon of mass destruction is there than our own
extinction? Yet we do nothing about it.
Freemasonry need to engage itself in this? Let us turn this around. What is the
legacy of Freemasonry? What are the monuments to its achievements? Is it the
legacy of the achievements of individual Masons in Masonry; or of individual
Lodges; or of the many Grand Lodges? The Masonic achievements of an individual
reflects well on his Lodge. Similarly the collective achievements of a Lodge
reflect well on its Grand Lodge. The achievements of a Grand Lodge reflect well
In many ways in
today’s age, the good that Freemasonry achieves is through a continuation of old
initiatives, chiefly benevolence and charity. There is nothing new in
Freemasonry; it is firmly rooted in its traditions. But let us not forget that
speculative Freemasonry had its genesis in the eighteenth century, at a time
when Western Society was quite different to what it is now.
One of the basic
aims of Freemasonry was that all men, whether upper or lower class, met upon the
level in the lodge. Given the very rigid class distinctions in 18th century
society, this concept was truly unique and came from the very history of the
fraternity. Noblemen asked to join lodges of skilled labourers who worked with
their hands for a living, not the other way around. It was the exact opposite of
the way elitism usually worked.
Upper and lower
classes and country and city folk were now meeting together and sitting
side-by-side. The concepts of politeness, manners, social graces, better speech,
and the value of intellect started to rub off on men who’d never given it much
thought before. This was the origin of the notion that Freemasonry’s purpose was
to take good men and make them better. The concept of gentility began to grow
and spread. It was one thing to be tolerant of a man’s views if you knew him
well, but it was an enormous change to extend that tolerance to men you’d never
met before. As James Anderson stated in the Book of Constitutions, ‘Masonry
becomes the Centre of Union, and the Means of conciliating true Friendship among
Persons that must have remain’d at a perpetual Distance.’
We know that the
values of Freemasonry inspired many people to become agents of change and must
have contributed to the revolutionary thinking of a number of individuals who
wrought change in Society. Freemasonry was avant-garde then, and should
continue to be so now. It was, perhaps, the forerunner of modern representative
democracy. It was risk accepting. Is Freemasonry now risk averse? Where is
Freemasonry now in terms of thought leadership?
We all dig
ourselves into positions from time to time, and then defend them as a fortress,
as we would a fortress, and the best leaders are ones that know when to change,
and when to move into the future.
dug itself into a corner?
An idea propounded
by Jeffrey Marshall and reproduced in Harashim,
is that Freemasonry is a meme. He gave two definitions of the term:
* A meme is an
idea, behaviour, style or usage that spreads from person to person within a
* Memes are the
basic building blocks of our minds and culture, in the same way that genes are
the basic building blocks of biological life.
Marshall went on
to state that ‘a meme is an idea that propagates from person to person, and
may—depending upon the properties of the meme—shape a society’; and that
‘Successful memes possess fidelity, fecundity and longevity’. He went on to
define fidelity as ‘the message, throughout the generations of copies, remains
true or nearly true to the original source’; fecundity as ‘the message spreads
widely and rapidly’; and longevity as ‘the message remains in the cultural
mind-set for a long time, continuing to influence and, I think, be influenced
by, the culture’. Using these building blocks, Marshall went on to expound why
he considers Freemasonry to be a meme.
The meme theme is
a very powerful proposition and resonates strongly with me. greenMasonry
can be a meme. It has the power to influence and be influenced by the cultures
it is embedded in. greenMasonry pushes the boundaries of the basic tenets
of Freemasonry. How can we better convey Brotherly Love than by caring for the
environment in which we all share, and by doing all we can, by legitimate means,
to ensure that our voices are heard. Relief needs to be more than that which it
is now taken to be, that of charity. The definition of ‘relief’ as ‘help and
assistance given, to those in poverty or need’
 can surely
encompass the poverty and need that stem from environmental damage—not only
treating the symptoms but also looking beyond the symptoms to eradicate the
cause. The essence of Truth is ‘being in accordance with the actual state of
We are all afraid
for our confidence, for the future, for the world. That is the nature of the
human imagination. Yet every man, every civilisation, has gone forward because
of its engagement with what it has set itself to do.
