Loss of Symbolic Meaning


The education of symbolism is lost today in a sea of symbolic overload. At every turn a milieu of symbols look back at us broadcasting their individual message. The messages are as varied as the symbol: buy me, support me, follow me, play me, watch me, identify with me, all so overwhelming that we can be personally identified by a series of symbols that visually describe who we are. They become, in effect, our cultural identity.

So what does that mean to Freemasonry? As a personal education system of symbols and allegories, we stand in competition with a world of full of symbolic meaning. This has not always been the problem, I would argue, and that in time gone by, there was less visual competition. Man’s ability to learn through symbolism is dulled in many ways with so much noise from the profusion of symbolic messages. More symbolic imagery competes to communicate their messages. In time past, the education of the mystery school’s, channeled through a few outlets, have had stronger more salient messages, and heard by more people open to its message. But, as what happens with evolution, time and environment have change and Freemasonry has not changed. Our symbols have become lost to the profane on their meaning, purpose, and importance drowned by an overload of icons. It is quickly becoming relegated to a modern history that has forgotten it’s distant past, omitting its archaic origins, and decrying its ideals. Ironically, they are the very ideas that are in even more need today.

The symbols of Freemasonry, even to Freemasons, are no longer studied seriously, instead they are diverted to monitors and auxiliary classes more easily ignored by the membership. In many respects, Freemasons are responsible for the dilution and erosion of its symbolic significance. The symbols and meanings need to be reintroduced to the world as symbolic to what Freemasonry is, and who Freemasons are. The models of communication may vary whether through public service (charity), open houses, public awareness, campaigns, family outreach, and involvement. The symbols of Freemasonry are powerful, as any master will attest, but powerful symbolism is worthless of not leveraged properly in their use. This does not mean to advertise is as a commodity, instead show by example their value and worth. Only then will the symbols of Freemasonry have a chance to be visible again through the sea of symbolism.

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~ by Greg on November 30, 2005.

2 Responses to “Loss of Symbolic Meaning”

  1. Great post…

    Fraternally, Arod

  2. Masonic symbolism, transmitted through the initiatic tradition, is as powerful and accessible as ever. True, few study it. But few ever did. Those with bottom-line mentalities agonize over membership loss and gloat over gain. But dues cards or not, they are not on the Masonic path. And numbers or not, that path blazes bright to those who seek it.

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