23 Οκτωβρίου 2012

A Timeless Moment...

My Dearest and sole reader, today I will attempt to excite you (alternatively I’ll bore you to death), writing to you about the Nature of Time, and how this may be perceived in Masonic terms.

Countless books have been written up until today, by people who happened to be considerably more learned and eloquent than your humble blog writer, therefore it would be rather pointless to tire you with all these theories since the beginning of Time and up to the moment Albert Einstein proved that Time, as we perceive it, is never constant, but it is a function of speed and mass.

Your humble blog writer (that’s me) therefore, will stay in a couple of points which may have some social extensions. One of these points is the ancient Greek myth of Cronos who was eating up all his children produced by his wife, Gaia. The only child who managed to escape that fate was Zeus himself, who eventually became the supreme ruler of Gods and humans alike.

This myth, in essence, is the ancient story of Time (in Greek Chronos and further paraphrased as Cronos), that destroys everything produced by Gaia (the Nature), with the sub note that whoever defeats this fate is beyond the effects of any physical Law. Later, the scientists called this erosion process “Entropy” and the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics tells us that the Entropy in the Universe is always positive, which means that the disorder of all energy and physical structures increases with Time.

If by any chance, my Dearest Reader, you manage to abstain from all bad habits that usually put us in a position where all daisies will have turned their butts on us, and you stay still, so that Time will forget about you, you may be lucky enough to see the last twinkle of the last star fading away and Darkness spreading all over the Universe, just before the phrase “Let there be Light” sounds once again.

I am fully aware that it is a huge task for you to perform. Therefore, please allow me to assure you that the coming of Darkness is more or less a certainty, even if we will not be around to testify for it. If you don’t believe me, please have a look of your 50-year old body at the mirror and think that the trendy coat and the tight jeans you wear, cannot delay the fact that pretty soon you will look exactly like your 98 year old grandpa (if you are very lucky, that is)…

Furthermore, as we grow older, my dearest friend, we realize that the 3rd Law of Thermodynamics is also applicable to all social structures and interactions of the so-called “intelligent” creatures. You see, Life is an exceptional audacity against this Law, if we perceive Life as an extremely complex interaction of numerous exotic chemical compounds, which demand a huge amount of energy in order to take place.

On the other hand, I tend to believe that Life is acting as a helping hand to the eroding actions of Time, by creating an additional disorder in the Universe. Of course we cannot see it that way, therefore we call this activity as “ecosystem” and, in the process of preserving it, we constantly increase Entropy, which would be much lower in stable inorganic systems of low energy transformation.

If you have not dropped comatose, until now, my dear Reader, you must have realized that by nature, we are nothing more that Entropy enhancement mechanisms and as such, we should not feel surprised by the constantly increasing Chaos all around us, because we are made to create it, either by our activity or by the lack of it.

And at this very moment, the tragic duality of the Human Nature is revealed to us. We are creatures whose evolutionary process has allowed them to realize the Supreme Mind behind the deterioration of Matter and Energy. Among all creatures around us, we are the only ones condemned to know that Time will take us away from the perfect Platonic Form, towards annihilation, while our Soul dreams of the moment it will meet again with Light.

If you consider all the above, my dear friend, you will come much closer to understanding the nature of the Masonic ritual. One group of men, connected with brotherly ties, meets in a never-changing manner, in a place that is decorated in a very familiar pattern all over the Earth, following the same dress code and performing always the same set actions that we call Rite.

What could that ritual be, my friend, if not for a repeated Moment, a small piece of timeless Time, where Entropy is halted temporarily, our Social status is left outside the Temple like an unneeded coat, and what’s left is a small group of spiritually connected people, devoid of riches, titles and honors, who repeat a Perfect Moment again and again, until they fully realize its meaning, thus being able to approach the Light?

Maybe this is the essence of Freemasonry, my friend. To live and relive the same timeless Moment, always initiated and always taught by this process, until your Heart and your Spirit become able to find the road towards the Light within……

31 Οκτωβρίου 2011

The Humble Tyler...

