Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bro. Peace responds to Bro. Olano

A Response to "Without Faith," by Jeff Peace, May 9, 2006

Bro. Rudy Olano was kind enough to write a brief response to my short essay entitled The Future: Advancing Masonic Morality in both Natural Philosophy and Geometry. I feel it necessary to respond to his article to correct the inaccuracies, misrepresentation, and, in some cases, outright distortions of the original meaning of my essay. Below is a copy of Bro. Olano's response, for those of you who have not had the opportunity to review it.

Without Faith
By Rudy Olano
May 5, 2006

In The Future: Advancing Masonic Morality in both Natural Philosophy and Geometry, by Jeff Peace, the article certainly caught my attention as the title suggests a subject that could have shed further light to the study we know as Freemasonry. The use of key phrases such as morality, philosophy and geometry as the title succeeded in drawing attention and curiosity. Reading on, one could not help but realized that the piece was about promoting the "United Grand Lodge of America." The organization claims to be "a lighthouse of the original Masonic philosophy of the early eighteenth century" and "in the position to advance the Royal Art to levels never before imagined by Masons of any generation." The author boldly claimed that the "dream to the Free-Masons of 1717" can now "be realized for the first time." While the article championed the virtues of being pro-activeness and exhort "our gentle Craft" to rise and "meet the challenge of generations yet unborn," it also blamed the current Freemasonry or as the author described as "our Peculiar System of Morality," for the failure of "both Masonry and humanity." The eight paragraph article concluded with an ominous declaration "to the purveyors of darkness, superstition and tyranny" of their betrayal and dramatic end of their life.

The repeated use of "Free-Masonry" in place of normally used "Freemasonry" raises the question of the purpose and motive of the writer. Skirting legal issues? The UGLA's website has the look of a regular Masonic body. The symbols, quotations from Masonic scholars and publications such as Ancient Landmarks, Anderson’s Constitution, etc.., are liberally utilized to achieve the appearance of legitimacy. Are they? The article audaciously proclaimed that the old tradition is lifeless and that "guarded secret" should be given to the "rightful inheritance of humanity as a whole," that is "time to restore this gift to its rightful owners." Abandoning tradition for the sake of what? More members therefore, more paid dues? Does the UGLA really believe that if the humanity knows the "secret word," that mankind will change and live a life without fear, hunger, and sickness?

For someone with daring to proclaim that the past — the traditions is dead and those who clings to that notion "will die with it," is a sad conclusion which could only come from someone who seems to be at loss of understanding of what the Craft is all about. A system whose aim is to make a good man to be a better man is alive. What appears to be dying is the comprehension of who we are and what purpose Freemasonry exists.

Freemasonry is not about paid off dues card; it's not about achieving "32nd degree," not about making children laugh or about changing the world to New Order. It's about building a temple not made by hands but eternal in heaven. The allegory behind the study of grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy directs us to better understand ourselves. Understanding our own strengths and frailties make us appreciate the struggles within ourselves. Man will always contend with wickedness within himself, for as long as man walk on the face of this Earth, man will always be exposed to evil. That's why we are men not gods.

The journey will take us to a rough and rugged road; it's not going to be easy but that’s what life is always been. And in that journey, it is hope that by becoming a better man, we can influence our surrounding to make it a better place. The Scottish Rite teaches us the importance of finding the balance between good and evil. The Order of Knights Templar of the York Rite dramatizes the commitment to defend or readiness to defend ones Faith. Faith is what we believe, it maybe as simple as preserving the tradition, it could be the meaning of Life or as complex as knowing the Ultimate Unknown. Without Faith is sailing without rudder — without destination. How can a Mason search for something that was supposed to be lost, if he never knew that he lost something valuable in the first place?
Bro. Olano has a penchant for distorting facts and quotes in the vain hope that his audience, being ignorant of the truth, will simply accept his words at face value. Unfortunately for Bro. Olano, cheap rhetorical tricks are no longer sufficient to win the argument. I shall begin by pointing out his factual errors and how he has tried to turn the meaning of my essay on its head by either taking quotes out of context or by misquoting my words outright.

