After writing my last article, Postmodernism And Its Devastating Effect On Freemasonry, I received a great many questions about Postmodernism. In fact, I started using the terms “Postmodern Mason” and “Postmodern Freemason” in many of my responses, which led to even more questions about the terms. Apparently they have never been used within the Craft to distinguish a type of thinking before.
As a response to so many questions and interest into the topic of a “Postmodern Freemason,” I have decided to write this corresponding article. Now, before I delve into specifics, let me just say that everyone has Postmodern tendencies; some more than others, as will become evident. But first, let’s learn a little more about the term Postmodernism, which can be defined,
Postmodernism is a late-20th-century movement in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism. Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism. It is often associated with deconstruction and post-structuralism because its usage as a term gained significant popularity at the same time as twentieth-century post-structural thought.
The term postmodernism has been applied to a host of movements, mainly in art, music, and literature, that reacted against tendencies in modernism, and are typically marked by revival of historical elements and techniques.
With that said, despite it’s once perceived popularity, Postmodernism has come under criticism by many in the academic world,
Criticisms of postmodernism are intellectually diverse, including the assertions that postmodernism is meaningless and promotes obscurantism. For example, Noam Chomsky has argued that postmodernism is meaningless because it adds nothing to analytical or empirical knowledge. He asks why postmodernist intellectuals do not respond like people in other fields when asked, “what are the principles of their theories, on what evidence are they based, what do they explain that wasn’t already obvious, etc.?…If [these requests] can’t be met, then I’d suggest recourse to Hume’s advice in similar circumstances: ‘to the flames’.” Christian apologist William Lane Craig has noted “The idea that we live in a postmodern culture is a myth. In fact, a postmodern culture is an impossibility; it would be utterly unliveable. People are not relativistic when it comes to matters of science, engineering, and technology; rather, they are relativistic and pluralistic in matters of religion and ethics. But, of course, that’s not postmodernism; that’s modernism!”… However, as for continental philosophy, American academics have tended to label it “postmodernist”, especially practitioners of “French Theory”. Such a trend might derive from U.S. departments of Comparative Literature… Philosopher Daniel Dennett declared, “Postmodernism, the school of ‘thought’ that proclaimed ‘There are no truths, only interpretations’ has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for ‘conversations’ in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.”
Did you catch that? Here it is again, “There are no truths, only interpretations’ has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for ‘conversations’ in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.”
How often, especially of Facebook, are we confronted with fellow Masons who only want to argue, and even when a question has been answered, they simply switch to other points to argue a belief is wrong. Honestly, it happens all the time. This is the Postmodern Freemason in action.
I was recently told that debate and discussion were necessary components of learning. To which my response was no they are not; rather, they are just another set of tools, or a hook if you will, to help a student retain information. Case in point, I read Pike’s book Morals and Dogma (1871) daily, and I follow this reading with a short post on Pikequotes blog. In essence, I am learning every day, yet I have no discussion or debate with Pike about his writings. You see, you can learn without discussion or debate. Just read a book; something many people have forgotten how to do, like so many traditional things today.
Yet, as an college instructor, I do use discussion and debate to help students better understand a point. Nevertheless, sadly, many people, including Postmodern teachers, have stretched this idea to all types of learning; as though this is the only way a person can learn, which is sheer nonsense. So, did you ever wonder why social media is filled with Postmodern thinking and responses; well, here you have one of the principles reasons why. Our schools have been filled with academics who think nothing about allowing such behavior, and in fact encourage it. I see it all the time. Students are encouraged to respond to ideas and issues without ever studying them. And when they do conduct some research, it’s normally limited to the first few hits on Google. Which is followed by other Postmodernist who blabber their nonsensical opinions about a traditional viewpoint. Well, guess what? People are finally catching on to this foolish play on words, and are starting to fight back.
After a great deal of reflection, here are my thoughts and opinions about spotting the Postmodern Freemason who would rather argue, debate and start a discussion with the intent of attacking traditional Freemasonry and those who support such thinking, etc, instead of becoming a student of the mysteries:
- Rhetorical debate to divide and destroy – The Postmodern Freemason seeks to debate and uses rhetoric in order to create havoc. It is a simple but effective plan for internal division within the Craft.
- There are no conclusive facts – the Postmodern Freemason deems the concept of truth as an artificial illusion, altered by people and special interest to achieve dominance over others; a tactic they use aggressively to counter traditionalism.
- Facts and fault are identical – the Postmodern Freemason maintains that facts are too restrictive to conclude anything. In short, what is fact today can be false in the future.
- Would rather rely on other Postmodernist thought than rely on tradition – The Postmodern Freemason often rejects conventional (traditional) judgment and impartiality; preferring instead to rely on the judgments of others as a guide, rather than accept historical facts, truths and traditions.
- Traditionalism is incorrect and dishonest – the Postmodern Freemason protests against the limitations of religious secular power and moral development. In short, they are conducting an intellectual war towards traditional institutions and traditional thinking. Instead of trying to understand that most of these organizations actually have been infiltrated by supporters of the mysteries, they make enemies of them.
- Traditionalism is exclusion – The Postmodern Freemason claims that cooperative possession is better than individualism, which they believe is a process of traditional exclusion.
- Cynicism with modernism – The Postmodern Freemason is always asking more from the unfulfilled promises of religion, government, science and technology.
- Morality is personal – The Postmodern Freemason believes morality to be of one’s own personal opinion. He often lowers the ideals of morality to one’s own personal private code of ethics devoid of traditional standards and long held established rules of conduct.
- Globalization is better than nationalism – the Postmodern Freemason claims that national boundaries are a hindrance to human potential, trade and the final uniting of the people of the world. Nationalism, they think, instigates conflict. Consequently, the Postmodernist Freemason frequently suggest the concepts of internationalism, and the uniting of countries through trade agreements as a first step towards this aim; disavowing our own long standing tradition to support one’s National Government.
- Freemasonry holds ideals from all religions – The Postmodern Freemason often denounces the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ or Muhammad as being the only way to God; preferring new age religions. Again, never understanding that many of the mysteries are held within both of these religions. In fact, the traditions of Freemasonry predates these religions, and uphold the traditions of religions that no longer exist.
- Defend feminists and homosexuals – Postmodern Freemasons often defend the causes of feminists and homosexuals over traditionalism, not understanding that such beliefs and behaviors are actually apart of the mysteries. Somehow many in the Craft have come to see these two issues as separate, when in fact they are not. Gender and sexual relations are in fact an essential part of the lessons of the mysteries.
- Environmentalism is the solution – Postmodern Freemasons blame Western society for the destruction of the environment; this is like saying we must throw out the baby with the bathwater because the water is bad.
Therefore, as can be read above, many people hold Postmodern views on particular issues, including myself. Before studying Pike’s book Morals and Dogma (1871), I too conducted my behavior according my Postmodern training; I would be a hypocrite to say otherwise.
It is clear however, especially after studying the mysteries, that we, as a culture, have become confused by such thinking. Postmodern thinking is meant to destroy rather than educate and unite. The lines between Analytical thinking and Postmodern thinking have become blurred. Yes, let us analysis, there is nothing wrong with analyzing Freemasonry; but the problem begins when we use only our Postmodern training and conditioning to destroy rather than understand. In short, “the more I learn, the less I really know,” is a better attitude than “I know better than our traditions and history.”
So Mote It Be!!!