My Dearest friend and Sole Reader, it has been a bit more than a year that I bug you with issues relevant to Freemasonry and the relationship each one of those who “knocked at the door of the Temple of Reason” has with it.

However, our travel through Freemasonry, regardless whether we are Entered Apprentices or Grand Masters, has begun from the unique point of our initiation to the Lodge, an experience that may very well be the most significant, for a Brother who has joined the Masonic Fraternity.

It is not my intention to discuss the Ritual; therefore I shall not tire you with all the tedious details regarding the initiation procedure for the degree of the Entered Apprentice. However, I want to focus on the officer who is the protagonist of this procedure and whose office is unjustly regarded as a secondary one, that of the Tyler of the Lodge.

The role of the Tyler is a non-rewarding one, most of the times. Depending on the Jurisdiction, he may sit inside or outside the Lodge, with his sword always drawn and protect the proceedings from any possible intruders. Furthermore, in the case that a visitor without proper recommendations wants to participate in the proceedings, the Tyler is testing him in order to ascertain that that visitor is a real Mason. In addition to that, the duties of the Tyler include his making sure that all the entering members of the Lodge wear the proper attire.

However, when there is an initiation day for Entered Apprentices (usually 2-3 times each year), the role of the Tyler becomes more important than any other of the participating Brothers. He is the one who will receive the uninitiated candidate from the outside world, will tie his eyes as a symbolic representation of his ignorance and his prejudice and will guide him through the various tests that will lead him to the Light. It is a procedure dating back to the hierophants of the ancient Egyptian and Greek Sacraments.

Many Brothers, who are more oriented to the esoteric view of the Ritual, regard the role of the Tyler as a “jinxed” one, because they claim that the Tyler is receiving all the negative energy of the initiated person, in order to hand him “clean” of it, to the Brotherhood. As a wise and learned Brother once said, “the Tyler is the person bearing the sins of the uninitiated”. For that reason, some of our Brothers refuse to serve in this office for more than a 2-year term.

In my Mother Lodge, for a considerable number of years, we have (and will have) the same person acting as Tyler. He is a meek, kind and always smiling Brother, who is regarded as a very learned person, having a true sense of the important role that he has undertaken. He is the same Brother who led me, a long time ago, with my eyes tied into the Temple and since then I have witnessed him doing the same for a lot of newer brothers, in the same ancient and unique ritual.

A few days ago I had once again the opportunity to witness the initiation ritual for three new brothers and I also had the privilege to see, for one more time, our Tyler in action, in his very special role. It may seem strange for an uninitiated person, but the participation of even very old brothers in this procedure, helps them find yet a new message in what they experienced themselves, so many years ago. Therefore, the initiation is never a boring and tedious procedure that would not be worth attending for one more time. On the contrary, the participation during initiation days is very impressive.

When the persons under initiation are more than one, it is natural that the Tyler will require assistance from other Brothers holding the degree of Master Mason, in order to lead the initiated people inside the Temple for the ensuing tests. However, it is always the Tyler who sets the rhythm for that unique procedure.

So, I saw for one more time, our beloved Brother entering the Temple holding tightly, yet with great attention and tenderness a new brother, who was making his first shy and careful steps into the Temple of Reason. And what I witnessed in the expression of our brother Tyler was Love.

At that particular moment, the Tyler and the initiated person in his charge were one and inseparable entity, pretty much like a pregnant woman ready to bring her baby into the light of the world. And while the newcomer seemed a bit afraid and uncertain, having temporarily lost the main sense that gives us all the information about our environment (after all, no baby was ever born smiling and happy), the expression of our Tyler was that of Joy, Tenderness and Love, not much different than that of a woman facing her newborn baby for the first time.

Maybe this is the reason our dearest Brother has endured the “jinxed” position of the Tyler for so many years. Because he erases the negative energy with the most potent antidote, that of Love.

