Saturday, January 25, 2020

FILED UNDER: When you’re Symbolically Ignorant and Humor Challenged




(Sometimes situations are put before me as gifts from God. This discourse gem is based upon an actual interaction between two Brothers…)

Brother (An actual administrator in a Masonic Facebook Group posts this within the group):  A member of this page sent me this meme and I blocked him. Gentlemen if you’re using language like “whore” I personally don’t believe you’re deserving to be a Mason. How about strive to be part of the solution, not be part of the problem....
Coach: And we’ll not mention any irony or hypocrisy related to the fact that you're posting this objectionable meme here for others to see the very thing that you find distasteful and do not want to see yourself. Who's the problem here?

Brother: Right, though as the admin of this page, I’m just calling the crap out.
Coach: Yes, a public condemnation of a privately shared piece coupled with your use of another offensive expletive within your justification is equally ironic and hypocritical. You have an interesting moral code Bro.

Brother: I see absolutely nothing hypocritical in my post, maybe you enjoyed the meme and don’t see anything wrong with it. Calling something crap that is crap has nothing to do with morals.
Coach: My enjoyment or judgement of the meme is not the issue here Bro. It is clear that you don’t see what I am pointing out to you. Let me spell it out... You admittedly blocked a Brother for using what you judge to be an offensive word within something he found humorous, yet you use an offensive expletive to label his efforts to share from his heart.  Furthermore, you reposted it and used these expletives in your repost, thus subjecting others to them as well, even though you find it objectionable. Yes, there are morals in question here.

Brother: Calling a meme crap and calling female a whore are not even in the same ballpark, but you need to hear your right then so be it.
Coach: Your comparison is a red herring argument Bro. Both words are offensive expletives. And being right is also a red herring argument. You believe you're justified in judging and condemning, but are passionately indignant at 1) a fictitious bear who judged and condemned a female and 2) what is being pointed out as hypocrisy. Yes. Your morals are clear for all to see. You’re revealing your soul.

Brother: Remind me your choice of words when your daughter is called a whore.
Coach: Your response is a straw man argument Bro. If my daughter was caught breaking and entering, violating the sanctity of a family's safe place, their furniture, their food reserves and taking up residence where she didn't belong, being called a "whore" would be the least of her problems. It's not about me wanting to be right Bro. It's about your inability to see who you are choosing to be in this matter and what you are about.

Brother: But it’s not straw man at all.
Coach: Actually, it is.

Brother: I’m defending females!
Coach: You're now putting yet another straw man argument to defend your previous straw man argument. You're not defending females; you're defending yourself and your behavior!

Brother: I called it crap.
Coach: Yes. And the irony of your responses displayed the hypocrisy of your value system. It's obvious.

Brother: You took the path of connecting my choice of words to define that meme to be at the same level as the meme.
Coach: You're the one who put a pejorative definition upon the meme's word; not me. There's a huge difference between define your choice of words and merely pointed obvious things out.

Brother:  Now you’re questioning my morals, you know nothing about me.
Coach: Actually, I’m not questioning them; I’m seeing them and pointing them out as well and for you to see. And from all that you posted herein, I know more than enough.

Brother: To your response, when did anyone’s safe place get broken into?
Coach: Are you seriously telling me that you do you not know to whom[i] the bear was referring and to what she did to that bear's family and home?  Seriously?!

Brother: It sounds like somebody is reading way too far into something,
Coach: Much like you did to that meme, and unfortunately not far enough to grasp the subtle but obvious references to a well-known Folk Tale.

Brother: I’m defending females!
Coach: You're defending ignorance, your position, your poor behavior, your attitude and your lack of awareness; not females. You simply don't see it.

Brother: Brothers should know better than to send distasteful memes.
Coach: Actually, Brothers should be told when they are exhibiting ironic and hypocritical behavior reflecting symbolically ignorance and a lack of humor. Your reposting of the very thing you condemn others for posting is acting out the same behavior that you condemn. I wish you did know better. You would not be posting these things and defending your behavior with righteous indignation.

Brother:  Let’s call the meme distasteful.
Coach: And let’s call your reposting something that you found distasteful, thus subjecting others to the very thing that you found equally distasteful and disgusting, ironic and hypocritical.  

