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Masonic “work”? What's ?

It is clear that the inventors of Freemasonry were surely not particularly research-oriented of an existential harmony as we define it today!

Concerned by religious and social issues, they designed the operation of a lodge based on major principles such as freedom and certainly inspired by what could be done in certain circles of the time. .

Although the history of Masonic obediences can be understood as an accumulation of mystical-political and business drifts, Masonic thought has continued to arouse the interest of generations and in particular of intellectuals in many countries.

As soon as a movement is created, the collective dimension imposes a certain simplification to facilitate membership. For Freemasonry it is more complicated because the active level by nature rich and complex, is at the level of the lodge while the inevitably poor and reductive public expression takes place at the level of obedience.

With time and the evolution of knowledge, with work on the functioning of the brain, we come today to reconsider Masonic work at the level of the lodge and to discover its potential. real in what could be called the learning of Wisdom!

This intrinsic richness of Masonic thought is not, despite everything, automatic; it assumes a certain number of conditions to avoid the trap of mediocrity in which many lodges succumb for multiple reasons!

The objective of this contribution is to propose a possible explanation of the conditions of emergence of this Masonic work conducive to an emulation of collective thought and also to the emergence of a harmonious individual feeling.

Four prerequisites play a prominent role:

1 – The ritual: Experience shows that, whatever the ritual, as long as it is staged in a serious and solemn way, we obtain silence, concentration and a meditation. It is a conditioning of the individual in the group which plays the role of stimulation. For the ritual to play its role, several conditions must be met:

  • The reappropriation of the ritual by the group that forms the lodge;

  • The participation of everyone in order to eliminate interference,

  • The quality of the officiants and the mastery of their role,

  • The integration of meditation time for participants

When the ritual resembles a litany, it loses its interest, is no longer followed and leads to rejection.

2 – The fundamental Masonic values: There are four of them:

  • Freedom of conscience,

  • Tolerance and mutual respect,

  • The search for perfection,

  • Universalism.

These fundamental Masonic values must naturally be sincerely shared and lived as the basic foundation of the Masonic community. Each lodge can naturally add others on the condition that the added values are not incompatible with these.

3 – The relay function between tradition and modernity: imbued with biblical references, open to the occult, Freemasonry also claims a certain progressivism. This gives it a central position making it possible to make a link between the different civilizations in a universal dimension which explains its polycultural relevance.

4 – The pedagogy of degrees: Traditional Freemasonry is practiced in three degrees which refer us to a biblical content, a frame of reference for the main rituals; each degree also has a specific symbolic content and a particular function:

  • The 1st degree corresponds to learning the two fundamental tools that are the mallet and the chisel; there is also at the 1st degree the ability to become impregnated with the knowledge of about thirty symbols which form what we could call our protective symbolic universe: the number 3, the rough stone, the cubic stone with a point, the square, the compass, the level, the plumb line, the Volume of the Sacred Law, the two columns with the letters B and J, the box table, the mosaic pavement, the sun, the moon, the chain of union, the flaming sword, the ordinary sword, the apron, the white gloves, the cords, the baldric, the luminous delta, the rough stone, the tracing board with the X and the #, the jagged tassel, the black and white balls, the three windows and in certain rites the three columns. Understanding the concept of protective symbolic universe makes it possible to globalize the synergy of symbols and to appropriate them. The particular function of the first degree is naturally the break with the profane world and the highlighting of the need for progressiveness in the acquisition of knowledge.

  • The 2nd degree is the degree of work, of the beginning of the realization of the work within the framework of a collective concern; to do this, 2 new tools appear: The lever and the ruler; three other symbols are presented: the number 5, the letter G and the blazing star.

  • The 3rd degree is the degree of completeness (it is for this reason that the "side degrees" are not part of the specifically Masonic curriculum). A new tool: the trowel; four new symbols: the numbers 7 and 8, the step of the master (mistress) and the acacia, symbol of Masonic resilience. The encounter with an original scenography leads us into what could be understood as our destiny: betrayal, death and resilience!

The synergy of these four components of Masonic work is not obvious; this presupposes a reappropriation by the initiate/initiate of these different cognitive approaches with one objective: the acquisition of harmony and a certain wisdom. This is only possible through a process of self-training where all the Masonic symbolic achievements come to complete a philosophical and psychological knowledge. We can imagine the importance of the personal work that this implies.

In such a configuration, we understand the need to revolutionize work in the dressing room by favoring 3rd degree outfits, which should be much more frequent than at present.

The different aspects of Masonic work

Like all work, Masonic work offers dignity to the Freemason and Freemason who carry it out. Even if it is essentially intellectual work, there is also a social component because it is accompanied by meetings and sharing. Beyond the approaches presented, we can define three levels of expression of this Masonic work:

1 / The primary level which could be likened to secular work:

It is essential to maintain the cohesion of the Masonic community whether at the level of the lodge, the obedience or more broadly in inter-obediential relations; this implies organizational, managerial, accounting qualities and also an ability to speak in a public relations dimension.

2 / The psychological level:

It is essential to avoid the risk of transfer and allows real fraternity to live. The acquisition of a certain degree of Wisdom involves self-training in detachment, letting go and benevolence.

3 / The philosophical level:

It feeds both on purely Masonic reflections and on the contributions of great contemporary philosophers in a universal dimension!

Each Freemason, each Freemason is led to develop a personal reflection on each of these levels.

It is clear that the collective exploitation of the personal contributions of each one, each one, deserves more investment so that the "feed back" is done!

In conclusion

Everyone knows that Masonic investment is a modular system that ranges from simple coffee shop cronyism to a demanding philosophical commitment accompanied by personal transformation; this one testifies that Masonic thought is not “wind”!

It is clear that if the collective level is often disappointing, parasitized by quarrels of ego, and suspicious ambitions of conflicts of interest, personal work is possible with an unlimited field of investigation!

It is in this field of personal work nourished by the experience of participating in Masonic outfits that we must work!

This Masonic work is part of a global process of self-training: by definition, there is no Master or Mistress in Freemasonry!

It is naturally first of all research and learning; then it's a critical analysis and finally it's a meditative practice!

Even if it is difficult, it is still possible to see lodges regain a taste for cultivating our specificities with high standards and rigor. The responsibility of the lodge is first of all to provide support to facilitate the self-training that falls to each of us.

There is no Grand Lodge without the involvement of all its members in quality collective work!

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