Response to Ryan’s Thoughts: RE: Charlie Hebdo Entry

Hello Readers,

So I’m breaking my blog response cherry today. This blog is finally getting big enough (or insane enough. Depends on your view) where other Masons are weighing into my blog entries.

Just yesterday, Ryan Mercer at Ryan’s Thoughts, responded to my blog entry. He had a lot of disagreements. I’m going to read his blog in real time and write my thoughts in real time. So here goes.

——-

I appreciate your thoughts but I disagree on some points.

“because they were exercising their free speech”

There is the right to having free speech and being able to say what you want. I’m all for that. However there is also being repeatedly disrespectful to another’s views/beliefs/religion. This is no longer free speech, this is being uncivil and absolutely disrespectful to others. While I don’t think they should have died/deserved to die, I do think they were guilty of not exercising civility. Just because you can say something, doesn’t mean you should.

——-

At first glance, there is a lot to agree with here. Civility is the hallmark of a well run and upstanding society. But approaching this Masonically, there are some other things to consider.

We as Masons are taught to square our actions. For me interpreting squaring my actions means I strive to treat everyone the same. Idealistic, I know, but I at least try to at least treat everything within a certain station of life the same.

This station right here is in regards to criticism of religion. Considering this is a western world centric blog I’ll try to focus on Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Christians and sects of Christianity are often satired in the Western world. Take a look at South Park alone. Look at the various politics cartoon of Christian characters doing and saying dumb things. Here’s a few to provide context.

tumblr_lzfaasv8WT1rnsvk1o1_1280114404_600

Christian-vs-Islamic-Terror

I understand where many of these political cartoons come from. For the record many Christians do and say some really off the mark things. Insane things even.

The biggest issue I have is how Ryan would classify disrespect. Showing images of Islam is considered disrespectful to many Muslims. Showing Israel in a bad light is considered disrespectful to many Jews/Judaism.  Because of the fluid and diverse range of views within each group it’s impossible to exercise free speech without disrespecting someone. So for me, I take the “gloves off approach” where all forms of satire are welcome. When a NY Art Exhibit displayed a Jesus made entirely of shit (Article), my first instinct was to be offended. My second instinct was to understand that this person was exercising free speech. And the best way to “push back” was to have an open and honest dialogue about this. Or to “vote with our attendance” and just not validate things like this. I still probably would have shown up anyways to see what we really going on.

——-

“constantly threatened with death for doing something as simple as writing funny cartoons”

One man’s funny is quite offensive to others. You don’t attack other’s beliefs, especially religion. You respect the rights of others to believe what they want. You don’t continually mock one’s religion/God/prophet in satirical illustrations that some even offend people NOT of the religion being mocked. They weren’t being funny, they were being mocking, nay, derisive and full of hatred in their magazine.

——-

I disagree. You ABSOLUTELY question other people’s religious beliefs. If people are twisting their own religious doctrine to fit an agenda, I would argue with them the same way I would a scientist who tries to twist his research to fit an agenda. Question everything is my motto.

Ryan calls them an attack, and I can see why he feels that way. But again, it’s so hard to find the line between questioning vs. attacking that I err on the side of considering everything questioning. This also makes other people feel less likely that you are attacking them and helps the conversations stay civil.

Also in regard to people not finding those comics funny, there were people who absolutely found those comics to be funny. They would have been out of business if they didn’t. And again regarding it being disrespectful, see my thoughts in the previous section.

——-

“We as Masons are taught through our ritual and through our culture that we have a bond to the fraternity and each other”

We are also instructed that we are all on the level and that we shouldn’t judge others for their beliefs. We’ve also learned as Masons that it’s not fun to be persecuted… I mean the wiki entry Suppression of Freemasonry is a good starting point. Let me ask you this Brother, how would you feel if someone took something sacred to you, let’s say Freemasonry, and began making hate-filled ‘satirical’ cartoons about Freemasonry. You’d be mad. Now what if you were devoutly religious and someone started taking your God/prophet/important religious figure and started making cartoons about them showing them doing idiotic thing, carrying out acts of a sexual or romantic nature with a person or animal that your religion prohibits etc? You’d be mad.

Pardon my language, but what really chaps my ass, is the fact that there WERE Brothers working at this publication. We shouldn’t be making fun of the beliefs of others, whether we find it comical or not (because they probably won’t). These satirical comics that Charlie Hebdo were producing were funny to some but grossly offensive to others. That’s just unacceptable.

——-

We shouldn’t judge other people for their beliefs? Where in the ritual is that? Also many many MANY Masons in history have questioned various religious and political beliefs. That is one of my favorite parts of the fraternity.

If someone made comics attacking Freemasonry, I would be THRILLED to offer a rebuttal. Them getting me mad would mean my passions are not in due bounds. I would stay calm and offer reasons to why the comic or such was misguided.

Also in regard to attacking my religion, I would be mad at first but my VSL calls for me to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger. So anger would be something I would try to avoid.

I’m glad brothers were working at Charlie Hebdo. Again no matter what you do you will always find a way to offend someone. I do agree that we and they shouldn’t be making fun of people for their beliefs. Yet people are sensitive and just describing someone’s religions in the wrong way could make that person think you’re making fun of them.

——-

“I also felt pride that my brothers were there, doing things that stood for something and shaped the world.”

I’m sorry, I don’t take pride in bullying and bigotry. They weren’t making cartoons saying why they preferred their belief over the belief of their target, they were showing extreme prejudice and bigotry for a specific group of people that make up a significant portion of the world’s population.

——-

Bullying? Charlie Hebdo was a publication with 45,000 papers circulated per issue. A minor player on the grand scheme of things and treated as such by French society. Not quite the school yard bully who runs the show by intimidating the smaller kids around him. More like a fly in the ointment.

Also the criticism that they weren’t saying their preferred belief over the belief of the target shows a misunderstanding of the nature of political cartoons. They target a problem and show it in a humorous or thoughtful light. Asking them to clarify complex issues is like complaining that a poem doesn’t show real character development. It’s not their purpose to do what you’re criticizing them for.

