Sunday, December 23, 2007

Form and Function

There are two aspects of Free Masonry that are often confused as the same thing. They are not the same thing. The most apparent aspect of Free Masonry is the administrative body that “governs” a group of lodges. The second aspect, which is the most important, is the initiatic experience in the fraternity. The administrative aspect of a group of lodges cannot provide the initiatic aspect. These two aspects of Free Masonry can be mutually exclusive.
The administrative aspect of Free Masonry serves several valuable purposes. A grand lodge can facilitate communications between the various lodges. This is a very important purpose for a grand lodge. A grand lodge can also serve to arbitrate disputes between lodges. The grand lodge also exists to maintain the rules agreed upon by the Brethren within their lodges. Finally, the grand lodge exists to act as a “spokesman” for the organization of lodges so that they may more efficiently interact with other groups of lodges.
In all Masonic grand jurisdictions around the world there are only two models of government that are used. One model is the “power model” in which sovereignty is conferred upon the grand jurisdiction and the lodges have agreed to follow the lead of the sovereign body. There is a delicate balance in this model that must be maintained to ensure the health and viability of the organization. The balance that must be struck is that the grand jurisdiction must balance its supreme authority with the service that it owes to its lodges. The flaw in this system resides in the aristocratic fallacy. Masons laboring under this type of system must be very vigilant as to whom they elect to serve in the grand officer positions. The Masons laboring under this type of system need a mechanism in place to assure that they are able to insure that they are getting the proper leadership. A Grand Master under this system presides as the sole leader. He often has a retinue of staff that assists as advisors.
The second model of the administrative aspect of Free Masonry is the “liberty model.” Under this model of government sovereignty resides in the lodges of this group. The grand jurisdiction has no powers not specifically granted to them by the lodges. Of course this system can turn into a power model system if the lodges are not consistent in maintaining their sovereignty. This particular model also has a delicate balance that must be maintained. The balance is that of lodges having to exercise their sovereignty at all times. The flaw in this system resides in the democratic fallacy. Masons laboring under this system must be very vigilant in exercising and maintaining their sovereignty. They must also participate in their organization in an active manner. In order to do this the Brethren laboring under this system must be educated on how to proceed within their governmental system. Absolute transparency in government is required for this system to operate correctly.
If we take the power model as the thesis and the liberty model as the anti-thesis there is an apparent synthesis. Is there a way in which we can balance sovereignty at the highest levels with the inalienable rights of the Brethren at the lodge level? I am unconvinced at this point as to the viability of a synthesis between the power model and the liberty model. Further research and social experimentation is required.

Travel well Brothers

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

The answer is the rooster on the roof. Which side would his egg fall off? Clearly we can not have a complete synthesis whereas the two could enforce an actual accord. One must negate the other. Your argument is sound, yet the wording needs a little more work.

John Galt said...

I had to cut some stuff out for the blog. The original paper is much longer, and is not finished yet. I still have a few months before I have to show a completed paper.

When you state that one must negate the other I agree somewhat. My interest is not so much being able to develop a synthesis of the two models, but determining how Masonic organizations that are so different can "speak" to each other.

Anonymous said...

I read with interest your most recent posting and one question came to mind right off the bat - What dictionary are you using? "Initiatic"?

Clearly, you need to spend a little more time on presentation to be more credible. Nevermind the amateur attempts at sociology. I suspect the paper you are working on is a 5 page or less double-space paper for your local junior college.

Good luck and please buy dictionary and a Chicago Manual of Style.

MG Pierce said...

Anonymous...

Are you serious? Is that really the first thing that came to your mind? Is it because you, too, are currently having trouble with your five page double-spaced paper?

How far have you stuck your neck out with your opinions?

Please, for the rest of us that have moved beyond pointing out simple spelling errors, would it be possible for you to come to the table with something substantive to discuss?

