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Psychology and Freemasonry

The three polarities of a Masonic outfit

The Masonic experience, in his lodge and during the visits made, can be global but it can also be analyzed. We propose you a reading grid which distinguishes the three polarities of an outfit :

1. Respect for the ritual,

2. the nature of the exchanges

3. and the quality of the content.

Ritual polarity :

Whatever the rite used by the lodge, each lodge has its own way of staging it: it concerns the respect of the different ritual moments, the absence of errors or hesitations for the officers, the quality of the participation of each one, the "scripting" and the ability to create the "egregore"; some rites are more demanding but even a bare rite requires an investment on the part of those who implement it.

The polarity of exchanges :

It is a question of measuring the authenticity of the participations, the capacity of the brothers and sisters to share their experiences, the absence of more or less "folkloric" interventions, the absence of oratory effects.

The polarity of the reflection:

This mainly concerns the quality of the boards and interventions, the ability to address specialized themes, and the ease with which scientific work can be popularized.

If we position the three polarities on the three radii of a circle, each Masonic outfit could be schematized by a triangle made by plotting on the three axes of the polarities the measure of the quality of each polarity for the outfit in question, rated from 0 to 9, starting from the central 0 point.

The ideal outfit, could be the one where the quality of the three polarities is respected; it can be represented by the perfect equilateral triangle inscribed in the circle.

Three main categories of Masonic outfits:

The analysis of the course of an outfit allows to determine three groups according to the relative importance taken by each polarity; schematically these three groups can be visualized on an extreme positioning; in reality, the analysis is less caricatural and the intermediate situations are the most frequent.

The typical "café du commerce" outfit (see diagram below):

This concerns lodges that have become accustomed to accepting a great familiarity with a minimum of constraints; everyone can dress as they wish; the camaraderie is beautiful to see but it is clear that in these outfits "we don't bother"! The "faut qu'on" and "y a qu'à", the non-respect of ritual practices and the role-playing of each other give a tone that can be sympathetic but in the end quite "empty" of meaning! The lodge is then an excellent place for convivial meetings but the risk is great of a certain "exhaustion"!

The "nerd" outfit: (see diagram below)

It can be seen in so-called research lodges or in some lodges in so-called "superior" workshops with high quality boards, but without any real exchanges and with a chaotic and very "about" ritual environment; this is also the case with boards presented by an "expert". The quality of the work presented is out of step with the capacity of understanding of the workshop members and the presenter does not really make the effort to be understood by everyone. In this context, the follow-up of the rite may take a back seat.

The typical "mass" outfit (see diagram below):

She can be seen in the lodges practicing a ritual where the symbolist approach is favoured; it is a matter of doing ritual and nothing but ritual without any real reflection or participation other than formal.

This schematization allows a better understanding of the difficulty of ensuring harmony between the three polarities in order to respond to the specificity of Masonic work.

About the book "Hiram and Freud" by MH Gonnin and J Fontaine

Jacques Fontaine and Marie-Hélène Gonnin have written a reference work; "Hiram and Freud" is intended to be a psychoanalytical insight into the Masonic approach. They were interviewed by Daniel Videlier for Baglis TV - The excerpts presented below should encourage you to read this beautiful book. You can watch the whole interview on BaglisTV.

Marie-Hélène Gonin explains why Masonic work tends to "condition" Freemasons towards obsessive behavior. It is a risk that one must be aware of in order not to succumb to it!

Evolution of the social link with ageing

Another peculiarity of the Masonic commitment: statistically the Freemasons are overwhelmingly people over 65 years of age.

This reality can be explained but it deserves to be taken into account! The slide show above was presented at a conference by Professor Gaucher on the issue of the changing social link with ageing.

​A historical reality: the role of Masonic lodges in socialization

If there is one beneficial action that can be recognized to the Masonic lodges since their creation, it is to have played an active role in the socialization of minorities. This was the case in particular for the Jews of France in the 19th century (see opposite).


Jews and Freemasonry in the 19th century. A State of the Question, by Jean-Philippe Schreiber

Jean-Philippe SCHREIBER is a senior researcher at the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (Belgium) and professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. A specialist in Judaism in Belgium and author of numerous works, he has been the scientific director of : The Curators of the Ghetto. L'Association des Juifs en Belgique sous l'occupation nazie (2004), with Rudi Van Doorslaer; Théologies de la guerre (2006); Laïcité et sécularisation dans l'Union européenne, with Alain Dierkens (2006).

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