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Of the interest of a collective Masonic approach!




Asking for membership in a Masonic lodge is an act of joining with other individuals! As such, we can think that a collective approach is pending!


There is the collective Masonic approach of the lodge to which one belongs and also that of the obedience to which the lodge belongs. We could also mention the collective approach of Freemasonry in general in relation to other organizations of civil society.





At the level of the lodge: a requirement "A free mason in a free lodge!" (see the origin of this expression)


Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, an old structure like a Masonic lodge functions on the basis of an anteriority which has fixed codes and rituals. The "how" imposes its mark while the "why" is hardly ever addressed.


The beings meet again, make gestures as they have always been and return home! As the Masonic group functions, the exchanges are superficial and general; rarely personal involvement is put forward. Similarly, sharing most often boils down to the gestures of the encounter.


Everyone is in their own world; we live together, we declaim, we also listen to beautiful words, but the main thing is the personal work that everyone can do!


There are, of course, interferences with what is happening in the news, politics, the economy, the upheavals of nature; everyone can have other affiliations to other collective dynamics.



But what is the specificity of Freemasonry?


Historically, one could say that it is a political-philosophical movement with esoteric connotations playing a role of socialization.


The search for cohesion and the desire to create a fraternal atmosphere often results in a mode of operation with a sectarian tendency where self-censorship and self-satisfaction dominate. Despite this, or because of it, lodge splitting and resignations are common. So that the lodges experience very varied moments of greater or lesser cohesion with dynamic periods and others of a certain lethargy, all this depending on the personality of the animators, their agreement or their disagreement.


However, there are few processes of collective reflection that can restore shared meaning to a collective approach.



What is a collective approach?

Space for collective actions

Collective actions vary along two dimensions:

  • the mode of interaction used (ranging from personal to impersonal)

  • and the mode of engagement felt. (ranging from entrepreneurial to institutional) among participants in collective action." (source )


Regrouping finds its justification in the will to implement a collective action intended to achieve one or more collectively defined and approved objectives.


In a Masonic lodge, there are preliminary objectives "Improving man and society" for example, which remain very vague, are never questioned by the group and which do not arouse the desire to be explained.


And these objectives rarely lead to the development of collective action projects.


We can easily understand the contradiction that runs through the Masonic group: A collective dimension with imposed objectives, vague and without collective actions to achieve them!


What's left?


A place where a ritual is practiced which everyone is free to join or not! The collective dimension translates into two components:

- get together to perform a ritual with dramatization,

- the ability to build personal relationships with group members.




At the level of obedience


In each obedience, the definition of common objectives and the implementation of collective actions concern either charitable actions or various events (conferences, fairs, commemorations, exhibitions, for example)


This generally concerns a minority of people who most of the time hold elective office.



At the level of Freemasonry in general


Sometimes press releases co-signed by officials are issued.

this concerns the Grand Master of each obedience.



This text does not specifically concern the Masonic group but do not you think that this description is often encountered in the lodge?



Barriers to collective action:


There are two kinds of collective action possible at the lodge level:


- Collective action concerning objectives involving the internal life of the lodge

- Collective action regarding externalizing goals


- Obstacles at the dressing room:

  • Lack of availability

  • Low motivation

  • The fear of revealing oneself for the manifestations of externalization

  • Letting go, routine, "no waves, please

  • and other reasons


The different groups can be classified according to two essential criteria:

  • The cohesion of the group (this criterion concerns the quality of the bonds existing between the members of the group: mutual aid, absence of internal divisions, benevolence)

  • Freedom of initiative of members of the group: freedom of expression, consideration of individualities, ability to integrate specificities, mutual respect)



The false societal/symbolic dialectic


Most lodges operate without a compass: no thoughtful goals, no thoughtful actions! It is a question of putting on the agenda one or two boards and/or a ritual ceremony. and on the basis of one or two monthly meetings 10 months out of 12, the year goes by cahin-caha!


Among the board themes, some workshops favor either themes related to social problems or symbolic themes! The reputation of the work in certain obediences means that the so-called societal boards are often accompanied by passionate interventions.


In our humble opinion, it is not the theme that is in question but the poor organization of the speeches which transgresses the rule that in the lodge we do not argue, we do not judge, we transmit a proposal concerning a subject! Interventions must also be moderate and benevolent!