As for a better presentation - maybe you would make better use of your time watching television. There are lots of pretty pictures on TV. Or maybe you would prefer Galt to put his masonic ideas on a billboard next to the highway?

Share the secret anyone?

John Galt said...

Sir,
I am sorry if my word choice offended you. If you have nothing more to offer the discussion or if you are unable to address the points made in the post I would ask that you not post at all.
I am sure that an Oxford graduate such as you can appreciate this. You are also aware, I am sure, that attacking the speaker rather than the speech is a clear logical fallacy. I can only assume that you were rushed.
Do you have anything of value to offer?

brother said...

I am amazed to see such an attack on another. The first anon poster clearly read the post with good intent. The second anon poster evidently could never have an accord with a brother of sound mind. His post is left wanting.

Anonymous said...

Galt,

While I appreciate the whimsical and pithy verbage you offer, a speaker who wishes to seek change in secrecy is not a revolutionary at all but, rather just a whisper in an unpopulated forest.

As for attacking the speaker and not the speech - how much confidence in a speaker should one have when the speaker pronounces his beliefs from behind a tree?

While attacking a speaker may not do much to diminish the message - attacking the speaker can and often does test the speaker's credibility such that we can decide whether the speaker is really knowledgable on the topic at hand or is, instead, merely inciting discord for his own pleasure.

Which is it Galt? Are you truly credible and seeking true change or are you simply fighting your own demons?

Anonymous said...

confused? Hens lay eggs not roosters...........

Anonymous said...

"As for attacking the speaker and not the speech - how much confidence in a speaker should one have when the speaker pronounces his beliefs from behind a tree?"

Well said! I couldn't agree more.

It's very disturbing when people have to hide their identity on things like an internet blog. After all Galt is clearly not his real name and he refuses to reveal who he really is. This makes me so mad I just want to cry anonymously.

candide said...

Who is John Galt?

Anonymous said...

I think the better question is who isn't John Galt?

candide said...

I can only anwser that when you explain how roosters lay eggs?

Anonymous said...

in vitro fertilization

John Galt said...

Brethren,
Sorry for the length of time in responding to our welcome guests who ask some interesting questions. I have had some small computer problems that have been more than a small annoyance.

Regarding my personal demons, those are my problem. This is quite similar to your demons being your own problem.

Regarding my name. My name is Brandt Smith. I sign most of my posts as such but sometimes I just I guess I just don't. I do apologize for any confusion on the matter. I am not speaking from secret. Yes, I would like to see true change and I am not speaking from behind a tree. Sorry if I gave that impression.

As to my credibility, that is for you decide. I have spent a considerable amount of time seeking and learning to the best of my meager ability. You obviously have done so as well. BTW, I would love the opportunity to meet with you on the level as I suspect the conversation would be well worth my time.

As to discord, I would never wish to see discord. I do not bow to that particular goddess. I do truly do wish to see everything turn out for the best.

Brandt Smith

Anonymous said...

Ohio State ranked #1???

Please, who does these rankings and how wrong were they proven!

In the end, it appears the SEC is the best in the land.

Anonymous said...

Hi brandt,
sorry to see you go off the deep
end. what you did not like about
michigan masonry you could have tried to correct from within by
keeping your "course" of an officer
in the different masonic bodies!

you are like a martin luther compared to a st. francis.

i still like you as a person though!

John Galt said...

