Eternity which is the product of both life and death. That we have obligations both to ourselves and to others. That creation is the result of both imagination and power. Knowledge comes both from study and from sudden insight of inspiration. Both good and evil exist in the world.
Category: Masonic Education
We have obligations to ourselves and others. Man, while only one being is composed of body and spirit, that they are both temporary and eternal. Visually dualism as presented in the Ineffable Degrees can be easily seen in the Fourteenth Degree where the Seal of Solomon — two interlaced triangles, one white and the other black — hinting at the principal of duality is hung in the east over the Venerable Master. This symbol is an ancient one, however, and not Masonic in its origins.
The earliest appearance so far discovered was in the ancient kingdom of Lagash in the Middle-East long before the rise of Babylon. It is later to be found among the rock carvings in an ancient Hittite cemetery. In summary, the concept of duality is well entrenched within the Scottish Rite as well as within Freemasonry.
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Could we function without duality? Behavior must be judged according to what is right in opposition to what is wrong. There would be no light if there was no darkness; one needs a reference point to rate systems, physical phenomena, and ethics. The system of Freemasonry understands this concept and has most appropriately incorporated duality in our rituals, degrees, and lectures, and through time could massage their message to fit the times and current culture. Endnotes 1. Rex R. Moral sense can be defined as that which has been given to man to discern right from wrong.
The concept of reason is one by which man decides the wisest and best course of conduct.
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Alternatively, the square represents man's earthly, material nature and can be described as the sensual appetites and passions of a human being. These characteristics man shares with animals, and so far as they rule a man, he is but an animal. When a candidate is prepared for initiation, he represents man in the state of barbarism, ignorance, and subjugation. Furthermore, the candidate is hoodwinked and so symbolically deprived of the light of knowledge. The candidate is also divested of all metals.
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This was originally applied to the most precious metals of gold and silver and symbolized the deprivation of the light of reason and moral sense. Going even further, gold originally represented the sun and silver the moon. So, a blindfolded candidate divested of all metals is denied a vision of the light and vision of the sun and moon, in other words, deprived of the ability to discern morally or think rationally.
Remembering that the two points of the compasses represent moral sense and reason and the two arms of the square represent sensual appetites and passions gives us great insight into the significant of these symbols. With great care it is pointed out to the candidate that the two points of the compasses are under the square in the entered apprentice degree.
Scottish Rite Master Craftsman Program - Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, S.J., U.S.A.
Thus, without moral compass and rationality, man is destined to be no better than an animal and governed only by blind instinct. In the Fellowcraft degree, one point of the compasses is elevated above the square, and this fact is specifically pointed out to the candidate. Such teaches the candidate that by zealous work he can begin to attain light and that the progressive journey of a faithful man is from darkness to light. In our teachings, the candidate is reminded that Freemasonry is a journey and can be attained only by degrees, the journey of a man traveling from ignorance to enlightenment and that of a man maturing from his animal instincts to a willingness to serve the greater good.
The Fellowcraft degree represents that the candidate's earthly appetites and passions no longer have complete control over his conduct. The third degree is the keystone of the three, and as a Master Mason, the candidate is instructed that both points of the compasses are elevated above the square.
This teaches the candidate that he is expected to have developed his moral, intellectual, and spiritual forces so that they control his material and animal forces. It is the recognition that man owes a greater duty than just to himself and that the best expression of his nature is one of self-sacrifice and service to others. The candidate becomes a Master Mason because, symbolically, he has become a Master of himself.
We are also taught that the principal tenants of Masonry are said to be included between the two points of the compasses.