While the article championed the virtues of being pro-activeness and exhort "our gentle Craft" to rise and "meet the challenge of generations yet unborn," it also blamed the current Freemasonry or as the author described as "our Peculiar System of Morality," for the failure of “both Masonry and humanity." — Text as quoted by Olano

"It is, however, our 'Peculiar System of Morality' that has failed both Masonry and humanity. This is not due to fallacies in the original system as given to us by the patriarchs of our progressive science, but in our failure to maintain and adapt the system to mankind’s ever-growing knowledge of himself and the Universe." — Original text

One doesn’t have to be a master of rhetoric to see Bro. Olano’s distortion of my original statement. He states that I blame "the current Freemasonry... for the failure of 'both Masonry and humanity.'" When I actually stated that it is "our 'Peculiar System of Morality' that has failed both Masonry and humanity." Note how Bro. Olano inserts the idea that I blame the "current Freemasonry" for the failure by redefining the "Peculiar System of Morality" as the current generation of Freemasons. He then twists my statement further by claiming that I blame the current Freemasonry for "the failure of 'both Masonry and humanity'" when I actually said our peculiar system of morality had failed both Masonry and humanity. The system of morality failed, not Masonry or humanity.

"The eight paragraph article concluded with an ominous declaration 'to the purveyors of darkness, superstition and tyranny' of their betrayal and dramatic end of their life." — Olano

"Let me finish with a warning to the purveyors of darkness, superstition and tyranny: While your numbers have grown during our fitful slumbers we have not forgotten your treachery or the flames of your pyres. The All-Seeing Eye is ever watching over its children." — Peace

Perhaps Bro. Olano could enlighten us all by showing where I stated anything about the "dramatic end of their life." Clearly, the closing sentence is meant to be nothing more than allude to the reawakening of Masonic scholarship and the threat that this represents to the old guard of today’s decaying Free-Masonry. The only "dramatic" death threat here is in the paranoid imaginings of Bro. Olano's mind.

His paper goes further than merely quoting things out of context; he goes so far as to splice fragments of my statements together with those of his own invention. In this last example he preys upon the assumed complete ignorance of his audience by inserting his own fabricated statements. This type of purposeful deceit of Masonic readers by the present generation of Masons is exactly why their days are numbered. Modern Masons simply don’t have the time or inclination to search through all the lies and propaganda; they need honesty and demand integrity.

The present leaders of Masonry in America need, indeed hope for, the continued ignorance of their members in order to maintain their power and authority. The sad truth is, they are themselves wholly ignorant of Free-Masonry as the following example demonstrates.

"The repeated use of 'Free-Masonry' in place of normally used 'Freemasonry' raises the question of the purpose and motive of the writer. Skirting legal issues?" — Olano

The newest Entered Apprentice, even one with the least curiosity, can readily discover that Bro. Anderson, in his famous Constitutions of 1723 used the term "Free-Masonry" as opposed to the more modern distortion "Freemasonry." Bro. Olano, however, relies on the ignorance of his audience to make his next statement appear believable. He asks a rhetorical question: "Skirting legal issues?" He does this in hopes that you, his reader, will believe there is something illegal taking place, when he knows that Free-Masonry is not a protected corporate entity; it is a school of enlightenment.

In his next paragraph he asks an important rhetorical question: "Abandoning tradition for the sake of what?" It is important because it, like everything else in his paper, relies on your ignorance of the facts. Any quick reading of my essay The Future: Advancing Masonic Morality in both Natural Philosophy and Geometry, will show that it addresses the betterment of humanity through Free-Masonry and moral philosophy. Bro. Olano understands this but hopes that you don't. In my essay I state: "The old rules that regulated our conduct must be abandoned and replaced with new ones that better reflect the environment in which Free-Masonry now exists. Masons who live in the past will die with it, but for those who see the necessity for progress and change there is a future filled with hope and service to both the Great Architect and mankind."

I have taken his statement out of the entirety of its original context above, but will now examine it more thoroughly.

"Abandoning tradition for the sake of what? More members therefore, more paid dues? Does the UGLA really believe that if the humanity knows the "secret word," that mankind will change and live a life without fear, hunger, and sickness?" — Olano

Bro. Olano keeps twisting and perverting my statements about the value of humanity and service to the Great Architect of the Universe. At first he tries desperately to associate it with pecuniary benefits derived from a growing membership (in and of itself a ludicrous claim as the UGLA was formed in part as a reaction to the shameful chasing of candidates and dollars by the invention of one day classes) but then abruptly stops and asks yet another rhetorical question. Notice his use of rhetorical questions. He asks many questions but doesn’t provide his readers with any answers. He wants you to fill-in the answers based on where he is leading you. He relies entirely on your ignorance and gullibility, and wants you to rely on him instead for the facts.