Brother (allegedly as you have not told me who you are),
Are you serious? If you would be so kind as to tell what "deep end" you feel I have gone off I would be most appreciative. I don't think that you understand my position at all. I ask that you attempt to see matters from my point of view.
As far as working within the system to make the serious changes that so called mainstream Masonry needs is a fruitless endeavor. I have spoken to the men that have tried. I have also spoken to the Brothers (33rds and such) that have tried, seen the reality, and now you don't see them at reunions. You would see them at certain "clandestine" meetings.
There are many good things in the "mainstream" system of Masonry. Why would a thinking man work within the system to accomplish something that cannot be accomplished there when the system that allows it already exists?
As to you liking me as a person anyway, I wish I could say the same. You have not identified yourself (though I have my a few ideas as to your identity). I hope that you can see how derogatory your statement of liking me as a person is. It is a slap in the face. It is a slap that I won't accept.
What you have offered is that you can like me as a person even though I have decided to not be a member of your social club. Why would such a statement (particularly an anonymous one) be worth anything?
I am neither a Martin Luther nor a Saint Francis and I don't intend to be. I am not a revolutionary as was alluded to in an earlier post. I am simply a man and a Mason.
I am glad that you can like me anyway. Sorry that my personal actions have caused you grief.

Anonymous said...

Galt-

"Why would a thinking man work within the system to accomplish something that cannot be accomplished there when the system that allows it already exists?"

I read that portion of your recent post, read it again, and read it one more time and to be completely honest - I do not understand what it is you are trying to say.

It appears that (and if I'm incorrect then please advise) you sense that efforts to change the masonic organization is and therefore, you started your own.

In some regard that line of thought would find comfort with our founding fathers or most immigrants to our country. In another sense, you are simply impatient of the pace of change or a person lacking in commitment to an organization and simply quit.

I'm not sure which of the above you really are. Clearly, you sense frustration with the existing organization and I detect frustration with the pace of change in the organization but, to quit and start a new organization does little to you position other than to brand you as a "quitter" and a "heretic". Neither of which society has much use for other than to be some footnote in history as a distant voice of change. Never quite making the text of history.

I am saddened that you gave up in the manner you did. Change from without is far less noble than change from within.

You place in history is by your own doing and that is merely a distant crier.

If you really are a man and a mason - act as one. Work toward change within the organization and not through some charade called the "Euclid Lodge".

Anonymous said...

In your original post at the end you said.

"I am unconvinced at this point as to the viability of a synthesis between the power model and the liberty model. Further research and social experimentation is required."

I am curious as to what research and social experimentation you have conducted to date?

John Galt said...

The interesting thing about freedom as it does not require submission nor comformity. It does require respect or the system just does not work in the long run.

You may not agree with the Brothers in Euclid Lodge. That is okay. Change is quite possible under the Grand Lodge system. I saw the efforts of some of those changes on the interstate. That was pushed through with little resistance. Changes that supported sovereignty and the ability of a lodge to fully develop its own character are "against the rules."

This being the case we left. There is a need for what we offer. I have good reason to believe that this will be more and more obvious as time goes on. If not, we may end up being that historical footnote that you alluded to. Regardless, I believe in my heart and mind that what I am doing is right. I have to see this through. I hope that you can understand that. We were simply not fulfilled so we found and developed a way to find that fulfillment that we needed. I must follow my own conscience as you must follow your conscience.

As to research and study being conducted on this subject. I am sure that you realize that this is a difficult subject. I have an idea of a study that would be useful in providing information about this subject. Designing this study is proving just as boring and difficult as it sounds. There have been some studies in the past that have yielded some interesting results but they focus more on the organic social level rather than the organizational level.

What I would like to see is something similar to the false prison test conducted at UCB applied to organizations that hold equal footing. Imagine for a moment that the students selected as guards did not hold absolute authority over the students selected as inmates. That is a rough analogy of what I have in mind but you get the picture. Can two organizations, one working from the power model and one working from the liberty model (as described by Boaz), actually interact in a productive and fruitful manner?

Brandt

candide said...

"I am saddened that you gave up in the manner you did. Change from without is far less noble than change from within". I think most people would have to disagree with this silly statement. Think back to early Christianity, the War of Independence, Russian Revolution to name a few, none were changed from within.......

