The Philosophy of "Making Good Men Better"

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by pointwithinacircle2, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Lest anyone think that I am being critical, let me begin by admitting my faults. Early in my Masonic career I wondered why no one tried to "Make Me Better". It seemed that no cared if I learned anything more than what was needed to pass my examinations. Other than giving me some pat answers or responding to my questions by saying the answer is "in the ritual", no one tried to educate me. This confused me. I wondered if I was I the only one who saw some deeper meaning in Masonry.

    My first response to this was to feel unwanted and alone. Why weren't they helping me learn? Had I failed some unspoken Masonic test, I wondered? Did I seem unworthy of their help? Was I being ignored as part of some ritual hazing that all new Masons had to go through to prove their dedication and worthiness?

    My second response was to feel cheated and angry. Had I mistakenly joined a Lodge where no one knew how to, or cared to, improve themselves? Were these men as good as it got?

    I could go on listing my petty resentments but you get the point. Obviously I was not that good of a man yet. But I hung in there.

    My first great teacher was not an old PM but a newcomer who petitioned my Lodge. When his petition was read in Lodge I recognized his name, although we had never met. I decided that I did not want him to feel as unwanted and ignored as I had felt when I joined. So I sought him out, introduced myself and told him I had heard his petition read in Lodge. I asked him about himself, his work, and why he wanted to be a Mason.

    Another time I invited him to my home and we talked in my kitchen while I made lunch. I explained that after his initiation the Lodge would assign him a mentor to teach him the examination but that I would be happy to answer any questions that I could. I showed him my Masonic books and said that when he was ready I would be happy to loan them to him. We became friends.

    This man taught me that I had it all wrong. "Making Good Men Better" is not the responsibility of any Lodge or Grand Lodge. It is not something that my Brother Masons owe to me, it is something that I owe them. There is a secret truth, a secret meaning in this phrase. Today I believe that "Making Good Men Better" is the obligation that I owe to Masonry. Viewed in this way it becomes the secret key that unlocks many of the mysteries and much of Truth and Beauty.

    When I became a Mason I was lazy and waited for someone else to do the work for me. But all that changed because I began to care about the experience of one stranger who petitioned my Lodge. And that has made all the difference.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
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  2. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    It's one of the hidden mysteries.
     
  3. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I think perhaps the lesson is broader.

    Some of us feel that we have some sort of mission in life, a higher calling. Sometimes that is true and sometimes we are subject to manipulation.

    Where there is a higher calling, from what I have seen, it is felt long before the preconditions and circumstances are in place for the fulfillment of that calling. So the person, feeling strongly called, looks around the physical world seeking the object of that calling. This results in many dry gullies being explored and potential disillusionment.

    And part of the problem is imagining that the calling is primarily towards an outer event.

    After some 40 years of observing and experiencing this, when asked, I say to the callee: Assist with whatever good works are at hand, prepare oneself inwardly and await events.

    It seems that inner callings are well organized, and often I seem to have been in the B team, there in case the A team did not work out. Such is life.
     
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  4. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd put forth that what you're describing is simply the human ego. Everybody wants to feel important, everybody wants to be the center of the universe or special in some way, even if it's small. If everyone that felt they had a higher calling truly had a higher calling then being exceptional would be the norm and we wouldn't need Freemasonry or religion.

    I believe it's possible to become exceptional, I wouldn't be a Freemason if I didn't believe this. But as the OP stated, we become exceptional, or polished, by our own hands.
     
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  5. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I have not said that everyone has a higher calling but there are some obvious examples such as Joan of Arc and General Patton.

    We are told that many are called but few are chosen. What should those do that are called but not chosen? Join Masonry?
     
  6. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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  7. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

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    IMHO, it's impossible to "make good man better" by works in The Lodge!
    The man can only "become better" in his routine day life, bein' surrounded by different people.
    Or, I am wrong?
     
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  8. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    A matter of interpretation. Exposure to the good men at lodge teaches a brother what being a good man means. Then it's up to him to emulate them or not.
     
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  9. Ressam

    Ressam Registered User

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    Agreed!
    It's logical!
    But "up to him" means that -- "he may not become better"!
     
  10. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    True. All we can provide is the opportunity and the guidance. The Brother has to prove himself worthy by emulating that which he sees as admirable in others and NOT emulating that which he sees as deficient. It truly is up to him.
     
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  11. Classical

    Classical Premium Member

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    No man can truly save another man, but we can do all we can to show them a path worth following!
     
  12. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Would some brothers like to switch our logo from "We make good men better" to "We teach how to become a better man"? Not an official program just brothers starting to use the different wording to see if it is better understood.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015
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  13. Kevin Arnold

    Kevin Arnold Registered User

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    I totally agree with you, it is the people you are surrounded by that can make you a better person...
     
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  14. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I wonder how many people have moved on from having making themselves better as the primary goal. Many seem to want to make the world better. Is that stage 2?
     
  15. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Personally, I would say no. Most of the people I know who want to make the world better are ego driven. I think the world is a better place when we work on ourselves and leave others to work out their own form of improvement.
     
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  16. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I was hoping for some leaders to arise amongst the good men (and women).
     
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  17. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    According to Scientology self is level 1, family is level 2, society is level 3. I like to learn from all religions. According to AA it's step 12. I like to learn from organizations other than religions, too.

    Masonry is less direct about the topic. We do charity because good men are charitable, including the ambiguous meaning between generosity and love. We urge of Brothers to be more active at church and in civics without giving any guidelines about what to do there or which one to pick.
     
  18. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    Very good. I like this.
     
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  19. jermy Bell

    jermy Bell Registered User

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    So, do you need to take 3 obligations, and go threw the 3 rituals to learn to become a better man ? I mean like unselfishly helping a neighbor, helping at a charity event. Treating others as you would like to be treated, help someone that needs help without judgment, I could go on. So, if you couldn't do these acts before you became a mason, do you think becoming a mason would intice you to do these things ? I didn't need to wear a apron before to go and do the right things and what I was taught by an older generation about helping others with no expectations of a reward, believing in god, I joined masonry to meet others like myself and to help for the greater cause.
     
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  20. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Will you say some more about that?
     

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