A Brother Asks: Why isn't memorizing proficiencies, ritual and lectures enough?
My Response: Without any doubt, memorization of these things is laudable. However, Memorizing with no intention whatsoever to Understand and Apply what is Memorized is shameful.
Parroting serves a purpose as far as providing a valuable service in the preservation and conveyance of Ritual, and for internalizing information for later access and retrieval. But when it becomes the ideal -- the "be all and "end all" -- it is not serving Masonic purposes.
What is memorized are maps. These maps are handed down from one generation to the next, with some intended additions and some deletions. (Yes, "innovations" do occur all the time and with the blessing of the body of men referred to as "The Craft".)
When these maps are just memorized and they are not followed because no one knows how to read them, much less follow where they're intended to lead the readers, what then is the true purpose served in maintaining an organization whose premise is to provide Light that no one recognizes, understands, follows or benefits from?
The point is memorization is not enough! It's a great start, but this act alone falls short in far too many ways. To hold those who do nothing more than memorize in high regard and as examples of the pinnacle of Freemasonic Achievement may suit Freemasonic purposes, but is ultimately counterproductive to Masonic Ends.
Speaking the truth of this is not holding those who memorize solely in any less regard though. It is viewing them in proper Light and not viewing them in a regard that is improper.
If you ever get caught up in debating the value of parroting, take time and step back from the debate and consider this:
- All these "Rituals, Lectures, Proficiencies" were made up within the last 300 years. They were not shared to fill Lodge time. They were not shared to give challenge to members to memorize them for verbatim delivery to the next group of candidates coming through. They were written to provide specific Light and to do so in such a way that this Light would be ultimately Recognized, Understood and Acted upon by those who listened.
If you have not connected the dots on this, let me spell it out: There is the major problem within the Craft. The speaker-audience disconnect is growing wider with each generation of Brothers because the Craft believes that if it keeps on doing the same thing over and over again, the results shall change.
This has not been proven to be a successful strategy. Do you want proof? Look where this strategy has led the Craft so far.
Understand this though: Flawless Lecture Deliver shall never Trump Masterfully Mature Communications -- ever!
Brother John S. Nagy