Also the significant portion of the world population is immaterial to me. Wealthy people are a fraction of the population. Atheists are a moderately sized part of the population in Europe. Jews are a fraction of the population. Christians are a massive population. Muslims have a massive population. People who believe that Global Climate Change is real are a signification portion of the population. People who believe Evolution is real or not real both significant or small portions of the population depending on where you are. Etc. Population size is immaterial to me.

——-

“but Michel and Bernard were the ones who actually were going out and doing something. They were the ones with the guts. The ones without fear.”

They were the ones showing cowardice, afraid of the beliefs of others and lashing out against those beliefs with disrespectful illustrations that they claimed to be tasteful satire. Disgusting.

I’m truly sorry that these individuals were killed but let us take some good from this tragedy. Let us see it as a reminder to be more civil and tolerant of the beliefs of others, to be more respectful of the beliefs of others. There is absolutely no reason, in a civil society, that those comics should have been created and published.

——-

Afraid of the beliefs of others? Citation needed on this one.

Lashing out? Showing St. Peter having sex with a deity isn’t lashing out to me. It’s just shock value satire. By that logic, Howard Stern is lashing out all the time. However I could be convinced people like him a problem. That’s a worthy discussion.

Where did Charlie Hebdo claim it was tasteful satire? IMO, There is no way they believed that. Some of them may have believed that but any reasonable people would have seen all the other media publications out there and would have known where Hebdo stood among them.

As for your last paragraph, I covered that in my previous sections. And to finish off, I appreciate Ryan for putting all his thoughts together and carefully spelling it out. And I also really appreciate him for being civil while doing it.

To wrap up my rebuttal, the idea of question and attacking anything is one of the greatest things to come out of modern society. Many Masons lost their lives question and attacking the power structures of monarchal Europe and we should all admire them for their work. And we should continue to admire those people that exercise that very free speech in the face of danger. Words can’t hurt us unless we allow them to hurt us. We can only use our words to answer the satire that we disagree with. There is no need to get mad. We should always strive to be civil and there are always better way then how Charlie Hebdo did it. But they are not cowardly. They are not lashing out. And they were certainly never afraid of the beliefs of others. They did what they always did. They went after everyone. It’s the ones that killed them or tried to censor them are the ones we need to be disgusted by.

Livingstone

Advertisements

Charlie Hebdo: A Death in My Family

BERNARD MARIS
Bernard Maris

 

MICHEL RENAUD
Michel Renaud

 

Hello Readers,

When a story hits, the 24 hours new cycle machine runs into the ground and in a blink the story vanishes into Wikipedia footnote history. When you read this, the main story will have passed. But for me the story is just beginning.

Two Brothers died on January 7th. Masonic brothers Bernard Maris and Michel Renaud were murdered by Islamist attackers. They died because they were exercising their free speech and those who wish to destroy such people had them killed in a bloody massacre.

This story is about them. It’s about two men who were part of a paper that was constantly threatened with death for doing something as simple as writing funny cartoons. It’s about two people who literally had police protection because their lives were always being threatened. And they died because they didn’t shrink back from men who ultimately took their lives.

We as Masons are taught through our ritual and through our culture that we have a bond to the fraternity and each other. Our word and our spirit are tied to it and thus to all the men around the world who share our Masonic label. When I saw this information about a week ago, it struck me and I wanted to make sure I wrote about it. As I write this, I don’t know where this blog entry will go. And that is why I’m writing about this. Two Brothers who are bonded to me through Masonry lost their lives and I’m not sure how to feel about it.

The nature of that bond is something that I meditate on. As a Mason it’s common to look to God and to wonder how one should feel. Yet I didn’t do any such thing. Instead, my first reaction was to have a feeling of admiration. Even a bit of Masonic nationalism. I admired that Masons worked at such a paper that censors for no one. I also felt pride that my brothers were there, doing things that stood for something and shaped the world.

Pride, admiration. But not sorrow. Not loss. I wonder as I write this if that makes me a terrible person. I’ll have times where I find out someone admirable is a Mason and I’ll get a rush of excitement. And excitement that clearly comes from my own internal insecurities. Why should I be excited that another Mason is admired? Why should I feel prideful that a brother did something great. I clearly didn’t do anything. I have a Masonic label like this person and we do have a bond, but Michel and Bernard were the ones who actually were going out and doing something. They were the ones with the guts. The ones without fear.

I did some cursory research of them as I wrote this. If I’m going to talk about dead brothers, it only makes sense that I actually get to know who they were. For Bernard Maris, he has his own Wiki entry and several write-ups. He was an economic writer who used a pen name and he has a long history in Charlie Hebdo (11% stakeholder since 1992!) and has done a great deal of work in academia. His anti-globalization stance is pretty French and also one that I feel some affinity towards. A professor who wrote books about economics and who also wrote for a paper that drew funny cartoons? If we met in real life, I would have enjoyed his company. For Michel Renaud, the information is tougher to find. Putting his name into Google only reveals a few light articles, all in French. Apparently was a guest editor and he traveled the world a lot. He even wrote a few books.

In any other situation, these men are just another series of people killed in the news in a world where people die all the time. Between our news, action movies and books, experiencing people dying is just a commonality. Whether it’s a faceless henchman, or a close friend, death is a part of the tapestry of the things that we consume and care about. I have become desensitized. I owe some of that to my Asperger’s, but have also cried from the death of loved ones who were close to me. I recently had my grandfather on my Dad’s side die. It was the first time I cried in a long time. Maybe half a decade.

The nature of our emotional bond to each other is a complex one. I spoke to my Grandfather a few times a year and I saw him in person every few years. He was a good man who did things the right way. He was on the level and lived by the square yet never stepped foot in a lodge. When he died, he left a lot of money to my parents. Money he saved up. Money he could have used for pleasure or personal use. But he kept his minerals and metals and when his bond with the world snapped, he passed on not just a legacy of great moral nature but he passed on his sacrifice to my Dad and my Mother. For the first time in decades, my parents were now not in debt. My Dad had tears in his eyes when he told me, debt was one of the things that hung on him like a noose. He was finally free of his bonds to the world. I can see why he cried. Because of college loans, I have my bond to the world too. I have my debt. And someday when I’m free like my Dad, maybe I’ll cry too.