The officers of the lodge who have the responsibility of organizing and animating the functioning of the Masonic group at the level of the lodge must ensure that the group effect does not disturb the dynamics of the group! It's very difficult ! To avoid this, the ideal would be on the one hand to ask the officers not to express their opinions, to always proceed by voting by black and white balls or by depositing proposals in a ballot box and to avoid a passionate environment. .


What collective dynamic?


As we said, participating in a group only makes sense if you want to be part of a collective dynamic that will set goals and actions to achieve these goals!


Designing this collective approach requires a methodology that is not compatible with ritual work; this is usually done in so-called committee attire where the ritual is reduced to what concerns speaking



Some examples:


A dressing room is free; it can therefore decide collectively:

- to work for one or more years on a favorite subject, for example "self-knowledge

- once the theme has been determined, the whole lodge will have to decide on the actions to be implemented to achieve the chosen objective: speakers, work to be shared, animations, etc.


At the obedience level


Obedient collective commitment is often decided at the level of the council of the order; however, sometimes the convent has to set one or more objectives!


Most of the time, it only affects a few members! This inability to mobilize all the members of an obedience on a specific objective with well-calibrated actions poses a problem!


Is it due to a loss of meaning?


At the level of Freemasonry, some interobediential actions manifest themselves in the form of a common press release: is it well suited to the requirements of communication? We can doubt it!


Very few (if not none) collective action concerns an objective that could be common to several obediences!


How to implement the collective intelligence of a group


Working together, cooperating is one of the characteristics of human beings. This ability can be very effective in the field of work.

Collective intelligence is “a state of maturity of a collective where the level of collective performance is very high”. Collective performance combines two factors: productivity (quality of resources, decision-making process) and positivity (M. MORAL, 2010).

To allow the development of collective intelligence, it is necessary to know how to constitute a group made up of individuals with complementary skills, trusting each other, around a common project with objectives shared by all.

This group must be animated, managed in order to promote:

  • effective cooperation

  • participant motivation and commitment

  • the differentiation of tasks clear and accepted by all

  • the expression of all

  • recognition of member contributions


This is, it seems to me, the criterion of the quality of functioning of a group of a philosophical nature as can be the Masonic group!



Conclusion


As we have seen, there is a real lack of collective Masonic commitment!


Many authors of Masonic works seem to question the interest of a collective approach by valuing the individual initiatory approach supposed to make known the ecstasy of the mysteries!


Everything is said to try to demonstrate that initiation causes an individual change that accompanies the discovery of a mystical dimension!


For centuries, the same speech with personal variants: Seek and you will find! And in the meantime, silence!


And that everyone draws from the literature of the various "wise men" of the "tradition", from ancient Egypt to the cabbala, including occultists, Knights Templar and other "Nibelungen".


Easy speech since it is not asked to provide evidence or to evaluate the promises!


Destructive discourse because during this time, any hint of collective dynamics is thrown away!


It is as if high priests or high priestesses wanted to keep their hands on an immutable, colorful liturgy!


And of course what better way to justify your rights than to exorcise the demon who claims to want to do "social" or "societal"!


That all of this borders on the sidereal vacuum of delirium, that no scientific credibility is advanced, that many of these "gurus" have had paths that are disturbing to say the least, is not a problem: Truth is transcendence!


If we claim to want to be serious, couldn't we go back to a proven rationality?


It's no problem that the individual dimension allows all imaginations, but that adopting a collective structure does not translate into a search for a collective thought, that seems completely unreasonable!

Apart from the charitable commitment highly developed by Anglo-Saxon obediences, we must note the lack of collective reflection carried out in a dispassionate way, the rarity of collective actions whatever the level concerned which can be considered as an overcoming of individual thought!


All of this is regrettable but also explains a certain disenchantment of those who do not understand our specificity!


It is also damaging to society as a whole because we seem unable to play our role as promoters of a center of union.


And yet, this current deficiency deserves serious inter-obediential reflection! Everyone has to win! Each obedience can keep its specificity without fear of being manipulated!


Collectively define one or more objectives, then set the terms of action and get to work! Then evaluate what has been done!



Other ways of seeing


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