Why Are We Here – Presented at Beacon #190 November 28, 2016
Since the beginning of time men of needed a place to share ideas, values, and opinions. This short little commentary is a combination of those 3 reflected by the Author only. By no means does it reflect the teachings of his lodge or his craft.
It is meant to stir emotions and create discussions Please feel free to discuss and opine at the end of this paper.
1. Men need Men – Whether it was sitting by the heat of the cave fire, forming rocks into stones that can be laid and stacked, or battling on the front lines of war; man has shared stories, embellished stories, or even made stories up.
This created a brotherhood effect which took many different forms throughout time. With our male bonding through 400 generations it was inevitable that we would be sitting here today sharing ideas and opinions with likeminded men.
Now we see many young members coming to this group maybe because they need the influence of strong men as role figures or because they lacked this growing up.
Could this deficit of past generation role models are a direct correlation to Freemasonry declining since 1965-2010?
2. Social Club – The tavern was where organized speculative Freemasonry started in 1717. As stated above we have needed places to meet through time. It just so happened that in the 18th century, this is where men were congregating on a regular basis.
It can be said that in previous centuries we were too busy fighting, conquering, and just plain trying to survive. But to be sure, we still spent time telling stories and sharing ideas around the soldiers evening fire, battle lines of the dark ages, and while exploring new lands.
Once we got to a place of semi comfort, groups of likeminded men started to gather and form socializing clubs. Today groups like Kinsmen, Kiwanis, Lions, Elks, Moose, and (fill in a different animal name) exist for people to get together. But one stands alone for Males only and has strict moral guidelines; Freemasonry.
3 .Divorce effect – As life becomes complicated and stressful (see point 4) our desires for what we don’t have increase.
The chart shows that during the Dirty 30’s divorce levels increased and almost doubled from 16-30% during World War II. This increase can be due to stress but also widows needing to divorce as the military would declare their spouse missing rather than deceased. After the war we see the levels come back down to 25%.
From 1970 to present day we see dramatic increase to 51% divorce rate and have remained at this level for nearly 3 decades.
Now I will pose the following questions to stimulate discussion:
- Is there direct correlation to the fact Freemasonry has been on the decline over same time frame?
- Do men seek out Freemasonry because they are lacking support from their spouse? Or does joining Freemasonry simply give a Brother self-confidence to recognize they are in a loveless marriage and the Brotherhood offers support to make a difficult decision?
- Does the lack of moral teachings, virtuous living, and Brotherly love have some responsibility?
- Should we simply ignore the fact religious bodies have seen nearly the same dramatic decrease in congregation attendance and support over the last 30 years?
- Digital Age – Reflect, if you can, for a moment 20 years ago…
- we had cell phones the size of a loaf of bread
- we built a special desk for our new 2GB IBM computer (my watch is 4GB)
- when we wanted to talk to a friend, we phoned them
- we answered the phone without call display
- we put small doughnuts into a machine to play music (cd’s, now I have 300 songs in my watch)
Now, come back to the present time (whew, that was scary):
- Have you heard of my watch? LOL (another phrase that didn’t exist in 1996)…….. I can text, email, WhatsApp, tweet, FB (yes it’s too hard to type Facebook) Instagram, snapchat, blog, place and receive calls, take my heart rate, see how much I’ve walked (like my joints can’t tell me) , read the news and about 100 other things I haven’t figured out
- We can carry our whole 10,000 song music collection on a memory stick the size of a silver dollar
- We talk to people all over the world like they are visiting in our kitchen
- We make vacation plans without talking to a human
- We text friends and fear for their life’s if we don’t hear back from them in 10 mins
- We can’t name the 10 basic types of clouds simply because we think they are for storage
While I write this on my 1000 GB laptop that I carry around like a book I can’t help but think that over the last 5 years the reason Freemasonry is becoming ‘cool’ again is a reflection of this Digital Age.
Humans need to be stimulated. But over-stimulation can result in stress (refer back to point 3). We need to be turned off at times. Lodge gives us the opportunity to pause the craziness of our lives, focus on others, be supportive, expand our minds, and simply become better Men.
There is something to be said for a Society of Men that expects you to memorize, annunciate, and participate in something larger than yourself, all while moving towards a greater goal of a 5000 year old Club!
I wrote this paper on the challenge 4 years ago from one of the ‘older’ members of my lodge. He thought that as new candidates, we should research, learn, read, and present our findings. After dragging my heels and waiting 4 years to complete his challenge, I know this will not be the last time I subject you to my view points.
I do believe Freemasonry is finding resurgence in our area and I can only imagine that we will see this continue due to the points I have listed above. All concordant bodies should recognize this resurgence and prepare to promote their organization.
I’m excited for our future while I continue to learn about the past.