Updated For The Postmodern Thinker: Online Etiquette For Masons; With Supporting Quotes From Albert Pike.

I recently conducted a search of the Internet and discovered that some Freemasons continue to feel it is OK to discredit my name, as well as other Masonic online authors, who are only attempting to spread Masonic knowledge; which is a mandate going back to the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons (p. 56), and can be seen in the words of Albert Pike, “To learn, to attain knowledge, to be wise, is a necessity for every truly noble soul; to teach, to communicate that knowledge, to share that wisdom with others, and not churlishly to lock up his exchequer, and place a sentinel at the door to drive away the needy, is equally an impulse of a noble nature, and the worthiest work of man” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 108). Needless to say, reading such rhetorical writings can be disheartening, but is to be expected, especially when one considers that most Freemason are only Blue Lodge Masons with a limited scope of the Craft, and have been educated by way of Postmodernism, which “is typically defined by an attitude of skepticism or distrust toward grand narratives, ideologies, and various tenets of Enlightenment rationality, including the existence of objective reality and absolute truth, as well as notions of rationality, human nature, and progress;” a topic I have written about at length since January on this blog. With this said, I feel it is necessary to again post my earlier article, Online Etiquette For Masons; With Supporting Quotes From Albert Pike. Although, updated with the Postmodern thinker in mind. Please help spread this article, for I personally believe that our public face is something every Mason should be concerned with. I have used this article countless times when a Mason was acting inappropriately online; try it, it really works.


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I am often puzzled by the Postmodern Mason who travels the internet looking for weaker prey, or who is looking to pick an online fight with another Mason. Did he (or she) not learn anything from his Masonic lessons? Well, he actually did, but in a misguided effort to protect the craft, he instead has become a cyberbully. Instead of accepting another Masonic viewpoint, he actually goes out of his way to discredit the brother (or sister if a Co-Mason or a woman only Mason); this is an act unbecoming a Mason who desires a high moral character. As such, after some reflection, I have decided to write my own views on the matter; and here they are, with supporting quotes from Albert Pike’s book Morals and Dogma, 1871.

Online Etiquette For Masons:

1. Just State Your Views In A Polite, None Threatening Or Offensive Manner:

When posting a comment online, do nothing more than state your views in a polite inoffensive manner. Never try to provoke another Mason by asking a question you already know the answer to. This is a common tactic of a Postmodern Masonic cyberbully. I am weary of the Mason who asks a question only to turn it into an unwinnable debate. You see, some men (and women) don’t take their Masonic lessons with them after they leave lodge; as Pike confirmed:

“A man may be a good sort of man in general, and yet a very bad man in particular: good in the Lodge and bad in the world; good in public, and bad in his family; good at home, and bad on a journey or in a strange city. Many a man earnestly desires to be a good Mason. He says so, and is sincere. But if you require him to resist a certain passion, to sacrifice a certain indulgence, to control his appetite at a particular feast, or to keep his temper in a dispute, you will find that he does not wish to be a good Mason, in that particular case; or, wishing, is not able to resist his worse impulses” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 151).

2. Never Debate Another Mason Online:

I have found that there is not enough space or time in an online forum to truly debate any Masonic question. It is best to, again, just state your opinion in an inoffensive manner, or simply quote the opinion of a prominent Masonic author, and move on. Most often, I go online for Masonic inspiration, education and ideas; however, sometimes I find infighting, which is a behavior unbecoming a Mason; or as Pike so poignantly wrote:

Wherever there is strife and hatred among the brethren, there is no Masonry; for Masonry is Peace, and Brotherly Love, and Concord” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 124).

When I see such behavior, I often feel compelled to leave that forum and never return to it. In fact, because some sites are so poorly monitored, and it happens so often, and is so harsh, I simply leave (un-join) the group, and never return to it; and I have done so on numerous occasions. Why might you ask? It’s simple, because I believe Masonry is a personal journey of discovery, and not a debate club, or as Pike wrote about interpreting Masonic legends and its history:

WHETHER the legend and history of this Degree are historically true, or but an allegory, containing in itself a deeper truth and a profounder meaning, we shall not now debate. If it be but a legendary myth, you must find out for yourself what it means (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 204).

You see, if Pike was asked a question today about online debating of Masonic history and its legends, I believe he would say the same thing he said in 1871, that, “we should not now debate;” rather, he would tell us that we must find out for our self what something means. Therefore, making a public Postmodern spectacle online, in the end, does nothing to really change another Mason’s mind. Pike wrote about “venal orators” and their destructive antics, and contrasted them to having eloquence for good purposes, to teach etc:

If you have Eloquence, it is a mighty force. See that you use it for good purposes—to teach, exhort, ennoble the people, and not to mislead and corrupt them. Corrupt and venal orators are the assassins of the public liberties and of public morals.” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 91).

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3. Think Before Responding, Because There Is Power In Your Thoughts And Words; So Use Them Wisely:

In the past, I let my emotions get the best of me, and I responded too quickly, which led me to writing something I regretted a few days later. I now take several hours to reflect, and sometimes I take a day or two, before responding. This has helped me better phrase my words, so they won’t be perceived as offensive. Pike wrote about the immortal power of thoughts and words, and their existence within the soul:

Take, then, the attributes of the soul. I am conscious that I exist and am the same identical person that I was twenty years ago. I am conscious that my body is not I,–that if my arms were lopped away, this person that I call ME, would still remain, complete, entire, identical as before. But I cannot ascertain, by the most intense and long-continued reflection, what I am, nor where within my body I reside, nor whether I am a point, or an expanded substance. I have no power to examine and inspect. I exist, will, think, perceive. That I know, and nothing more. I think a noble and sublime Thought. What is that Thought? It is not Matter, nor Spirit. It is not a Thing; but a Power and Force. I make upon a paper certain conventional marks, that represent that Thought. There is no Power or Virtue in the marks I write, but only in the Thought which they tell to others. I die, but the Thought still lives. It is a Power. It acts on men, excites them to enthusiasm, inspires patriotism, governs their conduct, controls their destinies, disposes of life and death. The words I speak are but a certain succession of particular sounds, that by conventional arrangement communicate to others the Immaterial, Intangible, Eternal Thought. The fact that Thought continues to exist an instant, after it makes its appearance in the soul, proves it immortal: for there is nothing conceivable that can destroy it. The spoken words, being mere sounds, may vanish into thin air, and the written ones, mere marks, be burned, erased, destroyed: but the THOUGHT itself lives still, and must live on forever. A Human Thought, then, is an actual EXISTENCE, and a FORCE and POWER, capable of acting upon and controlling matter as well as mind. Is not the existence of a God, who is the immaterial soul of the Universe, and whose THOUGHT, embodied or not embodied in His WORD, is an Infinite Power, of Creation and production, destruction and preservation, quite as comprehensible as the existence of a Soul, of a Thought separated from the Soul, of the Power of that Thought to mold the fate and influence the Destinies of Humanity” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 573)?

4. Sometimes It Is Better Not To Respond At All:

Sometimes I don’t respond at all. I do this because I felt the question or comment was only used to lead me into a debate; something I hate doing, because I personally believe such behavior may tarnish my soul. Many times, I have to remind myself about what Pike wrote of men who appear to be virtuous, who quote good words only to glaze over their bad deeds. Simply stated, I am more concerned with a man’s actions and deeds than his words. Pike wrote:

“A great Preacher well said, “Therefore thou art inexcusable. O Man, whosoever thou art, that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself: for thou that judgest, doest the same things.” It is amazing to see how men can talk of virtue and honor, whose life denies both. It is curious to see with what a marvellous facility many bad men quote Scripture. It seems to comfort their evil consciences, to use good words; and to glaze over bad deeds with holy texts, wrested to their purpose. Often, the more a man talks about Charity and Toleration, the less he has of either; the more he talks about Virtue, the smaller stock he has of it. The mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart; but often the very reverse of what the man practices. And the vicious and sensual often express, and in a sense feel, strong disgust at vice and sensuality. Hypocrisy is not so common as is imagined” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 150).

5. Don’t Invite Others Into A Discussion Only To Gang Up On Another Mason:

I have seen this unbecoming Postmodern behavior several times on Facebook. The Postmodern cyberbullying Mason has a group of followers, which he uses to discredit other Masonic viewpoints. The Mason plugs in the names of his followers into the group conversation, and pretty soon you see four or five, sometimes even 7 or more, ganging up on another Mason and his views on a particular point. On the surface, it might look like the Masonic cyberbullying gang has won the argument; but not really. You see, their success was only limited to their cyberbullying group of Postmodern Masons; all the good Masons had already left, or chose not to participate in the unbecoming behavior. Sadly, this destructive behavior has a negative impact on young and new Masons; for you see, when they witness this kind of online behavior they either leave disheartened and thinking negatively about the craft, or adapt to become accepted by their peers. And they too become a Postmodern cyberbully Mason; and the cycle continues uninterrupted. Pike wrote about respecting others and their opinions, and compared that type of individual to a gentle, kind, good honest and principled person:

Those who forget the rights of others, must not be surprised if their own are forgotten; and those who stoop to the lowest embraces of sense must not wonder, if others are not concerned to find their prostrate honor, and lift it up to the remembrance and respect of the world. To the gentle, many will be gentle; to the kind, many will be kind. A good man will find that there is goodness in the world; an honest man will find that there is honesty in the world; and a man of principle will find principle and integrity in the minds of others” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 193-194).

6. Don’t Ever Attack Other Masonic Orders (Rites) Or Other Esoteric Organizations, Especially Clandestine Orders, And Never Tell Another Person That He Or She Is Not A True Mason Because They Do Not Belong To Your Order:

Simply stated, nothing is really ever gained by attacking others online. By doing so, all you do is create enemies, and tarnish your own soul in the process. When a Postmodern Mason attacks other organizations as being illegitimate, he only succeeds in demonstrating his own ignorance about the lessons within Masonry. So what if some orders accept women and others do not; or some orders charge more money than others; or there are two Grand Lodges fighting for control; and so forth and so on. When a Mason attacks another order, viewpoint or position, he does nothing to change those organizations or its followers; such behavior only makes enemies of them. Interestingly, quite often I have found many people from different and unaffiliated orders more knowledgeable about Masonic esoteric history, doctrine and behavior than the common Master Mason of traditional Blue Lodge Masonry, who so often love to attack others based only on the limited knowledge he gained from exclusive Blue Lodge instruction. Pike confirmed the basis for the craft when he wrote about morality and virtue, and disinterestedness:

The bases of Masonry being morality and virtue, it is by studying one and practicing the other, that the conduct of a Mason becomes irreproachable. The good of Humanity being its principal object, disinterestedness is one of the first virtues that it requires of its members; for that is the source of justice and beneficence” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 185).

Think about it, Masons don’t generally attack the none-Mason for not being a Mason, but some Postmodern Masons think it is fair game to attack Masons of other orders, like none-affiliated orders and so called clandestine orders; really, how hypocritical is that? Basically, what they are saying is, like a naive high school freshman, “our team is better than your team,” which is another ingenuous behavior.

Furthermore, Pike also wrote about our own ignorance when it comes to God’s plan for humanity; this includes Mason and none-Mason alike, and all the different non-affiliated orders of the broader craft:

All errors are not equally innocuous. That which is most injurious is to entertain unworthy conceptions of the nature and attributes of God; and it is this that Masonry symbolizes by ignorance of the True Word. The true word of a Mason is, not the entire, perfect, absolute truth in regard to God; but the highest and noblest conception of Him that our minds are capable of forming; and this word is Ineffable, because one man cannot communicate to another his own conception of Deity; since every man’s conception of God must be proportioned to his mental cultivation, and intellectual powers, and moral excellence. God is, as man conceives Him, the reflected image of man himself.