When I cried at my Grandfather’s funeral, I wish I cried more. I saw his body laying there and I had a decent cry. I wish I cried more. There was something inside of me that wasn’t letting go. Something that held me back from fully letting my emotions be free. While people were talking and observing the wake, I slinked off to a side room and surfed Reddit on my cellphone. I was back to being numb, being emotionless, being away from pain. I have never thought until now why I cried for my grandfather. Maybe it was because it was the first real funeral I’ve been too since I can remember. I’ve been lucky with that.

But what was my relationship with my grandfather? Like I said, I spoke to him a few times on the phone and we really didn’t have much to talk about. He was a Missouri farmer, I’m some Boston guy doing my thing in the film industry. He didn’t watch movies, I didn’t milk cows. We spent some time together every few years, but those experiences wouldn’t be more then a day. That was my relationship with my grandfather. We were bonded by blood, but we rarely saw each other.

Those experiences I had with my grandfather are slowly becoming distant memories. But this Thursday when I got to lodge to sit on the sidelines for a 3rd degree, I’m going to again share the same experience Bernard and Michel have experienced. And when I watch a 2nd degree in three weeks, I’ll share another experience. While they are GODF Masons (we consider them irregular but they have many similarities), I share memories and experiences with them just due to the nature of the Masonic system. We both did this. We both went from darkness to light. We both found ourselves separated from the world by being Masons yet more connected then ever to it. My grandfather and I shared experiences together, we had a bond together then cuts to the core of our DNA. A bond and a shared experience that brought me to tears. But when I found out Bernard and Michel died, I felt no such feeling. I actually felt worse when the initial attack happened. What does that mean? How should I feel?

It’s common for people to feel stronger bonds with people who aren’t blood then with people who are. Many people say they felt closer to their football coach then their father, closer to a great teacher then to their mother. I would say that typically the family blood bond is the strongest bond. Yet there are many instances of people having an uncle die and they remained impassioned but a famous celebrity dies and it brings them to their knees. There are always exceptions but family is the strongest one.

Masonry mimics that family. We have brothers, we’re ALL brothers. We have a Master of the lodge, the father, that while elected leads our tribe in the ways of organization and self-improvement. When Brothers die we are all called to be there to bury the dead and to support those that the brother left behind. We are a family. My grandfather, a man who lived a simple farm life and who I barely knew, caused me to break when I experienced his death. Yet I show no sorrow for two brothers who I share experiences with often who stood in the face of darkness and were struck down because of it?

And I guess it’s really simple for me. For me, that personal bond, that shared experience between men, is where my soul breaks. If I knew Barnard and Michel, I’m sure I would be there at their funeral and I would be just as broken up as anyone else. As I write this, pangs of guilt now mix with flashes of genuine sorrow for them. If I weren’t a Mason and I wasn’t writing this blog, I may have never cared about them. I may have never had the decency to understand who they were and are.

When my grandfather died, a poem was read. I cried when I saw my grandfather’s body, and while my memory is hazy, I’m sure I cried when this poem was read to. I’ll share it with you.

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

For my grandfather and for brothers Michel and Barnard, their bond with this world has now been broken. And someday we will all meet again in that great lodge, the building made without hands, eternal in the Heavens.

Lastly, as I read that poem again just now to copy and paste it into this entry, I almost broke down. I almost had that moment of true emotion. Then I realized I was thinking about myself. About how I was reading that poem, and how I was going to tell you how I felt. And in a flash those true emotions vanished away. My memory of the funeral is hazy but now I sit here and wonder if I ever cried at all when I first heard it. And then I realized something right here and now that I couldn’t cry when I read about Michel and Bernard, because all I could think about was me.

May I be forgiven and may I someday truly mourn the death of the great men who died doing the right thing. All three of them. They deserve better then me. It’s about them.

Livingstone

 

 

 

 

What is Freemasonry? The Result of the Human System

4975206_f260The zeitgeist of January/February 2014 will be looked back years from now as the dawning of something big for the fraternity, or another wheel spinning exercise performed by Masons of all eras. Within the past week, three major blogs have dived into discussing “what Freemasonry is”. Obviously a conversation that is not new to the Fraternity. But considering all the people jumping in to talk about it, it’s clear that right now in this period of time the question is very meaningful to a lot of people. Firstly I’ll link to the blogs in question in order they were written.

 

 

1. What is Freemasonry (Tim Bryce)

2. What is Freemasonry – A Response to Tim Bryce (Greg Stewart)

3. What is Freemasonry – A Response to Tim Bryce and Greg Stewart (BeeHive)

In Masonry we learn things come in threes. Well we’re getting a forth here so tough shit.

I’m going to make this easy and I’ll state my thesis of what Freemasonry is, and then explain.

“Freemasonry is the result of the human system”

What? Not a Fraternity? Or Club? Or Community? I argue that Masonry is less of a designed creation, but the result of a designed system.

To describe Freemasonry as a result is not something any of the authors did in their writings. Sure they mentioned reasons for why Masonry may have come to be but I think they missed the larger and deeper reason for why it came together. I’m going to get very philosophical here so put your pants on and buckle up.

Humanity and how we operate is a system. A code. A computer program. If we are to believe in the Great Architect of the Universe, then we must admit that we were created at one point. And if we were created we were designed/coded to be a certain way. After that, our opinions differ. Yet to admit that there is a higher Architect at play means that there was a design just based off how we interpret an Architect to work.

Early on in history during the ancient Egyptian times, they saw the thousands of elements around them and tried to justify each as being the result of God. Ra, the God of Sun. Res, the God of the pregnant women. Anuket, God of the river Nile. Hathor, Goddess of Love. Nut, Goddess of Sky and Stars. You can catch them all right here. Also, are you catching my drift?

