Why the secrets?

Discussion in 'History and Research' started by hanzosbm, May 22, 2015.

  1. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    Regardless of your opinions regarding the origins of Freemasonry, one can see similarities with the Ancient Mystery Schools. One particular aspect that many of the Mystery Schools, religious sects, and Freemasonry all have in common is of secret teachings. Most of sects and Mystery Schools say something to the effect of needing to keep the secrets to prevent them from falling into the hands of people who don't truly understand them. Since most of these organizations strive for enlightenment, why the fear of their secrets getting out?
    Let's assume a hypothetical XYZ Mystery School teaches some kind of secrets that help the initiate to find some kind of beautiful, hidden truth. With the truth being so wonderful, why keep it from the uninitiated? The argument could be made that they might not truly understand it, but so what? Why is this knowledge that is so wonderful guarded so closely?
    During the Enlightenment era, this continued. Even the argument of the fear of persecution doesn't really hold up. That would be a legitimate reason for keeping the identity of members secret, but not the knowledge.

    (just a note, this isn't asked sarcastically and I don't think there's any evil underlying plot, just a legitimate question for discussion)
     
  2. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    "Carborundum non illegititatum". Don't let the rhymes-with-mustards grind you down. ;^)

    Deal is so many people are negative about anything they don't understand it is often expeditious to isolate a teaching from the fuss budget folks.

    Thing is that approach eventually led to a stagnation in society. Every discovery kept secret was eventually lost so progress hit a maximum. It was the invention of the Scientific Method that finally broke out of that trap. One part of the Scientific Method is the credit goes to the first one who publishes there there is incentive against secrecy.

    Grand Lodge Masonry dates from a time when the Scientific Method was new. Time Immemorial Masonry dated from a time when the tradition of secrecy was still in place.

    This in addition to lodges being places of haven from religious persecution that would literally cost people their lives for refusing to convert every generation as the next King or Queen issued the next mandate.
     
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  3. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    Okay, I think I follow. So the thought process is that these teaching were kept secret for fear that if they were disseminated to a larger audience, the volume of naysayers would drown out the teachings. Is that about right? I think that argument is very likely the case. Anyone else have any different ideas?
     
  4. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Because knowledge is powerful. I happen to think handguns are wonderful, but I don't give them those who are not properly trained in their use. Let me tell you a true story. I grew up around guns, my first wife did not. In fact, she had never held a gun before. One day, after we were married, I took her out to the gun range to teach her how to shoot a pistol. I took her to the firing line and spent 20 minutes explaining gun safety to her. Telling her "you always point the gun toward the target, never point it at anything behind the firing line. Then I loaded the gun and demonstrated how to fire it. Then I reloaded it, set it on the firing line, told her to try, and stepped behind her. The first thing she did after picking up the gun was turn around, point it directly at my chest, and say "Wow, I could kill you." That is a true story.

    The point is that she had all the information, she was not ignorant. But she was not psychology and emotionally prepared to have that much power in her hands.

    If you think about it, the case can easily be made that we don't teach secrets in Masonry. In fact, I think that a much stronger case could be made that what we do is prepare men to learn the secrets. What we do is help make good men better. I might even go so far as to say that the first thing a Mason must do is to prepare himself emotionally and psychologically. No one should be given what they are unprepared to handle.
     
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  5. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    I agree with this 100%. And I would also say that the tools we are given/earn that are used to unlock that truth would be completely lost on someone who had not adequately prepared themselves. (I myself was not properly prepared for years after I had been raised) So while I totally agree that it would be wasted on the unprepared, let's go back to the concept of it being dangerous if you don't mind. (by the way, I'm loving this conversation)

    With a firearm, the dangers are obvious (I was a professional shooting instructor for a number of years, so I can totally relate to your story) but what of this knowledge? Now, if we're going the full mystic route and one were to argue that there are incantations and magic that unlock abilities such as some Mystery Schools claim, then I completely see your point. However, if they are the tools to making a good man better, what danger is there?

    For the record, I'm asking this somewhat rhetorically, not denying it. In the Essenes Gospel of Peace (which most scholars believe to be a hoax), Jesus says something to the effect of ignoring the laws of Moses because they come from a dead man. And that rather than following dogma set down by someone who is not in the here and now, to follow the living truth. While I don't believe that these were actually the words of Jesus, I don't think it would be difficult to argue that dogma of almost all religions can and has been used twisted and perverted by many for unintended purposes. Just as the anti-Masons out there twist our ideas into something they aren't and thus prevent those genuinely seeking truth from our door, maybe the fear this same problem happening on a more massive scale.
     
  6. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    I propose that you have answered your own question. Aren't religions, as you said, "tools to making a good man better"? And aren't they sometimes twisted exactly as you propose? Let me add this thought to the discussion.

    I propose that we think of what we teach not as tools but as abilities. The first three liberal arts are grammar, rhetoric, and logic. I man who possesses these abilities can sway the opinions of others. Let us suppose that he is not a bad person, just full of ignorant opinions. He has no intention of rallying people to do the wrong thing, he simply does not have the insight to urge his fellowman in the right direction. I offer this example because I think that well intended but misguided people do a lot, if not most, of the harm in the world.