Anonymous said...

john gait what a joke,

i'll be hiram.

the deep end was you slapping
masonry in the face. you were
liked a respected by the masonic
brothers.

what an ego you have. worshipful
master of so-called euclid lodge.
a lodge of one person? you
claim to have many members and
people ready to join.

i'd liked to see a list of your
"clandestine" brothers names.
you have the guts to say that
the 33rds go to clandestine meetings! how would you know?

you call me anonymous. but i do
not see any of "your so-called brothers" names on here sticking up
for you!

you are a person, now, that i
can't even talk to. i will not
comment again with you. you are
the worst of element of masonry and good riddance.

no need to debate. i found the rotten apple in the barrel.
oops it's discarded.

Tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony said...

anonymous,
It isn't any of my business to publish to you the names of the other Euclid Brothers, but I will tell you mine. I am Tony Melton, formerly of Doric Lodge #342, now of Euclid Lodge.
Brother, the vitriol that your post contains is truly the worst of element of Masonry. Please, learn to control your passions.
Tony

mg pierce said...

anonymous:

Could you explain how Galt slapped masonry in the face?

Please, put together a coherent argument and present it here. If you have any true insight, you have yet to reveal it.

State your case, support it, and let's discuss it like Masons.

I have a question for you. You feel Galt should have tried to change the Lodge from within. So are you conceding the argument that change is necessary? How do you think the brethren would respond to what Galt has suggested on this blog? Would we have been receptive on the level?

Are Brandt and Tony, as free, American men, lodge brothers of their own free will and accord, able to choose to join a different lodge without being labeled heretics?

Whereas I am uninterested in your real name, I am utterly intrigued with your fears. Please, if you will, tell me why you are so fearful of Euclid Lodge? Why has Euclid made you so wary?

Chad Vander Ven said...

My name is Chad Vander Ven, and I am a Euclid man. I was initiated, passed, and raised by Kalamazoo-Anchor Lodge #22, and was formerly a member of the Kalamazoo Valley Council of the AMD, the Valley of Grand Rapids (MI) A.A.S.R., and Kalamazoo-Battle Creek York Rite, admitted to the Order of the Temple and all previous degrees of chapter, council, and commandery. I was also a member of the Philalethes Society and a Charter Member of the Knights of St. Andrew, Grand Rapids Chapter. I am now only a member of Euclid, and a Free-Mason.

So, here's one name for you chief! Oh, and if you want to go around spouting garbage please save it for someone who may be impressed by it. Until then, as Bro. Tony wrote, please control your passions. It's basic EA stuff man, but then the GL of Michigan really doesn't teach much in those one-day all degree events do they?

mg pierce said...

Chad:

You've obviously missed the secret teachings hidden in the billboards.

Jakal said...

"What I would like to see is something similar to the false prison test conducted at UCB applied to organizations that hold equal footing. Imagine for a moment that the students selected as guards did not hold absolute authority over the students selected as inmates. That is a rough analogy of what I have in mind but you get the picture. Can two organizations, one working from the power model and one working from the liberty model (as described by Boaz), actually interact in a productive and fruitful manner?"

First, The Prison Experience was conducted at Standford University not UCB.

Second, if trying to look at ways to get two groups to cooperate with each other you would be better off looking at The Robber's Cave experiment (Muzafer Sherif 1961) or possibly the research paradigm of The Prisoner's Dilemma.

The Prison Experience was designed to look at the development of norms and the effects of roles and labels as well as social expectations would have in a prison type enviroment. While this is a study dealing with antisocial behavior I would find it hard pressed to be an ideal launching ground for what you propose.

However, if you still feel that the Prison Experience is what you want to focus on then I suggest you look at two modern day versions created for television.

"The Experiment" www.bbc.co.uk/science/theexperiment/

or

"The Human Zoo" by the Discovery Channel (sorry, I don't have a link for this one)


Good luck in your studies.

Anonymous said...

To chad who i do not know.
To mg who i do not know.
To tony who i do know and i won't
comment on.

I'm not afraid of so-called euclid
lodge. i do not believe it is a
real lodge. i think it is a joke.
and a bad one but let these guys
have it. let them be happy. yes this is america. so they are free
to do what they want.

