Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Save Us From Ourselves. Somebody, Please.

If there was just one phrase I wish every Freemason the world over would eliminate from their vocabulary, it would be "We have no secrets." Somebody just said it again in Nevada earlier this month.

Please. Stop. Saying. It.

Yes, Freemasons do have secrets. Not everyone is entitled to them. They are symbols of our honor as gentlemen. And no, we can't tell you.

Is that so damned hard to say?

9 comments:

Michael said...

Brother Chris,

This brings me back to your speech at the Albany Masonic Temple last year. I am glad someone isn't afraid to say it. Saying we have no secrets is taking the color out of the painting. It is an attempt to subvert that which we hold sacred. The parts of Freemasonry I hold most dear are in fact from the work of our Craft. They are what make it beautiful, thought-provoking and enriching.

Michael W Leonard
JD, Unity Lodge #9 F&AM of NY

masonicleader said...

I agree. Also I find the comment "we have to change with the times," when used to argue for making Masonry more convenient, equally offensive. The last brother who made that comment to me couldn’t understand why I felt it unnecessary for Masonry to change in that regard. We have been too busy making “pop tart” Masons to take the time to help them become Masons.

Nathan said...

The word "secret" doesn't mean what we think it does -- at least not anymore.

And worse, it gives our detractors something to hang their charges on.

As I said on Facebook, we need to find another word.

Dawson (Clawson) said...

I've only had this conversation with a handful of people and I'm already tired of having it.

I get the impression that "secret" can imply something malicious or suspect in the ear of the beholder, but there really isn't anything that can be done about it. Also, I don't think that looking for a euphemism is the right way to go about it.

I like what you said here "Yes, Freemasons do have secrets. Not everyone is entitled to them. They are symbols of our honor as gentlemen. And no, we can't tell you."

I think that's all that needs to be said. I like the assertion that rests in this statement, too. I don't like feeling that I have to be on the defensive.

Altering vocabulary as of now....

Matt said...

Greetings brother,

I'm a newly raised Mason, and have encountered several lines of questioning from my co-workers and friends. I've gotten into the bad habit of telling people that the only secrets we have are about modes of recognition.

They all watch the History Channel specials, hear Jesse Ventura on his conspiracy show. What's a better way to approach this?

Tom Accuosti said...

Kinda reminds me of how a few years ago, lodges in Conn were encouraged to change their name in the phone book from ___ Masonic Temple to ___ Masonic Lodge. The idea at the time was that "temple" sounded too religious, and gave the antis something to complain about.

I'm all for reclaiming "temple," "secrets," and some of the other things that we've tossed out over the years to make ourselves look bland, vanilla, and unexciting.

bloggermouse said...

Non-Mason chiming in for your amusement.

It seems to me that the phrase "we have no secrets" is meta in the best sense. It functions on both the exoteric and esoteric levels just like the subject it addresses.

Exoteric translation: "there are no secret words, phrases, or ideas that, upon communication to the uninitiated, would reveal anything useful. It is not akin to an inside line at the racetrack or stock trading pit. I cannot give these secrets to you any more than I could do 50 push-ups for you. I could do the push-ups near you while you watch but you would accrue no benefit."

Esoteric translation: {silence}

Allow me to suggest the phrase could best be used in conversation where thoughtful people might mull it, grind it, talk about it. It would not be productive as a bumpersticker-level statement of philosphy. Erasmus reminds us about discussing philosophy in front of the mob...

Chris Hodapp said...

Allow me to suggest the phrase could best be used in conversation where thoughtful people might mull it, grind it, talk about it. It would not be productive as a bumpersticker-level statement of philosophy.

And not, for instance, with a newspaper reporter.

Wayfaring Man said...

Personally, I prefer:
"Secrets? What secrets? [wink}."