This system of creating multiple Gods, one for every element also manifested itself in Greek Mythology. Hades, God of Death. Helious, God of Sun. Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. Again, you catch my drift.

And you will find this Elemental God structure manifested in many ancient religions. The major reason being is that early humans used them as ways to explain how things worked the way they did. They didn’t know anything about how the earth and orbits and such, so when the sun vanished they assumed the sun God was going to sleep. Yet women were still getting pregnant, people were still falling in love…AHA! There must be multiple Gods and they’re still awake. This way of creating Gods to explain various things, specifically the unknown was a major reason for the predominance of elemental God based religions.

However, the singular supreme being religion was manifesting itself concurrently in Egypt during this time. Archeological evidence of Judaism is sparse for it’s early history but it is estimated to have manifested into a people nation between the 10th and 4th century BC.

Judaism was interesting in that not only did it have only one God, but because of the lack of a central authority after the end of the Temple Era, it became an interpretive religion. As in the prophets stopped and there wasn’t any central authority or successor to define what the rules and laws meant. So in this absence individual Jews and sects were left to interpret for themselves what many of the elements in their prophetic history meant. Concurrently in Asia, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Taoism had formed or were forming. And each had complex and individual interpretations of the supernatural and spiritual world.

However the singularity of the one God became the dominant idealogical element in world events and the singular “messenger” became one as well. Buddha founded Buddhism, Jesus founded the Christian belief system, Mohammed founded Islam, Joseph Smith founded Mormonism, Bab for Baha’i, L. Ron Hubbard for Scientology…you get it. The one person or being was the creator of specific systems of morality that became well known in many parts of the world today.

Now I know what you’re wondering. We just took a long trip talking about religion, where the hell am I going? Again, stay buckled in.

While the singular figure was a major element in the creation of various spiritual systems, the spiritual systems all very much were designed around an “equalism” ideology. As in they all preached, in some form or another, the equal nature of human beings in relation to each other. Let me get back to this in a moment.

Because singularity was also the dominant element of rulers in this time. Critics of religion will say that religion was a tool used by powerful leaders to brainwash people into “worshiping the powerful individual” while also sedating them into their suffering by embracing the “we’re equal” bullshit and also telling people that it will be all better when they die.” Not a bad argument. Except the very moment religion was founded it spelled an eventual doom for the king/dictator/emperor. Because if we were truly all equal, then those below the people in power would seek to enforce this and eventually “equalize” those in power by tearing them down.

To give this context, lets look at the founding of America. It is well known that when the founders of America created the line “all men are created equal” man of them were well aware that slavery existed in America and that women were treated very unequally. They knew that eventually the time bomb would go off, so to speak. People would eventually tear down the systems of inequality to make the country more equal as our constitution intended.

Those kings on the ancient world embraced religion because either they believed they were appointed to their power by God, that religion was useful to control people, or the few truly did believe in their faith system. But the creation of “equalism” set into motion the eventual destruction of the king and dictator. As over time people understood the totality of their belief systems, they realized society would never be truly equal until the government and power structure reflected it as such.

Here is an example. Religion was a major driving force in the American Revolution, the first shot at the elimination of the ruler who ruled inequality, not chosen by the rest of the equal population. Reference 1 Reference 2 Reference 3.

However the American Revolution wasn’t just a simple event, but filled with deeper changes going on within it. And that is that many of the architects of the American revolution were Freemasons. Freemasons made us only a few percentage points of the population, yet they become the charging force in the overthrow of the British Empire in America. How did such a small group of people become so influential in the revolution? And furthermore, from South America, to Africa, to The Middle East, to Europe, to parts of Asia, Freemasons were leaders and the engineers of the destruction of the Kings and Emperors who ruled over their people. No group of people have been responsible for the toppling of more governments then Freemason men have. These men saw the structure of society in an enlightened way, and sought to smash the inequality and injustices of the world.

So who are these people? These Freemasons? Let’s take a turn back to my conversation on religion.

At a certain point many educated people all over the world started to realize the world was FILLED with different religions. Sure they knew it from experience, but some men started to come to terms with the fact that their individual religion was a minority in the world, as was every other spiritual system. To first realize, in a deeper sense must have been a traumatic one. To be faced with the reality that your God and messenger/savior might not be correct, could shake a person to their core. This why is why so many religions went toe to toe against each other in violence. In the minds of many ancient leaders their religion was the right one, they would obviously win in combat and eventually their religion would reign supreme.

Well that didn’t happen. Islam busted into Europe through Spain but was eventually beaten back. Christians muscled back into the Middle East during the Crusades but were kicked out and never got back in. Jews were pushed out wherever they went, in a constant state of disruption. Hinduism remained isolated on the Indian subcontinent and Buddhism became massive in size but was eventually encircled by European imperialism. No one “won”.

We don’t know when these “enlightened” figured first met each other, but what we do know is the legend of Masonry extends back into pre-Christian times. And even then, there were multiple religions and belief systems. And for whatever reason, the mast majority of these belief systems combined the messages of “love for other humans”, “equality”, and “understanding the supreme being”. Which so happen to be the three major Masonic beliefs of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. But these enlightened figures didn’t look to fight each other. Instead, they realized if they actually followed their beliefs, then they SHOULDN’T be fighting. They also realized that the interpretation of their religion were being heavily influenced by the state and which ever dictator ran the state. What they realized was that their belief system was more open to interpretation and different thoughts then they originally realized. And what they soon realized that with the right interpretation, there was an alignment in each of their beliefs, enough so where they could be join together in that alignment. These men become Freemasons. So several elements of this order of men were created to help it run. They ran their system as close to equality as possible by creating a Republic-Democracy, one man one vote. They made secrecy a central tenant for philosophical and pragmatic reasons (people unafraid of the unknown would become attracted to Masonry, also secrecy allowed them to stay alive). They allowed men of all races as God did not see people in race, and so on and so forth.

