Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Brother Asks: Why only Murder & Treason?

“Treason and murder ever kept together,
As two yoke-devils sworn to either’s purpose”

(King Henry V, act 2, sc. 2)

A Brother Asks: Why are murder and treason exceptions to keeping our Brother’s secrets?
Coach: Because they clearly put forth the standard one should measure one’s liabilities in keeping one’s word to another.
Brother: But why just murder and treason?
Coach: As opposed to what?
Brother: What if it involves other illegal, immoral or unethical activities?
Coach: What about these?
Brother: Shouldn’t we not keep such activities to ourselves.
Coach: We shouldn’t.
Brother: But they’re not murder and treason!
Coach: Aren’t they?
Brother: Wait? Are you saying they are one in the same?
Coach: I’m saying you might want to look up the words before you come to erroneous conclusions.
Brother: But I have.
Coach: And what did you find?
Brother: Murder is “the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another”.
Coach: And treason?
Brother: It is “the crime of betraying one's country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government”.
Coach: Thanks.  Do you want to delve into these?
Brother: You’re welcome and yes!
Coach: Good! Let’s start on the first one.
Brother: Okay.

Coach: The first one speaks to premeditation.
Brother: That’s where it is not a spontaneous act. It’s actually planned.
Coach: Are you seeing the connection to the ruffians?
Brother: Yes!  I am indeed. They plotted to extract the master’s word and were willing to do so even if it meant death to their victim.
Coach: Good!  Murder is a premeditated act where harm is involved.
Brother: Why do you say it that way?
Coach: Because this is a symbolic lodge.
Brother: And rather than take what was communicated literally, you’re trying to pull out the symbolic information to see how it applies to our lives?
Coach: Yes.  That’s how this Works. You take the general communications, boil down its essence and distill the lesson.
Brother: So the lesson here is to keep his secret unless it involves doing harm.
Coach: Yes. And if it does involve doing harm, then you are no longer obligated to keep his secret.
Brother: Wow!  I would have never gathered that by taking it literally.
Coach: Most Brothers don’t.  But does it have to be premeditated harm?
Brother: No. I see now that it doesn't.
Coach: How so?
Brother: Harm is harm whether it is planned for or after the fact.
Coach: Agreed!

Brother: What about Treason?
Coach: What about it?
Brother: Can you boil it down for me?
Coach: Yes, I could, but I think I’d rather walk you through it and let you do the Work.
Brother: Awesome! What’s first?
Coach: Look up the other definitions.
Brother: Okay. I get the following information. “the action of betraying someone or something”
Coach: What do you gather from that?
Brother: Well, it differs from the first definition in that the betrayal is now generalized to just betrayal…
Coach: As opposed to?
Brother: …one’s country.
Coach: Break it down.
Brother: It’s pretty straightforward.
Coach: How so?
Brother: It’s telling me that I’m not obligated to keep any secrets that betray anyone or anything.

One More Level
Coach: I get the same thing. Do you have any other definitions?
Brother: Yes… treason is “the crime of murdering someone to whom the murderer owed allegiance, such as a master or husband”
Coach: Wow!  Back to murder?
Brother: Yes. It appears that treason is linked to murder.
Coach: And in this instance you gather what?
Brother: Symbolically?
Coach: But of course!
Brother: Okay… symbolically treason is not just betrayal, which it is, but in this instance it is also harmful betrayal.
Coach: Does that sound familiar?
Brother: It sure does!
Coach: Of what does it remind you?
Brother: The ruffians once again!
Coach: It reminds me of them as well. Why?
Brother: Because they betrayed the Grand Master to whom they owed allegiance.
Coach: Exactly.  Do the definitions drive home some points as to what you need to be aware of when deciding whether or not you should keep another’s secrets?
Brother: They sure do.

Coach: On what points are you now clearer when it comes to the exception for murder or treason?
Brother: If there is any harm planned for or committed, I have an obligation to assure I inform the proper persons to guarantee that this harm will not occur, prevent it myself if within my power or assure that amends are made for harm that is done.
Coach: So, murder is symbolic for any harm planned or after the fact?
Brother: Yes! 
Coach: And you are obligated to prevent it if you can or assure proper amends?
Brother: Yes.
Coach: And what about treason?
Brother: Betrayal in any form, but more especially, betrayals that do harm.
Coach: And you’re equally obligated to prevent it if you can?
Brother: Yes.