For every man’s conception of God must vary with his mental cultivation and mental powers. If any one contents himself with any lower image than his intellect is capable of grasping, then he contents himself with that which is false to him, as well as false in fact. If lower than he can reach, he must needs feel it to be false. And if we, of the nineteenth century after Christ, adopt the conceptions of the nineteenth century before Him; if our conceptions of God are those of the ignorant, narrow-minded, and vindictive Israelite; then we think worse of God, and have a lower, meaner, and more limited view of His nature, than the faculties which He has bestowed are capable of grasping. The highest view we can form is nearest to the truth. If we acquiesce in any lower one, we acquiesce in an untruth. We feel that it is an affront and an indignity to Him, to conceive of Him as cruel, short-sighted, capricious, and unjust; as a jealous, an angry, a vindictive Being. When we examine our conceptions of His character, if we can conceive of a loftier, nobler, higher, more beneficent, glorious, and magnificent character, then this latter is to us the true conception of Deity; for nothing can be imagined more excellent than He” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 223-224).

Ever wonder why this world has so many different religions? It’s simple, as Pike wrote above, “because one man cannot communicate to another his own conception of Deity.” Is it any wonder than why we also have so many different orders within the broader craft. In short, the whole of Masonry, and its many non-affiliated orders, cannot truly advance this world spiritually until we stop attacking each other online and offline.

7. Don’t Go Online To Self-Aggrandize Yourself Or Your Order (Rite); Rather, Go Online To Find Inspiration And Share Knowledge For Personal Advancement ~ Let Us Do Away With This Odious Self-Flattery:

Why do some Postmodern Masons feel the need to be better than others? Also, why are some Postmodern Masons compelled to judge our Masonic brethren and sistren in hast? Yes, let us strive to be more like God; but always remember that God loves all his children, not just the Masons of your order (rite). Pike wrote:

“Continually you praise each other, and utter elaborate and high-wrought eulogies upon the Order. Everywhere you assume that you are what you should be, and nowhere do you look upon yourselves as you are. Is it true that all our actions are so many acts of homage to virtue? Explore the recesses of your hearts; let us examine ourselves with an impartial eye, and make answer to our own questioning! Can we bear to ourselves the consoling testimony that we always rigidly perform our duties; that we even half perform them?

Let us away with this odious self-flattery! Let us be men, if we cannot be sages! The laws of Masonry, above others excellent, cannot wholly change men’s natures. They enlighten them, they point out the true way; but they can lead them in it, only by repressing the fire of their passions, and subjugating their selfishness. Alas, these conquer, and Masonry is forgotten!

After praising each other all our lives, there are always excellent Brethren, who, over our coffins, shower unlimited eulogies. Every one of us who dies, however useless his life, has been a model of all the virtues, a very child of the celestial light. In Egypt, among our old Masters, where Masonry was more cultivated than vanity, no one could gain admittance to the sacred asylum of the tomb until he had passed under the most solemn judgment. A grave tribunal sat in judgment upon all, even the kings. They said to the dead. “Whoever thou art, give account to thy country of thy actions! What hast thou done with thy time and life? The law interrogates thee, thy country hears thee, Truth sits in judgment on thee!” Princes came there to be judged, escorted only by their virtues and their vices. A public accuser recounted, the history of the dead man’s life, and threw the blaze of the torch of truth on all his actions. If it were adjudged that he had led an evil life, his memory was condemned in the presence of the nation, and his body was denied the honors of sepulture. What a lesson the old Masonry taught to the sons of the people” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 186-187).

8. Be Fair In Your Judgment of Another Mason (Or Another Person); And Never Comment On Someone’s Motives:

I have seen it time and time again, a Postmodern Mason will speculate on another Mason’s motives when responding to an online post or response. The enlightened Mason should lean on his or her Masonic education, which includes not judging another person too quickly. Pike wrote about the Masons “who are invested with the power of judgment,” should “in deducing the motive” of another person “not assign to the act either the best or the worst motives,” rather, they should be “just and fair:”

Those who are invested with the power of judgment should judge the causes of all persons uprightly and impartially, without any personal consideration of the power of the mighty, or the bribe of the rich, or the needs of the poor. That is the cardinal rule, which no one will dispute; though many fail to observe it. But they must do more. They must divest themselves of prejudice and preconception. They must hear patiently, remember accurately, and weigh carefully the facts and the arguments offered before them. They must not leap hastily to conclusions, nor form opinions before they have heard all. They must not presume crime or fraud. They must neither be ruled by stubborn pride of opinion, nor be too facile and yielding to the views and arguments of others. In deducing the motive from the proven act, they must not assign to the act either the best or the worst motives, but those which they would think it just and fair for the world to assign to it, if they themselves had done if; nor must they endeavor to make many little circumstances, that weigh nothing separately, weigh much together, to prove their own acuteness and sagacity. These are sound rules for every juror, also, to observe.

In our intercourse with others, there are two kinds of injustice: the first, of those who offer an injury; the second, of those who have it in their power to avert an injury from those to whom it is offered, and yet do it not. So active injustice may be done in two waysby force and by fraud,–of which force is lion-like, and fraud fox-like,--both utterly repugnant to social duty, but fraud the more detestable.

Every wrong done by one man to another, whether it affect his person, his property, his happiness, or his reputation, is an offense against the law of justice. The field of this Degree is therefore a wide and vast one; and Masonry seeks for the most impressive mode of enforcing the law of justice, and the most effectual means of preventing wrong and injustice.

To this end it teaches this great and momentous truth: that wrong and injustice once done cannot be undone” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 126).

9. Be Concerned With How Your Actions Will Be Looked Upon By Others In The Craft And Outside The Craft:

I know I alluded to this topic earlier; however, it truly needs to be addressed in its own stand alone section. Masonry is a big umbrella, with a lot of people from differing backgrounds. As such, we will not all agree on everything, nor should we; especially given the fact that Masonry was designed as an individual adventure. Yet, despite this understanding, we still retain some Postmodern Masons who act according to their worldly instruction, rather than Masonic instruction; and they get away with this behavior because many Masons empower them by agreeing with, or disagreeing with, them in an online forum. Instead, we should simply walk away from them, and not empower them anymore. Pike mentioned this problem when he asked why we still retain some Masons who excite rivalries and jealousies:

Your debates should be but friendly conversations. You need concord, union, and peace. Why then do you retain among you men who excite rivalries and jealousies; why permit great and violent controversy and ambitious pretensions? How do your own words and acts agree? If your Masonry is a nullity, how can you exercise any influence on others (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 186)?

As well, be very careful when writing about your political and religious viewpoints, for this too may look poorly upon you and the craft. I am often confused when a Postmodern Mason makes an offhand political or religious comment for or against a position. Again, I have to ask, did they not learn anything from their Masonic lessons? Pike wrote about the problems of politics and religion:

“In every credo, religious or political as in the soul of man, there are two regions, the Dialectic and the Ethic; and it is only when the two are harmoniously blended, that a perfect discipline is evolved. There are men who dialectically are Christians, as there are a multitude who dialectically are Masons, and yet who are ethically Infidels, as these are ethically of the Profane, in the strictest sense:–intellectual believers, but practical atheists:–men who will write you “Evidences,” in perfect faith in their logic, but cannot carry out the Christian or Masonic doctrine, owing to the strength, or weakness, of the flesh. On the other hand, there are many dialectical skeptics, but ethical believers, as there are many Masons who have never undergone initiation; and as ethics are the end and purpose of religion, so are ethical believers the most worthy. He who does right is better than he who thinks right. But you must not act upon the hypothesis that all men are hypocrites, whose conduct does not square with their sentiments. No vice is more rare, for no task is more difficult, than systematic hypocrisy. When the Demagogue becomes a Usurper it does not follow that he was all the time a hypocrite. Shallow men only so judge of others” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p 35).

Therefore, when a topic of discussion becomes unMasonic, simply leave it, don’t respond, and if need be, leave the site. Don’t empower these Postmodern Masons by either praising them, liking their comments, or making a comment in support of, or against, their statement; for some people love to be attacked, and attack others who disagree with their position; it empowers them. On several occasions, I have witnessed a negative statement made by a Mason go unchallenged, with no likes or comments, which told me that others did not enjoy what had been written online. I personally think this is the best way of stating your displeasure online. Just leave the unMasonic statement alone; it is toxic.

10: Never Flatter Another Mason:

I have seen this behavior from time to time; although it does not happen that much. There is a fine line between acknowledging someones years of service, efforts and rank within the craft, and flattering them. I have seen the embarrassment and shame some Masons feel when they are overtly flattered. You see, Masonry teaches humbleness; so when a Postmodern Mason unknowingly flatters another Mason, he may, in fact, be hurting him or embarrassing him personally, and his reputation; even when done online. Pike confirmed my concerns when he wrote:

Flattery, either of individual or people, corrupts both the receiver and the giver; and adulation is not of more service to the people than to kings. A Cæsar, securely seated in power, cares less for it than a free democracy; nor will his appetite for it grow to exorbitance, as that of a people will, until it becomes insatiate. The effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please; to a people, it is to a great extent the same. If accessible to flattery, as this is always interested, and resorted to on low and base motives, and for evil purposes, either individual or people is sure, in doing what it pleases, to do what in honor and conscience should have been left undone. One ought not even to risk congratulations, which may soon be turned into complaints; and as both individuals and peoples are prone to make a bad use of power, to flatter them, which is a sure way to mislead them, well deserves to be called a crime” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 83).

11. Don’t Attack Another Mason’s Grammar, Misspelling Or Word Usage Online; If It Bothers You That Much, Just Send A Private Message Letting Him or Her Know There Are Errors, And Make Suggestions.

This is a favorite tool of the Postmodern Masonic cyberbully. Simply stated, if he (or she) does not like what was written, instead of countering with logic, or countering with his own posting, or blog site, he goes after the other Mason’s grammar, etc. Think about it, how often do we read comments online that have grammatical errors in them. Literally, I read hundreds of comments everyday that have errors in them, but I never comment. Generally, I can make sense of what was written and let it go. There is a book in the middle of each Blue Lodge room, and we call it the rule and guide of our faith; yes, it is the Holy Bible. It is there to guide us. Therefore, what does it say about pointing out another person’s errors?

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7: 3-5, NIV).

Also, I have read many great works of literature that had countless mistakes in them; but I can still make sense of what was written, and find value in the author’s work. I am often reminded of J. K. Rowling’s book series about Harry Potter, which had hundreds upon hundreds of errors in them. Yet, her books are still the most popular children’s books ever written. Better yet, how about Albert Pike’s original book, Morals and Dogma (1871), which also has hundreds upon hundreds of errors in it. Please remember, not everyone was an English major in college; a point English majors love to throw about. The closest thing I could find from Pike on the matter is when he wrote about the misunderstanding of words, which are often misused just like symbols are:

“A single example of the symbolism of words will indicate to you one branch of Masonic study. We find in the English Rite this phrase: ‘I will always hail, ever conceal, and never reveal;’ and in the Catechism, these:  “Q∴ ‘I hail.’ A∴ ‘I conceal;’ and ignorance, misunderstanding the word ‘hail,’ has interpolated the phrase, “From whence do you hail!’ But the word is really ‘hele,’ from the Anglo-Saxon verb elan, helan, to cover, hide, or conceal. And this word is rendered by the Latin verb tegere, to cover or roof over. ‘That ye fro me no thynge woll hele,’ says Gower. ‘They hele fro me no priuyte,’ says the Romaunt of the Rose. ‘To heal a house,’ is a common phrase in Sussex; and in the west of England, he that covers a house with slates is called a Healer. Wherefore, to ‘heal‘ means the same thing as to ’tile,’–itself symbolic, as meaning, primarily, to cover a house with tiles,–and means to cover, hide, or conceal. Thus language too is symbolism, and words are as much misunderstood and misused as more material symbols are (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 63).

Which means there have always been errors with regard to language, written words and symbolism, and these errors will perhaps always remain; so get over it and move on? I find the only reason a Postmodern Mason would comment publicly about another Mason’s written errors is to denigrate him or her in front of others, and to raise himself above the author. Which I believe is another ingenuous behavior unbecoming a Mason who desires a high moral character.