Now what those Masons actually were in early design is open to interpretation, but they manifested the identity of builders. It made sense. Stone Masons were men who built powerful structures that stood the test of time. But these Freemasons weren’t talking secular structures, but structures that were the foundation of our faith systems and our relationship with God. Freemasons saw that they were building ideas. This choice of identifying with builders became a powerful one. It sent the message to men who were Masons that while they were perfecting their mind, through their shared faith beliefs, they were builders. And around them they saw the world tearing itself apart over economics, power, religion, nationality, race, etc. All things, that violated their shared religious belief. And something happened to these men. Here’s my opinion. They so deeply felt the spirit of God that they believed they had a special mission. Their mission was the build a society that could mirror what their Masonic society had become. If it could work in their lodge, why couldn’t it work on the national level?

Fast forward 50 years (or 6000 years depending on your Masonic belief) and  American Freemason men were tearing down the dictatorial British empire controlled by King George. The system was bullshit. His religious interpretations were designed to perpetuate his power. The system was unequal.  The Freemasons had become stacked with powerful freethinking men who decided now was the time and they flattened the British. And then over the next 200 years Freemasons all of the world popped up out of nowhere and tore down their respective national regimes to create governments more reflective of their Masonic ethos.

Yet something interesting happened. When the Freemason men tore down their governments and create democracies, they ended up in positions of power and influence all through their new nations. But there wasn’t a conspiracy or a planned system. It became something that started to “naturally” happen. If we have men who are free thinking, they naturally will be on the cutting edge of exploration, science, military, arts, etc. And with a support network like they have, they will be able to be put into positions to put their ideas into action. However, the people still in power weren’t happy with this. They were threatened. Freemasons, after revealing themselves, suffered horrendous persecution all over the world. For the kings and rulers still in power, murder, torture, banishment, imprisonment, and eviction were the name of the game. And from the perspective of the people, they saw this small group of people constantly ending up in power. And the masses whole heartedly took part in the elimination of Masonry. The anti-Masonic party in the USA wasn’t just a few men, but a huge swath of Americans who saw Masons as the new monarchy and sought to destroy them. The people who had lived in national enslavement had now turned to crush those that freed them.

Reminder, I’m not giving a history here. When some asks “What is Freemasonry”, my response is “Everything that comes with being a Mason”.

Yet there were large population sectors that idolized and looked up to the Masons. They wanted Masons in power because they trusted them more then anyone else, and they wished to work to a more open society with those Masons. The same way we look fondly to Harvard students or people who work in a charitable non-profit, people looked at Masons the same way. These people also became angered at the violence and persecution of Masonry and sought to protect them like any other citizen. Masonry essentially created three groups. Those that hated Masonry, those that didn’t even know what it was, and those that favored Masons.

What was the most frustrating thing about Freemasonry for it’s enemies, was that is was a very nebulous target. It was an organization of people in power, but so were many other organizations. They weren’t racist because they brought in men of all races.  Yet the Masons had men who were racist too, which had it’s supporters and detractors. They weren’t against any religion, because they had men of many different religions. Yet they had many members who were very much proponents of their own respective religion. They weren’t of one nation, as they had brothers connected across the globe. Yet they weren’t looking for one form of government, as they had a rule where they were to remain loyal to their respective country. It was a combined yet uniquely individual experience. Masons where accused of perpetuating their own power, yet they constantly pushed for policies that would LESSEN the power of individual rulers and increase the power of the people at large.

Masons were a target people would swing at and never hit. Which is why they never ended up on the wrong side of history, because Masonry was in all spectrums of thought. And yet they were able to somehow get so many men on the right side of history. This became especially enraging for detractors of Masonry, for some people wish to see the world burn, and they never had a good excuse to burn Masonry. Jews experienced this as well in many regards. In free societies Jews became a small group of people, with a full spectrum of belief and identity, that achieved incredible positions of power while also suffering from inexcusable and worldwide hatred. It’s not a unique phenomenon. Masonry inadvertently became a way to expose evil, because there was never a good reason to hate Masonry. Thus, those that hated Masonry had their hate not come from logic, but from a darker place within them.

Alright, so that went for a while. So what is Masonry you ask? Masonry is the result of the human system. And I say this because there wasn’t any singular Masonic creator like there was for almost every modern faith system like we’ve seen. Masonry was built by many forces, by things from around the world that manifested together to create Freemasonry. It’s the result of a human system that has been smashing into itself since the beginning of time. No one human created Masonry, but humanity did. To call it just a Fraternity, or a Club, or a Community ignores the world around Masonry. Masonry is a system, part of a larger human system, and we’re all a part of it.\

Livingstone

Triple Package: The New Nightmare

tiger-mom-triple-package

Hello readers,

During my travels around the internet, I eventually come along things that makes me want to bleach my eyes. Or at least go back to being hoodwinked again.

Tiger Mom: Some cultural groups are superior

I will discuss what this means to Freemasons and how there are (major) problems with this.

Some choice quotes to start us off.

In “The Triple Package,” Chua and her husband, co-author Jed Rubenfeld, gather some specious stats and anecdotal evidence to argue that some groups are just superior to others and everyone else is contributing to the downfall of America.

The “superior” cultural  groups are…

  • Jewish
  • Indian
  • Chinese
  • Iranian
  • Lebanese-Americans
  • Nigerians
  • Cuban exiles
  • Mormons

The three distinguishing factors

1. Superiority Complex

2. Insecurity

3. Impulse Control

And the capper –

“That certain groups do much better in America than others — as measured by income, occupational status, test scores and so on — is difficult to talk about,” the authors write. “In large part, this is because the topic feels so racially charged.”

