In the West, society revolves around money. We are always chasing it and rarely do anything else - even leisure time is spent in pursuits that
involve it. This has a knock on effect in the way that people look at themselves and look at their surroundings. They tend to concentrate purely on
the physical and neglect the spiritual. That's not a weakness in the way that you describe - just the way of life that has evolved.
Let me explain a bit by what I meant by "weak." Please, do not take it in a bad way: perhaps a euphamism that is synonymous with "weak" would
have been a better choice. I feel that secret clubs, like the Masons, where you climb up a degree structure, getting awarded ribbons, medals, and
such is for people who need the motivation of those elements to continue in their quest for truth (knowledge). Some of us just go to University, of
course driven by, in part money, but not completely, and study by virtue of our own drive. The only reward after passing a test is maybe a beer if
one can afford it. Why not just go to the library, a good one, and spend your leisure time their, filling your boots? Why do you need a club to show
you knowledge? What do they have that modern society does not? I MUST admit, there is something quite excellent about a group of like-minded people
discussing books and topics in an academic fashion, and if that is why you go to the club, then in part, I retract my comments. However, why not just
meet in open forums and places and throw out the secrecy, the medals, the outfits, etc.? I have probably the same intellectual leveled conversations
with colleagues at bars, nightclubs, and such than you guys do at your lodges and other like places. I strongly feel that a self-motivated person
willing to learn needs not any secret society to obtain and contemplate the most important questions of our day. In this way, he is free from the
chains of any organisation that may hinder his progress.
In terms of the "way life has evolved", I agree, and I think secret societies are there to fill a void in society, and that void is larger in NA
than in Europe, and perhaps other places. The only reason I compare Europe to NA is that I have lived and worked in both places (most of the big
cities in a certain part of NA). I have also lilved and worked in some of the largest centers in Europe, even the Smallest ones! and have a good
stock of experience upon which to derive my conclusions.
In the East, poverty actually leads to soul searching. People don't live in a ratrace and they have more time to analyse themselves. Much of
Eastern philosophy was bred from poverty. It is the misery that is a catalyst. People analyse to try to overcome that misery and this can involve the
study of the spiritual.
Yup, I totally agree.
But when you compare the two societies, there isn't necessarily an overall scenario where one is stronger than the other. Although one may be
weaker in the physical, the other is weaker in the spiritual and there is a lack of balance in both.
Given my experience, I don't agree with your balance statements here. I think Europeans are more "balanced" than NA's.
By the way. It should be noted that Freemasonry is a worldwide Fraternity. It exists in the East, just as it does in the West. This tends to be
in the more democratic societies based on Capitalism where there needs to be a balance between physical and spiritual. I can also tell you that
Freemasonry in Europe is not exclusively made up of the rich and powerful
My hypothesis does say otherwise. I guess the only way to find out is to look at the membership lists at tally up the profiles of each member in
Europe and in NA. As for poverty, I totally disagree. Western and Eastern Europe are totally different. In Germany (over 400 Euro's per month) for
example, Social Security if much, much higher than it is in say, Poland ($120USD per month), or the Czech Republic or the Ukraine or Russia, etc.
True, life is more expensive there, but you can still by cheap food, and that is the bottomline. POVERTY: peoples teeth are rotting, they are dirty,
not thinking clearly because they are hungry, and they go to the streets to sell things to survive. I am quite certain these people are not thinking
about Freemasonary. The national unemployment rate is some parts of Eastern Europe is 20% or more. Some places within those countries have
unemployment rates over 70%.
You say that everyone has a right to knowledge. I disagree. Everyone has a right to look for knowledge, but it should never just be handed to
anyone on a plate as, in the wrong hands, it can be a recipe for disaster.
Freedom is a bitxh, but who are you or anyone else to decide if I should be given knowledge or not? What is your criteria? What makes you a person
to decide that? Because you really cannot predict the future. This comes down to the overarching moral axioms a society chooses to start with. For
example, one moral axiom in NA is (1) Each person is granted Freedom.... which gives them the right to pursue their goals, their dreams, to speak
their mind under the umbrella of freedom of speech. What you are saying is typical of elitism and control, and I oppose it, as I am sure many others
do too. If you give people in a society fundamental rights such as freedom, sometimes people do the wrong thing, even people in our precious
Government. Of course, some pieces of information should, at times, be concealed form the public for the GOOD of the country (i.e. if one is at war,
you don't give away your plan of attack). But knowledge?
And it's not even a case of wether or not you are "worthy" as you state. It's wether or not you want to even look in the first place. But
that is neither here nor there where Freemasonry is concerned. It does not bestow some "quick fix" of knowledge, nor is any man who expects to have
it fall in front of him ever likely to receive it. Knowledge has to be earned.
Why not leave it up to people do discover it themselves? We have a school system that I feel is pretty good in terms of giving you a multi-angeled
view of the world, specially at good Universitites. Those that aren't interested like some of us will just die ignorant. That is the thing:
freedom, it is a bitxh.
This is not the sole preserve of a "secret society" - it is a fundamental fact of life that can be found in any group of human beings which
is based on education. One may attend school or college, but if one doesn't enrol in the first place or doesn't attend the lessons there can be no
repercussion for failiure except upon the individual. Religions work the same way too. One can attend church or read the Bible, but if the brain
isn't actually put into gear, the whole exercise is pointless.
Sounds like you are advocating a "force-feeding" approach to awarding people with knowledge.
Sure, the individual may be able to search for answers on his own. But it's much healthier to look with others. That's not a weakeness, but a
basic human trait - ever since the days of the caveman, human beings have huddled together for warmth, safety, education and the sense of wellbeing
that only contact with another person can give you.
Yup, as I said, I agree with this totally. But minus the meals, the robes, and the secrecy.
Finally, I would have to utterly disagree that religion is more prevalent in European society than it is in the US. Maybe in the poorer Eastern
nations of Europe, religion plays a large part, but certainly in the West it is often sidelined and church attendances are at a record low. This again
would illustrate how poverty leads to a search for the spiritual and how wealth serves to fuel it's neglect.
I don't think you are correct. Go look at the stats. Morever, do Americans even know what is going on in the church?
But aside from that, secret societies: I feel are for (1) the rich and powerful to network and plot (2) the weak who have little internal motivation
to pursue knowledge; for people who need external motivation like medals, costumes, rank structures and such to study; for people who need to feel
like they belong to something. For me, I just go to the library, read, and then discuss with colleagues. No big secret! And we talk about
everything from Botany to Aliens to Mathematics.