The Masonic ideal,
an ideal for young Europeans
At all times, youth seeks an ideal; it is the ideal that gives meaning to life and meets the needs of elevation; every human being starts looking for it as a teenager! The choice is made during meetings or readings or following information taken by the media!
The ideal can be a revolt that encourages action and wants to change what may appear as an injustice! The notion of ideal often refers to an ideal social organization and to human relationships based on peace, justice and harmony.
There are credible, familiar, cultural ideals, but also others that are more or less sectarian and dogmatic.
In each era, there are also the disappointments of a youth disappointed by old ideals carried by movements that have become discredited over the course of different cases. These disappointments can lead to nihilism, cynicism and a bad life!
Today, the European ideal suffers from the inability to show itself concretely in the different countries of our Europe!
In 2016, in a tribune of the World, Jacques Delors affirmed:
"In order for Europe to regain a new lease of life, special attention must be paid to the younger generation, who in the United Kingdom, as in the rest of Europe, is attached to these values and feels European, but who is not do not engage in political struggle, for want of believing it yet. It is she who, better than anyone, will be able to bring about a renewal of the EU, and it is she who must be convinced to engage in this fight for a better world. "
Because Freemasonry is a daughter of Enlightenment Europe and we are in essence peaceful and universalistic, it is clear that Freemasons and Freemasons are meant to be part of the European dimension.
The Masonic commitment evokes the notion of ideal at the time of closure of the lodge work:
"... before we separate, let us rise together towards our ideal, that it inspires our conduct in the profane world, that it guides our life, that it is the light on our way"
First of all, and in the preamble, I would like to say that I have a particular affection for this part of the ritual and for this sentence. For a while, it constituted for me the last words I heard before going back to the profane world. I was an apprentice and it was then the time, where the chain of union was done after the closing of the work. There was Mozart in background music, and those hands that clasped from other hands transmitted to me a force, a desire, a projection towards a new universe. This moment was therefore, for me, the beginning of the real work, the one that gave substance to our commitment, which consisted in being a mason in the city.
But this one remains little explicit and it appears thus in halftone; The individual initiation process based on rituals, most of which date back to the 18th century and seem disconnected from the reality of the contemporary world, is much more developed in the lodge.
We sometimes hear in a box, some brothers or some sisters take refuge in a certain "contemplation" by rejecting the very idea of commitment, yet present in the first founding texts of the Masonic approach. This denial of commitment is respectable and can be understood in a theological conception where the terrestrial life in the end is only of interest if it is not to escape by imagining a transfer to another world, but is this way?
Do we not have the duty to testify, to propose, to go towards the other and especially the young, to transmit what we think Beautiful, Just and Fraternal?
Could we not remain faithful to the deep desire for peace and tolerance that still lives in the hearts of those who have found in the Masonic process a real otherness?
All in all, if we put our values back in our time, the Masonic ideal exists!
An Ideal is defined as a desire for perfection. It is therefore in essence and by nature abstract. Although it is unlikely to be achieved, it is nonetheless motivating. At the same time, we will evoke utopia, an imaginary and rigorous construction of a society that constitutes a total ideal in relation to the one who realizes it. It is understandable then that the two terms ideal and utopia are intimately connected. Freemason and Freemason are idealistic and consequently also utopian.
Albert Jacquard thus spoke of Utopia:
"Utopia is a distant star to which one makes the decision to go. It is not a question of pretending to reach it, but of being faithful to the attraction of its light, even when it is barely discernible in the fog. "
The Masonic ideal is first and foremost a wish:
• Peace prevails among human beings!
• Women and men of all peoples, do you hear!
• Respect yourself!
For that, we have a method: let's get together, let's talk!
First in a box, with a way of working, a ritual, an authority that everyone respects, but also in the profane world!
Of course, as human beings are not spontaneously humanistic, as interests interfere without stopping, that violence is genetically a mode of relationship, it must be made clear that the implementation of this ideal is not easy !
In view of the disorder that reigns on our planet and in particular in Europe, violence and other instabilities generating suffering, the youth has reasons to be disoriented and to turn sometimes to "artificial paradises"!
We must also be aware that multiple abuses that may have appeared as a competition of religions, a so-called hidden power, a misuse of laws and regulations, have generated a mistrust against us.
We must work, patiently, within the boxes and outside the boxes: to gather what is scattered, to recreate the conditions of the dialogue, to constantly improve our exemplarity, to avoid unnecessary quarrels, to recreate contemporary content to this ideal: the building site is vast and nothing is easy!
Fortunately, we have this star that guides us, this ideal that makes us vibrate, despite exhaustion, discouragement!
• Young Europeans who doubt or misunderstand ideological impasses,
• To those who claim that life has no meaning and that it must be enjoyed as much as possible and in a thousand ways before disappearing,
• To those who assimilate the meaning of life to a deep desire buried in their personality and only accessible through a mystical approach,
• To those who conceive the meaning of life as inaccessible knowledge,
• We can, with the Masonic ideal, bring content that speaks to them!
Today, we understand well that the human being is subjected to so many constraints that his existence often appears like a continuation of portions of life not really coherent; Both material and emotional motivations can give a temporary meaning, but always in a short or medium term!
The Masonic ideal can constitute this thread that will help them to go through hardships, to make choices and to know how to maintain an ethical conduct in a world where temptations are frequent!
This Masonic ideal that we could propose to highlight throughout Europe, it could consist of twelve headings of chapters:
1. Implementing Human Rights
2. Respect for traditions,
3. Freedom of conscience,
4. Respect by each other and what they think,
6. Emphasis on work, rigor and research;
7. The valorization of manual knowledge;
8. The search for perfection,
9. Integrity and respect for a humanistic ethic;
10. The universalism of fraternity;
11. Respect for Nature, a condition of harmony;
12. Denying privileges related to gender, social class, power or ethnicity!
These twelve chapter heads of course refer to the twelve stars of the European flag!
It is not the place here to go into the details of these chapters but you can imagine all there is to say! This Masonic ideal could be taken up and reappropriated by the obediences and the European lodges and constitute a fraternal space open to all!
So, my sisters, my brothers, let's dream! Imagine our possible initiatives to get in contact with this youth, to propose actions in accordance with this ideal:
- First of all to get to know each other, to love each other, to learn the benevolence necessary to live together!
- Cultivate integrity and denounce corruption and conflicts of interest to promote the collective interest!
- Learn to reconcile the individual interest and the collective interest by imagining the European state as a conciliation structure!
- Imagine a life that favors reflection and redesigned consumption!
- Put our imaginary in the service of a different way of life less concerned about consumption and more attentive to the risks of deterioration of our planet!
There is so much to say and the time has come to withdraw:
What is left?
In an uncertain existence,
I'm sailing towards the end!
What's left of all these questions that have haunted my life?
Survive or live in the intimate hope of creating a space of beauty?
Understand or suffer?
Master the unspeakable?
Know that the essential is said!
Believe that everything is still possible!
Where are the landmarks of yore?
The certainties too?
Silence as ultimate conviction?
And also the smile?