Nowhere in my paper do I mention a "secret word" nor do I make any claim that something so silly could help aid humanity. The focus of my essay is morality and how that Free-Masonry’s highly advanced system of geometrical morality and natural philosophy can help humanity navigate through the present tumultuous times in which it now finds itself.

The next paragraph of Bro. Olano’s paper is well worth exploring.

"For someone with daring to proclaim that the past — the traditions is dead and those who clings to that notion 'will die with it,' is a sad conclusion which could only come from someone who seems to be at loss of understanding of what the Craft is all about. A system whose aim is to make a good man to be a better man is alive. What appears to be dying is the comprehension of who we are and what purpose Freemasonry exists." — Olano

He begins by arguing my misunderstanding of the Craft. Of course my supposed misunderstanding is based entirely on his restructuring of my sentences. He then loosely quotes the modern Masonic marketing slogan: "A system whose aim is to make a good man to be a better man is alive." I take up issue with this slogan because the early Free-Masons never mention any concept of making good men better. Instead, they spoke in terms of enlightenment, natural philosophy and progressive science.

Lastly, he states: "What appears to be dying is the comprehension of who we are and what purpose Freemasonry exists." Actually, from a purely historical perspective, it is his generation's perversion of the purpose of Free-Masonry that is dying and being replaced with the original intent of the founders of the society.

He, however, continues his rhetorical argument by providing his readers with the following supposed proofs.

"It's about building a temple not made by hands but eternal in heaven. The allegory behind the study of grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy directs us to better understand ourselves." — Olano

He begins by quoting from the allegory: "...building a temple not made by hands but eternal in heaven" but then says the allegory is actually behind the Trivium and Quadrivium. He says that by studying these we will come to a better understanding of ourselves. The Trivium and Quadrivium are not allegorical; they are the ancient system of education that was still in use in many places throughout the nineteenth century. The Trivium teaches the skills necessary for communication and critical thinking while the Quadrivium explains the mathematical characteristics of the Cosmos, of which the terrestrial and celestial globes atop Jachin and Boaz are an example.

Bro. Olano confuses that which is allegory with actual paths of learning and enlightenment. His failure to clearly recognize this is a demonstration of how deeply the whole "Masonic" system upon which these errors are based is sunk in darkness and confusion.

His last paragraph is a rambling bit of prose that admonishes us to have faith and seek that which was lost.

The journey will take us to a rough and rugged road; it's not going to be easy but that’s what life is always been. And in that journey, it is hope that by becoming a better man, we can influence our surrounding to make it a better place. The Scottish Rite teaches us the importance of finding the balance between good and evil. The Order of Knights Templar of the York Rite dramatizes the commitment to defend or readiness to defend ones Faith. Faith is what we believe, it maybe as simple as preserving the tradition, it could be the meaning of Life or as complex as knowing the Ultimate Unknown. Without Faith is sailing without rudder – without destination. How can a Mason search for something that was supposed to be lost, if he never knew that he lost something valuable in the first place? — Olano

The last sentence of this paragraph is worth looking at more closely. "How can a Mason search for something that was supposed to be lost, if he never knew that he lost something valuable in the first place?" This is another example of historical error and misunderstanding. The concept of something be lost is presented in the Master Mason degree. This degree was an addition to the original system of two degrees. It was implemented around 1725, about eight years after the founding of the Grand Lodge in 1717. The present group of Masons hasn't bothered to go back and review the events surrounding the creation of the Master Mason degree. If they had, they would have discovered that what was lost to mankind, that Hiram Abiff possessed, was the courage to progress without fear.

And, so it shall be that the next generation of Masons will progress without fear. We will go forward and advance human understanding through natural philosophy and our progressive science. We will give humanity a system of geometrical morality to light the way through its times of trial and tribulation. Yes, we fully expect that the old guard of what has become of American Masonry will fight us with propaganda, distortions, and lies to their last breath, but we shall persevere. The Masonic system lost to generations of Free-Masons will be restored.

— Bro. Jeff Peace

Artwork: "A Slight Disagreement" by David Reekie

| | | | | |

2 comments:

  1. Olano is not worth worrying about these 'antients' are totally in the dark. Their actions are NOT those of a true Free-Mason.

    Their tactics are getting a little old as far as I am concerned. leave them in their dark musty lodge rooms.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have re-posted Mr. Peace's response to Mr. Olano at my site as well.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.