Dr. Brian Hayden, Anthropology of Power and Evil |411|

#41
sure, but grappling with how to communicate about this stuff. I think real vs. fake is an important distinction in some cases.
The trouble is that we don't know. Observations that some 'medicine men' used what we would call fakery to trigger placebo effects introduces the alien observers standard of 'objectivity' when that does not exist in the observed culture. When 'real' psychics engage in what we say is fakery maybe they are doing the same kind of thing as going into debt to get over a rough economic patch.

We have to understand that the real v fake stuff is the materialistic model. Its not rational outside that model. Could you imagine raising kids with that kind of mentality? It might be rational but your kids would be screwed up badly. Even the saddest objections to Christmas magic fantasy - something we aliens find bizarrely American - is predicated on the sensed necessity to allow a child engagement with magic - even when it is thought utterly fake.

In a way I agree with you. Maybe we do need to highlight the real v fake in order to demonstrate, and communicate that it is really rubbish.
 
#42
There is something that should be understood about secret societies. Some preserve actual secrets - knowledge that requires certain preparation for - and you can't use or make safe sense of. Others simply employ restricted information you can't have until to meet conditions - like paying membership fees and agreeing to engage in the elaborate fantasy that gives the society meaning.

There are reasons why we have apprenticeships - progressively balancing the delivery of knowledge and know how to a maturing mentality until you end up with a Master. Secrets are delivered competently by degrees. Anyone ever wonder why university 'degrees' have a distinctly masonic feel to them?

Real secret societies (the ones we do not hear about) manage access to taboo knowledge. The less real ones manage access to privileged knowledge. The even less real ones manage access to bullshit tarted up as sacred mysteries. Most of us never get to know about the real secret societies - and rightly so. They are none of our business, for the most part.

There is a distinction between a society that is secret and a society of secrets (alleged or actual). A lot of the so-called 'secret societies' are simply not well known societies of 'secrets'.

Mobs like the Masons claim to be holder of secret and this generates another problematic dimension - whether the secrets are light or dark. On the basis of the self-claimed Masons I have met, I would not let most near a 'secret sauce' recipe let alone anything occult. They strike me as borderline dark under the disguise of light.

But I am a serial fail when it comes to joining 'societies' - and that strikes me as a clue- they like conformity and assent and they dislike non-conformity and dissent. I have friends of like mind and we get together at times to share our our thoughts. Is this a society? In a sense yes it is. Is it secret - not now I have told you about it.

I see a lot of BS written by outsiders. Maybe that's useful to folk who will only ever know of the BSSS (BullShit Secret Societies) and maybe that is a good thing that their flaws and dangers are pointed out. Most folk are more likely to be sucked in by a BSSS than the real thing.

Some secrets are secret because (a) they are incomprehensible and (b) dangerous. Other secrets are secret because they are (a) about status and prestige and (b) behind a pay wall. A scientologist might object here. Paying for a secret demonstrates commitment. True. But if your commitment is demonstrated only by paying money it is a weak measure. If your ROI is commercial, as opposed to, say, acts of compassionate service, you value system is skewed a certain way - but a good way?
 
#43
There is something that should be understood about secret societies. Some preserve actual secrets - knowledge that requires certain preparation for - and you can't use or make safe sense of. Others simply employ restricted information you can't have until to meet conditions - like paying membership fees and agreeing to engage in the elaborate fantasy that gives the society meaning.

There are reasons why we have apprenticeships - progressively balancing the delivery of knowledge and know how to a maturing mentality until you end up with a Master. Secrets are delivered competently by degrees. Anyone ever wonder why university 'degrees' have a distinctly masonic feel to them?

Real secret societies (the ones we do not hear about) manage access to taboo knowledge. The less real ones manage access to privileged knowledge. The even less real ones manage access to bullshit tarted up as sacred mysteries. Most of us never get to know about the real secret societies - and rightly so. They are none of our business, for the most part.

There is a distinction between a society that is secret and a society of secrets (alleged or actual). A lot of the so-called 'secret societies' are simply not well known societies of 'secrets'.

