The First Masonology Comment. A commentary on interpretation

Square and Compass

Hi readers, Livingstone here. It’s been two weeks and the blog has been running along smoothly. With a lot of my time being spent breaking off the “rough and superfluous” typos, syntax errors and spelling issues. When you’re born with a bad case of dyslexia it can be a chore. And I chose to become a writer. Funny how things go sometimes.

So I received my first comment today. Here it is.

Hi there,
I am quite surprised where you find so “practical” and direct teachings in masonry. Where in the ritual do we learn “that you can be killed for what you know and what is in your mind” or where in masonry is the teachings about “You have to keep your emotions in check.” especially with the aim to manipulate people?
Where exaclty is all this part of the core masonic teachings? I think, this is YOUR interpretation of the Symbols and how YOU found a meaning in them. I really do not at all agree that THIS is part of masonic teaching, I was not at all tought how to i9nteract with people (especially not as manipulative as you describe above). Otto

My first comment! The blog is starting to get noticed! Something every member of our blogging community dreams of. I should give pause for celebration except for the fact the comment is negative in tone. But as a Mason we’ve seen enough people swing at us where it eventually becomes old hat. Now onto the quote. I’ll break it down.

I am quite surprised where you find so “practical” and direct teachings in masonry. Where in the ritual do we learn “that you can be killed for what you know and what is in your mind” or where in masonry is the teachings about “You have to keep your emotions in check.” especially with the aim to manipulate people?

It could be reasonable to ascertain that “we” is being used in a more global context. There is a chance this person isn’t a Mason even though they claim to be one in the comment. Manipulate people? No Mason believes we’re manipulating people and the community at large does as much as it can to make things clear. We don’t wish to confuse and trick people. It’s truth we seek and truth we give. However I’ll approach this person in good faith.

The first thing you must learn when you read my blog is that everything I write IS MY INTERPRETATION! I do not speak for Masonry. All brothers are equal upon the level so no brother is the deciding authority on Masonic subject matter. But some may have a louder megaphone with me being one of them. So take what I say as my perspective and mine alone.

Because of Masonry’s secretive nature I cannot elaborate on my interpretation. But in a world wide context it is fairly obvious to any reader that people are often killed for what they think or what they know. Intellectuals have often been victimized because of what was in their head. So my interpretation of what occurred within Masonic teaching is my take on it and one of the many things I perceived.

or where in masonry is the teachings about “You have to keep your emotions in check.” especially with the aim to manipulate people?

Again, I’m using my interpretation to take what I have learned in Masonry to create concepts and ideas in the profane (non-mason) world. I can’t say what happened, so I have to create arguments that have the spirit of what I learned. And by doing this I have to reinterpret what I’ve learned and reform it for you.

“Keep your emotions in check” is clearly an interpretive paraphrasing of my own accord for what was learned in a specific part of the Masonic lecture. Any Master Mason knows this. However the “with the aim to manipulate people” is a classic example non-masonic paranoia. All conversations are about presenting people with information in such a way to let what you say sink in in a profound way. The hope is they eventually reconsider and come to your side. All conversation is a form of proselytizing. You are trying to convert the other to your side in one way or another. Anyone who says otherwise is talking in vain. Sure you can inform people or warn them of something…but again it’s bringing them over to your side in some way.

Also manipulation is completely unmasonic. We seek out truth and live in it. Masons have often been the people with the new ideas or concepts because it’s in our nature to find truth and then build with it. There is no room in Masonry for saying something is wrong while in our heart we know otherwise. For a Fraternity as small as ours it will only take a few snake-like brothers to bring the hammer of the world down on our heads. Not worth it.

Where exaclty is all this part of the core masonic teachings? I think, this is YOUR interpretation of the Symbols and how YOU found a meaning in them. I really do not at all agree that THIS is part of masonic teaching, I was not at all tought how to i9nteract with people (especially not as manipulative as you describe above). Otto

It’s a secret so I can’t say. If Otto is really a Mason then he knows the truth. If not then this looks like an attempt to draw me out and I’ve seen better tricks. Again it is also my interpretation. There is no Masonic dogma. Each Mason modifies the working tools to use them for their own personal circumstances.

As for his comments about not agreeing at all, that is his own interpretation. As for what is learned through the rituals…it is painfully obvious the things you learn are about you. And how you work on yourself as a Mason. By learning how to work on yourself you eventually learn how to interact with people around you.

All this being said I thank Otto for his response. To engage others online is an exercise in exhaustion so I appreciate his reaching out. But it won’t always be pretty. Will there be trolls and cowans leaving comments in the future? Sure. Should I have censored his post? Absolutely not. People have the right to voice their opinions no matter how wrong we perceive them to be. And as a civil society we must engage them in a good and pure conscious to come to an understanding of the heart of each other’s position. Thank you Otto for the response and I look forward to answering more in the future.

Livingstone

2 thoughts on “The First Masonology Comment. A commentary on interpretation

  1. Hello and thank you for your answer,
    if my question came across with a “negative tone”, I am sorry. I am not a native english speaker and might
    not use the language in all its aspects correctly.

    I was talking about “manipulation” because your text (the one I was commenting about) implied to me that
    your main focus for controling your emotions is the receiver of any communications (another person).

    Actually I do understand how you get to these interpretation while I still think that this is not really (as stated in your first post)
    part of masonic teachings (atleast how I see this). I understand masonry to be aimed at me (or every individual brother) and does not really come with a social political agenda towards others at all. It is nice if a mason develops views and habbits due to internalizing the teachings and carries those into his naighborhood, but that is (imhO) actually not the aim. I see masonry and the symbols of masonry like a tool chest to work with me, on me and for myself and how and if that is carried into the world this would be by my means and as such a result of the masonic work.

    For me your comment on my questions sounds much more like the masonry I know than the “Believing in something when the rest of the “world” does not”. The later is in my opinion quite a bit of your interpretation. The question that arises to me now is, is this really the case OR do you get such teachings (about communication, emotions, …) in your masonic lodge in the USA?

  2. Hello Otto,

    I completely understand how your lack of English can be hard. I thank you and commend you for reaching out in your non-native language. As for your negative tone, with us both being a position of darkness to each other I can understand how you are approaching me with your due guard as I would the same.

    As for the rest of your post, the great thing about Masonry is that while the symbols are universal around the world their meanings to each individual brother are unique. No one speaks for Masonry so how I view it is my singular view alone and this singular concept also applies to how you view Masonry. For me, Masonry is about building my mind as a living stone until it can perfectly fit into heaven…and also the world around me. I agree about Masonry giving you tools. I would argue those tools are elements all the great Masons of time have used in various ways to structure themselves and to be used to interact with the world around them. So much of Masonry is building yourself…and thus through yourself you build up the world around you. The values I mentioned were methods used by our ancient brethren to create a lodge of exceptional Masons. And those values were honed and tuned over thousands of years to eventually become what we see today. We agree in more ways then we give credit for but we differ in some.

    As for my interpretation, it is based off of countless discussion and analysis of Masonic ritual, Masonic ideas and former Masons and how they approached the world. My lodge is diverse in viewpoint but unified in Brotherly Love. My views are of my own.

    Livingstone

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