How do we recognize Freemasonry that has come through another culture?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by JamestheJust, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Having read reasonably broadly I have noticed Masonic practices in other cultures including:
    - the two founders of China depicted holding respectively the square and compasses
    - Australian aboriginals using an arch of white rods for the entrance of the candidate (HRA)
    - Mayan calendar depictions looking like a more complex form of the typical Masonic pavement
    - the Mithraic ladder with 3 working tools per degree
    - the second degree sign in ancient Egyptian depictions
    - probably Sufi origin of the G hanging from the ceiling.

    So I wonder if Freemasonry has descended through multiple paths from ancient times, when as we now know, there was much more global trade than we once thought. (For example, both the ancient Egyptians and the Australian aborigines used the boomerang)

    That brings me to the question:

    How do we recognize a genuine Freemasonry that has not come through the Judaic-Christian culture?
     
  2. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    A mason who spends most of his time in the old material of our GL library has the opinon that freemasonry is sort of a best of collection of different traditions.

    Freemasonry is always formed by the culture that its placed in wich creates a varity of different forms and symbolism.
     
  3. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Quite so. So how do we recognize Freemasonry coming through different cultures?
     
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  4. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    I would honestly say that freemasonry is a European concept.
    We imported certain ideas and symbols and exported our own version of it.
     
  5. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    A comforting thought but not entirely supported by the evidence.
     
  6. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    That depend.
    We have imported ideas from outside of freemasonry and then added our own mix into the concept.


    Lets for example take some of the esoteric practices of the vikings. Some of them looks like buddistic practices but on futher inspections seems more to have other motives and resongs behind them.
     
  7. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    100% supported by evidence. There is ZERO evidance that the organization we know today started anywhere but the english isles. As elexier said, we are a best of collection. The people who wrote our morality plays drew from their knowledge of other cultures. We are a fraternity, a social group with a moralistic goal. We are not some divined group placed here by (G) We try our best to serve Him but if we were a divine group then we wouldnt have to have these discussions

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  8. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    That was not what I was asking.

    I was asking whether we would recognize Freemasonry if it came from another culture.

    Since Freemasonry is both ancient and universally spread over the Earth there may well be several culturally different forms of Freemasonry. If so, how would we recognize them?

    Are there true brethren that we reject?
     
  9. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    The thing is that becuse they are cultury diffrent they would most likley use a different terminology then we would do and therefore the systems would most likley not be compatible.
    Freemasonry as WE know it has a certain foundation that has a certain European flavour and the diffrence is mostly in details.
    A freemasonry that is from another culture would most likley first of all not be called freemasonry and would most likley incorpirate another set of ledgends that would fit the culture. Lets not forget that our take on certain symbolism might actully be in error, the square and compass is not something only we use. I mean if you where to look for square and compasses in Norway you could just as easy end up at a non-masonic order.

    Tl:dr Freemasonry might exist in other cultures but then the form is foreign to us and might not even go by the name of freemasonry.
     
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  10. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    So no, we would most likley not recognize it and they would most likley not recognize our form becuse cultural diffrences.
     
  11. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    So true brethren would ignore each other because of a cultural differences.
     
  12. JJones

    JJones Moderator Staff Member

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    I believe the concepts that make the foundation of our fraternity are pretty universal (don't lie, don't cheat, etc.) but Freemasonry also means different things to different people. One could argue that some perceptions are wrong but that's not the point of the topic.

    That being said, even though someone may practice the tenants of Freemasonry he is not a brother mason unless he has joined a legitimate masonic lodge and has gone through the degrees. That person may be a perfect ashlar, if such a thing is possible, but they shouldn't be recognized as a Freemason by that merit alone.
     
  13. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Traditionally GMs were entitled to do just that: make a Mason on sight.
     
  14. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    No because it's not Freemasonry. Baseball is an American invention, but played all over the world. Baseball is baseball. Freemasonry is Freemasonry. In order to call themselves such they must use our symbols our legends ect ect. But lodges differ. Ive read that scots lodges don't have penal signs, but they are still Freemasons.

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  15. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I am not referring to trademarks so much as the content.

    For example in ancient China the San Kun called its first initiation the "Widow's Son"

    Are we sure that they are not an earlier branch of ancient universal Freemasonry?
     
  16. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    I think the term widows sons is from Europe, I know the term is present in french masonry.
    Just becuse a thing exist in freemasonry dont mean it freemasonry.
    I belong to another fraternity apart from freemasonry and there exists some resamblance but it dont make it freemasonry.
     
  17. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    Quite right. So should we test to see if ancient orders with similar practices are another form of Freemasonry?

    Or is it too hard to identify the essence of Freemasonry?

    Here is Albert Mackey on how to recognize Freemasonry:

    "But it must be always remembered that the ceremony is not the substance. It is but the outer garment which covers and perhaps adorns it, as clothing does the human figure. But divest man of that outward apparel, and you still have the microcosm...And so take from Masonry these external ceremonies, and you still have remaining its philosophy and science. These have, of course, always continued the same, while the ceremonies have varied in different ages, and still vary in different countries."
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/11937/11937-h/11937-h.htm

    In modern times Masons tend to judge other fraternal organizations by their rituals rather than their philosophy and science. In the apparent absence of the genuine secrets there is little else to be done.
     
  18. Elexir

    Elexir Registered User

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    The thing is that the rituals are the teachings and philopsopy.
    I think what Mackey is refering to are the diffrence in rituals that exist even within the "UGLE-sphere". For example, my former office dont exist in most other rites and things are done somewhat diffrent.
     
  19. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    What i think he meant is not to get wrapped around the axel about getting ritual word perfect but to take the teachings of the ritual and put them in to practice...better to have a lodge full of outstanding men that have to read the ritual then a lodge full of outstanding ritualists that are terrible humans!



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  20. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    The ODD FELLOWS have alot of do similarity to Freemasonry but "they ain't us!" Freemasonry is from the late 17th early 18th century, the mem who designed our fraternity drew from clutures from all over!

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