A great deal of things has changed in our Society, since the 18th century, when Freemasonry became what it is today. Some of these things changed to the better, others to the worse, while others are still in the appraisal stage and will remain so for the centuries to come.
In the beginnings of the 18th century, feudalism was the “preferred” method of governance. Human and civil rights did not exist even as a notion, while superstition was the accepted method of “education” for the masses, aided by the official Church, to the benefit of the ruling class. In short, from birth to grave you belonged to someone higher in the food chain.
Freemasonry was a genuine product of Enlightenment and for that reason it harbored all the ideals and dreams that shaped our society to its present state. The Temples of Reason were the hospitable nurseries for the minds of many historical figures, throughout the world, who led people to achieve goals such as fraternity, equality and liberty for everyone, and for that reason we, as freemasons, should feel proud, no matter which particular rite we have chosen to follow.
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, my dearest and sole Reader, more and more clouds seem to be gathering in the horizon of the human race. We managed to develop a very advanced legal, financial and political system, for our Western world; however we cannot help but feel sometimes that the social stability we strive for is nothing more than the calmness preceding the big storm.
Our modern societies have a lot in common with a pressure cooker and let me explain why:
At a personal level, very few people have achieved the mental and spiritual balance to face the numerous challenges posed by today’s social interactions. Each one of us is, most of the times, in dire need of a shrink, whether we know it or not. We go around performing everyday’s chores, with a growing sense of alienation from our fellow human beings, while we grow a stronger dependence on the advancements of pharmaceutical biochemistry, in order to keep a passable social picture.
The institution of the Family is not as functional as it used to be, for the majority of the population. Behind the peaceful façade of most modern families, one may see a progressing alienation between their members. We shouldn’t forget that most social adjustment problems begin in the family and spread to the rest of our circle.
Religious conformity seems to be incapable of providing solutions to the problems of our modern world. Furthermore, Religion has proved to be one of the main points of friction between societies, having caused more bloodshed than any other institution in History and this trait doesn’t seem to change in the near future.
The ideal of the Country and Ethnic identity grows more hazy every passing day. We have lost that sense of belonging to a defined society of common values, to the benefit of faceless corporations that aim to expand all over the world at any social or political cost. That Globalization, without sharing of common values and ideals is extinguishing local cultures and identities, much faster than any historically recorded conquest.
Greed has proved to be the main force behind all political, financial or social changes in the last 2 centuries. The young revolutionary student throwing stones at the police today, will become in a few years the next little gear to move a senseless, heartless machinery whose main objective is to amass as much wealth as possible. All that happening at the expense of the Little Man, most of the times.
Modern Man has lost his capacity to survive without the constant aid of Technology. Our societies would crumble to dust, should we experience a major power outage that would last more than a few days. Our existence is valid only through the memory banks of a computer, someplace. The next glass of water we drink, our transportation, our fighting of the natural elements can only be ensured through technology, us having lost all necessary skills that kept our forbearers alive through the ages.
We are slowly sawing the branch we sit on, by destroying the only environment that can keep us alive. Our planet is more than capable of surviving under a different ecology, but are we?
All these tensions, being much more pronounced in more vulnerable, populous and poor societies have caused a massive immigration wave, throughout our planet, that is threatening of further de-stabilizing our fragile societies, while the chance of this immigration to become aggressive in the near future is more than possible. However, our greed does not allow for viable alternatives, at the moment.
What is more frightening, is that in the era of Globalization, a local catastrophic economic failure will affect the entire planet, through a complicated and unpredictable domino effect, in which we shall be unable to determine which piece we should remove, in order to stop its rapid expansion.
In the 6th century A.D. the Byzantine emperor Justinian withdrew his forces from Western Europe, following a plague that annihilated more than half of the European population of his Empire. All the western territories of the mighty Roman Empire returned to the Dark Ages, as they have been named by modern historians. The peoples of these areas fell to the hands of barbaric warlords, lost all the culture of their forefathers and were limited to their villages, unable to determine their fate for the centuries to come. Everything had been lost and it took another 900 years for Civilization to re-establish itself at those areas, following the fall of the Byzantine Empire to the Ottomans and the subsequent spread of its scholars to the West, a fact that instigated the age of Renaissance.
This is not ancient history, my friend. It is a very possible scenario that could happen over a period of our lifetime. Our mighty societies constitute an organism that preserves a large number of channels of communication between its members: Scientific research, Education, Religion, Economy, Political and Military affiliations, etc. Have you wondered how easy it could be for all these channels to be severed by a major catastrophic event, leaving our societies not only incapable of communicating but in an antagonistic mode? The New Dark Ages shall have arrived.
The myth of World Governance is just a myth, since it does not take the social centrifugal forces, into consideration. One has only to see what is happening in a modern society, with all political, racial, religious or monetary unrest and multiply it a thousand fold. The bonding material is not strong enough to hold such a huge organism as a World Government, together. Furthermore, one of the first principles of Quantum Physics is that the more energy you spend in order to determine the exact velocity and position of a particle, the higher the uncertainty of these properties shall become, thus altering your readings to a greater extent.
Religion cannot be a common ground in separated societies. From the time its Doctrine cannot be communicated in a uniform and consistent manner, it tends to be altered to suit the needs and beliefs of its conveyors as it has been proven in so many historical instances.
However, there IS an institution that has proved to be a viable common ground for people of different religious, cultural, political and social backgrounds and that is (yes, you guessed right, my friend) Freemasonry. This is, at last, my thesis in this post and I’ll be happy to explain it to you, provided you do not fall asleep in the next 5 minutes.
Freemasonry managed to survive as an institution, through weak administrative, but very strong fraternal bonds. All that is required is for each local fraternity to recognize the fact that its sister fraternity follows the same rite in its functions and sometimes even this requirement is not necessary in order to ensure fraternal bonds between Freemasons.
In short, Freemasonry has proven over the centuries that it is a system non-antagonistic to the 3rd Law of “Social Thermodynamics”, which would dictate a constantly increasing rate of entropy, capable of destroying the bonds of our Fraternity. The reason for that resilience is that we have excluded all those factors that could contribute to internal frictions, such as personal religious and political beliefs and we hold anthropocentricity and philanthropy as our main reason for existence. In its own unique manner, Freemasonry is a “post-modern” entity that is powered by the purest ideals of our human race.
These qualities may ensure that Freemasonry could act as a Guardian of our common values, even if our societies experience a long term or catastrophic crisis, pretty much like the monasteries of the middle Ages. It could be the only channel of communication between societies that have lost all other means to understand each other and this, my friend, would be the most important function our Fraternity could have for the years to come, if the poopoo really hits the proverbial fan.
Do you think that this proposition is worth discussing in our meetings?