8 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011

"Sir Knight"............

It has been some time, since I had a relatively clear mind and time to invest, by writing to you, my ever faithful and sole Reader. After all, summer is a period for all of us to charge our “batteries”, while doing nothing more productive than watching the ice cream dribble on our shirt, without moving to correct the problem.

A lot of my observations are unfortunately limited to the posts of my Facebook friends from all over the world. It would require tremendous effort to observe in vivo and my budget would not allow it at any rate.

However, more and more I have noticed that I receive friendship requests from people who have confused the ideals of Freemasonry with those of a peculiar religious fanaticism, or even racism,  through their devotion to various obscure knight Orders.

Observing that trait, I cannot help reminding myself the ideological, racial and religious orientations of that lunatic who massacred 100 innocent people in Norway, just two months ago. Therefore, I feel compelled to clarify a few things to all those Knights-To-Be, who believe that adding a shield and a cross in their profiles automatically make themselves members of an elite group.

This is NOT Freemasonry, my friends…..

A Freemason, first of all, does NOT bring Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Satanism or any other religion or denomination into his Lodge. Freemasonry was able to achieve the moral, spiritual and personal development of its members, over the Centuries, by keeping Religion out of its Lodges, thus allowing its members to communicate their ideas, free from any form of religious dogmatism. This is exactly the reason why we refer to the Supreme Being as The Great Architect of the Universe, because the only common truth we all hold is our belief of His existence and His power, NOT the particular Dogmata each one of us has chosen to follow in our private lives.

Furthermore, a real Freemason was never a racist and he will never be. All those orders of white knighthood are completely alien to the ideals and spirit of Freemasonry, which believes in the true Brotherhood of men.

As I have explained in previous posts, a true Freemason must be humble and be distinguished through his humility. All those regalia that may be impressive for the uninitiated people, DO NOT underline some sort of authority over other people but they show a level of duty which may be very heavy on the shoulders of those who wear those impressive attires. 

Agreed, the York Rite has the Knighthood levels, but if you do not know what this exactly means and what its philosophical foundations really are, I would advise against your attempting to imitate it by just wearing a robe with a red cross and holding a tin sword. 

At best, you’ll look more like an ambulance than a Knight.

If it was not so sad, receiving friendship requests from 20 year-old boys who call themselves “Sir Knight”, it would definitely be hilarious.

2 Ιουνίου 2011

Let’s keep it simple… It's beautiful as it is…

I would not dare call this post a Theory, much more claim that it emanates from deep and knowledgeable thought. This blog is nothing more than going out on a limb and exposing my personal (and far from scientific) thoughts to people which I consider to be my friends, alas in a rather vague and generalized meaning of the term.

All my life I have been questioning most of the religious dogmatism that thrives within the official Christian denominations. Unfortunately, ever since I was a little boy I was never blessed to fully accept a matter of belief, “just because that's the way it is”. Such an acceptance would definitely make my life easier.

However, as time passes by, I have become a true believer of the existence of a Divine Mind behind the evolutionary process of our Universe. I shall not examine whether it was that Mind that created the Universe, or the Universe found a way to express itself through the gradual development of such a Mind. I shall not tire you with religious beliefs and theories and I would never dare question your personal views on the subject, whichever these may be.

I will, however, attempt to direct your attention towards an awe-inspiring process. Out of a theoretical point, 13.5 billion years ago, an unthinkable quantity of energy explodes outwards, creating the known space and time continuum we call our Universe. And this colossal energy is organized, through a number of processes, still examined and theorized by the scientists of our time, into Matter, gaining the mysterious property of Mass along the way.

And this Matter, in its turn, organizes itself into Life, a process completely insolent to the powerful and constant action of the ever-increasing loss of physical Order, which we call Entropy. The Universe is so vast, that it allows this local reversal of the arrow of this entropy on the surface of our planet (at least), since its increase elsewhere, more than compensates for that local phenomenon.