Mobs like the Masons claim to be holder of secret and this generates another problematic dimension - whether the secrets are light or dark. On the basis of the self-claimed Masons I have met, I would not let most near a 'secret sauce' recipe let alone anything occult. They strike me as borderline dark under the disguise of light.

But I am a serial fail when it comes to joining 'societies' - and that strikes me as a clue- they like conformity and assent and they dislike non-conformity and dissent. I have friends of like mind and we get together at times to share our our thoughts. Is this a society? In a sense yes it is. Is it secret - not now I have told you about it.

I see a lot of BS written by outsiders. Maybe that's useful to folk who will only ever know of the BSSS (BullShit Secret Societies) and maybe that is a good thing that their flaws and dangers are pointed out. Most folk are more likely to be sucked in by a BSSS than the real thing.

Some secrets are secret because (a) they are incomprehensible and (b) dangerous. Other secrets are secret because they are (a) about status and prestige and (b) behind a pay wall. A scientologist might object here. Paying for a secret demonstrates commitment. True. But if your commitment is demonstrated only by paying money it is a weak measure. If your ROI is commercial, as opposed to, say, acts of compassionate service, you value system is skewed a certain way - but a good way?
Michael,
I am a Free Mason (Master). I can tell you that it really is nothing more than a fraternity that is supposed to be dedicated to becoming a better person and brothers aiding brothers in the process. We raise money for worthy charities too.

Yes, we draw on some symbolism - but who doesn't?

I have read/heard and heard so much absolute BS about what the masons are, especially, of course, from conspiracy theorists. It's all idiotic and paranoid. There is no "darkness" at all involved. No satanic stuff. No influencing world governance, accessing Vatican money or anything of the sort - or if there is, I'm still waiting to get in on it all.

Anyone of good character can become a Free Mason. There are lodges all over the world and in just about every town. It's hardly a secret society. You could request to join and after a year or so of some preliminary work and a few rituals, you'd be in. Conspiracy theorists have such active imaginations.
 
Last edited:
#44
Tonifgr
Michael,
I am a Free Mason (Master). I can tell you that it really is nothing more than a fraternity that is supposed to be dedicated to becoming a better person and brothers aiding brothers in the process. We raise money for worthy charities too.

Yes, we draw on some symbolism - but who doesn't?

I have read/heard and heard so much absolute BS about what the masons are, especially, of course, from conspiracy theorists. It's all idiotic and paranoid. There is no "darkness" at all involved. No satanic stuff. No influencing world governance, accessing Vatican money or anything of the sort - or if there is, I'm still waiting to get in on it all.

Anyone of good character can become a Free Mason. There are lodges all over the world and in just about every town. It's hardly a secret society. You could request to join and after a year or so of some preliminary work and a few rituals, you'd be in. Conspiracy theorists have such active imaginations.
I thought about joining, but I heard lots of lodges barely practice in the metaphysical aspect of freemasonry
 
#45
Tonifgr

I thought about joining, but I heard lots of lodges barely practice in the metaphysical aspect of freemasonry
Hi Baccarat,
One doesn't usually discuss religion or politics in the lodge. It's pretty much against the rules. Both can create conflict and the lodge is meant to be a peaceful place.

There really aren't any metaphysics, as you probably think of it, to be practiced; at least not that I am aware of. It's more using allegories - such as the building of Solomon's Temple - to work on building a better you. A lodge is no more or less than the personalities of the men that form it. So some lodges are more interesting and productive than others. You want to select a lodge in or near your community, but in the best well educated, etc area.

It's really not very exciting. It's just meeting with other men that are more or less dedicated to improving themselves and their communities. It is not a spiritual cult or a group for occult practices. That is more of the conspiracy theory nonsense. Have I mentioned how much I think conspiracy theories are total rubbish based on flimsy dot connecting, half truths, distorted facts and lies, paranoia, gossip and innuendo and ignorance?
 
Last edited:
#46
Hi Baccarat,
One doesn't usually discuss religion or politics in the lodge. It's pretty much against the rules. Both can create conflict and the lodge is meant to be a peaceful place.