{Coach was summarily blocked and the thread removed/hidden at this point}



[i] Goldilocks – Notorious for breaking and entering, destroying furniture, depleting food reserves and bedding down without permission of the homeowners.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Craft Perfected! A Third Review!



From the beginning of his Building series, Brother John S. Nagy has set out to explain the Craft of Masonry. He has explained the use of symbols, catechisms, and even the organization and progressive science itself. This has continued throughout his Buildingseries, as well as within a couple of other books that are only indirectly associated with the series. 

The Craft Perfected,” or as I like to think of it as “Building Perfect,” finally tackles the subject of perfection within the hearts and minds of all Craft Masons. Misconceptions within the proper use of grammar within our Masonic Ritual are all over the place. 

Brother Nagy not only explains their proper use, but also why specific words are chosen to help direct all Masons in the right direction. To that of a state of “Perfect.” 

But “perfect” may not mean exactly what you think it means. 

Because I had assumed I understood all of these concepts from the beginning, I found myself quite intrigued by the way the progression unfolded throughout the book. 
http://www.coach.net/TCP.htm 
Every subject and concept that was discussed ended up leading into the next, ultimately creating symbolic “perfect ashlars” for my house, each step of the way. I have always found myself more interested in the esoteric and philosophical side of Masonry. In my opinion, the focal point of all Masons is to makegood men better,” to coin the phrase. 

This book not only assists in that venture, but illustrates a pathway that can easily be followed. Any Mason can pick up this book and benefit from the instructions and explanations within. Brother Nagy not only includes a map, and a compass through this territory, but provides a checklist to assist with understanding how you found your way. If you are ever looking to Complete Your Foundation,then look no further.

-- Brother Nick Adair

(You can order it here: The Craft Perfected! )

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Craft PERFECTED! Second Book Review!