The final developmental stages on our planet include the domination of Homo Sapiens-Sapiens on its surface. Should the path of that giant asteroid had not crossed that of  our Earth, 65 million years ago, it is very possible that the dominant intelligent species of today would be a warm-blooded descendant of the dinosaurs, which roamed our planet for more than 200 million years. Therefore, my statement that Intelligence is something just waiting to occur at some evolutionary point is not too far from the truth and it should constitute a lesson in humility for our entire species. We have been very fortunate, so far, to be allowed to wonder where we came from and for what reason.

The vastly superior intelligence of our human race, as compared to that of the other inhabitants of our planet has provoked, over the centuries, a number of anthropocentric religious views. It is only natural for the superstitious people of antiquity and the middle ages to conceive Man as an exact image of the Supreme Being and claim domination on all living and non-living things on Earth, but it is time for us to abandon this ludicrous view, to the benefit of the search for our true Nature.

You see, my dearest and sole Reader, I find it very hard to deny the existence of the Soul to any other living organism on Earth, just because we happen to be smarter than those creatures. Indeed, the inhumanity and cruelty exhibited by many of our species leads us to believe that certain animals not only are smarter but much more “humane” than certain human beings. It has been scientifically proven, over the last decades, that animals have all capacity for compassion, grief, solidarity, love, devotion, art appreciation, even humor, so who are we to put a dividing wall between us and them, just because we happen to have a higher quotient (most of the times) for the above feelings and have a better analyzing capability?

Up until today, we have accepted Religion to be the only Authority on matters of the Soul, because we have connected it with our religious beliefs and have never conceived it as just another physical property of our existence. I am certain that, had this text ever been read by a “hard core” scientist or engineer, it would provoke a sneer or a kind of rebuttal, at best. On the other hand, this is exactly the reaction that would be expected by a “hard core” religious person, as well. The scientist would reject this notion on the basis that any physical property should be measurable, while a religious person would recite a bunch of passages from his Holy Books, in order to claim exclusive Divine property of the Soul.

And of course, everybody in-between those two opposing points would repeat to me that the existence of the Soul is entirely a matter of Faith. What a convenient way to say that we have no crappy idea about the issue at hand and therefore we put it on the metaphysical realm of our collective experience until further notice...

The existence of the Soul is not an issue argued only by Christianity. It was expressed much earlier by the ancient Egyptian priests and Greek philosophers and Mysts, while all ancient religions described in detail everything that was expected to happen to the soul as it was separated from the body, at the time of death.

The Christian Dogma used the same term (Ψυχή-Psyche); however, the Holy Fathers posed a number of “rules” before they include it into their glossary, regarding its nature. The most important ones where that our psyche (please allow me to use the Greek term, as more accurate) is not pre-existing to our physical existence (thus separating the Christian theory from that of the Hindu and Buddhist religions) and that the human psyche is not like those of the animals, because, further to its nature as a life force, it has also received the Divine Grace that has rendered it immortal (speaking of separating walls). In addition to that, the Christian faith claims that our soul is not a part of God, but it is created by Him at the time of our conception, therefore it has the liberty to select, in the course of our lives, between the Good or the Evil. It is immortal, not by nature, but through the Grace of Jesus Christ, otherwise it is destroyed as our dead bodies do and those who have not followed Christ’s Holy Word should not expect resurrection on the coming Judgment Day (no mention of Paradise and Hell is being done, at least in the serious theological texts).  

The bottom line is that all big religions on our planet have set a number of specific rules, with regard to the fate of our soul, while they all agree that this soul is immortal, one way or another. Some of these theories regard our living body as the inseparable kingdom of our soul, while others see it as just a prison holding our soul captive, while certain cryptic religious philosophies, such as the Jewish Kabbalah believe in a multiple nature of the soul, each one responsible for a different level of existence (Life Force, Mental and Spiritual).