    I see secrecy as a form of caution.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
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  7. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    As is generally known the work of the EA is to improve the morality of the brother.

    As this is accomplished Nature will progressively introduce the human to the hidden mysteries of nature and science. Most brethren put very little effort into this work of the FC and accordingly do not generate a systematic body of practical knowledge (a science).

    The suitably qualified and hard working genuine (as compared with ritual) FC can however learn much that is practical.

    For example, when the "working tools" are known and used in a "moral" sense it is possible to measure the "morality" of a fellow human, e.g. detecting and measuring corruption before any word or action occurs. Imagine how difficult it would be for the political system if such a skill were commonplace.

    Equally a genuine FC might have a great insight into probabilities of the near future, able to make large profits from stock trading.

    More concerning, a genuine FC, having learned to control his/her level of consciousness, with some practice is then able to control (within limits) the consciousness of less developed humans. This would be a significant skill for politicians.

    At a more advanced level the genuine FC can alter flows of etheric energy, potentially disrupting the life force of biological entities or the operation of machines e.g. making aircraft engines run too cool and therefore lose power.

    As you can imagine there are many black projects working in the area, much based on the theoretical work of E.T. Whittaker and the practical work of Tesla.

    Thus the Freemason practices secrecy in case a brother makes progress as a FC.

    And what of the work of the genuine MM?
     
  8. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Travelling, Rendering the Master's Word, Collecting Due Wages, Contributing, Supporting, Learning and Teaching.
     
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  9. dalinkou

    dalinkou Premium Member

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    Wow. That would have ended all present and future firearms discussions with me. I have introduced basic gun safety to a couple of people, and I do not even have ammo in the same room until I am sure the rules are understood.

    Anyway, point taken. You cannot place something in someone's hands before they are ready for it.
     
  10. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    Well, you can, but that would be foolish. ;-)
     
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  11. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    I disagree. Knowledge is not powerful. It is Inventory and hence potential-filled; and there in lies the challenge as to who should receive such inventory and who should not.
     
  12. dalinkou

    dalinkou Premium Member

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    Point taken. :)
     
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  13. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    (PWAC mumbles to himself) knowledge is not power.....knowledge is inventory.....knowledge is potential.....mmmmm, what is power? what utilizes inventory? what releases potential? mmmmm, must remember to read my signature after posting this.
     
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  14. coachn

    coachn Coach John S. Nagy Premium Member

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    lol! KUDOS!!!

    Power is Potential Flowing!
     
  15. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Yes. Deal with those who want to learn.

    I have another suggestion - One way to hide a secret is to hang up a sign that says "This way to the secrets". People go nuts looking for the secrets in the place the sign says. So we say there are secrets in the ritual and folks look there for secrets. Are there secrets in the ritual? Sure but the simple ones appear in expose' books. We just happen to have promised not to help anyone find they books. That has a fun indirect effect of focusing the attention. "Don't think of the weather" and "I promised not to help with that so you're on your own."

    So we have very real secrets of the sort that can be shouted from the rooftops without anyone figuring it out, we we treat each other as kinfolk. And so have secrets of the type that are secret because most of our members aren't interested enough for the topics to gather attention, sacred geometry.

    Also many of our secrets are the sort that take good old fashioned hard work. The fellowship of service together. The results of long consistent study. For most of the population the type of secret that takes 5+ years of study to approach, that secret is safe from them. And bless the negative nannies for making it even more so.
     
  16. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >Are there secrets in the ritual? Sure but the simple ones appear in expose' books.

    I think you undersell the ritual.

    There are many unexplained parts of the ritual, for example:

    - are the rhythms of the various knocks random?
    - why is the North left vacant?
    - when will the Master represent Strength?
    - why are there 3 columns instead of 4?
    - why do the deacons cross their wands?
    - why did the earlier Noah-based 3rd degree get replaced by Hiram?
    - if Hiram's mother was only "a widow" why are we not "brothers of Hiram" instead of being sons of an unnamed widow?
    - why does the candidate strike the Wardens?
    - etc
     
  17. Ripcord22A

    Ripcord22A Site Benefactor

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    Candidate strikes the Wardens? Noah based 3rd? Never heard of this?
     
  18. LAMason

    LAMason Premium Member

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  19. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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  20. hanzosbm

    hanzosbm Premium Member

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    As a bit of a tangent, awhile back I did a significant amount of research about the shift in the Legend. It actually goes pretty deep and potentially has some pretty powerful ramifications and tie back into the things we're discussing here. I couldn't definitively tie all of the different stories together but my hypothesis was at least supportable. I hate to tease like this, but without us being in a tyled setting, I wouldn't want to go much further. Suffice to say, if one wants answers about obscure things, one needs to remember that while the Bible is the most common source of biblical knowledge, there are many other versions and histories that didn't make it into the Bible. Upon digging into some of these, our Legends aren't as out of left field as you might think.
     

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