“The Craft PERFECTED!” enlightened, assured and informed me.  The title alone intrigued me. Up until I read this book, I had difficulty processing the term perfect as used in Free Masonry. I confess upfront that I was upset to learn how much is taught within our sacred walls that is not so. I don’t know if anger is the appropriate emotion as I was disappointed, not in the book, but in its revelation of what is misunderstood by so many Masons. The book was easy to read and follow. It was arranged such that I could put it down when interrupted and then pick up where I left off. As a Mason, I was eager to read it so that I may return and study it. I’m glad I read it!
The main topic is what attracted me to the book because I seek clarity in my Masonic growth. For this reason, I LOVED it. The entire book is unique in its content and presentation. Each chapter presented thought provoking questions and insights. It held my interest, cover to cover and at every turn. This book flowed smoothly from point to point and held my interest. It was very easy to follow. It immediately clarifies its purpose and intent, causing this reader to conclude that reading further would be in my best interest. I finished the book informed and it resolved many truths for me.
I loved its brutal honesty and how it addressed true maturity, actual personal growth, enlightened education.  Additionally, it separated the wheat from the chaff, showing the importance of original intent and purpose of ritual in Masonry. Its handling of ashlar symbolism was also whelming.
There were many chapters that stood out for me and significant. Chapter V was the game changer for me. Chapter X was particularly interesting as it appealed to my Architectural leanings. Each Chapter offered insight and direction.
 I also found the following chapter passages personally compelling:
·         Ch. II “The term “ashlar” is used specifically to refer to two items revealed within the first degree and are indicative of candidate transition should the candidate invest himself in doing Masonic Work upon himself.”  
·         CH. IV “To smooth any surface beyond a specific point that is intended to be covered with cement is counterproductive.”  
·         Ch. VIII “You might want to start your research by experiencing the degrees for yourself.”       
·         CH. IX “The challenge you’ll see many have as members of the Craft is understanding the difference between the advancement work required by one’s membership and the advancement Work required by one as a human being.”  
·         CH. X  “What it points toward is the Work direction of serious apprentices and ultimate end each can expect to reach should they successfully engage in the Work”  
·         CH.XI  “Many Lodge members don’t clearly Understand the Work that should take place within each of the Workers.  Much less support it.    It’s referred to as “esoteric” by some and “non-sense” by others.”    
·         CH. XII  “There should be no doubt in any Masterful Mason’s mind that Masonic Work transforms men toward the better.” 
·         CH. XIII  “Not understanding fully all that is offered in Rituals aggravates these storms of confusion, especially when the pace of Ritual information delivery is far faster than what information is normally offered in life.”
·         CH. XIV  “Inevitably, perfecting your understanding of your morals lays the foundation for your examination of your behavior.” 
·         CH. XVII  “The more you engage yourself in learning for yourself what works best, the more apt you are to assist those seeking light toward their goals.
Chapter III, ‘A Cubic Reality’ surprised me as well! I was not aware of the dimensional properties or physical requirements before. I’d also like to see a presentation on the themes presented in CH. XIII   ‘The Perfect Purpose’ and CH. XIV X  ‘A House not made with Hands’. They are critical to one's Masonic understanding and success.
The end of the book had an interesting spiritual twist.  I walked away understanding the correlation between the ‘ashlar’ and ‘Jacobs Ladder’. This was delightfully unexpected as it made perfect sense. It is a complete and thorough work. As I am a seeker of a life of peace and understanding, this book has contributed to that end.
With exception of this Author’s work, I have found very few authors daring enough to approach the subject matter with such objectivity and integrity.  It is forthright and honest. The author is obviously knowledgeable and sincere. The book is a reflection is what is practiced by the author and therefore emblematic of his character. It’s easy to follow, comprehend and retain. His ability exceeds many typical Masonic speakers and authorities.  I would read other books by this author.
“The Craft PERFECTED!” changed my perception of ritual and its meaning. I gained a new perspective of ritual and what it communicates as a result of reading this book. It clarified many fuzzy areas and I learned much.  As a result of reading his book, I can engage in discourse confident in my knowledge around this subject. It offers a tremendous clarification of terms, purpose of ritual and the emphasis upon ones’ honesty and determination to improve as a man. I was left with a sincere desire to seek further truth and practical application of said truth. This is essential to my growth.   
I believe that all newly Raised Master Masons would benefit from this book. It’ll remind them of the all too important Work alluded to within our rituals and lectures. It offers a significant starting point from which to understand his experience. I also recommend this book to all Master Masons.  It’ll remind them of what their title implies, and of the path they must follow toward real Light.
 “The Craft PERFECTED!” is a must read for the Mason that seeks Light behind the dark veil of ignorance. In his latest book, Brother John Nagy digs deep into the meaning of Masonic ritual, (Building Better Builders series), illuminating the lessons hidden from our view. Brother Nagy dispels many of the misconceptions and misrepresentations of ritual work and their intended teachings. This author methodically, objectively and concisely gets into the depths of Masonry and its purpose, guiding and enlightening Brethren throughout the fraternity upon the path of Better Men. “The Craft PERFECTED!” propounds understanding and practical application to the often-misperceived concept of ‘Perfect’
I am a better Mason for reading this enlightening and clever book. It is now an honored and cherished addition to my Masonic Library. Perfect!
-- Bro. Clifford A. Wright (10-18-19)

Now Available! Order here:The Craft Perfected!



Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Craft Perfected! Chapter Preview: XII. Our Masonic Youth




XII.  Our Masonic Youth

 
Are we expecting too much from
our youthful Brothers?

Research reflects what our nation’s forefathers knew long ago: You cannot expect wisdom to be a principle component of youthful activities. They believed this so strongly that they incorporated this very ideal into our nation’s laws. Citizens must reach a specific age[i] before they are considered eligible to hold important governing positions. What did they know about maturity that we should know as well?
There should be no doubt in any Masterful Mason’s mind that Masonic Work transforms men toward the better. It does this by engaging their hearts and minds in activities designed to Work areas of the brain that promote improved and mature thinking. These areas are specific and Masons who engage in helping others develop should take note of these areas early on to determine this Work’s effectiveness.
One standard of effective measurement is maturity. Masonic coaches and mentors should well acquaint themselves with methods that can both develop and ascertain maturity in those they are asked to assist in Masonic Work. It might occur to those Brothers who have considered deeply the current state of the Craft that their failure to mature the Lodge weakens the Fraternity daily and causes Brothers to focus attention on superfluous matters and activities. Reviewing the division between Youth and Manhood might be a good starting point for those interested in being a force for change within the Craft.