12. Don’t Attack, Or Comment Negatively About, Albert Pike Or His Book, Morals And Dogma:

Simply stated, when you attack Albert Pike, you are attacking the order of Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, and when you comment negatively on Pike, you are portraying that Masonic order negatively, both of which are acts unbecoming a Mason who desires a high moral character. Albert Pike is the author of the popular book Morals and Dogma (1871, 2011), which is given to initiates when they first become Masons of the order.

A favorite pastime of the Postmodern Masonic cyberbully is to say that Pike was a racist because he fought for the south in the American Civil War, which made him a segregationist, and by extension, a racist. Alternatively, that he was a member of the Scottish Rite KKK Project, which is an outright fabrication by Anton Chaitkin, a founding member of the Lyndon LaRouche movement. You see, when a Mason makes such a claim, he or she only demonstrates a lack of knowledge on the topic; like no supporting documentation or referencing of the claims. Yet, one only needs to read his book Morals and Dogma to see that he spoke out against the injustice of slavery and the separation of the races:

“And as to London–it looked like judgment, if it be true that the Asiatic cholera had its origin in English avarice and cruelty, as they suppose who trace it to the tax which Warren Hastings, when Governor-General of India, imposed on salt, thus cutting off its use from millions of the vegetable-eating races of the East: just as that disease whose spectral shadow lies always upon America’s threshold, originated in the avarice and cruelty of the slave-trade, translating the African coast fever to the congenial climate of the West Indies and Southern America–the yellow fever of the former, and the vomito negro of the latter.

But we should be slow to make inferences from our petty human logic to the ethics of the Almighty. Whatever the cruelty of the slave-trade, or the severity of slavery on the continents or islands of America, we should still, in regard to its supposed consequences, be wiser, perhaps, to say with that great and simple Casuist Who gave the world the Christian religion: “Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans because they suffered such things? or those eighteen upon whom the tower of Siloam fell and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

Retribution bars retaliation, even in words. A city shattered, burned, destroyed, desolate, a land wasted, humiliated, made a desert and a wilderness, or wearing the thorny crown of humiliation and subjugation, is invested with the sacred prerogatives and immunities of the dead. The base human revenge of exultation at its fall and ruin should shrink back abashed in the presence of the infinite Divine chastisement. ‘Forgiveness is wiser than revenge,’ our Freemasonry teaches us, ‘and it is better to love than to hate.’ Let him who sees in great calamities the hand of God, be silent, and fear His judgments.

Men are great or small in stature as it pleases God. But their nature is great or small as it pleases themselves. Men are not born, some with great souls and some with little souls. One by taking thought cannot add to his stature, but he can enlarge his soul. By an act of the will he can make himself a moral giant, or dwarf himself to a pigmy” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 812-813).

Pike also wrote that God has no color; the Parsees, by the way, where from India:

The Parsees, retaining the old religion taught by Zaradisht, say in their catechism: ‘We believe in only one God, and do not believe in any beside Him; Who created the Heavens, the Earth, the AngelsOur God has neither face nor form, color nor shape, nor fixed place. There is no other like Him, nor can our mind comprehend Him‘” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 620).

Or when Pike wrote that black and white will commingle when the depots cease to slay and ravage:

Where the armies of the despots cease to slay and ravage, the armies of ‘Freedom’ take their place, and, the black and white commingled, slaughter and burn and ravish. Each age re-enacts the crimes as well as the follies of its predecessors, and still war licenses outrage and turns fruitful lands into deserts, and God is thanked in the Churches for bloody butcheries, and the remorseless devastators, even when swollen by plunder, are crowned with laurels and receive ovations” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 295).

Still others like to comment on his writing style, and that he copied much of his work. Again, it is truly unfair to relate modern writing styles to those of the past. In addition, when a Mason attacks either his spelling errors, or his comprehension style, the Postmodern Mason only demonstrates a lack of knowledge from the period. Many authors of the period did not reference, like they do today; in fact, in many eastern countries, copying is an acceptable behavior even today. It has only become unacceptable in the west in the last century or so. Also, when Pike wrote his book, he assumed it would only be given to a small group of men with high intellectual backgrounds (leaders of the Scottish Rite, SJ). It was not written for the general Mason; only after his death did it become widely distributed. As for spelling errors, as a historian, I have read countless books going back centuries that had spelling errors in them; as such, this too was a common occurrence from the period. I have come to understand such mistakes to be as much from the printer/type setter, as the author. For me anyway, when someone complains about such mistakes, they only end up demonstrating their lack of comprehension skills, and their ability to truly understand his great book. Also, if such mistakes bother you that much, simply go to the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction website and order the newest edition of his book Morals and Dogma, which has been updated to modern academic standards.

I will be writing on this topic more in the near future, so look for it on this blog site.

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13. Be Careful When Using Humor Online; It Is A tool To Hide Or Sway Intentions:

I have seen it repeatedly online, a Postmodern Mason will attempt to use humor to sway the conversation, or it ends up being misinterpreted. Always remember, the other person cannot see your facial expressions or mannerisms, which are important components when using humor, or trying to tell a joke. Pike was very much aware of the use of humor in history and spoke of its misdealings on several occasions; like when he wrote that the despot will use whatever means available to him to sway the opinion of another:

Under a Despotism, men are false, treacherous, and deceitfulthey are so as a means of attaining popularity… Experience will probably prove that these odious and detestable vices will grow most rankly and spread most rapidly… and fraud becomes the highway to the latter, the land will reek with falsehood and sweat lies and chicane… To adapt one’s opinions to the popular humor; to defend, apologize for, and justify the popular follies; to advocate the expedient and the plausible; to caress, cajole, and flatter the elector” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 66).

But rather, the Mason “labors equally to defend and to improve the people. He does not flatter them to mislead them, nor fawn upon them to rule them, nor conceal his opinions to humor them, nor tell them that they can never err, and that their voice is the voice of God” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 177).

14. Don’t Use A Pseudonym, Or Trust Any Mason Using A Pseudonym Online:

Sadly, I find the Postmodern Masonic cyberbully sometimes has to go underground to perform his unMasonic acts of disparaging another Mason’s good name and efforts. Another favorite tool of the cyberbully is using a pseudonym. Now I know there are perhaps some good reasons for using a hidden name; like, perhaps he or she is a public figure, etc. However, in the rare case a Mason must hide his name, he should be careful when attacking another person who is using his given name. If your argument is valid and is to be respected by others, put your given name to your comment, or do not comment at all. It is truly unfair to attack another Mason by hiding under the veil of a pseudonym. Pike wrote that the actions of man, which are public, cannot be concealed, “Nothing is more usual than to pretend conscience in all the actions of man which are public and cannot be concealed” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 111).

15. Do Not Attack Any Religion, Religious Organization Or Religious Opinion:

Again, I have to ask, for those Postmodern Masons who willfully attack religion, a religious order or a religious viewpoint, did they not learn anything from their Masonic lessons? I have witnessed this behavior from time to time, where a Mason feels it is OK to attack the Vatican or some evangelical order because they spoke-out against Freemasonry. If I attacked every person who spoke out against Freemasonry, I would have no friends or family left, seriously. But more importantly, nothing is ever gained by attacking a religion or religious viewpoints; in fact, sadly you maybe hurting the feelings of a Masonic brother (or sister) who is of that faith, which drives a wedge between you and that person. In the end, nothing is ever truly gained by publicly attacking religion. Pike wrote, “Love clasps the hand of love, amid all the envyings and distractions of showy competition,” and “bitter or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred… are intruders and not welcome:”

Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness, affection, toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous sympathy with those who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for the erring, relief for those in want, Faith, Hope, and .Charity. Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are lenient to each other’s faults, regardful of each other’s feelings, ready to relieve each other’s wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures. If unworthy passions, or selfish, bitter, or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here, they are intruders and not welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests.

Certainly there are many evils and bad passions, and much hate and contempt and unkindness everywhere in the world. We cannot refuse to see the evil that is in life. But all is not evil. We still see God in the world. There is good amidst the evil. The hand of mercy leads wealth to the hovels of poverty and sorrow. Truth and simplicity live amid many wiles and sophistries. There are good hearts underneath gay robes, and under tattered garments also. Love clasps the hand of love, amid all the envyings and distractions of showy competition (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 213-214).

And again, Pike wrote, “To respect all forms of worship, to tolerate all political and religious opinions; not to blame, and still less to condemn the religion of others: not to seek to make converts; but to be content if they have the religion of Socrates; a veneration for the Creator, the religion of good works, and grateful acknowledgment of God’s blessings” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 333). There you have it, let us be content that we have the religion of good works and God’s blessings, which we most assuredly lose when we attack another person’s religion or religious viewpoints.

With all that said, please, go online, but be careful; and by all means, continue to enjoy your online Masonic community experience, for there is still yet much more to learn. Yet, in that rare occasion a Postmodern Mason acts unMasonic, you now have some tools to help you decide how to respond, or not to respond.

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir

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Why Are We Encouraged To Explore Divinity Within Freemasonry If The Craft Is Not A Religion?

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This article will be my fifth submission on the topic of Postmodernism and its negative effects on the Craft. Here is a list of the other four:

  1. Jan 1, 2016: Postmodernism And Its Devastating Effect On Freemasonry
  2. Feb 1, 2016: Characteristics of a Postmodern Freemason
  3. March 1, 2016: Spiritual Anarchy and Freemasonry
  4. April 1, 2016:Why Does Freemasonry Conceal Its Secrets From Even Its Own Members?

I am often puzzled by the statement that Freemasonry is not a religion; for you see, I have read countless accounts where some of our greatest authors claimed otherwise. But before I delve into specifics, let’s first define what religion means; I say this only because most people don’t even understand how the word is defined. Here is a great definition for the word:

Religion (from O.Fr. religion ‘religious community,’ from L. religionem (nom. religio) ‘respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods,’ ‘obligation, the bond between man and the gods’ is derived from the Latin religiō, the ultimate origins of which are obscure… Religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, mythologies, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called ‘an order of existence’… Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe.

I know, some readers of this post will immediately dismiss this definition. You see, our cultural conditioning has predetermined our path of thinking, “Within Postmodernism, we are taught to dismiss any teaching of religion; that religion has no place in a secular society.” However, let’s breakdown the above definition before specifically discussing its effect on Freemasonry.

So what is religion? Well from the above definition, the origin of the word religion is a “respect for what is sacred, reverence for God.” The word sacred can be defined as “devoted or dedicated to a deity;” and God can be defined as “the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe.” Therefore, when we are discussing the word religion, we are talking about something that is of the sacredness of God, not a body or an institutional organization per say. Yes, such beliefs have morphed themselves into beliefs systems that have become known as religious organizations; but that does not negate its original meaning, which is nothing but a “reverence for God.”

Therefore, when Albert Pike mentioned the word religion, was he talking about religion in the original sense, the contemporary sense, or something in between? To answer this question, let us take a closer look at his profound words from Chapter VIII of Morals and Dogma (1871), pages 212-214; I interjected my interpreted comments between each paragraph to better relate Pike’s meaning:

For there is a religion of toil. It is not all drudgery, a mere stretching of the limbs and straining of the sinews to tasks. It has a meaning and an intent. A living heart pours life-blood into the toiling arm; and warm affections inspire and mingle with man’s labors. They are the home affections. Labor toils a field, or plies its task in cities, or urges the keels of commerce over wide oceans; but home is its centre; and thither it ever goes with its earnings, with the means of support and comfort for others; offerings sacred to the thought of every true man, as a sacrifice at a golden shrine. Many faults there are amidst the toils of life; many harsh and hasty words are uttered; but still the toils go on, weary and hard and exasperating as they often are. For in that home is age or sickness, or helpless infancy, or gentle childhood, or feeble woman, that must not want. If man had no other than mere selfish impulses, the scene of labor which we behold around us would not exist.

Comment: Here we see Pike discussing the toil of religion, or the work/study of religion. I must emphasis that Pike never mentioned any specific religious organization, which means he meant something else, like perhaps the benefits a man might receive from the study of religion.