There really aren't any metaphysics, as you probably think of it, to be practiced; at least not that I am aware of. It's more using allegories - such as the building of Solomon's Temple - to work on building a better you. A lodge is no more or less than the personalities of the men that form it. So some lodges are more interesting and productive than others. You want to select a lodge in or near your community, but in the best well educated, etc area.

It's really not very exciting. It's just meeting with other men that are more or less dedicated to improving themselves and their communities. It is not a spiritual cult or a group for occult practices. That is more of the conspiracy theory nonsense. Have I mentioned how much I think conspiracy theories are total rubbish based on flimsy dot connecting, half truths, distorted facts and lies, paranoia, gossip and innuendo and ignorance?
Some conspiracies yes, some have merit, there's definitely something foul going on in this world.

I asked about freemasonry because I have a friend who is a Mason who said they took the metaphysical practice of it out for the most part and now all that's left is pretty much what you said
 
#47
Some conspiracies yes, some have merit, there's definitely something foul going on in this world.

I asked about freemasonry because I have a friend who is a Mason who said they took the metaphysical practice of it out for the most part and now all that's left is pretty much what you said
Yes. I have heard that once upon a time there were metaphysical practices, but I still don't think that they were what you might be led to believe. I don't know for sure. I'm going to make a note to ask someone about that. There's a guy who is a Masonic scholar and historian that comes around once in a while. I think I have his contact info; or I can get it.

What is going on that is foul in this world is people who have no honor and who are cowards who won't step up and who, worse, work to confuse others. That's each and every one of us on any given day to some degree. The only thing necessary for evil to get a hold is for good men to do nothing - or to become confused and even deny that there is such a thing as evil. If you want to call that a conspiracy, then we're all in on it.
 
Last edited:
#48
I am a Free Mason (Master). I can tell you that it really is nothing more than a fraternity that is supposed to be dedicated to becoming a better person and brothers aiding brothers in the process. We raise money for worthy charities too.
Eric I acknowledge the good that some Masons do, but one of my friends recently quit for reasons I am not able to talk about - and which would, I hope, alarm you as much as they did me.

And also that's not what the literature on Free Masonry says either.
 
#49
I have read/heard and heard so much absolute BS about what the masons are, especially, of course, from conspiracy theorists. It's all idiotic and paranoid. There is no "darkness" at all involved. No satanic stuff. No influencing world governance, accessing Vatican money or anything of the sort - or if there is, I'm still waiting to get in on it all.
I am not suggesting the 'conspiracy theorists' are on the money. I have read extensively on the history of the Masons, as well as the metaphysical side. I am glad for you that you are aware only of the noble side of the movement. But, to be frank, it a bit like being a Catholic - there are layers, and not all of them are cream.

The Masons have been around a long time and have long had a presence in the upper layers of our cultures. Like all long term societies they will stratify and create 'secret' layers whose conduct is concealed from scrutiny by the general membership.

What is openly known is that in some organisations and communities being a Mason is a prerequisite for advancement - and even survival. That is true today in some public service organisations in the UK and Australia. And that's corrupt - plain and simple. It must be known as corrupt by those who engage in, support and perpetuate such practice. It does not matter what the intent is. If you are open to corruption at that level how deep does the rot eventually go? When you intentionally violate the codes of conduct because you presume a higher authority you are setting then roots of corrupt and illegal conduct. There are no if, buts or maybes about this.

I grew up in a family with a father who was a member of the Loyal Orange Lodge and the Apprentice Boys. These organisations were established with good intent, but they became forces of hatred and manipulation in some communities.

The fact that one is a member of an organisation that is doing good on one level does not mean that spirit of good permeates it. I know this in my day job - in a role specifically about driving internal cultural change. No matter what the organisation is, beyond a certain size, complexity and age, there will be pockets of corruption - and that may or may not permeate the upper levels.

I am aware of the conspiracy theories about the Masons, and I give them scant credence because the evidence is not there to back up the claims. But credible researches do provide evidence that Mason are not all sweetness and light.
 