I bet, my dearest and sole Reader, that you expect me to come up with a theory or a belief, regarding the human soul, which would better reflect the Masonic view on the subject. After all, Freemasons are known for their religious devotion, all over the world, while certain Rites, such as the York Rite have an intense religious orientation, giving its members the rank of the Knight Templar.

However, what I am really attempting here is to justify a contradicting notion, that of the belief to the immortality of our soul and our dedication to Reason. My thesis, therefore, is that the indestructibility of the human soul does not have to be a religious belief. It can very well be a belief coming from physical laws, observation and Reason.

If we accept that our Soul is the organized Energy that turns a non-living matter into a living organism, which, along the way is enriched by the resonance of our experiences, thoughts, teachings and interaction with the environment, we can go one step further and believe that this part of our existence, from the time we acquire a sense of our own self, cannot be dissipated or destroyed.

From the moment that matter is organized into life, it crosses a threshold that cannot be crossed back. Existence cannot turn into non-existence, pretty much in the same manner that we may not have a sense of time on the operating table, however, there comes the moment we come back from anesthesia and regain consciousness. No matter if the time we have lost that sense of existence is 2 minutes or 50 million millennia, we eventually have to come back. And, pretty much like the particle that finally manages to escape the black hole has no memory of the spin, charge or mass of the particles that entered the event horizon of that hole, some billions of years ago, we may expect the same to happen to what we call our soul.

I KNOW VERY WELL, that the above view may be simplistic, devoid of every religious or philosophical ornamentation and reminding you of all these New Age theories flying around, these days. Even my metaphors seem crappy to me, now that I am reading them on my screen.

However, what I am trying to underline, is that we, as Freemasons, DO NOT have to bring Religion into our Temples, simply because Freemasonry is, by nature and scope, a path to make us better men, to help us know ourselves through Reason and Observation, and to give us the tools to work towards a better world. All these are stages which will have to take place BEFORE our ultimate Initiation of our death, for which we can only prepare but not see behind the curtains. We may have our theories and beliefs, regarding the fate of our immortal soul, and still keep Religion on our personal agenda, separate from our Fraternity.

However, more and more every day, we see dogmatism, religion and absurd metaphysical theories infiltrating our Brotherhood, under the pretext of philosophical research. In certain countries (mine included), this happens because there is an inborn distrust, exhibited by the official Christian Dogma towards Freemasonry and, as a result, some of our Brothers are eager to prove that a Freemason may also be a devoted and learned Christian. In other places, Freemasonry has acted as a large shopping bag into which many brothers try to keep all their philosophical and metaphysical issues in one place, without being able (or willing) to separate them.

My humble opinion is that we should perceive the myths and stories of our Brethren for what they really are, symbolic methods of helping us understand ourselves and our position in the World and make us better human beings. We should not attempt to give to these myths any metaphysical dimensions which were not included in the founding scope of our Brotherhood, otherwise, the coming generations of Freemasons will have no way of separating our Rite from “Hare Krishna”!!

Let’s keep it simple… It is beautiful as it is…

4 Μαΐου 2011

Swimming against the Current...

A few weeks ago, a dear brother and exceptional scientist who recently completed a long and fruitful academic career in astrophysics, presented me with a small book he wrote, which is the distillate of his personal life experience.

I knew that I could expect only the best from such a man, so I paid the proper attention to his book. However, I could not help but notice that all the poems and texts included, were permeated by an intense melancholy and sometimes pessimism, with regard to the life that slips through our fingers and is lost forever.

I expect you to agree that on a personal level, there is nothing to assure us that the all-powerful Third Law of Thermodynamics is not happily at work, in every aspect of our lives. Time passes like a turbulent stream, slowly eroding all we fought for, negating all our dreams and plans, undermining the foundations of everything we have created. Like a sadistic god, it happily reminds us that there is nothing that cannot be destroyed due to a number of unforeseen factors.