The advocate who fairly and honestly presents his case, with a feeling of true self-respect, honor, and conscience, to help the tribunal on towards the right conclusion, with a conviction that God’s justice reigns there, is acting a religious part, leading that day a religious life; or else right and justice are no part of religion. Whether, during all that day, he has once appealed, in form or in terms, to his conscience, or not; whether he has once spoken of religion and God, or not; if there has been the inward purpose, the conscious intent and desire, that sacred justice should triumph, he has that day led a good and religious life, and made a most essential contribution to that religion of life and of society, the cause of equity between man and man, and of truth and right action in the world.

Comment: Pike now mentions an advocate who is making his case; as opposed to a particular doctrine, which comes from religious bodies and organizations. And that the advocate would begin to act according to the belief he spoke of, which would change his life and society.

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Books, to be of religious tendency in the Masonic sense, need not be books of sermons, of pious exercises, or of prayers. Whatever inculcates pure, noble, and patriotic sentiments, or touches the heart with the beauty of virtue, and the excellence of an up-right life, accords with the religion of Masonry, and is the Gospel of literature and art. That Gospel is preached from many a book and painting, from many a poem and fiction, and review and newspaper; and it is a painful error and miserable narrowness, not to recognize these wide-spread agencies of Heaven’s providing; not to see and welcome these many-handed coadjutors, to the great and good cause. The oracles of God do not speak from the pulpit alone.

Comment: Now we read Pike making a distinction between Masonry and central religious tenancies, i.e. Churches. That Masonry’s religion should not be based on sermons, prayers or pious exercises; rather, our religion is based on the “beauty of virtue” and an “up-right life.”

There is also a religion of society. In business, there is much more than sale, exchange, price, payment; for there is the sacred faith of man in man. When we repose perfect confidence in the integrity of another; when we feel that he will not swerve from the right, frank, straightforward, conscientious course, for any temptation; his integrity and conscientiousness are the image of God to us; and when we believe in it, it is as great and generous an act, as when we believe in the rectitude of the Deity.

Comment: Now he writes that there is a religion of society; that our own daily actions in business and life are based on God, i.e. Religion. Again, Pike is not talking about an organizational body.

In gay assemblies for amusement, the good affections of life gush and mingle. If they did not, these gathering places would be as dreary and repulsive as the caves and dens of outlaws and robbers. When friends meet, and hands are warmly pressed, and the eye kindles and the countenance is suffused with gladness, there is a religion between their hearts; and each loves and worships the True and Good that is in the other. It is not policy, or self-interest, or selfishness that spreads such a charm around that meeting, but the halo of bright and beautiful affection.

Comment: “When friends meet… there is a religion” that exist between them; that there is love and goodness, and a worship, which links one to another. Again, there is no mention of an organizational body, just people loving the company of another – this is a religion.

The same splendor of kindly liking, and affectionate regard, shines like the soft overarching sky, over all the world; over all places where men meet, and walk or toil together; not over lovers’ bowers and marriage altars alone, not over the homes of purity and tenderness alone; but over all tilled fields, and busy workshops, and dusty highways, and paved streets. There is not a worn stone upon the sidewalks, but has been the altar of such offerings of mutual kindness; nor a wooden pillar or iron railing against which hearts beating with affection have not leaned. How many soever other elements there are in the stream of life flowing through these channels, that is surely here and everywhere; honest, heartfelt, disinterested, inexpressible affection.

Comment: Pike wrote that this “same splendor” is in the world; wherever people meet, work and toil together there is religion.

Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness, affection, toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous sympathy with those who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for the erring, relief for those in want, Faith, Hope, and .Charity. Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are lenient to each other’s faults, regardful of each other’s feelings, ready to relieve each other’s wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures. If unworthy passions, or selfish, bitter, or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here, they are intruders and not welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests ( Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 212).

Comment: And now the finale, therefore, “every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion, and its teachings are instruction in religion.” You see, Masonry “is the true religion,” which had been “revealed to the ancient patriarchs.” And it will continue to “teach as long as time endures.”

I know, I know, you might be saying again that Masonry is not a religion, and in this sense I agree – Masonry is not a religion in the contemporary sense. No, Masonry is a religion in the ancient sense. Nevertheless, it is still a religion. It does not matter that contemporary religions have altered its usage and made a mockery of the word, the word religion still retains its original meaning if one only wants to take the time to study it meaning!

Pike also commented that Masonry had always “religiously preserved that enlightened faith;” that it has always been because of “religion and philosophy,” and that many of the religions of the past “enfeebled the religious spirit:”

Masonry has in all times religiously preserved that enlightened faith from which flow sublime Devotedness, the sentiment of Fraternity fruitful of good works, the spirit of indulgence and peace, of sweet hopes and effectual consolations; and inflexibility in the accomplishment of the most painful and arduous duties. It has always propagated it with ardor and perseverance; and therefore it labors at the present day more zealously than ever. Scarcely a Masonic discourse is pronounced, that does not demonstrate the necessity and advantages of this faith, and especially recall the two constitutive principles of religion, that make all religion,–love of God, and love of neighbor. Masons carry these principles into the bosoms of their families and of society. While the Sectarians of former times enfeebled the religious spirit, Masonry, forming one great People over the whole globe, and march under the great banner of Charity and Benevolence, preserves feeling, strengthens it, extends it in its purity and simplicity, as it has always existed in the depths of the human heart, as it existed even under the dominion of the most ancient forms of worship, but where gross and debasing superstitions forbade its recognition.

A Masonic Lodge should resemble a bee-hive, in which all the members work together with ardor for the common good. Masonry is not made for cold souls and narrow minds, that do not comprehend its lofty mission and sublime apostolate. Here the anathema against lukewarm souls applies. To comfort misfortune, to popularize knowledge, to teach whatever is true and pure in religion and philosophy, to accustom men to respect order and the proprieties of life, to point out the way to genuine happiness, to prepare for that fortunate period, when all the factions of the Human Family, united by the bonds of Toleration and Fraternity, shall be but one household,–these are labors that may well excite zeal and even enthusiasm (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 137).

Yes, many people still think religion and philosophy are separate; however, they are in fact not. In truth, the basis of religion is philosophy, something Masonry has maintained:

Nevertheless, Masonry, which is Morality and Philosophy, must not cease to do its duty. We never know at what moment success awaits our efforts–generally when most unexpected–nor with what effect our efforts are or are not to be attended. Succeed or fail, Masonry must not bow to error, or succumb under discouragement. There were at Rome a few Carthaginian soldiers, taken prisoners, who refused to bow to Flaminius, and had a little of Hannibal’s magnanimity. Masons should possess an equal greatness of soul. Masonry should be an energy; finding its aim and effect in the amelioration of mankind. Socrates should enter into Adam, and produce Marcus Aurelius, in other words, bring forth from the man of enjoyments, the man of wisdom. Masonry should not be a mere watch-tower, built upon mystery, from which to gaze at ease upon the world, with no other result than to be a convenience for the curious. To hold the full cup of thought to the thirsty lips of men; to give to all the true ideas of Deity; to harmonize conscience and science, are the province of Philosophy. Morality is Faith in full bloom. Contemplation should lead to action, and the absolute be practical; the ideal be made air and food and drink to the human mind. Wisdom is a sacred communion. It is only on that condition that it ceases to be a sterile love of Science, and becomes the one and supreme method by which to unite Humanity and arouse it to concerted action. Then Philosophy becomes Religion ( Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 20).

I realize this information is perhaps new to many readers of this blog; nevertheless, it must be revealed to you now, during this critical juncture in Masonic history. Like so many things, Pike actually warned the Craft back in 1871 that this day would come; that we would divide the Craft based on these two areas, Religion and Philosophy:

We may be sure that so soon as Religion and Philosophy become distinct departments, the mental activity of the age is in advance of its Faith; and that, though habit may sustain the latter for a time, its vitality is gone (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 731).

Again, Pike warned that Religion and Philosophy would become distinctly separate. We can see it every time a member of the Craft states that we are not a religion, when in fact, in a historical sense, we are.

You see, this is all apart of the subject I have been writing about since January – YES, the pesky topic of Postmodernism. Feel free to link to other articles for further information on the topic; which has been linked above for your convenience.  In short, Postmodernism has been a failed experiment. As hard as contemporary scholars have tried to separate society from seeking Divinity, it has not worked. Of course it worked for the people who always succumb to the whims of the moment; but for those who are seeking a higher calling than immediate social gratification, Postmodernism has only been a temporary obstacle to true Enlightenment.

In conclusion, in your authors humble option, Indeed, Masonry is the original primitive religion; however, it is not a religion in the contemporary sense, let’s make a distinction. Pike wrote the “Masonry is not a religion…” and yet he wrote that “Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion” above:

But Masonry teaches, and has preserved in their purity, the cardinal tenets of the old primitive faith, which underlie and are the foundation of all religions. All that ever existed have had a basis of truth; and all have overlaid that truth with errors. The primitive truths taught by the Redeemer were sooner corrupted, and intermingled and alloyed with fictions than when taught to the first of our race. Masonry is the universal morality which is suitable to the inhabitants of every clime, to the man of every creed. It has taught no doctrines, except those truths that tend directly to the well-being of man; and those who have attempted to direct it toward useless vengeance, political ends, and Jesuitism, have merely perverted it to purposes foreign to its pure spirit and real nature (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 161).

You see, despite the fact that Freemasonry is not a contemporary religion, we are still obligated, as Masons, to seek Divinity and Masonic religion in our own way; therefore, never let any Postmodern thinking tell you otherwise!

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir

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Why Does Freemasonry Conceal Its Secrets From Even Its Own Members?

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As mentioned in my previous article Spiritual Anarchy and Freemasonry, “Upon reflection, our declining numbers is nothing but the symptom of a disease that we allowed to infiltrate the Craft, i.e. Postmodernism.” Our Masonic forefathers warned us to be on guard against the Profane, but we have not listened. Instead, we have allowed Profane thinking into the Craft; nevertheless, this was to be expected, as it has throughout the history of mankind.

You see, the Craft is a pathway to elevated levels of learning, which requires a depth of study in order to understand its teachings. No, I am not talking about someone who earned a position within the Craft because of his association and length of service. As honorable as a Mason’s service to the Craft is, in the end, his service to the Craft often has little to do with one’s Masonic knowledge. Case in point, Albert Pike wrote in his book Morals and Dogma (1871), “As all the great Mysteries of God and the Universe are thus hidden in the Ternary, it everywhere appears in Masonry and in the Hermetic Philosophy under its mask of Alchemy. It even appears where Masons do not suspect it” (p. 791-792). Wait a minute, is Pike suggesting that Freemasonry does not reveal all it secrets to the newly initiated? Yes, of course. Pike confirmed this concealment when he wrote:

“If you have been disappointed in the first three Degrees, as you have received them, and if it has seemed to you that the performance has not come up to the promise, that the lessons of morality are not new, and the scientific instruction is but rudimentary, and the symbols are imperfectly explained, remember that the ceremonies and lessons of those Degrees have been for ages more and more accommodating themselves, by curtailment and sinking into commonplace, to the often limited memory and capacity of the Master and Instructor, and to the intellect and needs of the Pupil and Initiate; that they have come to us from an age when symbols were used, not to reveal but to conceal; when the commonest learning was confined to a select few, and the simplest principles of morality seemed newly discovered truths; and that these antique and simple Degrees now stand like the broken columns of a roofless Druidic temple, in their rude and mutilated greatness; in many parts, also, corrupted by time, and disfigured by modern additions and absurd interpretations. They are but the entrance to the great Masonic Temple, the triple columns of the portico” (p. 106).