#50
There really aren't any metaphysics, as you probably think of it, to be practiced; at least not that I am aware of. It's more using allegories - such as the building of Solomon's Temple - to work on building a better you.
Eric, I am intrigued by your POV and almost envious of it. I love the fact that you have a community of good people who are doing good things and not screwing up that good. More power to you and your fellow Masons! That's the way to should be.

The history of Masonry and its metaphysical origins is contested/mythic - and complex. If its not needed for you to do good works you are better off without it in any case. If you keep at the functional level of symbolic metaphors for self improvement, then I think you and your community is wiser than many of your brother members around the planet.

I looked into becoming a Mason a few decades ago and decided against it after finding that some of the beliefs represented to me were problematic from my perspective of having been trained in ceremonial magic. That may have been arrogance on my part, but I just didn't like the culture either.

Late last year I attended an event at the Sydney Masonic Centre. The event was unrelated to Masonry, but I had that same sense of discomfort with the culture that the place was steeped in. The ritualistic symbolism that was everywhere present bugged me for some reason. Maybe I was aware that the early English magical ritualists often had a Masonic background, and that influences flowed both ways - and allegedly still does.

My gut feeling that I did not like the brand of Masonry I encountered here. I hope you keep your Masonry the way it is now for you.
 
#51
Yes. I have heard that once upon a time there were metaphysical practices, but I still don't think that they were what you might be led to believe. I don't know for sure. I'm going to make a note to ask someone about that. There's a guy who is a Masonic scholar and historian that comes around once in a while. I think I have his contact info; or I can get it.

What is going on that is foul in this world is people who have no honor and who are cowards who won't step up and who, worse, work to confuse others. That's each and every one of us on any given day to some degree. The only thing necessary for evil to get a hold is for good men to do nothing - or to become confused and even deny that there is such a thing as evil. If you want to call that a conspiracy, then we're all in on it.
It all depends on the lodge (membership thereof), rite, and degree how explicitly “metaphysical” things get. Symbolism, Masonic included, is multi-layered; it can stand on its own as only representing development into “a better man,” but it also represents a great deal more. Now, whether those additional levels of the symbolism were intended in all degrees, as Michael indicates, is highly contested - but it is there nonetheless.

Read some Albert Pike or Harold Percival and it becomes clear that esotericism is at the root of Masonry, at least for some of the most prominent Masons of recent history.

"Masonry, like all the Religions, all the Mysteries, Hermeticism and Alchemy, conceals its secrets from all except the Adepts and Sages, or the Elect, and uses false explanations and misinterpretations of its symbols to mislead those who deserve only to be misled;
to conceal the Truth, which it calls Light, from them, and to draw them away from it. Truth is not for those who are unworthy or unable to receive it, or would pervert it. So God Himself incapacitates many men, by color-blindness, to distinguish colors, and leads the masses away from the highest Truth, giving them the power to attain only so much of it as it is profitable to them to know." - Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma p 104-5

"Masonry is a succession of allegories, the mere vehicles of great lessons in morality and philosophy. You will more fully appreciate its spirit, its object, its purposes, as you advance in the different Degrees, which you will find to constitute a great, complete, and harmonious system.

If you have been disappointed in the first three Degrees, as you have received them, and if it has seemed to you that the performance has not come up to the promise, that the lessons of morality are not new, and the scientific instruction is but rudimentary, and the symbols are imperfectly explained, remember that the ceremonies and lessons of those Degrees have been for ages more and more accommodating themselves, by curtailment and sinking into commonplace, to the often limited memory and capacity of the Master and Instructor, and to the intellect and needs of the Pupil and Initiate; that they have come to us from an age when symbols were used, not to reveal but to conceal; when the commonest learning was confined to a select few, and the simplest principles of morality seemed newly discovered truths; and that these antique and simple Degrees now stand like the broken columns of a roofless Druidic temple, in their rude and mutilated greatness; in many parts, also, corrupted by time, and disfigured by modern additions and absurd interpretations. They are but the entrance to the great Masonic Temple, the triple columns of the portico." - Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma p 106
 
Top