What does it mean to be perfect? What does it mean to be without flaw or blemish?
The definition of perfection states that perfection is “the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.”
This is a term that every Brother can nod to as part of their Masonic understanding. We being members of a society of builders, we know that the zeal to achieve perfection in our work is the core of Masonic practice. For the great structures that our brothers of past have built have stood the test of time because they were the most perfect. Perfect creates an everlasting existence.
When a Man joins Masonry and becomes a Brother, he is now a part of a system that codifies what that perfection could mean through the allegory of the rough ashlar and the perfect ashlar. We understand that the rough and the perfect are both symbols themselves, yet those symbols mean different things to different people. The most common belief is that the ashlar represents the individual Mason. The idea being that we are rough when we join Masonry. But through good work on ourselves, we will be able to achieve perfection. And thus we will be able to perfectly fit in our world here on earth and also in the heaven above.
It’s Masonry’s most specific explanation of a long term goal of our entire superstructure. This is our purpose. To use the tools given to us in Freemasonry to become perfect. That is why we are here. All those things about brotherly love, secrecy, truth, charity, diving our time, getting rid of vices…they are all actions we must do in our duty to achieve perfection. Perfection is our final form.
I’ll repeat my question from above, but what does it mean to be perfect? Here are a few articles that touch on this very question
Each article talks about and deals with perfection from a few different points of View. They were chosen because they fell on the religious, personal the societal thoughts about perfection.
However they didn’t touch on the philosophical and symbolic meaning of perfection, which is what we will do here now.
Perfection means different things to different people. I think Shawshank Redemption is the perfect movie but someone down the street thinks Twighlight Breaking Dawn is perfect. The perfect husband you think you have might in fact be a flawed candidate to someone else. Being perfect in your religion might make you a saint to some and heretic to others. Listen to what I’m saying. By just understanding the basic variances in human perception, we can come to understand that true perfection is IMPOSSIBLE!
So what is going on here? What is Masonry trying to do? Well we have already established that perfection is impossible, but maybe we’re working on the wrong series of metrics here. Maybe we’re playing football but using baseball’s scoring rules. What I’m trying to say is we’re completely missing how we measure perfection.
A. True Perfection. True Perfection should only be measured through God’s design. If God outlines how our lives will work and we attain that design, then mission accomplished. To figure out what God wants, we read our Volume of Sacred Law (VSL). We read through, find the rules, understand what they mean and we follow them. And if you follow every law and rule, then you are without flaw. Just as the definition of perfection says.
Sure, you can get straight As in school, ace your car exam or whatnot. But that is only station perfection, when there are many different stations in life. What I’m talking about total perfection as a spiritual person, which is what religion sets out to do. Now I did say earlier that religious people may call you a heretic for not following their religious system. But that’s the rub, you’re not supposed to follow their system. You’re supposed to follow God’s system. If you judge your standards against the standards of others, you will be trapped in a perpetually flawed state. But if you sincerely follow the system by what God expects, perfection can be attained. For our journey on earth is to follow the Great Architect’s design. And those that followed that sacred design and have found their time on earth complete, they will be guaranteed a joyous life after, eternal in the Heavens. Our Volume of Sacred Law, unlike any other system has a clear way of attaining an everlasting life and true perfection.
B. Station perfection. As I mentioned in my above statement, there are different stations of life that we try to achieve perfection in. Being the perfect husband, or perfect student, or perfect employee, and so on and so forth. The first struggle that we have in this area are that the metrics of measurement aren’t always clear and the rules aren’t always obvious. This being the case, our first step in all statins of life is to set a clear system of measurements and rules for what we perceive to be perfection and to make sure sure those around us are alerted to it. And the rules don’t have to be hyper specific. By being clear with our significant others, our co-workers, bosses, friends, family, whatever about what we aspire to be in this space, we allow others to not only better align with us in our pursuit of perfection, but also to support us as well. Everyone deep down just wants to fit in and seeing you work to fit in allows for other to want to join you in this endeavor.
C. Support Perfection. Support perfection is supporting others in their journey to become perfect. Now, people don’t always share the same ideals as us and may still be figuring out who they are. But us being a society of people who believe in the Great Architect, we know that they are born out of a spirit made in the image of our perfect creator. We are all capable of the same journey of perfection. And as Masons were are all too aware of our charge to bring relief to others. A Mason who stands for others and relentlessly supports them in their drive for perfection is a Mason who will soon find him surrounded by a great society. And he will soon find that this great society now stands and supports him, the way he has done for others. For it is hardwired into the human spirit, to stand with those who can protect for you, provide for you, and build you up so you can better weather the storms of human existence.
In our journey for perfection as Masons, we will often find ourselves meditating for answers on what it means to make our minds perfect. I hope this essay will illuminate some of what this means and help guide you on that very journey.