Yes my friends, Pike wrote that Masonry would be “corrupted by time, and disfigured by modern additions,” and that our symbols were meant to conceal, not reveal deeper meanings to everyone. Now, keep in mind, Pike was not merely talking about the first three degrees of Freemasonry; no, he was alluding to all the degrees within the Craft. He firmly believed that Masonic symbols and ceremonies had more than one meaning; that they were intended to be hidden; not fully disclosed. Why? Simply stated, he, like others before him, knew the Craft would be infiltrated; but more on that a little later. Here we read Pike discussing the secrets:

“These Degrees are also intended to teach more than morals. The symbols and ceremonies of Masonry have more than one meaning. They rather conceal than disclose the Truth. They hint it only, at least; and their varied meanings are only to be discovered by reflection and study. Truth is not only symbolized by Light, but as the ray of light is separable into rays of different colors, so is truth separable into kinds.” (p. 148).

Think about it for a moment, history is replete with examples of good ideas that eventually become corrupted; which Pike confirmed, “Unfortunately, as Truths always become perverted into falsehoods, and are falsehoods when misapplied, this Truth became the Gospel of Anarchy, soon after it was first preached. Masonry early comprehended this Truth, and recognized its own enlarged duties…” and “felt that this Truth had the Omnipotence of God on its side” (p. 24).

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I know, I know, there is that pesky word again, God. You see, so many within the Craft today have been taught that Freemasonry has nothing to do with religion; therefore, they dismiss any relationship to the word God. Nevertheless, “God and truth are inseparable; a knowledge of God is possession of the saving oracles of truth” (p. 713). This infiltration in thinking was to be expected, for you see, men of all ages act the same, which Pike confirmed:

“A man may be a good sort of man in general, and yet a very bad man in particular: good in the Lodge and bad in the world; good in public, and bad in his family; good at home, and bad on a journey or in a strange city. Many a man earnestly desires to be a good Mason. He says so, and is sincere. But if you require him to resist a certain passion, to sacrifice a certain indulgence, to control his appetite at a particular feast, or to keep his temper in a dispute, you will find that he does not wish to be a good Mason, in that particular case; or, wishing, is not able to resist his worse impulses” (p. 151).

I know, I know, Masons don’t like to discuss the fact that evil may have in fact infiltrated our distinguished institutions; or that we are suppose to be on guard against the evil Mason. But honestly, one only needs to look at our writings to discover the fact that we were forewarned, as Pike wrote, “The true Mason loves not only his kindred and his country, but all mankind; not only the good, but also the evil, among his brethren.” I could easily go on and on with regard to the topic of the evil Mason, but I won’t. I will however mention that I wrote a four hundred page book called Masonry and the Three Little Pigs (2015) that covered this topic in length. Therefore, I am very familiar with the topic of evil infiltration within the Craft.

In conclusion, this was the fourth article written this year on the topic of Postmodernism and its negative effect on the Craft; and it will not be my last. In the article, I discussed why we have to keep our most valued secrets within elevated levels of learning. In short, to keep them from the profane. Honestly, until one understands the importance of these true secrets, he will continue to wonder and ponder like the Postmodern thinkers of destruction and ruin. Here are a few departing words from Eliphas Levi, the man who most influenced Pike:

The man who is enslaved by his passions or worldly prejudices can in no wise be initiated; he must alter or he will never attain; hence he cannot be an adept, for the word signifies a person who has attained by will and by work. The man who loves his own opinions and fears to part with them, who suspects new truths, who is unprepared to doubt everything rather than admit anything on chance, should close this book; for him it is useless and dangerous; he will fail to understand it, and it will trouble him, while if he should divine its meaning, it will be a still greater source of disquietude. If you hold by anything in the world more than by reason, truth,and justice; if your will be uncertain and vacillating, either in good or evil; if logic alarm you, or the naked truth make you blush; if you are hurt when accepted errors are assailed; condemn this work straight away; do not read it; let it cease to exist for you; but at the same time do not cry it down as dangerous. The secrets which it records will be understood by an elect few, and will be held back by those who understand them. (Eliphas Levi, Transcendental Magic, 1854, p. 28-29).

So Mote It Be!

Hank Kraychir

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Spiritual Anarchy and Freemasonry

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This is my third article on the topic of Postmodernism and its devastating effect on the Craft. If you haven’t been following this series of articles, I recommend you read “Postmodernism and its Devastating Effect on Freemasonry” and “Characteristics of a Postmodern Freemason” before reading this article. Otherwise many of the points I make will not make as much sense.

Albert Pike perhaps said it best when he wrote, “What, in fact, is a despot, spiritual or temporal, but a crowned anarchist?” Of course this could be interpreted differently, but I see it as a spiritual battle. Let me explain further.

After some study and reflection, I discovered a connection between the words Anarchist and Antichrist; and this connection is widely used by our popular culture today. Case in point, check out this song by the Sex Pistols, its called “Anarchy In The UK.”

Please read the lyrics carefully. Can you see the correlation between Anarchy and Antichrist:

Lyrics to the song “Anarchy In The UK:”

Right now ha, ha, ha, ha, ha
I am an anti-Christ
I am an anarchist,
Don’t know what I want
But I know how to get it
I want to destroy the passerby
‘Cause I want to be anarchy,
No dogs body
Anarchy for the U.K.
It’s coming sometime and maybe
I give a wrong time, stop a traffic line.
Your future dream is a shopping scheme
‘Cause I want to be anarchy,
In the city
How many ways to get what you want
I use the best, I use the rest
I use the enemy.
I use anarchy
‘Cause I want to be anarchy,
Its the only way to be
Is this the MPLA
Or is this the UDA
Or is this the IRA
I thought it was the U.K.
Or just another country
Another council tenancy.
I want to be anarchy
And I want to be anarchy
(Oh what a name)
And I want to be an anarchist
(I get pissed, destroy!)

This popular song is certainly reflective of Postmodern thinking, education and to be honest it’s an obvious effort to program the masses against seeking Divinity; i.e. Postmodernism.

You see, “The word ‘antichrist’ combines two roots: αντί (anti) + Χριστός (Khristos). ‘Αντί’ can mean not only ‘against’ and ‘opposite of,’ but also ‘in place of.’ “Χριστός”, translated ‘Christ,’ is Greek for the Hebrew ‘Messiah.’ Both ‘Christ’ and ‘Messiah’ literally mean ‘Anointed One.” Whereas, Anarchy can be defined as “the condition of a society, entity, group of people or a single person which does not recognize authority.” In short, both definitions are one in the same; Antichrist is against the anointed or the one chosen, just like Anarchy means not recognizing authority.

I wrote in my article “Postmodernism and its Devastating Effect on Freemasonry” that Postmodernism can be defined as:

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.’ Better yet, “it can be described as a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices employing concepts such as difference, repetition, the trace, the simulacrum, and hyperreality to destabilize other concepts such as presence, identity, historical progress, epistemic certainty, and the univocity of meaning.’ Did you catch that? In short, Postmodernism ‘can be described as a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices… to destabilize concepts such as presence, identity, historical progress.’ This destructive thought process is all part of an academic effort to destroy ‘Traditionalism, which can be defined as, ‘Adherence to tradition, especially in cultural or religious practice,’ or ‘A system holding that all knowledge is derived from original divine revelation and is transmitted by tradition,’ like that of Freemasonry.”

You see, Freemasonry teaches the opposite of Anarchy. Nevertheless, we have within our ranks those who espouse the tenets of Postmodernism, which is nothing but Anarchy disguised as new and fresh ideas. These agents of change use terms like progressiveness, needed reforms and modernism. I hear it all the time, we need to change and update our appearance and views in order to attract the youth. Sadly, many within the Craft accept these comments as fact and go along to get ahead. But when we allow such behavior to occur, we are actually diluting our message and ultimate value.

xssr

Whereas, Albert Pike instructed us to be on the watch for such novel ideas. In fact, he used the two words Anarchist and Anarchy at least nine times in his book Morals and Dogma (1871), like when he wrote, “There is no evil that is not preferable to Anarchy” (1871, p. 97). Did you catch that? Pike wrote that evil itself is preferable to Anarchy. For you see, truth itself can become perverted, “Unfortunately, as Truths always become perverted into falsehoods, and are falsehoods when misapplied, this Truth become the Gospel of Anarchy, soon after it was first preached” (p. 24).

Freemasonry teaches structure, not Anarchy; social cohesion, not disorder:

“Society, in its great relations, is as much the creation of Heaven as is the system of the Universe. If that bond of gravitation that holds all worlds and systems together, were suddenly severed, the universe would fly into wild and boundless chaos. And if we were to sever all the moral bonds that hold society together; if we could cut off from it every conviction of Truth and Integrity, of an authority above it, and of a conscience within it, it would immediately rush to disorder and frightful anarchy and ruin. The religion we teach is therefore as really a principle of things, and as certain and true, as gravitation” (p. 196-197).

We do not side with a political party or a religious sect; no, we side with the moral authority of governance:

“Masonry, not in anywise derogating from the differing duties which the diversity of states requires, tends to create a new people, which, composed of men of many nations and tongues, shall all be bound together by the bonds of science, morality, and virtue. Essentially philanthropic, philosophical, and progressive, it has for the basis of its dogma a firm belief in the existence of God and his providence, and of the immortality of the soul; for its object, the dissemination of moral, political, philosophical, and religious truth, and the practice of all the virtues. In every age, its device has been, ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,’ with constitutional government, law, order, discipline, and subordination to legitimate authority–government and not anarchy” (p. 220).

Furthermore, as Pike wrote earlier, “What, in fact, is a despot, spiritual or temporal, but a crowned anarchist,” so to did Eliphas Levi confirm, “Those two blood-hungered monsters, despotism and anarchy, will tear themselves to pieces, and annihilate each other, after having mutually sustained each other for a little while, by the embrace of their struggle itself (The Key of the Mysteries, 1861, p. 31).

Unfortunately, there exist,

“men who wish to realize salvation by faith alone, because charity escapes them, and who can no longer realize it, even upon the earth, for their pretended sacraments are no longer anything but allegorical mummeries; they no longer give grace; they no longer make God seen and touched; they are no longer, in a word, the signs of the almighty power of faith, but the compelled witnesses of the eternal impotence of doubt” (Eliphas Levi, The Key of the Mysteries, 1861, p. 42).

How often are we told that Freemasonry is not at all religious, despite the fact many of our greatest Masonic authors proclaim otherwise; like that of Albert Pike:

“Every Masonic Lodge is a temple of religion; and its teachings are instruction in religion. For here are inculcated disinterestedness, affection, toleration, devotedness, patriotism, truth, a generous sympathy with those who suffer and mourn, pity for the fallen, mercy for the erring, relief for those in want, Faith, Hope, and .Charity. Here we meet as brethren, to learn to know and love each other. Here we greet each other gladly, are lenient to each other’s faults, regardful of each other’s feelings, ready to relieve each other’s wants. This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries, and which it will continue to teach as long as time endures. If unworthy passions, or selfish, bitter, or revengeful feelings, contempt, dislike, hatred, enter here, they are intruders and not welcome, strangers uninvited, and not guests” (Albert Pike, M0rals and Dogma, 1871, p. 213-214).

Albert Mackey wrote in his book An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences that “Masonry may rightfully claim to be called a religious institution” (1912, p. 618). Furthermore,  Joseph Moody also claimed in his book, The Origin of Free-Masonry (1852), that Freemasonry was formed as a religion, “We have, we think, successfully proved, and we have abundant authority for the same, that, Freemasonry in its origin was religious, and this principle serves as a faithful guide to its condition and history throughout all its ramifications, and by whatever name it may have been designated” (p. 44).

Think about it, the biggest Postmodern hoax committed by the Craft has been against itself; and that is the belief that we are simply a fraternal organization, with no religious components or tendencies, which has lowered our value substantially. Oh! How have we been deceived! Where did such ideas originate? Surely, not from our own history, which tells a different story. One only needs to follow the allegorical path established within our own symbols and rituals to find religion, or as Pike wrote above, “This is the true religion revealed to the ancient patriarchs; which Masonry has taught for many centuries.”

In conclusion, before we can truly realize any sustainable growth, and a true cultural value again, we must first analyze what we have done to ourselves. Upon reflection, our declining numbers is nothing but the symptom of a disease that we allowed to infiltrate the Craft, i.e. Postmodernism; but more on that next month!