And so begins their cat-and-mouse polemic, in which they claim they’re courageously agitating for a greater good: the revival of America itself as a “Triple Package Culture.” It’s a series of shock-arguments wrapped in self-help tropes, and it’s meant to do what racist arguments do: scare people.

stand_out_in_the_crowd_300x300_xlargeSo it begins. World history has been very unkind to people who are deemed outsiders or “different” from whatever the majority group is. But after thousands of years, we Americans are finding us more equal, more post-oppression then ever before. As time has gone on, we have moved away from the forced monarchies and dictatorships and have gradually moved into a more on the level society of democracies, freedom, and equality. Yet these societies are standing at the edge of an unknown frontier, the the dominant minority. New in some ways, yet old in others.

The idea of a dominant minority group, a group having sway beyond their size, is something that is gaining serious study.

Minoritarianism

The author of Triple Package, Amy Chua, has covered this topic extensively. She even, in a side way, covered this topic in a book she wrote in 2002. It was called “World on Fire” and the title tagline is “How Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability“. She talked about how certain racial groups become disproportionately dominant event though they had a minority status.

So what do I think? I think the whole idea that these are only “cultural groups” is a shadow on the wall for the real animal of racial/ethnic/religious superiority. Did you know that Freemasonry has a cultural identity? And no one has ever accused the Freemasons of not being good at succeeding. And strangely enough…we’re not mentioned. But Cuban Exiles got a spot. I guess a few more politicians then average is enough for them to qualify. But not Masons. Yet Jews, Indian, Mormons, Chinese Lebanese-Americans, Iranians, Nigerians and Cuban Exiles are listed. All they constitute a race or ethnicity or religion. “Cultural group” my ass. It’s a shield for Chua and Rubenfeld to do what the white supremacists did back in the 50s to justify their success.

The book of course hides behind a supposed self-help nature. I’ll repost the quote.

And so begins their cat-and-mouse polemic, in which they claim they’re courageously agitating for a greater good: the revival of America itself as a “Triple Package Culture.” It’s a series of shock-arguments wrapped in self-help tropes, and it’s meant to do what racist arguments do: scare people.

minoritymale_589I will say I understand pointing out CERTAIN cultural elements a group uses to help itself can be useful. People have pointed to certain Masonic concepts and co-opted them for their use, such as one person one vote, and we’re better off for it. But it’s dangerous. You can’t pick and choose because each identity if propped up by many many things that all support each other. There is a deep complexity to that specific identity that can’t EVER be replicated. And to expect someone to change their identity to get paid better or to have a better family life is nuts. Seriously nuts. You can’t make a Black man “Jewish”. Or a White woman a “Cuban Exile”. Not only is it impossible to have someone switch an ethnicity, it’s offensive of the highest magnitude to even allude to people that changing their religion can help them get that promotion. BULLSHIT! As a Freemason, we accept people as they are, understanding that the individual represents himself, NOT HIS CULTURE.

A dangerous byproduct to this is a new manifestation of white privilege, but instead it becomes –

Jewish privilege, Indian privilege, Chinese privilege, Iranian privilege, Lebanese-Americans privilege, Nigerian privilege, Cuban exile privilege and Mormon privilege.

The difference being is that the individual struggles each group has faced creates a barrier to addressing this in real terms, which blunts criticism, and allows the positive stereotypes to continue to thrive. Would you tell a Freemason who had friends that got killed in the Holocaust that’s he’s succeeding because of his identity? Probably not because most people aren’t heartless, will feel guilty, and will think to themselves that is isn’t so great to be a Mason and will then leave it alone.

emperors-new-clothesSo it creates a feedback loop where positive things are said about a culture(race), no one criticizes it to avoid being seen as belittling/bigoted to what that group overcame and then that culture gets the unobstructed benefit of the doubt/”positive perception”. An Emperor’s New Clothes situation is created where people (the person and that person’s peers) imagine the person’s work to be better then it is, better then that person’s peers of a different “culture” and BANG the loop continues.

Listen. I’m a Freemason. There are people who don’t criticize us because they don’t want to be seen as conspiracy theorists or belittle our overcoming our suppression. But we run shit, and lots of it. And we succeed a lot. But we don’t make it a thing that people can see and latch onto. And I’ll explain why by showing how the “Triple Package” identity can apply to us…and why we shouldn’t let it.

1. Superiority Complex. Do some research on Freemasons. We have a long history of members who succeed in whatever their vocation is.

2. Insecurity. We have been been the target of persecution on every corner of the globe and throughout history. Trust me when I say we worry.

3. Impulse Control. The very first thing we learn in Masonry is to subdue our passions. Or tools even work to that. Compass = Keep your passions within due bounds and circumscribe your desires. Square = Square your actions. Common Gavel  = Break off the vices of your heart and mind. Our entire system is dedicated to fixing impulse control.

10840542-man-covered-his-face-with-his-handsBut here is one things Masons REFUSE to do. Go around and make it part of our identity. Masons are notoriously secret, one of the reasons being to keep books like these from becoming a part of cultural doctrine. Now, I understand why some people like those things, but ultimately I argue that they become regressive. Masonry, being a secretive order, has quietly been a cornerstone of the move to a society that is more tolerant, equal, fair, and open. The last thing that would help society is people thinking voting for a Masonic candidate or financing a Freemason’s movie is a good idea because of their identity. Sure it plays a part, but it rewards lazy thinking. It rewards people who see labels and then decide to turn the brain off. Unacceptable.

If you ever see anyone ever walk around and say that Jews are good at making movies, Chinese are great at academics, Freemasons are good at running governments, or Mormons are terrific at business…they’re a bigot and tell them as such. Sure it can be true, but it’s a comment that ignores how complex short term history has been, and the driving specifics that have causes all groups to be the way they are.

All people, everyone one of us, have the capability of doing great things and being an important part of the societies we live in. To let us resort to crowing specific cultural groups because of circumstances unique to them and  out of their control is a bad path to go down. So my message to you is this. Sure, have an open mind and maybe I’m wrong about accusing people of bigotry and you can read this an expose it’s virtues to people. But beware of the fulfilling prophecy. We want a more equal society, on the level.