The consequences of this unrest and erosion are visible, wherever we turn our gaze. War, misery, poverty, sickness, economic breakdown of whole countries, moral crisis, inability to adapt to an ever-changing environment, ecological crisis, and so on, and so on... Sometimes it makes us wonder whether it is wise to bring new people to life, with the purpose to hand down to them a life that will be subject to thousands of indeterminable factors, all hostile to their very existence.

However, if we were ever able to travel in outer space, we would be blessed to witness our lonely planet from a distance. We could see a beautiful, tranquil sphere floating in the hostile void that surrounds it. In this sphere, for the last 2.5 billion years, there is an ongoing process that can only be perceived as the ultimate insolence against that powerful Third Law. It is called “Life”.

Just by realizing the indescribable wonder happening around us, we should probably question ourselves whether Man is indeed the Measure of All Things. Agreed, as intelligent beings, we have the capacity to perform complicated mental processes which induce a sense of awe for the things we experience. However, have you ever wondered what do we really experience? If you ask ten different persons who have witnessed the picture of the lonely Earth, to describe their feelings and perceptions, you shall receive ten different answers, some of which will be extremely eloquent and deep, while others will be plain stupid.

Is it possible, therefore, that our pessimistic perception for the Third Law, or, as some people call it, “Murphy's Law” cannot escape the limited boundaries of our individuality? Is it possible that we are incapable of fully appreciating the unbelievable wonder of Creation that commenced so many billions of years ago, and of which we, as humans, are parts only during the very last, infinitesimally small period? Finally, do we really believe that we are the high point of that magnificent Creation? To believe such a thing is nothing but a Hubris, as it is perceived in the ancient Greek tragedies.

We are plain constituent items of a huge ecosystem, which, like a newborn baby, is constantly developing. In truth, this baby is immortal, having the capacity to change, to adapt, to assimilate new mechanisms of survival and to reject all those cancer cells that could threaten its existence. Therefore, can we really expect from the Divine Intervention to take care of each one of us, any more than we can take care of each individual cell in our body?

I realize that my position may sound tough, even inhuman. Such a view puts us in a very inconsequential spot within the Universe and makes us feel subject to uncontrollable forces ready to crush us without a warning. How can we have any control to any of the things, destined to come?

The choices presented to us are not limitless. We can either feel miserable with all these thoughts, or consider the true meaning of the ancient myth of Prometheus. This semi-divine personification of the evolutionary process underlines the fact that the human race, in the course of its biological development, received an infinitesimally small piece of the Divine Spark, a tiny fraction of the Mind behind all these billions of years of the magically audacious expression of Life. This small defining element helped us break free from the eternal Predator-Prey circle of life, which defines all other living creatures, and take our fate in our own hands. To put it simply, our gift was that we became “cells” of the brain of this “organism” and not of the sphincter (however useful that may also be).

As such “cells”, in our entirety, we hold a huge capacity to create an Intelligence whose powers could be infinitely larger than those of its constituent parts. Each one of us may not be a god, however, our combined capacities may approach to a far greater degree the Divine nature, pretty much like a bunch of mindless neurons that constitute our brain.

In a previous article of this humble blog, I had beaten you to oblivion with the notion of the Collective Soul of the Masonic Ritual. That is the collective spiritual and mental unification of a number of Brothers who convene together under a team process we call our “Ritual”, by “descending to the depth of our conscience, observing the Natural Phenomena and adapting to the Universal Rhythm”. Should the same mechanism be applied on a global scale, it would be capable of altering Reality as we perceive it.

However, in order to bring such a mechanism into existence, it is imperative that certain “infrastructures” must precede our actions, such as interpersonal communication, information, personal development through a sound educational process and spiritual connection. It would be naïve to expect such levels of communication between a Harvard graduate and a poor outcast in Bangladesh.

However, even the largest planets in the universe were formed when 2 particles of dust stuck together, slowly attracting more and more particles, through gravity.