I also do not feel there is any
change necessary to the grand
lodge of michigan. i've been a
mason longer than brandt and tony.
changes that need to be made are
taken care of at grand lodge not
by walking away.

Yes, mg, i feel as you put it they
are heritics. are they lodge
brothers now? Not one person i know
feels they are. masonry has a
way of weeding out the malcontents.

Since when can a mason who has not
gone through the chairs and not
recognized by grand lodge call
himself a worshipful master.
brandt is only fooling himself
if he thinks someday he will be
recognized by grand lodge. his
rev. jim jones charisma has only
hurt other masons.

Tony, you too, never saw anything
through in commandry, scottish
rite, etc. maybe with brandt you can. i wish you good luck.

This is, and i mean it, the last time i will respond to these "clandestine" masons. i have
better things to do with my time
than a wasteful debate.

Good luck boys.

Oh, chad, by the way you called
yourself a charter member of the
knight of st andrew. that is another thing that brandt did not
see through. there is no charter yet for this organization so don't
be calling yourself one. this was
never completed or started officially by you
drop-outs.

Anonymous

Tony said...

"To tony who i do know and i won't
comment on."
"Tony, you too, never saw anything
through in commandry, scottish
rite, etc. maybe with brandt you can. i wish you good luck."

Your lashing out at me from behind the vial of anonymity doesn't do anything for your argument.

"i've been a mason longer than brandt and tony."

Again, you hide like a coward so I don't know who you are or if you really are a Mason, let alone how long you have been one. One thing is certain, you don't act like one.

If you wish to meet on the level, then tell us who you are and we will talk. Perhaps we can learn from each other.

Anonymous said...

I also know all three of you, Brandt,Tony,and Chad. Known of you have completed what you have started. As far as the Knights of Saint Andrews, Yes it was Brandt that had the Idea for it. But that agian did not complete it. I know the person who is trying to make it work. If I know him as well as I think I do, It will be a great organazation. Good luck to you three. Maybe you will make Euclid work.

montag said...

Anonymous whoever you are there are a few lines in Masonry about if a Brother strays talk to him and try and get him back on the path. Your attacks are uncalled for and made worse by your anonymity.
According to your view of Masonry if you disagree with status quo whether it be right or wrong that means you are no longer a Mason?
Benjamin Franklin was shunned and kicked out of so called regular Masonry, so in your view is he no longer a Mason?
Bro. David Allen

candide said...

What I think Bro. Allen is trying to say, maybe you can not visit Bro. Brandt's lodge as a Mason but you can still talk with him as a Mason and friend.

Chad Vander Ven said...

It is unfortunate that civility is so easily replaced by rancor. Instead of speaking, face to face and on the level, we have resorted to spitting out quips and derogatory comments.

To clarify, you are correct when you say that the Knights of St. Andrew did not come to fruition. The reasons behind this are several but suffice it to say, you are correct in your assertion.

Further, Bro. Brandt's so-called Jim Jones Charisma is something of an exaggeration don't you think? Have you ever thought that perhaps it was not the man, but the idea which was so intoxicating? Could it be possible that more than one Mason in Michigan is unimpressed with the status of Michigan Masonry and feels that going elsewhere might be a more suitable choice for him to pursue the kind of Masonic experience he longs to have? Before slinging mud, please consider the logic of your statement.

You claim to know me, which is fine, many people do -- I'm kind of a gregarious sort, so it's likely you do. However, I have made the effort to give you my name, please return said effort and give me yours.

It is this unwillingness to speak, honestly and openly, that led so many to consider something like Euclid Lodge. The real sadness is that the rancor seems so one-sided, and masked behind anonymity.

Nonetheless, Euclid Lodge is what it is, and decisions have been and will be made. I can only wish you well in your laudable pursuits, and counsel you towards an open mind and a listening ear.