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What is Freemasonry?
Posted on Jan 10, 2020 by Brad Meyer
When I think about how I have progressed in Freemasonry over the past 5 years, I often wonder what the purpose of the organization is. Modern Freemasonry seems sometimes like another social club where we argue about potato salad and coleslaw at times, but this is really just the surface of a greater and complex system that is truly the purpose of Freemasonry.
First of all, many Masons come through the doors of Freemasonry having no idea what it is they are getting into. They might think they are joining another friendly group, they may have viewed conspiracy videos online and truly think they will gain material and social power, and there are some, like me, who became disenchanted with philosophical and religious thought and found themselves knocking at the door. Whatever the reason, most people do not know what Freemasonry is when they enter. But what is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is explained as a “System of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.” Well, great. That explains a lot. What kind of morality? What is the allegory of, and what do I do with a bunch of symbols? The truth is, Freemasonry conceals much of what it is and much of what it does because it is the purpose of the individual to find these answers for themselves. Much like a high intrigue mystery movie, Freemasonry doesn’t just give you answers. And, unlike most dogmatic religious organizations where a catechism is force fed, it is up to the individual seeker to find the answers.
Think of a complex puzzle you are putting together. Each piece you put in reveals more information about yourself, your morality and your place in the world. If this puzzle is put together for you by someone else, it would reveal nothing more than an objective and material way of how to put certain pieces in order. For YOU to figure it out is a way to understand not only the objective way in which the puzzle pieces fit, but also the subjective way of how you came to decide how the pieces fit. The true knowledge is thus not only the revelation of the final product, but how you as an individual came to that knowledge. It then differs from a spoon fed reading of the Republic by Socrates, or the Confessions by St. Augustine, but fully involves you, the individual, in the process.
So the purpose of Freemasonry becomes a quest to know yourself , but in the process it is a meta-analysis of how you know yourself and how you have come to know who you are. Like a puzzle, you are the one who puts the puzzle pieces in and you are the one who knows why you have placed each piece in place.
By Bro. John O’Keefe
Posted with permission by Bro. Grant McLeod, Lodge Houston St. Johnstone No.242, Grand Lodge of Scotland
Read Bro. Grant's fantastic newsletter, "Cross Keys" at https://issuu.com/cloudy242