So said Jacob
Bronowski. So let us set for ourselves a Second Age of Enlightenment in
Freemasonry. By expanding its tenets to include the fundamental issues facing
humanity now, Freemasonry can attract the forward-thinking philosophers,
artists, scientists and scholars of today, and rekindle the fires that were the
hallmark of Freemasonry in that first Age of Enlightenment.
A Cautionary Note
It was with
interest that my attention was drawn to a paper entitled ‘The Middle Path’ by
The following passage was particularly interesting:
In addition to
this challenge, another threat to the status quo is arising in North America,
the formation of the Grand Orient of the United States of America (GOUSA),
allied with the Grand Orient of France. This masculine obedience has established
amity with mixed-gender and feminine obediences and has, with its clearly
defined principles, begun to address the concerns and disillusionment held by
some ex and current members of ‘mainstream’ Freemasonry:
Our cause is the
intellectual, spiritual and social advancement of humanity. To accomplish these
aims we have established the following guiding principles for Free-Masonry:
1. We believe in
the freedom of conscience of all people, and that it is an essential component
of liberty, equality and fraternity.
2. We believe in
and support the separation of religion and government, and promote religious and
spiritual tolerance among all people.
3. We believe in
and support the freedom of the press as a necessary component of maintaining the
inalienable rights of all human beings, and that among these are life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness.
4. We believe in
and support the need for higher education and life-long learning.
5. We believe in
and support an impartial judiciary system as essential to guaranteeing the
preservation of human rights.
6. We believe in
and support the arts and sciences as essential elements in the progress and
evolution of humanity.
7. We believe in
and support efforts that work towards global environmental and ecological
sustainability as essential to the survival of the human species.
Unlike the author,
I do not see this as a ‘threat’, as I hold to the view that the greater good of
humanity must take precedence over all else. The author’s paper is arguing a
particular case and his ‘threat’ must be seen in that context. I do not see it
as a ‘leadership’ contest either. Leadership needs to come from all facets of
society and all facets of Freemasonry—whether in amity or not.
is not a political concept. Our survival as a species transcends politics.
greenMasonry is not an ideological concept. It transcends ideologies.
greenMasonry is. That is it—no tags, no labels—just ‘is’.
In a paper to the
Cornerstone Society, the Pro Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England
We are all
brothers on this same journey, a journey leading to self knowledge and
ultimately perfection. The American poet, Emerson, described it as a journey of
‘ascending effort’. And as we climb higher on the path we are helped by those
brethren who are ahead of us and in turn encourage those who are behind.
Freemasonry is a system without dogma or doctrine which signposts, through the
interpretation of its symbols, the journey we must all make. It is a template
for the evolution of human consciousness and as such is a progressive science of
becoming – becoming something greater than we are now. It has various set stages
for our development. A high moral code of ethical behaviour is the essential
condition on which our journey is founded, and that includes the need to be in
control of our emotions, our passions and desires. This is followed by the
importance of education and the training of our reason and intellect as a force
for good in the world. When these conditions are fulfilled and we are truly
centred as human beings, our hearts open to the great potential which is at once
the birthright and destiny of the human race. For as we climb higher we become
wiser and can see further and more clearly what is the purpose of our life, and
what the Great Architect has planned for us. That is the great mystery of
Freemasonry which all of us are destined to rediscover.
is all of the foregoing. What better organisation is there to be at the
forefront for change than Freemasonry, spread as it is over the surface of this
planet. The choices are simple for Freemasonry. The choices are few for
humanity. choose nature; or choose an epitaph.
