Bro. Jon Patrick Sage
As I was driving down the road a few days ago, it occurred to me that my parents, and especially my grandparents, had a much broader grouping of friends than I do. Oh sure, we all have best friends, and close family. However, OUTSIDE of Masonry, that is about the extent of my “friends” (Facebook Friends DON’T count here). I don’t go to a bowling league, or play softball. My wife doesn’t host a card club, and she doesn’t sell Tupperware. Our kids are pretty much out of the house, and we don’t carpool to A.M. Kindergarten. We go to work, come home, eat supper, and go to bed. In the middle of all of this, I ride my motorcycle a few times a month, and she visits with the girls, or goes out to see her Parents. We are conversational with our neighbors, but there are no “Block Parties” going on in the Boulevards. This is pretty much the extent of ours’, and of other families’ social routines within our area, on a day to day basis. Once again, we are speaking OUTSIDE of Masonry, and this will become important in a minute or so.
Was it always like that? If not, when did things change, and how did they change? I remember my grandparents played cards, fished, went to baseball games, bowled, played and watched softball, went to the County Fair – and they didn’t do these things by themselves! They enjoyed these activities with co-workers, family, and neighbors. Theirs was a wide circle of acquaintance, and it must have been that way by necessity.
In the 1950’, 60’s, Television was still new, there were no cell phones- rotary dials were in fashion. On up into the mid 1980’s, people answered the phone in a way that identified who they were… there was no Caller I.D. Plus, you didn’t know who was on the other end of the line, so be polite! There were no chat rooms, and I didn’t get my first Cell Phone until 2000. Online social media didn’t even appear until the late 1990’s, and even then, the almighty Facebook and/or Myspace account didn’t become commonplace until 2005 or so. In short, we were FORCED to communicate with, and know each other, in order to survive.
Nowadays, it’s different. If I don’t want to talk to someone at work, or even at home; I don’t have to. I can text, or email… I can instant message, or post on their wall. I can like, or un-like their pictures and comments. I can friend people, and I can unfriend them whenever I take the whim. I can even BLOCK those who I simply don’t want anything to do with, or otherwise disagree. I can function, in the modern world, perfectly fine, and if I so desire, never talk, face to face, to anyone!
Is this a healthy way to live? Of course it isn’t. This is unhealthy both mentally and physically. We need human interaction, we need public discourse, and we need – from time to time, disagreements! To disagree, and to then compromise and come together, we become stronger and better people.
As in the Fellow Craft Lecture, “Hearing is that sense by which”… “we receive the greatest and most important part of our knowledge by the information of others”. To Hear others (and presumably at some point, with proper Grammar, to respond), is the foundation of our learning. Thus, we NEED others in our lives to play an active part in our daily activities, and us in theirs.
Where do we find such a place, in this modern world? We find it INSIDE the Institution of Masonry!
We find it, that which is missing in modern society, in Lodge assembled, and then afterward, with fellowship amongst the Brethren. We, in Lodge, have not forgotten how to interact. We understand the importance of friendship, and the displays of that friendship. We understand many of the things that the outside world has forgotten. Yes, our Fraternity has moved along with technology, but it hasn’t done so, at least not yet, in a way that lends itself towards being as corrupted and defiled as the outside World. We are Brothers, friends, fathers, sons… teachers and pupils; all of us. We depend on each other in projects around the community, at Lodge, in our own homes. We have remembered something, and we practice, what the rest of the world has forgotten.
The Tenets of our Profession – Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth, may we never neglect them!
We meet upon the Level, act upon the Plumb, and part upon the Square. We are truly set apart from the world that is without.
We are Masons. S.M.I.B.