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir

xxxx

PS: Think about it, the Craft hides the truth from its own initiates, and why do we do it. It’s obvious, to hide our secrets from the PROFANE!  Yes, even those Despots who have infiltrated the Craft and dismiss our true value and history. So before you dismiss the religious components within Freemasonry, reflect! Or as Eliphas Levi wrote, “TO KNOW, TO DARE, TO WILL, TO KEEP SILENT.” Here are a couple allegorical songs to end with and reflect upon; simply listen to the words and relate them allegorically to the lies we tell initiates and the general public, and why we do it and its necessity, which has led to a division with the Craft. Again, more on that next month.

 


 

Characteristics of a Postmodern Freemason.

Postmodern Freemason

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.”

xssr

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Traditionalism is exclusion – The Postmodern Freemason claims that cooperative possession is better than individualism, which they believe is a process of traditional exclusion.
  7. Cynicism with modernism – The Postmodern Freemason is always asking more from the unfulfilled promises of religion, government, science and technology.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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!!!

Hank Kraychir

xxxx

Postmodernism And Its Devastating Effect On Freemasonry.

postmodern

As a historian, I am constantly reminded of the term “Postmodernism,” which can be defined as “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.” Better yet, “it can be described as a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices employing concepts such as difference, repetition, the trace, the simulacrum, and hyperreality to destabilize other concepts such as presence, identity, historical progress, epistemic certainty, and the univocity of meaning.” Did you catch that? In short, Postmodernism “can be described as a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices… to destabilize concepts such as presence, identity, historical progress.” This destructive thought process is all part of an academic effort to destroy “Traditionalism,” which can be defined as, “Adherence to tradition, especially in cultural or religious practice,” or “A system holding that all knowledge is derived from original divine revelation and is transmitted by tradition,” like that of Freemasonry; but more on that a little later.

The term Postmodernism has been around for well over a hundred years, but it was mostly used in the arts during this period; however, little by little it worked its way into literature. Nevertheless, starting in the 1960s, Postmodern thinking became the new prize of academia. Did you ever wonder why our public schools have gone through so many changes in the past five decades? Well, it is all a part of this Postmodern movement. As well, ever wonder why we are programmed to think new is better. Again, Postmodern programming by our teachers and leaders, who were also trained to think new is better. Brother Cameron MacKay perhaps said it best when he wrote,

At the very roots of this post-industrial society – as part of its base genetic make up – is an urge for development – a need for progress – a need for growth. To generate this growth change becomes the critical essential characteristic of postmodernism. Every year the design of an automobile is changed,. Every year the fashion in cloths is redefined. Perfectly good buildings are imploded so that new buildings can be put in their stead. Economic models are constantly being revisited and revised. The economic chain from manufacturer to wholesaler to distributor to retailer is completely dismantled and replaced by amorphous constantly shifting relationships in which, at times, the manufacturer competes directly with his own retailer for the same customer. Everyone’s trade or profession becomes relegated to the status of a product for sale. Hence teachers are somehow to be rated not on their ability to teach , inspire, or motivate children but on how many BA’s they can generate. Lawyers are no longer measured on the wisdom of their legal advice but are measured and evaluated on the number of dollars they generate.

All we have to do is again look at the above definition for “Traditionalism” to see why old is bad and new is good. In short, Traditionalism is the adherence to tradition, which is derived from Divinity. Little by little, this Postmodern thinking has further separated us from seeking Divinity. It should also be mentioned that the word Divinity can be defined as “spirituality” or “mysticism.”

I am not alone in my criticism of Postmodernism! Many academics have asserted that Postmodernism is “meaningless and promotes obscurantism.” Obscurantism means “the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or the full details of some matter from becoming known.” Sound familiar? It should; this is what happened to Albert Pike. Seriously, I am told repeatedly from other Freemasons, why were we not told the truth about Pike; and why does the Craft continue to lie or bury the truth about this Masonic legend? Honestly though, it really is no one person’s fault. No, rather it is a part of this cultural phenomenon known as Postmodernism.

Case in point, Noam Chomsky contended that postmodernism was meaningless because it added nothing to “analytical or empirical knowledge.” Furthermore, William Lane Craig stated that “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!” As well, several academic critiques of postmodernism have found that many Postmodern works are nothing more than “Fashionable Nonsense.” Sadly, Postmodernism believes that there are no truths; i.e. nobody is wrong and everybody is right.

Moreover, as a Freemason, I have witnessed this activity play itself out. As I wrote in my book, Masonry and the Three Little Pigs (2015), the wolf uses the benevolence of the Craft to destroy the character of other men. I should have, however, added that the wolf uses the benevolence, under the banner of Postmodernism, to destroy long standing traditions for his own benefit. You see, Postmodern idealism is used within the Craft to destroy long standing traditions of moral development. Our foundations are based on long standing religious principles of moral behavior, something Postmodernism is attempting to destroy. I might also add that we use religious principles from all of the great religions of the world, many of which no longer exist.

As many readers of my blogs already know, I am a student of Albert Pike’s great work, Morals and Dogma (1871). With that said, I have found that there is a disconnect between most Freemasons and Pike’s book. As I wrote on my Facebook page recently, “When the Craft turned its back on Pike, membership turned down significantly. It all started in the mid 1960’s and has steadily decreased ever since. Just check out these numbers, from a high of over 4 million to almost 1 million today.” I supported this statement with this research from Masonic Service Association of North America; here is a graph demonstrating these declining numbers:

1924 3,077,161       1955 4,009,925       1986 2,839,962
1925 3,157,566       1956 4,053,323       1987 2,763,828
1926 3,218,375       1957 4,085,676       1988 2,682,537
1927 3,267,241       1958 4,099,928       1989 2,608,935
1928 3,295,872       1959 4,103,161       1990 2,531,643
1929 3,295,125       1960 4,099,219       1991 2,452,676
1930 3,279,778       1961 4,086,499       1992 2,371,863
1931 3,216,307       1962 4,063,563       1993 2,293,949
1932 3,069,645       1963 4,034,020       1994 2,225,611
1933 2,901,758       1964 4,005,605       1995 2,153,316
1934 2,760,451       1965 3,987,690       1996 2,089,578
1935 2,659,218       1966 3,948,193       1997 2,021,909
1936 2,591,309       1967 3,910,509       1998 1,967,208
1937 2,549,772       1968 3,868,854       1999 1,902,588
1938 2,514,595       1969 3,817,846       2000 1,841,169
1939 2,482,291       1970 3,763,213       2001 1,774,200
1940 2,457,263       1971 3,718,718       2002 1,727,505
1941 2,451,301       1972 3,661,507       2003 1,671,255
1942 2,478,892       1973 3,611,448       2004 1,617,032
1943 2,561,844       1974 3,561,767       2005 1,569,812
1944 2,719,607       1975 3,512,628       2006 1,525,131
1945 2,896,343       1976 3,470,980       2007 1,483,449
1946 3,097,713       1977 3,418,844       2008 1,444,823
1947 3,281,371       1978 3,360,409       2009 1,404,059
1948 3,426,155       1979 3,304,334       2010 1,373,453
1949 3,545,757       1980 3,251,528       2011 1,336,503
1950 3,644,634       1981 3,188,175       2012 1,306,539
1951 3,726,744       1982 3,121,746       2013 1,246,241
1952 3,808,364       1983 3,060,242       2014 1,211,183
1953 3,893,530       1984 2,992,389
1954 3,964,118       1985 2,914,421

With the benefit of historical hindsight, we can see a parallel between the rise of Postmodernism, the decline of Modernism, and declining Masonic membership in the United States. In essence, without knowing it, collectively and subconsciousness, Freemasonry has succumbed to Postmodern thinking. Freemasonry is a collective organism, made up of millions of men (and women); this could not have happened unless our collective consciousness allowed it to happen. And the only way of overcome this problem is for our collective consciousness to will it, followed by collective action and the reestablishment of our ancient traditions. Nevertheless, this will never happen unless we are first willing to dismiss Postmodernism, an issue that has become a part of our popular culture. But the first step in addressing any problem is first admitting we have one.

Therefore, the next time you instinctively criticize a traditional institution, like perhaps a religion, etc. and so forth, don’t. For you see, when we do this, we are only demonstrating our preconditioned Postmodern programming. Believe it or not, Freemasonry needs traditional religions, because they are the breeding grounds for future Freemasons. As well, nothing can be gained by attacking anyone or any institution, traditional or not; it does nothing but taint your soul. Please, just remember one thing, new is not always better; especially when it comes to religion, faith and even Freemasonry. And like I wrote in my previous article, The Ancients Vs. The Moderns; An Unwinnable Civil War,

The battle between the Ancients and the Moderns (or Postmoderns as they are often called today) is about 300 years old, if not longer. Basically, the Ancients formed a Grand Lodge in England in 1751 because they believed the Moderns had taken control of the Grand Lodge that was formed in 1717, and were progressively attempting to change the history of Freemasonry. Sound familiar? It should! You see, for the most part this battle is no longer being played out by Grand Lodges; rather it is being played out in our literature by well meaning pundits like myself. I have referred to this battle as a civil war. Seriously, this battle has gone on for some 300 years, with no end in sight. How sad.

In conclusion, we need, more than ever, to return to our traditional roots and teachings. This path of Postmodernism is a destructive force that continues to divide the Craft, and will result in our own demise; that is unless we can stop our declining numbers.    

So Mote It Be!

Hank Kraychir

Next Month’s Article

Postmodern Freemason

How Old Is the Square And Compass, And Why It Matters!

Sadly, I am repeatedly scolded by some of my Masonic brethren for researching Masonic lineage. I am so often told that I am simply making things up to fit a narrative that does not exist. Like my latest endeavor, the square and compass, which has resulted in this accusation being repeated again and again by well intentioned protectors of the craft.

As a student of Albert Pike, I have learned so much in the past several years about Masonic history; of which many Masons refuse to accept. As I have said before on this blog, it is much easier to believe the post 1717 narrative than to look for anecdotal evidence of Masonic lineage; like Pike did in his book Morals and Dogma (1871). His evidence is overwhelming, so much so that pundits simply attack his work instead of trying to understand it. Case in point, on page 277-278, Pike wrote about the first Masonic legislator Buddha, who lived about the fifth century BC:

“The first Masonic Legislator whose memory is preserved to us by history, was Buddha, who, about a thousand years before the Christian era, reformed the religion of Manous. He called to the Priesthood all men, without distinction of caste, who felt themselves inspired by God to instruct men. Those who so associated themselves formed a Society of Prophets under the name of Samaneans. They recognized the existence of a single uncreated God, in whose bosom everything grows, is developed and transformed. The worship of this God reposed upon the obedience of all the beings He created. His feasts were those of the Solstices. The doctrines of Buddha pervaded India, China, and Japan.”

As many Masons are aware, much of our own Masonic history predates the Christ era, and actually emanates from Asia, or the East. Think about it, why does the Master of a Lodge site in the East, among other reasons? One of the reasons is our lineage can be traced to Asia, like the countries of China, India and Japan, which Pike mentioned in the above quote.

I like to put out feelers before I write an article, like I did with this particular topic, in order to get some feedback about pundit thinking. Most of the feedback is positive; however, every once in a while I get an earful from a Mason who has only been instructed in the post 1717 narrative. I don’t know why a Mason feels the need to argue a position based on limited knowledge, but it happens frequently. Sadly, there is no proof in the 1717 narrative, but Masons continue to believe the lie that has been propagated for decades based on nothing more than a limited reading library. There are many good reasons for Albert Pike writing Morals and Dogma, many of which had to do with Masonic conduct, yet just as much of it attempted to tie Masonic history together; but only if one becomes a student of the book. His intentions where clear and simple, he wanted to help solve this debate, which has caused so much strife within the craft. Nevertheless, like I mentioned earlier, instead of trying to understand his work, pundits would rather attack a dead man who only tried to help the Brotherhood understand its own past.

