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Know yourself

This is the first duty of the Freemason!

This motto refers to the injunction inscribed on the Temple of Delphi: "Know thyself and thou shalt know the universe and the Gods" or according to the sources "Know thyself, leave the world to the Gods"; it can also be related to the occultist formula V.I.T.R.I.O.L. (Visita interiora terrae rectificando invenies occultum lapidem - Explore the interior of the earth. By rectifying, you will discover the hidden stone), which is in the reflection cabinet.

Whether we take it in the first degree or make an exegesis of it, it is clear that self-knowledge presupposes a long and necessarily accompanied "work". Everyone knows that it is not easy!

This first duty has another interest: that of being wary of oneself, of one's reactions, of one's sentimentality, of one's emotions which are often sources of incomprehension for oneself and for others. and also of behavioural "disorders" which at one time or another make one forget the essential of the Masonic approach and only consider the accessory.

The small test of unpretentious personality, below, can give you a light on your personality!

There is also another test that is interesting to do: it is to determine your way of thinking "like" a man or "like" a woman: several sites offer it: I'll show you this one because it is the first one that appears on the list (SGDG)

How to get to know each other for a freemason?

This is a difficult question and the leads presented to you are certainly not exhaustive.

But before trying to get to know each other, perhaps it is not useless to know what we are trying to find out; from a psychological point of view and if we refer to what we know today, we could recall :

that personality formation results from five factors :

  • a genetic predisposition

  • an emotional dependence on the family environment in early childhood

  • learning of knowledge in childhood and adulthood

  • dependence on a socio-cultural environment in childhood and adulthood

  • exposure to risks (illnesses, accidents, intoxications, etc.) with its possible impact on the medico-psychological aspect

that a personality in adulthood is defined as a set of three elements whose content is closely related to the training process defined above :

  • the affective pole (emotion management)

  • externalization (behaviour management)

  • knowledge (cognitive capacity)

All in all, one could define a personality by:

a knowledge:

  • practical knowledge of the gestures of daily and social life

  • intellectual knowledge (assessed by level of education or self-training)

  • knowledge with professional potential

  • other knowledge (recreational, sports, artistic, etc.)

a psychological sensitivity:

  • childhood emotional structure

  • current emotional dependence

  • emotional stability or not

sexual behavior:

  • domination

  • submission

  • negotiation

a mode of responsiveness to stimulation:

  • interiorization

  • opposition

  • avoidance

and an ability to adapt to environments:

  • integration

  • rejection

  • exclusion

As this is a step within the framework of the initiation process, the person concerned is likely to be in one of these four situations :

  • A rather satisfactory life balance with accepted social integration

  • A conflicting personal issue at the family and/or professional level

  • A deep desire for change linked to existential dissatisfaction

  • An ethical questioning of lifestyle followed.

There are two possible situations even though they may complement or follow each other :

  • Wanting to get to know each other alone

  • Wanting to get to know each other while benefiting from an accompaniment

It is clear that in both cases, this cannot be done in the lodge; it is an individual approach in connection with the initiatory process but carried out outside the lodge and its members.

First of all, let us point out the danger of a mystical approach in order to "know oneself better": it is a lure that can lead to delirious practices that can seriously destabilize borderline personalities.

To know oneself alone :

Every human being experiences loneliness; it can be continuous according to the period of life in which one is and it can correspond to particular moments in the day, week or month.

This experience is necessarily concomitant with a psychological state linked to the person's life experience with all possible variations.

To know oneself alone requires a minimum of knowledge and a plan or method; Internet sites offer personality tests (free or more often paid) that can help (in particular the DISC profile).

Astrology can also constitute a framework for those who have acquired a knowledge of its manipulation; if this is not the case, one will find oneself in the situation of an acquaintance with an accompaniment.

From the different information collected and based on the 5 items defined above, we can already obtain a description of the current state of the personality.

Getting to know each other while benefiting from an accompaniment:

It is surely the best adapted even if the choice of the accompanying person is not always easy.

Psychoanalysis is the method of choice to get to know oneself better: it requires time, patience and inevitably leads to moments of suffering linked to the experience of childhood.

A non-psychoanalytical psychotherapeutic accompaniment can also be explored: it seems that behavioural and cognitive psychotherapy is the most suitable for many situations. It is more "practical" because it is better adapted to the person's experience.

It may be tempting to have recourse to a clairvoyant or astrologer, not to mention other traditions. Anything is possible as long as one agrees to always maintain a certain "distance" with the accompanier!

What to do afterwards?

Self-knowledge must, in the Masonic logic, be oriented towards a capacity for "correction" and improvement: this evolution is in fact very difficult to implement because many elements interfere, but it is not impossible. It is only possible if a certain emotional stability is acquired.

In practice, it is first of all a question of managing two categories of affects :

  • Desires

  • And the fears!

The man (or woman) of wisdom must be able to live without desires and fears: it is a very demanding goal but if it is followed it allows to acquire a lot of serenity! At first glance, this could seem to be an antinomy with the concept of the "man of desire". but we'll talk about it later !

Carving one's rough stone is therefore above all to be able to "reposition" one's desires and fears to acquire the serenity indispensable to a life as an initiate!

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