Livingstone

 

 

 

Nelson Mandela, A Freemason, and the End of Apartheid

Nelson Mandela

Hello readers,

So I have your attention. The title of this blog is 100% true. This may be news to you but it’s actually even news to many of us Masons. We do a terrible job telling each other who is a Mason and who isn’t.

Over in Redditland, a thread was created by the poster Defjamblaster.

Reddit Nelson Mandela Freemason

Just letting Brothers know that he too, was allegedly one of us (i’ll research this). He was allegedly made on sight in North Carolina at a time when there were no Prince Hall Lodges in South Africa. They later went on to charter Mandela Lodge # 843 under the PHGL of NC. As far as I know, he did not go further than the Blue house. The details of his being made are scant below, but it appears to have been done by Grand Master William Parker Jr. of the M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge of North Carolina.

Edit 1: i’ve added “allegedly” to the statement until we get some better info.

Update 1: I’ve left messages for 2 of the 3 grand lodge historians for the MWPHGLONC. Will report any updates received.

Update 2: just spoke with the assistant Grand Historian. He confirmed that Mandela was made on site as listed above, with this added info: ” it occurred june 28, 1990 in Georgia. his wife was made a member of OES as well.” Mandela was receiving a gift from the MWPHGLO Georgia in his hotel suite, and the GM of NC was present as well. He says that this info appears in the grand lodge proceedings of that year. He also said that the Grand Junior Warden of NC issued a statement that makes reference to his membership. He will be forwarding that to me. He also indicated that he thinks the lodge in South Africa has since dissolved.

Update 3: statement added as jpg. http://i.imgur.com/2BfAMN9.jpg

Update 4: photo of Mandela Lodge # 843 info from NC proceedingshttp://i.imgur.com/VYcr260.jpg

Above are two pictures to show proof that he was indeed initiated, passed, and raised as a Master Mason.

So the question I now ask, what does this mean for you. For me, I’m honored to have Nelson Mandela as part of our Fraternity. He was someone who took power in South Africa and instead of immediately turning around and crushing the Whites, he did the best he could to run South Africa peacefully. The pressure for him to turn around and punish the former apartheid regime must have been great. But he took the high road.

However, there is some interesting history about this and I want to talk about what it means to us. Here are a few quick links to get your started.

Nelson Mandela Biography Article

Nelson Mandela Wikipedia Article

So from what we have from the North Carolina Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Nelson Mandela was made a “Mason On Sight” in 1990. Because of the documentation we have from the Grand Lodge, we have to assume this is all true. North Carolina PHA has never claimed anyone else falsely and Masonry is known to take terrific records of who passed the west entrance.

In 1990, Nelson Mandela had been in prison for 27 years. When F.W. de Klerk became president, he immediately released Nelson Mandela on February 11th 1990. Now being in prison for 27 years is no small feat. I don’t think any of us can really imagine the magnitude of the suffering and abuse Mandela dealt with while in prison. I’m sure when he became free, there were a million things he wanted to do, resting for a long time being one of them.

So when it came to light that a mere four months later he came to the US and became a Mason…it raises a few eyebrows for me. I’m not raising an eyebrow of whether it happened or not, not at all as the documentation is there. What I’m intrigued about is Nelson Mandela himself and why in the world he would do this. He must had had a thousand things on his mind, apartheid was still in full swing in South Africa and the street battles/protests were still raging. The world was looking to Mandela to take the reigns. His life was in full throttle. He had no free time.

When people wonder what it takes to be made a “Mason on Sight”, it’s no small feat. The ceremony, proficiency, and work take an entire day. Usually 10 hours of ritual work and other things are involved to make it official. For someone in his position, to spend 10 hours anywhere is almost impossible unless something was extremely important to him. Obviously it was important to the South Carolina PHA Masons. Having Mandela as one of them is something to be proud of. But for Mandela to choose to be one of us…that’s something to meditate over.

But what we do know are the timelines. Let’s take a look at them to see if we can gather any clues from them.

Negotiations to end Apartheid

Informal negotiations began on May 4th 1990, and suspension of the ANC armed struggle occurred on August 6th 1990. Official negotiations to end apartheid begin on December 20th 1991.

This period of history was one of the most sensitive for South African national politics. Many of us remember how close the Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations came and then how quickly they collapsed. To be able to pull this off without falling back into violence and bloodshed takes a super human effort, coordination and trust among all the parties competing for power and attention. Yet Mandela found a way to fit in becoming a Freemason.

My first speculation was that Mandela was using Freemasonry to help allay the fears of other leaders. By becoming a Mason, he was now “one of them”. Also Masonry makes it very natural to meet other leaders in a non-hostile environment. Also in Mandela’s case by being a Mason it shows his psychological mentality was of the moderation that Masonry espouses. Mandela did have a terrorist and Communist history. For some, the perception of Mandela as this peaceful dove who wanted to end the struggle and nothing more seemed like a false narrative created for the media. Considering the suffering he faced, it would be hard for anyone to believe he didn’t want vengeance. Becoming a Freemason can do wonders to change that perception of you.

Now I did speculate that Mandela became a Mason to be able to use it as a way to quietly talk to other leaders. Looking at the people involved, the information on other Masonic leaders is scarce. Of the world players, we do know US President Ronald Reagan was also a “Mason on Sight” but his was more of the unofficial variety and the rituals he went through didn’t fully fulfill the typical Mason on Sight requirements. But he stopped being a president in 1988. George Bush Sr. was Skull and Bones and while the Bonesmen do have some Masonic DNA elements, they aren’t Masonic in origin or affiliation. Bill Clinton’s father was a Freemason and he was a Demolay (Youth Freemason) as a kid. Margaret Thatcher was a women so it’s highly unlikely she was a Freemason, but GODF Masonry does have a foothold in England so there is a slight chance she was a member. As for South African politicians, not much is known for SA Masonic leaders, if any of them were. Botha Pik is listed as a Freemason on a few Masonic websites. Also the founder of the South African nation Piet Retief is one of us as well. Now it’s common for people affiliating with Masonry to never have their Masonic affiliation know. The World Wide web doesn’t find out everything, especially because of Masonry’s long history before the internet. And while Masons have a long record of proudly trumpeting famous Masons, many Masons keep their Masonic identity religiously guarded as to not interfere with their personal lives. Another reason is that many Masons choose not to be remembered as Masons. For Masons, how you choose to be known is just as important as whether to join or not.

