The Masonic Lodge confronted with perverse temptations
In Freemasonry, as in life, there are many temptations to make us deviate from the authentic and humble path towards personal improvement. Temptations often appear as a way to be more effective and for this reason to accept to close our eyes to certain unorthodox practices. We could define ten of them :
1 - Careerism:
As in any social environment, the temptation is great to want, in Freemasonry, to be part of a hierarchical path when it should be clear that there can be no Masonic hierarchy. Careerism is first access either to the obediential stream, officer positions, then venerable, then to be a delegate of his lodge, to access the convent, then the Council of the Order or Federal Council and finally to the Grand Master, or to the stream of rites, with the passage into the higher workshops, with its different degrees and the arrival at the Supreme Council. Knowing that one does not prevent the other and that the great masters love to retrain in the supreme councils!
2 - The denial :
Attachment to the Masonic approach can sometimes be confronted with the existence of disturbances in the functioning of lodges and obediences; it can be tempting not to see anything; this denial makes it possible to evade the problems, to act as if everything was going well and especially not to encourage the expression of thoughts or doubts.
3 - The speech :
The lodge offers a place conducive to speech; silence reigns, interruptions are exceptional, listening is of quality; public speaking is generally either a gift of nature or the result of professional experience, those who master it are generally guaranteed success. The danger, of course, is that the flights of fancy of the verb are merely figures of speech; unfortunately, those who are used to speeches rarely realize this danger and cheerfully continue to make "the show" when the audience is no longer fooled!
4 - La forme :
The form in the Masonic approach is of course the appearance! It doesn't matter what the background is if you can "make it look nice" as they say in some of our regions. The form in a Masonic lodge can be :
moving around in a dressing room like the military, straight as i's, marking the angles by ringing the heels, following an impeccable ritual trying to control anything that could be a source of "disorder", always taking care to have either the right smile or the right pensive look;
love the costume, the decorum, the jewellery and anything that gives a certain lustre.
In a way, it is the temptation to look at the appearance of the present moment without worrying about what will happen afterwards.
5 - The high ranks :
The temptation of the high ranks is based first of all on the denigration of Masonic work in the Blue Lodge and on the myth of a pseudo-hierarchical ranking of the human qualities of their recruitment; in addition, there is the temptation of careerism. The perversion of this temptation is due to the subtle nature of its propagation and the soft contamination it achieves; those who succumb to it contribute to the devitalization of the Blue Lodges and their gradual decline.
6 - The mystic :
Even if the attachment to rituals in the Lodge is not of the same nature as in other esoteric circles, it may be tempting to see in the Masonic approach only an integration into the world of "mysteries"! Given the importance of beliefs, superstitions and fears in the general population, it is not surprising that some Masons make a connection between Freemasonry, spiritualism and mysticism, to the point of indulging in abstruse language and denigrating any involvement in the city..
7 - Political Politics :
Politics is also about power with all the privileges it is given. Politics is also another world for which some people dream of climbing the ladder. A freemason who is politically committed is often the guarantee of access to information, to other social circles and also to benefit from a certain relationship and consideration.
8 - The rejection :
If denial makes it possible to conceal the problems, rejection is the solution adopted by many resigners who have left or are ready to leave the Masonic world, which is then accused of all the sins of the world, to the point of fuelling conspiracy and accusations of Satanism.
9 - The seduction :
The lodge is a kind of cocoon that offers a great closeness; the fraternal feelings that are valued, associated with the familiarization, can promote the emotional side of the interpersonal relationship, in one way or another. It is always difficult to assume an independence of expression in a context where affectivity is expressed both positively and negatively. Positive affectivity favours cronyism or even clanism; negative affectivity contributes to alienating clans from each other; all this is not very good for realizing the centre of the union.
10 - Utilitarianism :
Together with political temptation, utilitarian temptation is the most destructive of the working atmospheres in a Masonic lodge; utilitarian temptation aims at making the Masonic commitment an asset from which one will draw a bet; it is first of all in the commercial relationship that one finds it! When one succumbs to this temptation, nothing else matters and participation in Masonic reflection evaporates: above all no waves, be good with everyone and above all be present at the agape because that's where it all comes into play!