One Step Further
Coach: What about how all this applies to one’s morals?
Brother: Interesting. Please continue.
Coach: Can you murder your own morals?
Brother: You mean, plot to cause them harm?
Coach: Yes.
Brother: I imagine trying to figure a way around something that is clearly illegal, unethical or immoral would be undermining one’s morals, thus causing them harm.
Coach: How about betrayal of your morals?
Brother: Yes. I can see where this could occur when one’s standards get biased toward anything or anyone that would require those standards to be “relaxed”.
Coach: I agree. What is worse, murder of one’s morals or betrayal of them?
Brother: I’d have to say that the Murder of one's Morals is only overshadowed by one's Betrayal of Them.
Coach: Why?
Brother: Because, in the extreme, murder kills them dead while the betrayal leaves them as festering reminders of the harm one consciously undertakes or undertook in the face of dishonor.
Coach: So, if you take Exception to Murder and Treason literally when keeping within your chest the unworthy Secrets of others, you have yet to practice Masonry.
Brother: Yes!  That brings it back to the Craft.
Coach: Thank you. I agree.
Brother: Would you consider the Work that it takes to come to these interpretations to be the practice of Masonry?
Coach: As in?
Brother:  If one takes a literal view of that issue, he has yet to practice Masonry.
Coach: Agreed!
Brother: Wouldn't the process of getting from taking things literally to figuratively be considered the practice of Masonry?
Coach: Yes! Absolutely! Masonry is a process for sure, and moving from the literal to the figurative is part of that.
Brother: Are you saying that one is not working masonically when one does keeps secrets for secrets' sake?
Coach: If I understand your question correctly, let me respond as follows: When you keep secrets that should not be kept, because you think it is more moral to keep them, even when what is shared should not be kept a secret especially because of the immorality that would unfold because of keeping it a secret, you are not practicing Masonry.
Brother:  This makes good sense.
Coach:  Thanks!

General Guideline
Brother: Do you have a general guideline on all this?
Coach: I do.
Brother: Would you share it with me… …I promise to keep it secret.
Coach: LOL!  Thanks!  No need to. Share it to your heart’s content.
Brother: And it is?
Coach: I keep confidential information sequestered that would harm if shared. Should that information cause harm if kept sequestered, then I have a moral obligation to share it.
Brother: Is it that cut and dried?
Coach: No. It takes a lot of soul searching and prayer at times so I make sure anyone who wishes to share secrets knows that I do not want anything shared with me that would cause me or others a moral bind.
Brother: What’s a moral bind?
Coach: Anything shared that creates a moral dilemma where conflicting standards exist to choose between and someone or something suffers no matter what.
Brother: Such as?
Coach: You’re enjoying this too much.
Brother: Yes… and?
Coach: Let’s make it personal.
Brother: Okay.
Coach: Situations where I’m told something that will cause harm if I share it, but will equally cause harm if I don’t. 
Brother: What do you do in such situations?
Coach: When it’s after the fact, and I am now holding on to the secret, I pray for the right insights into the situations, while I act in love, hope for the best and have faith in all involved.
Brother: I guess that’s all one can do in these situations.
Coach: I agree.
Brother: Wait a minute!
Coach: Ah!  An insight to share?
Brother: Yes! Is this why the twelve fellow craft recanted, albeit a bit too late?
Coach: What do you think?

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Brother Asks: Freemasonry’s Truth

Either Or

A Brother Asks: Coach! I have a comparative question I’d like to run by you.
Coach: Sure. What is it?
Brother: Which one of these is true for Freemasonry?
a.       It trains a man to become a "much better version of himself” after a series of well-structured degrees.
b.      It educates a man to understand how he can find his own way to become a better variation of himself in a lifelong continues process.
Coach: Neither!
Brother: Why do you say this?
Coach: Thanks for wanting to know my thoughts on this. Let me tackle the first option.
Brother: Okay.
Coach: In most United States jurisdictions, there’s little to no training provided along these lines.
Brother: Little to no?
Coach: Yes. And when it is offered, most are uninterested much less prepared to take advantage of it.
Brother: I’d have to agree with your assessment.
Coach: Why?
Brother: I’ve seen the same lack of interest in my area as well.  What about the second options?
Coach: It’s closer.
Brother: What would you change to make it accurate?
Coach: I’d not use the word "educate".
Brother: What would you use instead?
Coach: I would use the word "inform" to indicate the information to improve himself was communicated toward him.
Brother: That’s it?
Coach: Yes.
Brother: Why?


