Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Higher Standards or Lack Thereof

I will never forget while standing in the Northeast Corner for the first time being told by the Worshipful Master that I then stood a just and upright Mason and to forever walk and act as such.
I was not being told for the first time that I should be, fair in ones dealings and actions(Just) and adhering to moral principles:honorable(Upright) but it was the second time in my life that I obligated myself to being someone better than most (the other time was when I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; and bear true faith and allegiance to the same.) When I make an oath or obligation to something it is something I try to live up to all the time, not just when I am in uniform or at lodge.
Sometimes I find myself in situations where I feel like some old WWII vet or Ward Cleaver when in the presence of men my age, even though I am only in my early thirties. I was taught at an early age to respect women and people that are older than me, unless they do not act in a respectful manner. It sometimes seems that I am alone in this rearing. Bitch, slut, and other swears, are words that usually don't fit in my daily vocabulary and I was in the Navy. When I have used curse words, it was most definitely deserved and not often. Although I can admit that when in the "pack mentality" that surrounds a group of men I have fell in line with the out swear the other guy vernacular that follows. Even during those times it did not feel right to my soul to behave that way. When I joined Freemasonry I expected something different than the usual boys club humor and alpha male mentality, but I guess I expected too much. Now I don't want you to think that that is the overall way that the brotherhood acts.
On the most part I have been in the presence of gentlemanly brothers and overall Freemasonry asks a man to be something better than the "usual Man" but our American Society as a whole has made the image of a "Gentleman" into something of a wuss, and it reflects in the way most men act when in the presence of other men.
A gentleman treats a woman as a lady, as you would have your mother or daughter treated. Modern man treats them all like pieces of meat to be ogled after and devoured like game. I will be the first to admit that a beautiful woman is something great to look at, but being the older brother of three sisters and the father of two girls, I always have to reign in the animal instinct to spread my DNA everywhere and remember that they are someones sister or daughter and treat them as such.
The same goes to all of mankind. I treat everyone I meet with the same amount of respect that I have for my father and mother and that is a tremendous amount of respect. I give this respect with the expectation of it being returned and even if it is not, I try to keep an even keeled manner even with someone who does not deserve it. That's just the way I am.
Recently on a visit to another lodge, after the degree while enjoying a fine cigar I found myself amidst some brethren discussing their love life and using the vernacular that often accompanies modern men while describing said topic. I kept quiet and stayed in the peripheral of the conversation but left a little for the worse with regards to the Fraternity. I expect every man that takes the obligation of a Freemason to forever walk and act as such but I guess it is too much to ask for in today's society.
The same can be said for the current state of the Masonic blogosphere. Name calling, character assassination, and a general mean spiritedness seems to be prevailing. As a brother who approached the gate of Freemasonry from the electronic world and did much research on the fraternity on the Internet before I made the decision to join I would admonish my brothers, and that is everyone who has made an obligation before God and his fellow man regardless of what Grand Lodge they belong, to remember that they are JUST and UPRIGHT masons and to forever walk and act as such.
Now let me go burn this soapbox I have been standing on and return to better things.


Catman ∴ said...

I agree wholeheartedly.

When I joined (I'm an FC) I thought that Freemasonry would be the last refuge of the Gentleman. Unfortunately, I must have an unrealistically romanticized view of what makes a gentleman.

Measured, polite speech...observing and obeying rules of etiquette (for example, waiting to speak until acknowledged by the WM, and then only after properly saluting). Things like that are what I expected. I can't say that my experience has really measured up.

I'll just do my part and hopefully quietly make an impression.

John Galt said...

This may well be one of the most important topics I have ever seen in any Masonic area.
I was raised in a way that you pulled out a chair for lady, assisted her with her coat, stood when she comes to the table and watched your language in the presence of ladies.
This was never meant as a manner of treating women as inferior. It was a sign of respect. Marriage is the cornerstone of civilization. Women are the foundation of civilization. They deserve and will get respect.
I expect, nay I demand, a high standard of behavior from Masons. We are supposed to be of the best of men. We should behave in a manner that reflects that fact or we are nothing.


Royce Myers said...

We are all human, and I at least, have a lot of work to do on my rough ashlar.

I have learned much about gentlemanly discourse and maintaining one's cool from Brother Brandt. Keep your head about you -- especially now -- and you'll teach us more about being a gentleman than any blog posting.

Remember -- a gentle, private admonishment is the best way to help a Brother Mason improve.

MaineWingNut said...

Good stuff men. Great topic. Do carry on. We, generally speaking, forget why we chose this path sometimes. It's good to get back on course. While the occasional slip is expected, we should always aim for the center line with honor , respect and dignity. A little reminder never hurts.

So Mote It Be

Hiram said...

To inform the less informed, to stretch forth a helping and whisper good council to bring about a positive reformation. Study and obey. There are so many tools given to deal all manners of situations! Personally study and obey the laws and lead by example!

Seeker of Light said...

An interesting note: Almost every comment stated "Thats not what I expected from Masonry". One thing Ive learned in business is that by setting the customers expectations realistically if the product meets those expectations the customer things its good. If not, then you work to make it meet the expectation or you lower the expectation. Sadly it sounds like in many places the answer is to lower the expectation... Too often we take the Microsoft solution of documenting the flaws and trying to pass them off as a feature.