So looking through this, it still isn’t clear to how or why he decided to become a Mason. Becoming a Mason is not always a plus as anti-Masonry among the ignorant and disturbed is high. Considering the various factional elements in the Black population of South Africa, becoming a Freemason would have made him a target for those who wanted to take control.  Mandela never really advertised his affiliation, possibly because of the reasons stated above. I could speculate that Mandela became a Freemason for a reason other Masons join, to be part of something special. But Mandela was already a part of something special heading the ANC and was doing miraculous things for human rights and equality. Or maybe he wanted to become a Mason because he wanted to build a society and country in a constructive way as many past Masonic revolutionaries and leaders have done. But he could have done that without becoming a Mason. Why he became a Mason is similar to Masonry’s ancient history, we’ll never know what caused it to be.

So what does this mean to you? Nelson Mandela chose to become a Mason but not to have it as part of his public identity. We remember him for his great accomplishments, his dedication to South Africa, and his super human ability to remain resolute in the face of incomprehensible suffering and anguish.  So while I have told you that he is indeed a Freemason, he chose not to be remembered as one. Fair enough. He’s a Freemason, but he should be remembered the way he wanted to be remembered. As a man of peace and nothing more.

Livingstone

Freemasons killed Paul Walker? News at 11

Hello Readers. Livingstone here. I have a message for you.

Wake up Sheeple! The answer to the death of beloved Fast and Furious star Paul Walker is right in front of us! It’s the Freemasons! Because the number 33 pops up a lot!

Videos like this are strange to view. On one hand, there is a long history of Masons being oppressed, tortured, ostracized, and murdered for being Freemasons. It’s not a joking matter.

One the other hand, these videos are absolutely hilarious. It’s a bunch of internet sleuths with obsessive disorders who discovered that the numbers 33 and 32 pop up a lot. Did you see that video? He saw the coordinates for each death and the number 33 or 32 was in both!? Are you kidding me?! Both sets of coordinates were about 12 digits long. To manage to get that number combo isn’t as hard as he’s making it out to be. Furthermore, because the distance came “close” to 32/33 for the two car crashes, it must mean something. Not because it is totally on, but because it’s “close enough”. And don’t get me started on the movies Walker was starring in being 32. Literally, some of his roles are uncredited. How does that work numbers wise? He probably has more then 32 appearances. As for his death being shown days in advance…probably an internal clock malfunction in either Google or his computer system.

But that’s not enough. Here are some of the responses to his video.

KingChucklenuts

I find it baffling how much support you conspiracy theorists get. There’s no nicer way to put it. You’re idiots. Completely and utterly stupid. I tried having an intelligent and thoughtful conversation on a conspiracy video. I state my opinion. Instantly bombarded by dislikes, hate towards me, people telling me I’m an agent of the illuminati. It’s pathetic. The hight of stupidity. You guys call us ignorant. I know there are unfair and cruel things in the world, such as the death of children at sandy hook, bombing of the World Trade Center, etc. But this is unbelievable. If the Illuminati was real and were planning to depopulate the US, I hope they start with you nuts. Tell me God hates me for saying this. Tell me the illuminati will come to my house and kill me. I don’t give a damn. Just hide under your tinfoil hats living in fear of the government while I get to live an (informed) fun life.

I’ll have one of these blow us sessions on a guy like this someday. As a Mason though, we’re taught to subdue our passions so when it happens, it’s only happening once and never again. Until I forget and do it again.
This was a response to our above poster a few hours later.

Zimba9810 the illuminati is real dumbass that is a fact. dont mix conspiracy theories with the existence of illuminati.

Did you know that Freemasons instituted English classes in public schools as a conspiracy to discredit conspiracy theorists. Whoops I said too much. Also…I would love to see his facts. I bet it’s a mix of Pinterest and Mapquest. SEE THE SYMBOLISM! I’m creeping toward that blowup…
come on people WAKE THE FU** UP!im sick of this they couldnt rub it in our faces any more bleatenly…………people are we going to just roll over and let them pick us all off one by one………wake up before it’s to late.
these conspiracy theorists keep putting up these videos, one by one, putting up videos that would make Oliver Stone blush. WAKE UP SHEEPLE! I can’t take it anymore………wake up before it’s too late! WorldStarhiphop out
The next comment
Anthony P2 hours ago Skull and bones and freemasonry are different orginizations—-NO THEY ARE NOT!!!!…..FREEMASONRY GOES BACK TO TUBALCAIN –THE SON OF CAIN  AND THE BUILDING OF SOLOMONS TEMPLE—-ALL FREEMASON TAKE THE SAME OATH OF SECRET MURDER WITH SATAN HIMSELF….JUST LIKE CAIN THE FIRST MURDERER…ITS THE SAME EXACT OATH AS CAIN TOOK WITH SATAN!!!!—THESE MURDERING BASTARDS ARE ARE THE SECRET COMBINATION!!!!!
And this one is the climax of the YouTube quotes. It’s like it was written by a dog after two lines of coke and a punch to the face. As for the oath of secret murder, that’s true, he’s just confusing us with another organization. The CIA.
Here is a link debunking the Paul Walker dead before he was dead hoax.
See, some news article generator site put his name up the day before, other website feeds latched onto it and reposted it, and then they immediately took it down when they found out it was a hoax. Only to then find out he died for real the next day.
So there you have it. There isn’t ANY Paul Walker hoax. NONE! Make it stop. Please, I beg of you. Put Google Maps down, take a step outside, and get some fresh air instead of wallowing in your bags of Cheetos and World of Warcraft magazines.
Now if you need me, I’ll be off to the nearest pub to have a stiff drink.
Livingstone