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Case in point, the history of the square and compass. It is commonly believed that the square and compass, one on top of the other, is a post 1717 creation; not true I am afraid, which is clearly illustrated in this quote, “The so-called ‘Square and Compass’ emblem, which is carved from a sea shell, has aroused wide interest. It was found about 1925 in the eastern edge of the Casa Grande Village about four feet down in a trash mound of the red-on-buff period and the indications are that it was made by the ancient inhabitants about 1,800 years ago.'” Please look at this photograph from the same website:

This square and compass object was discovered in 1925 by Charles E. Manier in Tuscon, Arizona, and is apart of what is called the Tucson artifacts. Needless to say, this discovery has led to much speculation, with several prominent archaeologists divided as to its authenticity. Regardless, this is still further anecdotal proof that the square and compass, one on top of the other, predates the 1717 narrative. In fact, if true, it would date the object to at least 800 AD, if not further back.

Yet, despite the fact there is little proof of the square and compass being together, one on top of the other, this does not mean the square and compass was not used separately to teach an ancient speculative lesson. Here is one image to help illustrate my point that the use of the square and or compass is as old as recorded history, and has been used to remind men (women) of their potential and to help them avoid common errors.

Fu Xi and his sister Nuwa are considered the founders or first rulers of China. Fu Xi is most often given credit for bringing moral standards to the country.

“In the beginning there was as yet no moral or social order. Men knew their mothers only, not their fathers. When hungry, they searched for food; when satisfied, they threw away the remnants. They devoured their food hide and hair, drank the blood, and clad themselves in skins and rushes. Then came Fu Xi and looked upward and contemplated the images in the heavens, and looked downward and contemplated the occurrences on earth. He united man and wife, regulated the five stages of change, and laid down the laws of humanity. He devised the eight trigrams, in order to gain mastery over the world. — Ban Gu, Baihu tongyi.”

Therefore, the square and compass (compasses) have been depicted throughout ancient China. Here are just a few more depictions from the same website to consider, which will further demonstrate the prevalence of its usage:

In fact, in an 1881 Freemason’s Chronicle article entitled Freemasonry in China, it was revealed, “from time immemorial we find the square and compasses used by Chinese writers, either together or separately, to symbolize precisely the same phrases of conduct as in our own system of Freemasonry” (p. 193).

With this in mind, now let us ponder the words of Joseph Newton, who wrote the following in his book, The Builders (1922),

“Long before our era we find the working tools of the Mason used as emblems of the very truths which they teach today. In the oldest classic of China, The Book of History, dating back to the twentieth century before Christ, we read the instruction, ‘Ye officers of Government, apply the compasses.’ even if we begin where The Book of History end, we find many such allusions more than seven hundred years before the Christian era. For example, in the famous canonical work, called The Great learning, which has been referred to the fifth century B.C., we read, that a man should abstain from doing unto others what he would not they should do to him; ‘and this,’ the writer add, ‘is called the principle of acting on the square.’ So also Confucius and his great follower, Mencius. In the writings of Mencius it is taught that men should apply the square and compasses morally to their lives, and the level and the marking line besides, if they would walk in the straight and even paths of wisdom, and keep themselves within the bounds of honor and virtue. In the sixth book of his philosophy we find these words:

A Master Mason, in teaching apprentices, makes use of the compasses and the square. Ye who are engaged in the pursuit of wisdom must also make use of the compass and square'” (p. 30).

Therefore, we find The Book of History, which dates back to the 20th century B.C., mentioning the speculative use of the compass; and this is followed up by Confucius, who lived between 551 and 479 BC, and Mencius, who lived between 385 and 302 BC, both of whom also confirmed the speculative use of the square and compass nearly 500 years before Christ. And for me anyway, the biggest glaring example of Masonic lineage is when Mencius (4th century BC) confirmed the use of the term “Master Mason” while using the speculative use of the words square and compass with regard to moral instruction; not strictly operative, which so many pundits have misapplied.

As such, the next time you hear that the square and compass was developed and combined in the last few hundred years (the 1717 narrative again), think again. Yes, it would appear the instruments have almost always had operative and speculative applications.

Furthermore, here is a quote from Pike regarding the Asians influencing the speculative meaning of the square and compass:

“The COMPASS, therefore, as the Symbol of the Heavens, represents the spiritual, intellectual, and moral portion of this double nature of Humanity; and the SQUARE, as the Symbol of the Earth, its material, sensual, and baser portion.

‘Truth and Intelligence,’ said one of the Ancient Indian Sects of Philosophers, ‘are the Eternal attributes of God, not of the individual Soul, which is susceptible both of knowledge and ignorance, of pleasure and pain; therefore God and the individual Soul are distinct:’ and this expression of the ancient Nyaya Philosophers, in regard to Truth, has been handed down to us through the long succession of ages, in the lessons of Freemasonry, wherein we read, that ‘Truth is a Divine Attribute, and the foundation of every virtue.’

‘While embodied in matter,’ they said, ‘the Soul is in a state of imprisonment, and is under the influence of evil passions; but having, by intense study, arrived at the knowledge of the elements and principles of Nature, it attains unto the place of TIE ETERNAL; in which state of happiness, its individuality does not cease.’

The vitality which animates the mortal frame, the Breath of Life of the Hebrew Genesis, the Hindu Philosophers in general held, perishes with it; but the Soul is divine, an emanation of the Spirit of God, but not a portion of that Spirit. For they compared it to the heat and light sent forth from the Sun, or to a ray of that light, which neither lessens nor divides its own essence” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 851-852).

Therefore, as to the question of the importance of the Square and Compass to contemporary Freemasonry; simply stated, it proves without a doubt that our ancient speculative teachings, and our lineage, began with the first records of time, just like the story of Adam, which the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons claimed. This important fact can now be added to the other information I have written on this blog, which dismisses the predominant 1717 theme espoused by the Postmoderns today in an effort to disprove the claim made by the Ancients (i.e. York Legend, etc.)

So Mote It Be!

Hank Kraychir

xxxx

PS: Here are a few other pictures discovered while researching this topic:

Notice the square in the lower left hand corner:

I have seen this type of “Square” dimension at entrances to buildings, on monuments, on altars, etc. Here we see “the ‘Great’ pyramid of Khufu – The ‘Kings chamber’ in the Great pyramid is covered over with several granite stones estimated at 50-70 tons each.”

A couple of sets of bronze compasses or dividers and a set square. Ancient Greek tools that are still being copied and used with little change today.

“Old Parish Church, Errol Churchyard. General view of gravestone of May Duff, 1762. Double rosette with double torches of Life and Death. Winged Soul over ribband insc: ‘After Death Life. Hors Est Boni Viri Natalis’. Shield with the tools of a mason (setsquare, folding ruler, dividers chisel, hammer and mallet). Insc: ‘D.M S.D’.”

A Masonic Jewel: California Masonic Homes And Outreach Services.

I had the opportunity to visit the Masonic Home in Covina, California a couple of weeks ago. This was my second visit this year. This time I was attending a District VIII Lodge Outreach Program. It was an all-day affair to help spread the word about California’s Masonic Assistance Programs for Freemasons in the state. As liaison coordinators for this program in our Lodges, we are expected to share this knowledge with our Brethren and their families. Moreover, we are expected to attend further training sessions each quarter for the duration of our participation.

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This online article will be kept brief; however, its intent is to inform Masons in the state of California about the services available to them and their families; and to highlight several of the most important issues I thought Masons should be aware of. Furthermore, by discussing these services with the broader Craft, I hope to encourage Freemasons to support and expand such programs in other states and countries as well.

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There are two branches under the Masonic Assistance Program in California. First are the better-known Masonic Homes in Covina and Union City. Yet there is also the lesser-known Masonic Outreach Services, which includes assistance for a Mason’s immediate family; and another outreach program for seniors who may need help before entering the home program, or for those who want to maintain an independent lifestyle. I must emphasize, if at any time you have a question, feel free to call the help-line at 1-888-466-3642 and leave a message. I have been assured that your call will more than likely be returned by the end of the day; if not, please be patient, as the staff tend to spend a great deal of time with each caller. I have found the staff to be incredibly friendly and well informed about senior and family issues, and they are available to help answer your questions if a need should arise.

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It should also be mentioned that the Masonic assistance phone-line, 1-888-466-3642, is ready to help any Mason or family member who might have questions, not just California Freemasons. Several examples were given at this training conference, which demonstrated an overt willingness to help Masonic families connect with services in other states. In particular were the widows of Masons who needed guidance from everything from Social Security benefits to Masonic services in other states. The staff members on the other end of the phone are ready and willing to help the broader Masonic family with questions; just give them a call if you have a concern you would like addressed. It is always better to ask then wait to find out later you had done something wrong.

I do want to emphasize several key points before writing any further about this Masonic Jewel in California. Freemasons and their families need to be aware of several issues that can lead to a problem. In order to be eligible for these programs, a Mason must be a member of the Grand Lodge of California (Blue Lodge) in good standing; among other things, this means your dues must be up to date. I have been told that sometimes a man will go into the hospital for a lengthy duration and the wife or other family members dismiss the payment notices, which can lead to his suspension (i.e. good standing). Moreover, many Freemasons live in the state of California and are members of other Masonic Orders, like York Rite and Scottish Rite, etc, but never bother to affiliate with a Blue Lodge in California. Remember, York Rite and Scottish Rite are national or regional Orders and are separately run from a state’s Grand Lodge. It must be stressed, the money to pay for these services came from the dues, and other private donations, of Blue Lodge members in the state of California; as such, services, other than the help-line, will only be distributed amongst its members and their family members; under certain eligibility requirements.

In short, to be eligible for these services make sure your dues are paid; as well, become a member of a Lodge in California. The surest way to know if you are eligible for these services is by having an updated California Blue Lodge dues card, which also has the phone number for these services on it. It should also be mentioned that you must have been a member for at least five years before you can receive any benefits. And please don’t forget to discuss these services with your immediate family members, who might be in charge of your affairs if you become incapacitated.

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Furthermore, I did not know that my mother would have been eligible for these services. She has since passed away; but it would have been a comfort to know that she could also have been eligible to stay at one of the two homes, or use the other available services, if it was needed.

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A Mason must be aware of a few other eligibility issues as well. To be eligible for either of the Masonic homes, an individual cannot have more than $2,000 in debt, and a couple must not have more than $3,500 in debt when applying. THIS INCLUDES STUDENT LOANS. Notice I capitalized STUDENT LOANS. I did this for a reason. It is not a prevalent problem right now, but it may be in the future. My age generation was discouraged from taking out STUDENT LOANS to pay for college; not so today. Today, almost every student attending college takes out some type of a STUDENT LOAN. I know because I have four children who have had to deal with this issue. Moreover, the Federal Government has also instituted a new pay scale repayment program, which means a growing number of students will never repay their STUDENT LOANS; but the amount owed will continue to grow because of the interest applied to the loan. As well, there is still some uncertainly about the duration of the amount owed and if that amount would be attached to future social security payments, which is the case today with some seniors. Sadly, some seniors who defaulted on their STUDENT LOANS are having a portion of their Social Security payments seized. Nevertheless, the important point is to have little or no debt before attempting to enter the Masonic Home Program. This issue does not affect my immediate family or me, but I know it will become a growing problem in the coming decades; an issue I will continue to discuss with our Masonic leadership in the future.

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There is also a wait time of about 12-18 months before being admitted into the Covina Masonic Home, and 12-24 months for the Union City Home. The difference being the level of care; the Union City Home has many special programs for seniors, while the Covina Masonic home is for independent and assisted living adults only. Although, I was told that the Covina Masonic Home would start construction on a new complex real soon, which will expand senior programming at that location?

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAPlease keep in mind, there are others who have much more information than I can give in this simple blog article. The purpose of this article was to spark your interest to find out more about these services, which are available to all eligible Masons and their family members in the state of California. I purposely left out pertinent details, which you will discover only by calling 1-888-466-3642, or by going to their website pages, Masonic Homes – For Seniors, Masonic Senior Outreach and Masonic Family Outreach.

