The nature of Freemasonry is not comparable to that of a political party, trade union, charity, social club or a church. Yet how can we improve if we forbid ourselves from asking questions about the world around us? How can we, as Freemasons, overcome the perceived reality and seek knowledge, truth and light without receiving a "revelation" as religions have?

I do not deny the effectiveness of Masonic rites and symbols, quite the contrary. I see them as a compendium of our ancestors’ wisdom and metaphysical knowledge.These rites and symbols are not abstractions; they constantly refer to the experiences of our ancestors and ourselves. Discussing position platforms on societal issues may help them, which may be a detour, but it does not prevent us from meditating on our lives and our place in the universe. Do a charity means to  think on societal issues... Paths to spirituality are varied. Everyone follows his own. They can bring about "enlightenment," the "satori." 

Our bylaws prohibit discussing, creating controversy about our political convictions and religious faiths within the walls of the lodge. But debates about biotechnology, the environment, legal affairs, the equitable distribution of wealth and similar issues, including their ethical and philosophical aspects, seem to me to be part of initiation. An initiation should help us overcome our individualism and encourage our relationship with others through a Brotherly bond. Debating societal issues is one of the best ways to understand and make ourselves understood. The exercise is very educational and, for some Brothers, provides a more accessible path to initiation than meditation or metaphysical thought. We must not forget when discussing such topics, the group is influenced not only by the speaker’s arguments, but largely by his behaviour, along with the behaviour of other stakeholders and even those present who do not wish to speak. The egregore is at work among us...

However, we mustn’t hide the fact that Freemasonry is ill equipped to intervene outside its temples as such. It lacks the resources to effectively influence events on the political, economic and social scene and should only attempt to do so on rare occasions when there is a consensus among all the Brothers, or when an emergency justifies such action without prior debate in the lodges: The Freemasons would not remain silent in the face of the rise of a new Hitler... It goes without saying, and is much better in saying, that Freemasonry does not have the means to provide its members with instructions on how to function in the secular world. The Freemasonry has only one Program, the universal fraternity.

Peter Bu

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