Youth

It might surprise some people to know that adulthood does not begin between ages 18 and 21. Yes, this is considered the legal age of consent and the time when those who reach it can and do take on many adult activities and responsibilities. It is also around the time when a person is judged and held accountable as an adult. This age is also long past when participation in biological reproduction can and does occur.
The benchmarks set up by modern society as the transition point between Youth and Adulthood is not however when biological adulthood begins. Authentic adulthood in humans occurs several years later on, and in some cases, much later on, if at all.[ii]
Adulthood is dependent upon the coming to fruition of a specific section of the brain called the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC)[iii].

Pre-Manhood

According to researchers, the PFC is the section of the human brain responsible for dividing Youth from Adulthood. The PFC is proportionally larger in humans than all other animals. It has also grown proportionally larger in relation to other portions of the human brain over the time humans have purported to have existed on earth. In humans and on average, the PFC continues to grow into the mid-twenties.
The characteristics[iv] of an undeveloped PFC are many. Here are just a few:

·      Lack of foresight
·      Unfocused attention
·      Short attention span
·      Inappropriate behavior
·      Little to no impulse control
·      Cannot self-assess realistically
·      Little to no delayed gratification
·      Strategies and planning are ill-formed
·      Lack of weighing behavioral consequences
·      Disorganized thinking and problem solving
·      Little to no modulation of intense emotions
·      Behavior doesn’t adjust as situations change
·      Inappropriate risk-taking and dangerous behavior
·      Inability to consider the future and make predictions
·      Short-term rewards take precedence over long-term goals
·      Inability to consider multiple streams of complex and challenging information 

These are but a few of the many distinguishing characteristics that help identify males who have further growth required of their PFC before reaching manhood. It benefits all coaches and mentors to recognize these characteristics as they support our next generation of males through their Masonic development.

Manhood

Research the PFC enough and you’ll learn that it does many functions important to our Masonic path. It is responsible for planning, decision-making, inhibition, social interaction, self-awareness, long-term memory formation, and understanding other people. Included in this, the PFC also watches, supervises, guides, directs and focuses behavior! When mature, it both knows and exhibits wisdom.
If it has not become clear yet, the PFC is responsible for the facilitation of Executive Functions characteristic of mature males. These functions include but are not limited to, Time Management, Judgment, Impulse Control, Planning, Organization, and Critical Thinking. Furthermore, every last one of these Executive Functions is what Masons should find exemplified by at least one of our first three Grand Masters.

What to Do

What do coaches or mentors do with this information? First on the list of things to do should be improving awareness of the telltale characteristics of immaturity. Some are more obvious than others but they are all important to know as you work with others who depend upon your support and guidance.
Once you can recognize and identify specific characteristics, work toward becoming willing to share your awareness with those with whom you work. This does not mean you should though. It merely means that you are positioning yourself to properly assist those current and future Brothers who show signs that they are indeed ready to take steps along the Masonic path and are ready to hear what you observe about their behavior that can help them.

Points to Perpend:

1)   Should Manhood be determined by maturity and not chronological age?
2)   Is the Craft allowing Brothers to pass long before these males have yet to achieve biological manhood?
3)   Have you ever allowed a man to enter into Freemasonry or pass from one degree to another without considering his maturity?
4)   How would you determine the Maturity of a man if asked to undertake this important endeavor?
5)   What are the realized long -term costs to the lodge when males are passed prematurely?


(Now Available! Order here: The Craft PERFECTED!)

[i] “In the U.S., a person must be at least 35 years of age to be President or Vice President, 30 years to be a senator, or 25 years to be a representative, as specified in the U.S. Constitution. Most states in the U.S. also have age requirements for the offices of governor, state senator, and state representative.” Source: http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/age-of-candidacy/
[ii] if one depended upon strictly upon behavior observation
[iii] De Luca, Cinzia R.; Leventer, Richard J. (2008). "Developmental trajectories of executive functions across the lifespan". In Anderson, Peter; Anderson, Vicki; Jacobs, Rani (eds.). Executive functions and the frontal lobes: a lifespan perspective. Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis. pp. 24–47.
[iv] http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familylife/tech_assistance/etraining/ adolescent_brain/Development/prefrontal_cortex/