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In conclusion, I am grateful to be just a small part of this incredible Masonic organization. Every time I walk on the grounds of this beautiful home in Covina, I get a wonderful and joyful feeling. As of yet, I have not gone to the Union City Masonic Home, but I understand it is just as beautiful. Please help spread the good word about these services, which are available to eligible Freemasons and their families in California. Surprisingly, most Masons in the state know little about the California Masonic Homes and the Outreach Services available to them, and to the broader Masonic family with the help-line to help answer questions ~/G\~

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So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir 

xxxx

PS: for your enjoyment, here are some more pictures I took on my visit:

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Destiny Masonic Lodge No. 856 is located at the Covina Masonic Home

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Inside view of Destiny Masonic Lodge No. 856

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Reading room

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A view of the grounds from the cafeteria

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A daily menu

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A small general store

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Computer room

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Barbecue patio

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Game room

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Health club

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Beauty salon

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Quilting room

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Quilting supplies

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Quilting supplies

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Pottery is a very popular activity in the craft room

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One of its several libraries

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A puzzle room

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Yet another of its many Rose Gardens

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Medical staff on duty 24 hours a day

The Ancients Vs. The Moderns; An Unwinnable Civil War.

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The deeper and deeper I look into the ancient lineage of Freemasonry, I am constantly confronted with the lack of Empirical Evidence. Yet, with that thought in mind, let us also consider the fact that the Craft itself was never designed to be am Empirically based organization, despite recent attempts to make it one. You see, the concept of Empirical Evidence is a recent phenomena of scientific academia, which has it roots in alchemy, which I will discuss later on in the article. Whereas, the ancients employed both Empirical and Anecdotal Evidence in its decision making process.

But before I delve into this specific topic, a little history is in order. The battle between the Ancients and the Moderns (or Postmoderns as they are often called today) is about 300 years old, if not longer. Basically, the Ancients formed a Grand Lodge in England in 1751 because they believed the Moderns had taken control of the Grand Lodge that was formed in 1717, and were progressively attempting to change the history of Freemasonry. Sound familiar? It should! You see, for the most part this battle is no longer being played out by Grand Lodges; rather it is being played out in our literature by well meaning pundits like myself. I have referred to this battle as a civil war. Seriously, this battle has gone on for some 300 years, with no end in sight. How sad.

Consider the following, Masonic Empirical believers do not buy into the argument that Anecdotal Evidence should be considered in any Masonic discussion about our lineage. Nevertheless, it is admitted by the academic world that Anecdotal Evidence still falls under “the scope of Scientific method.” Admittedly, it is the weaker of the two evidences; nonetheless, it is still used and applied as a starting point for scientific discovery.  We also know that Anecdotal discovery uses the creative elements of the human mind, and is the source of countless new ideas, discoveries and inventions; but it is also sometimes biased, especially if misapplied and not balanced with Empirical Evidence. In short, scientific researchers often start with Anecdotal Evidence and end with Empirical Evidence.

But how do historians look upon such theories? As a historian, I was taught to look at Anecdotal Evidence as a secondary source, particularly when primary Empirical Evidence was available. However, in the absence of Empirical Evidence, historians often turn to diaries, newspapers, journals, etc., to help tell a story and fill in the gaps. Most people are not aware that these types of sources are less accurate and fall under the Anecdotal Evidence category. Nevertheless, historians still use such information to help fill in the gaps that Empirical Evidence does not supply.

In my history studies, the first topic I was taught was historiography, which can be defined as, “the writing of history; especially:  the writing of history based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of particulars from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of particulars into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods.” At the conclusion of my studies on this topic, I learned that virtually all history is flawed, especially the further back one looks. The reason for this belief is simple, virtually all history contains the biases of the individual who wrote about a topic. Or as Walter Benjamin amply stated, “history is written by the victors.”

In fact, historians often use Anecdotal data when writing about history. Furthermore, many historians today use hermeneutics to form a better perspective about a historical event or time period. You see, way too many people are caught up in the Empirical vs Anecdotal Evidence debate, which is so often used in the realm of the sciences, but is often dismissed, or at least becoming less important, by many authors of history.

As well, a closer look into the topic of hermeneutics demonstrates something we already apply in Freemasonry, but is dismissed by the Moderns as unscientific. I love this word, unscientific; as though the Craft was ever designed to be strictly scientific. For surely it was never intended to be so. But I digress. The word hermeneutics can be defined as, “the theory and methodology of text interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.” You see, this is what Aristotle and Plato used in their great works, which still influences Freemasonry today,

In De Interpretatione, Aristotle offers a theory which lays the groundwork for many later theories of interpretation and semiotics:

Words spoken are symbols or signs (symbola) of affections or impressions (pathemata) of the soul (psyche); written words are the signs of words spoken.

As writing, so also is speech not the same for all races of men.

But the mental affections themselves, of which these words are primarily signs (semeia), are the same for the whole of mankind, as are also the objects (pragmata) of which those affections are representations or likenesses, images, copies (homoiomata).  [De Interpretatione, 1.16a4]

Equally important to later developments are some ancient texts on poetry, rhetoric, and sophistry:

Aristotle’s Poetics, Rhetoric, and On Sophistical Refutations

Plato’s dialogues, Cratylus, Ion, Gorgias, Lesser Hippias, and The Republic

This type of literature and learning became prominent in the middle ages, and helped shape our views about reading and interpreting like the ancients:

The discipline of hermeneutics emerged with the new humanist education of the 15th century as a historical and critical methodology for analyzing texts. In a triumph of early modern hermeneutics, the Italian humanist Lorenzo Valla proved in 1440 that the Donation of Constantine was a forgery. This was done through intrinsic evidence of the text itself… The rationalist Enlightenment led hermeneutists, especially Protestant exegetists, to view Scriptural texts as secular classical texts. They interpreted Scripture as responses to historical or social forces so that, for example, apparent contradictions and difficult passages in the New Testament might be clarified by comparing their possible meanings with contemporary Christian practices.

You see, many times, only through text interpretation can a truth be revealed. I know this type of learning counters contemporary thinking about traditional educational sources; nevertheless, it has value and is now becoming a recognized type of study, despite recent attempts to dismiss its worth in contributing to scholastic study.

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Yet it should also be said, these types of learning and study have been around the esoteric world since the beginning of recorded history through the use of allegorical literature and interpretation. Albert Pike wrote,

“Though deprecating the demoralizing tendencies of poetry, he was too wise to attempt to replace them by other representations of a positive kind. He justly says, that spiritual things can be made intelligible only through figures; and the forms of allegorical expression which, in a rude age, had been adopted unconsciously, were designedly chosen by the philosopher as the most appropriate vehicles for theological ideas” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 678).

Therefore, if the philosophers, like Aristotle and Plato, understood and used allegory as a source for expressing ideas unfit for the profane, why are we as Masonic historians criticized for using anecdotal, and or allegorical interpretations, when writing about Masonry. Honestly, it makes no sense not to use Anecdotal data and allegory when writing about Masonry, especially since the Craft itself was devised using such concepts.

“Everywhere the sacred body of Nature was covered with the veil of allegory, which concealed it from the profane, and allowed it to be seen only by the sage who thought it worthy to be the object of his study and investigation. She showed herself to those only who loved her in spirit and in truth, and she abandoned the indifferent and careless to error and to ignorance. ‘The Sages of Greece,’ says Pausanias, ‘never wrote otherwise than in an enigmatical manner, never naturally and directly.’ ‘Nature,’ says Sallust the Philosopher, “should be sung only in a language that imitates the secrecy of her processes and operations. She is herself an enigma. We see only bodies in movement; the forces and springs that move them are hidden from us.’ The poets inspired by the Divinity, the wisest philosophers, all the theologians, the chiefs of the initiations and Mysteries, even the gods uttering their oracles, have borrowed the figurative language of allegory. ‘The Egyptians,’ says Proclus, ‘preferred that mode of teaching, and spoke of the great secrets of Nature, only in mythological enigmas.’ The Gymnosophists of India and the Druids of Gaul lent to science the same enigmatic language, and in the same style wrote the Hierophants of Phœnicia” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 659).

As Pike wrote above, the poets, philosophers and theologians all wrote in an enigmatic style that held great secrets, and they did this for a reason; they wanted to hide these wonderful teachings and wonders from the profane. So they covered, or hid, them under a veil of allegory.

Interestingly, unlike today, the ancients understood the differences between Anecdotal Evidence (parables of the Hermetic philosophers) and Empirical Evidence (prophets of Alchemy); Alchemy, of course, being the precursor to modern day science, which Pike confirmed when he wrote about their differences and their use in understanding the entirety of a topic:

“It is in this sense we are to understand the parables of the Hermetic philosophers and the prophets of Alchemy; but in their works, as in the Great Work, we must skillfully separate the subtile from the gross, the mystic from the positive, allegory from theory. If you would read them with pleasure and understandingly, you must first understand them allegorically in their entirety and then descend from allegories to realities by way of the correspondences or analogies indicated in the single dogma.

In others words, it is certainly OK to write about differences, but never totally dismiss somethings value to a topic. Yes, lets seek Empirical Evidence whenever possible, but let’s not dismiss the true potential of Anecdotal Evidence, like allegorical literature (poetry, biblical accounts, folklore, ancient literature, etc) and their interpretations, simply because it is not fully understood or agreed upon and appreciated through Empirical ideals, which again is a contemporary idea to separate the two, which the ancients did not do.

Pike was clear about interpreting:

EACH of us makes such applications to his own faith and creed, of the symbols and ceremonies of this Degree, as seems to him proper. With these special interpretations we have here nothing to do. Like the legend of the Master Khūrūm, in which some see figured the condemnation and sufferings of Christ; others those of the unfortunate Grand Master of the Templars; others those of the first Charles, King of England; and others still the annual descent of the Sun at the winter Solstice to the regions of darkness, the basis of many an ancient legend; so the ceremonies of this Degree receive different explanations; each interpreting them for himself, and being offended at the interpretation of no other.

Did you catch that? Many people see things others do not, but we should never be offended at the interpretation of another person. Therefore, our own Masonic literature encourages us to seek new Masonic knowledge through interpretation; however, we are told by a small group of modern academics that we are wrong for seeking out Masonic lineage using such a method. In other words, here is the cool-aid, shut up and simply drink the 1717 narrative. I don’t think so, we don’t buy into this idea and never will. So what are we to do as Masons? Should we keep fighting this unwinnable battle, or perhaps find a solution? I think I have a solution to the problem.

I personally think the only solution is to admit that both methods are valuable within the scope of discovering our lineage. We need to stop thinking of Freemasonry strictly as a science; but rather we need to again reestablish the ancient viewpoint of research, just like the ancient alchemist did. You see, they included a spiritual or an occultist component to everything they did. They did not just rely on Empirical Evidence; no, they were willing to use both Empirical and Anecdotal Evidences to explain something.  Even contemporary historians use Anecdotal Evidence to explain things that otherwise would go unexplained.

You see, we are neither science based nor history based in our foundation; rather, we are an immersion of both. Only because of contemporary academic ideas have we become separated, which has resulted in a split within the Craft itself. One side says the other is not truly representative of Masonic lineage based solely on the ideals of Empirical Evidence, while the other side says we can only explain our past using Anecdotal Evidence. Honestly, I think we need to rethink our positions and start showing brotherly love, otherwise this unwinnable civil war will never cease. I certainly hope for this day; until than however, I will continue to write about Masonic lineage using both forms of evidences; never dismissing the value of each of them.

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir 

xxxx

 

The Morals And Dogma Of Modern Freemasonry.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Gnostic Warrior host Moe Bedard for almost two hours recently. During our time together, we discussed countless Masonic topics revolving around the teachings of Albert Pike’s book Morals and Dogma (1871). If you would like to listen to this broadcast, please follow the link below. I would also like to thank Moe for being so generous with his time; he was very kind and a great host. Needless to say, he demonstrated incredible knowledge about the ancient mysteries.

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir