Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Liberal Mason, Conservative Mason ... Nope, Master Mason


As the boulder to November 4th falls faster and faster down the hill, the interest in the campaign is heating up everywhere. This interest has even hit the Masonic blogs and boards.

I was a Political Science major in college and in my opinion, political discussions are essential to a good society. And I won't lie, I love, love, love talking politics. Politics is a game and I love watching from the sidelines like John Madden, oops, I mean Al Michaels. Jeers, cheers and stupid plays make my day when I am watching C-Span or Jim Lehrer's Newshour. Thankfully, I am a Freemason, where I am forced to take a break from political discussions.

When I am in Lodge, I am required to hang up my political "guns" and talk of other things with my brothers. No debates, except on food stands or lodge activities, allow my mind to become clear and to break off those superfluities of my life and seek something that is not political but spiritually and intellectually satisfying. I enter the Lodge, not as a liberal brother or a conservative brother, but just a brother.

Now I am not going to Pollyannaish about brothers "leaving their politics at the door." All men have their opinions, whether it be who is the best candidate to what should be served at the Table Lodge and it is almost impossible to keep these opinions completely at bay from our minds. My Lodge meets on the first and third Tuesday which makes it more difficult for all my brothers to keep their opinions quiet or in the least, in a hushed voice, but we are trying to come to the Lodge on the level as equals.

When I enter the Lodge, I try to drop everything and think about the ritual, planning activities and everything that is not a part of my political life. I am going to borrow a thought from W. Bro. Kuhlke during his presentation to our Lodge about order and geometry. I am paraphrasing here, but he stated that our ritual, when done correctly, is very rigid in Geometric terms and when performed precisely, it presents a calmness to our minds because of its presentation of order. Outside the Lodge is chaos yet inside, there is peace.

My thoughts, if you have a political opinion and you are blogger or poster on message boards, go ahead and voice them. However, before you pass the Tyler on your way to the Lodge Room, hang up your sword, focus on self-improvement and think about the relative tranquility you will experience inside the Lodge. If you wondering what my political views are, just imagine that I agree with you. That is what I call holding my cards to the chest. (Sound of cards hitting the floor (Q♣ Q♦ K♣ K♠ A♣)) Crap, well, at least, it's two pair.


Brother Steve, the Senior Deacon of my Lodge, has pointed me to an incredible video of a talk delivered by psychologist Jonathan Haidt concerning what he believes is the real difference between liberals and conservatives. It is incredibly insightful. Thanks Steve for finding this great video.


Wayfaring Man said...

Great post - I really enjoyed it. Like you I can be, if I allow myself, a very political animal. And ideally speaking, there is no problem in this provided all one's friends agree with one.

But politics can be insidious, and it can seduce one into believing that it's better to lose a friend than to lose an argument. For some of us that is quite destructive. Masonry shows us another way and tells us, comfortingly, that politics is not the only subject that can occupy one's mind with useful and philosophical things.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, ripe with insight... and subtleties... kudos.

~ Vitruvius ~

burntloafer said...

Pollyannaish ?? Wow. I am not sure, but I think that might be a liberal term... ...no wait; oh, never mind.

OK. Now, jokes aside, give this video a try:


Whether you agree or not, it is pretty insightful and thought provoking.

Millennial Freemason said...

That is a brilliant video and I think it speaks volumes of what Freemasons engage in collectively. I am going to add an update to the post embedding this incredible video.

Millennial Freemason said...


I was hoping someone would notice "the subtleties". ;)


Eric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Thank you for your thoughtful post. As a brand new mason (just took my 2d degree), I was fearing that perhaps all of my brother masons were of differing political persuasion than myself, and that Masonry had evolved (or always was) an institution for a particular political, social and cultural stream. That notion was particularly disturbing to me because I joined in large part to support and be a part of an institution well-suited to bringing together people of differing ideas. Your comments have restored my hope and faith.

p.s. forgive the delete, I'm new and clumsy at this.

Brian Hodgert said...

Ditto to what Eric said. So glad I saw this.

Togeika said...

Can you post the link to the video you mention? The liberal/conservative dichotomies have been rendered useless. Pretty much, what is really focused on in our current social climate is the authoritarian/egalitarian axis. I follow Wendel Berry's creed: "I am conservative about those things that should be preserved and liberal about those things that should be changed."

Millennial Freemason said...

@Lee, Here ya go: http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html