The only institution that guarantees the prerequisites for an egalitarian spiritual and mental connection between humans, without the intervention of political or religious dogmatism, is that of Freemasonry. The realization of these powers we may have, should make us take our participation, as well as the selection of new Brothers, very seriously, since the all-powerful Third Law has proven time and again that we cannot swim alone, against the current of the relentless Time.

I know that I ask too much, that I dream of our Brethren to be something much more than we have managed to make it, however, I hope you allow me, through these humble posts, to coarsely sketch the ideal Platonic Form, towards which we should strive.

Maybe, one day, we may achieve that....

30 Μαρτίου 2011

On Masonic titles and humility...

In the course of the history of Humankind, all esoteric philosophical systems, have developed a number of built-in “safety valves” or “traps”, by which they are capable of expelling all possible intruders. Beyond all conventional initiations, these systems contain hidden “trials” for those who must be further tested, in order to verify their spiritual stamina. It goes without saying that such tests have no similarity, whatsoever, with the conventional initiation types of the various masonic degrees.

Some of the most elaborate, time-enduring and brilliant tests that Freemasonry applies to its members, are the various titles, honors and positions bestowed upon them, because they act exactly in the same manner as the mirages and illusions do for a holy man self-ostracized in the desert.

Indeed, there is a contradiction that provokes questions and criticism by all uninitiated people, especially by those who hold a skeptic position against our Brethren. Freemasonry is a philosophical system that teaches (and demands from its members to demonstrate) moderation and humility. It requires that all newly initiated members learn the way to avoid vanity and instead aim to become familiar with the real nature of things, beyond and above all appearances.

On the other hand, Freemasonry has instituted a plethora of impressive-sounding titles, ranks and grades, most of which may sound outdated, obsolete or even dead. It also utilizes designations such as Worshipful, Most Worshipful, Thrice Illustrious etc. which may be regarded as exceeding all acceptable limits of solemnity, especially if one considers that such titles are always accompanied by medals, ribbons, gold ornaments, swords, stars, collars and gold-embroidered aprons and are worn not by kings or generals, but by common people.

When people are governed by Common Sense and are in contact with Reality, all these titles are perceived by them as a part of the Masonic Ritual and they try to understand the inner meaning and the real purpose of these titles. When a Freemason has achieved a personal high level of self respect in the outside world, he is fully capable to balance these peculiar designations and leave his Metals outside the Temple. A truly initiated individual sees all these titles and honors as real burdens and duties. He avoids boasting about them and he hands them over to his successors with a sense of humility. In addition to that, he feels the duty to prepare his successors, before he withdraws with a sense of relief and happiness, because he prepares himself for the end of his cycle, and when that end arrives, he must show the same humility.

The Masonic titles can only perceived as continuous and hard reminders of our material and spiritual imperfections and sarcastic notions of the perfect state we all strive to reach, usually in vain. Julius Caesar used to have a slave holding his triumphal wreath, riding with him in his golden chariot, at times of his greatest triumphal processions and whispering to him that we are all unimportant, fools and mortals. The Masonic titles act exactly in the same manner. They remind the wise and modest men that their possession is just another milestone to the path of their Ultimate Initiation before our Maker.

On the other hand, a hollow man is tantalized by the shine of his Masonic titles. He crawls towards them, and he is prepared to suffer numerous humiliations in order to achieve them. And when he finally manages to reach his target, he clings on these titles as the sole defining qualities of his miserable life. Such men regard themselves as authorities and behave as tyrants against anyone who might present a difference of opinion. They see conspiracies all around them, fearing that someone will strip them of their much deserved titles.

In this case, these titles act as magnifying glasses, showing in the worst possible manner our imperfections and prejudices. They, cling on their bearer like a carcass, showing to everybody, every repulsive detail of his character.

This is, most probably, the real reason so many titles, regalia and honors exist in Freemasonry. To act as tools, separating the wise and modest men from their impostors.