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Masonic News & Views - Polarities
March 31, 2014
I've been thinking a lot lately about our society and how we always seem to be at odds with one another. Every problem or issue seems to result not in resolution but an argument or conflict between 'us' and 'them.' And, because we're all so busy trying to explain or show that the problem or issue is their fault or their responsibility we never come together to find a solution. While trying to organize my thoughts on the subject the below trestle-board showed up in my inbox. I requested and received permission to re-publish, and I think the Brother's thoughts are well worth considering not only for our conduct within the Lodge but also as responsible citizens.
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Trowel-Talk #37 by Brother Tom Lyle, PVST#29
Question: What are polarities and why are they potential destroyers of society?
Answer: My brothers, about fifty years ago I took some evening extension courses in Boston. They were inexpensive and held at a famous university. One course was on the History of West Africa. It was taught by a West African professor at that university. You know, Robert Frost used to compare his education to a walk in a field—some burrs stuck to his pant legs and some didn't. Well one thing (burr might be appropriate) that stuck to me was a story about a French General who was sort of famous for sometimes not fighting and still winning battles.
It seems that if a city was in the path of his campaign, he would send in some spies to find out the polarities of the society there. In short, what was ticking them off the most. After a while his spies returned and convened a committee to determine which polarities they would build a fire under -- aggravate to the extreme. They then sent in soldiers in disguise to maximize the polarizations. Naturally the citizens there over the next few weeks and months became violently upset (which is the nature of fueled polarities). By the time the general arrived at the front gates of the city, the citizens as well as the leaders were begging him to come in and take over the city. Polarities reside in each of us in varying degrees. The experienced Mason, well studied in the understanding and the application of our Working Tools, will recognize in himself the destructive power of polarities on an individual as well as a group basis.
Some polarities are long standing throughout the history of Humanity; others crop up with the times. Listening for a few minutes to a talk-radio show may introduce you to some of the more explosive polarities and potentially explosive polarities of our times. On an individual basis, if you give a person time to share you will most probably find out what really upsets, or polarizes him or her. Of course they won't use the term polarize, just a vividly detailed description of what ticks them off no end. Sound familiar? Could it happen (does it happen) in a Masonic Lodge? Does Freemasonry understand about the potential destruction of a lodge due to the indiscriminate fueling of polarities? The S.W. in our opening ceremony explains this most eloquently.
So how do our polarities relate to our practice of Brotherly Love? That is easy to answer. Is the Lodge thriving or decaying? Polarities are not pie-in-the-sky esoteric considerations. They fuel local and world news as well as individual debates of all kinds. They are what the enemies of harmony use as weapons to create disharmony. They have been with Mankind since he became a thinking being, conscious of making choices.
How can we not add fuel to polarities, whether it is among friends, neighbors, work mates, family or Lodge? We would have to want to radiate Brotherly Love more than we want to promulgate what really ticks us off. We would have to care more about radiating brotherly love than gaining allies (convincing others that our side of the polarity is the right side).
So what ticks you off and how will you not share it with your Lodge brothers?
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