We humans need to
transform ourselves from a factional, squabbling, self-interested and
self-aggrandising rabble to being a cohesive, nurturing collective. Some are
taking small steps now. To achieve transformation, we need to start taking many
more small steps, now, and deliver the withered orange tree from beholding
I once wrote an
epitaph for the human race:
Unremembered now –
Once did we humans
I wrote it in the
fervent hope that it would never come true and that—when the nuclear fires which
fuel our solar system are eventually extinguished—we will have weaned ourselves
from our dependence on Mother Earth and will have scattered our seed amongst
that glittering diadem of stars which crowns the heavens.
How terrible; how
wasteful; how utterly devoid of hope is the alternative.
Bronowski, J: (1956) ‘Science and Human Values. 3. The Sense of Human
Dignity’ in Higher Education Quarterly 11(1), 26–42
Joel, A. ‘Freemasonry and Public Relations – Should it have a new
look?’, address to the December 1976 Communication, UGL NSW & ACT,
reprinted in Capitol Capers Vol XIII #9, December 2006,
newsletter of Lodge Capitol #612 (NSW & ACT).
Kellerman, M H: ‘The challenge of the changes in membership in New South
Wales’ in AMRC Proceedings 1992, Melbourne 1992.
Deputy Chairman, Board of Management and Membership, UGL NSW & ACT.
Deeley, W A: ‘A Strategy for Membership’ (unpublished), an Address to
the Masonic Secretary’s Association on 7 March 2008.
My perception is that most significant changes in the everyday lives of
most people seem to be changes which result in ‘loss’ or have other
negative outcomes, and cover a wide range of circumstances, for instance
– meeting financial commitments, dealing with job insecurity, coping
with grief at the loss of loved ones, surviving serious health issues
and generally muddling through life. Windfalls are few and far between
The USA is one notable exception, having withdrawn from the Kyoto
Protocol in 2001. The US has now signed up to the Bali Convention
roadmap (December 2008) to launch negotiations on a new treaty to
replace the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.
Better known for the Fourier Series and the Fourier Transform.
http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm (Discovery of
Global Warming site – a site created by Spencer Weart with support
from the American Institute of Physics, the National Science Foundation
and the Alfred P Sloan Foundation, and hosted on the website of the
Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics).
As set out in the 2° Ritual of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales
and the Australian Capital Territory.
Interview with Andrew Denton on ‘Enough Rope’, ABC TV 11 September 2006.
Lorca, Federico Garcia: ‘Canción del naranjo seco’ (Song of
the Withered Orange-tree), Penguin, J L Gili ed, 1960.
Maslow, A: ‘A Theory of
Human Motivation’ in Psychological Review 50 (1943) pp370–96.
Lane, Jim ed: ‘Biofuels Digest—Meat vs Fuel: Grain use in the US and
China 1995–2008’, April 2008 online at www.biofuelsdigest.com/MeatvsFuel.pdf,
Zeitgeist Films: The Corporation, 2 DVD set, ASIN B0007DBJM8.
Bakan, J: The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and
Power, Free Press; US edn (2004) ISBN 978‑0743247443.
Diamond, Jared: Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,
(2005), ISBN 0-14-303655-6.
Hodapp, C: Freemasonry for Dummies, p33, Wiley 2005, ISBN
Al Gore in an interview with Andrew Denton on ‘Enough Rope’, ABC TV 11
Pope, Tony ed: Harashim (ANZMRC quarterly newsletter), #17,
January 2001, pp11–12.
‘The Power of Memes’ in Scientific American, October 2000.
Macquarie Dictionary, rev edn 1985.
Macquarie Dictionary, rev edn 1985.
Stevens, K: ‘The Middle Path—Finding the Centre of a Circle’, p4, paper
submitted to Heritage Lodge of Research #730 GRC, Ontario, Canada, March
The Grand Orient of the United States of America can be found at
Lord Northampton: ‘Whither Directing our Course’, p5, The Cornerstone
A reaction to an article I read in 2003 on the destruction of the Amazon