Coach: There’s no follow up process.
Brother: None?
Coach: None!
Brother: Would you please expand upon this?
Coach: Sure. There are no universal methods employed within the USA to assess whether candidates actually understand the basis, reasons and applications for what was conveyed to them before, during and after the degrees.
Brother: I’d have to agree. 
Coach: Why?
Brother: Most all of what I have seen being done by lodges has to do with assuring candidates can repeat back and act out what was provided to them. 
Coach: Like learning scripts and choreography?
Brother: Exactly!
Coach: Sadly, this is almost universal in the United States.
Brother: Why is it this way?
Coach: Primarily it’s due to those members who communicate this information being themselves ignorant of the meanings, concepts and applications intended by its conveyance…
Brother:  …coupled with their lack of interest in changing this reality?
Coach: Yes!
Brother: So, instead of providing a process which engages them in improving their person…
Coach: …it engages them in maintaining degree machines.
Brother: yeah…
Coach: yeah…

Playing Around

Brother: So Coach! What is true for Freemasonry?
Coach: Freemasonry within the United States is a morality play system
Brother: ...Theater!?
Coach: Yes.
Brother: How so?
Coach: Patrons to it are trained to replace those who run the machine of making members.
Brother: So, all benefits provided by this focus are secondary.
Coach: Yes. Please understand that this is not a bad system.
Brother: I’ll say!  There are a lot of great perks!
Brother: Yep. But it’s just the reality of the system.
Brother: A morality play system?
Coach: Yes.  And it you know anything about morality plays, they are only performed for moral purposes.
Brother: Ah!  Their primary intent is to communicate morality!
Coach: Yes.  It’s a great way to communicate it too!
Brother: Why?
Coach: They’re structure pulls upon the audience’s imagination and are performed in such a way as to convey to patrons on multiple levels with the hope that some of what they offer will be understood by those experiencing them.
Brother: May I take liberty with your last statement?
Coach: Please do!
Brother: So, they are performed in faith, conveyed in hope and founded upon love?
Coach: Yes! I like that!
Brother: Wow! This is deep. 
Coach: Sure is.  And far too many members haven’t even begun to step into the oceans these plays offer much less thought to explore their depths.


Brother: What do we do to change this?
Coach: Change what?
Brother: The system?
Coach: Why would you want to change it?
Brother: To better enable men to improve themselves.
Coach: A lofty goal my Brother. However, let me ask you a question or two first.
Brother: Okay, what are they?
Coach: How successful have you been in changing one thing about yourself?
Brother: Somewhat.
Coach: Why only somewhat?
Brother: Because it takes a lot of time, energies and commitment to bring about change.
Coach: I agree.
Brother: And your second question?
Coach: Knowing how difficult it is to change yourself, how much more difficult do you think it would be to change someone else?
Brother: That’s impossible!
Coach: Why?
Brother: Because you’re not in control!  And might I add, you’re hardly in control of yourself!
Coach: I agree.
Brother: So, the systems shouldn’t be change?
Coach: Yes. They shouldn’t be changed


Brother: But what can we do then?
Brother: Me?
Coach: Yes. Show the world what can be done when time, energies and commitment are put forth in an improving manner.
Brother: And lead by example?
Coach: Yes! Exemplify what Ritual directs us to do and do so with the zeal of a man whose hair set on fire for a bucket of water.
Brother: Wow!  That’s passion!
Coach: When you willing suffer to get what you want, your priorities become pretty clear.
Brother: And you accomplish things others can only dream of?
Coach: That’s the idea.
Brother: And when others who are like-minded and like-hearted see what can be done, they pursue the same course of actions, when they are so inclined.
Coach: What do you think the impact will be on the system?
Brother: Well, with more men improving themselves, the quality of system support will improve…
Coach: …and?
Brother: And candidates going through the system are more likely to see Brotherly examples of what the system offers…
Coach: …and?
Brother: By seeing exemplifications of what the system offers, they are likely to realize that they are not just going through a series of plays.
Coach: How so?
Brother: The improvements the plays point patrons toward will be on display for them before, during and afterward. It makes improvement possibilities real!

Where to Focus

Coach: So, what needs to change?
Brother: Me!
Coach: So, what’s true about Freemasonry?
Brother: It’s a system to points its members toward improvement only.  It’s up to the members to make that change happen!
Coach: And?
Brother: The more members change for the better, the more likely new members will do the same!
Coach: And the downside?
Brother: When members don’t take the time to improve themselves, their example sabotages the very reason for putting on these plays.
Coach: Yep. 
Brother: So, we can be our own worst enemies or our greatest marketing asset!
Coach: How so?
Brother: Why would you stick around when what you bought into was an improvement society that doesn’t support improvement beyond pointing out how you can improve?
Coach: Exactly!
Brother: But when there are shining examples of improvement, it’ll not only attract members who want to improve, it’ll provide incentive to each to continue the course of improvement actions.
Coach: Yes. So?
Brother: It’s back to me.  The truth of Freemasonry is it offers opportunities to improve.  And those opportunities rest squarely upon my shoulders. 
Coach: They sure do.  And the same goes for every other member.
Brother: Agreed!