Freemasonry is a philosophical, philanthropic and progressive institution at an international level with around 300 years of antiquity whose maximum objective is to stimulate the moral and intellectual improvement of men and peoples seeking to obtain universal brotherhood; or more succinctly, it is a training school for men. It is a fraternity that unites its members with a bond of harmony, truth and brotherly love, who work indefinitely towards the conquest of progress and freedom, who dedicate themselves to the study of the laws of nature in order to be useful to their peers and who cooperate in the improvement of humanity.
We could define it as the organic institution of the most absolute morality, understood as one of the elements of the ideal of men. Its purpose is to combat ignorance, vice and inspire love to humanity. Its principles are universal morality and natural law, dictated by reason and defined by science.
It proclaims as a fundamental principle the belief in the existence of the Great Architect of the Universe, origin of all things, and in the immortality of the soul, but it does not admit any difference between men other than merit and demerit and does not reject anyone for their beliefs. or opinions.
Its purpose is to teach its members the values of righteousness, personal responsibility, moral improvement of the person and, through this, improve Humanity. Such a task is carried out through the rituals of each grade.
He constantly fights for the search for truth, the development of science, the conquest of Freedom, from a peaceful and legal position, but standing firm against political despotism and religious fanaticism.
It must be borne in mind that Freemasonry is not a Club, nor is it a Charitable Organization (although it does charity) and being an ideologically diverse Association, it does not propose a specific action on society, but it does propose values whose presence in society Society intends to become a champion and witness, without any exclusivism: values of tolerance, freedom, peace, philanthropy, defense of human rights that will demand enough of its members without any compensation.
Unless we are mistaken, none of these questions has been found to date to be satisfactory.
Some scholars of the Order attribute Egyptian origin to it, going back to the first pharaonic empire, there are those who think to find the origin among the Knights of the Temple or even trace it back to the builders of Solomon’s temple, the Essenes or other Jewish sects, but these are only assumptions or debatable conjectures since they lack historical foundation. Most writers link the birth of Freemasonry to the medieval corporations of masons, the first of which were organized in Lombardy around the 10th century, and reached great heights in the 13th century.
On the other hand, the same authors of these hypotheses recognize that they have not been able to penetrate the secret of Freemasonry due to the lack of documents in the archives.
The truth is that no one for sure will be able to in many years, unless a miracle occurs and a new light arises; answer the above questions and satisfy a deep desire of all Masons in the world.
The theory that enjoys the widest consensus among historians of Freemasonry derives speculative Freemasonry directly from operative Freemasonry. That is to say, the old brotherhoods or guilds of stonemason craftsmen (which is what “mason” means) that would progressively incorporate, for reasons that are not entirely clear, people who did not practice or work in the stonemasonry trade. These would be the first speculative Freemasons. With the passing of time,
Therefore, we can say that Freemasonry was born from the crisis suffered by the builders of the Middle Ages due to the succession of architectural styles. In those times the masons who were grouped in quite compact fraternities and due to the lack of income and contracts began to admit people
influential people who, in exchange for money, received the benefits that a fraternal society provided in those years (protection, freedom of expression and, above all, knowledge).
When these guilds began to evolve, to build large buildings and cathedrals, they became aware of the power that knowledge means and thus the concept of freedom arises by transformation, because they managed, despite the fact that at that time the voice of the feudal lord or the prince was the law that had to be obeyed blindly, to be able to discuss terms with those bosses, giving rise to the concept of freedom, while the others were absolute vassals of those earthly powers.
The Lodges were possessors of their own traditions and secret exclusive techniques, which were only communicated to the members or followers after a long and severe apprenticeship.
This guild of masons was divided, by their knowledge, into three degrees that we still retain today: Apprentices, Companions and Masters and we take from that time of the builders, the masonry tools as emblems of the masonic work with which the masonry workers Then they perfected their knowledge.
These Lodges that, as we have said before, with the passage of time would have admitted characters outside the construction, these, once the professional associations had disappeared, would have taken advantage of the old structure to form the new Freemasonry with members belonging to the high and educated classes. , thus giving rise to speculative Masonry.
It happened in 1717 in England, that the speculative Freemasonry was constituted as a liberal, philosophical and altruistic fraternity. Conducted by the hand of a group of Freemasons, unrelated to Freemasonry from its origins as a brotherhood of stonemason craftsmen (operative Freemasonry). Four lodges are federated and create the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster, the London lodges would begin to be mostly composed of speculative Freemasons. It would be at that stage when the leap towards Freemasonry that we know today would take place.
Once established in England, the Grand Lodge installed lodges or workshops throughout Europe, in France its first Workshop called “Friendship and Fraternity” in 1721, the “Matritense” in Spain in 1728. The German masonic associations prior to 1738 that met in the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes in Berlin in 1744 and a long etc.
This concept evolves from then on and in 1723, the year in which Anderson writes the Masonic Constitution, the idea of freedom becomes the cornerstone of the Institution and it opens to gather in its bosom all free men who want to join. to the task of human redemption that it promotes and propagates, regardless of the work activity or socioeconomic condition of the applicants, with the sole condition of being free thinkers and adhering to the principles of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
In Freemasonry its members are divided into degrees or, to put it another way, different levels of progress and commitment, of obligations and rights. Each grade is usually distinguished by a certain ritual, by signs of recognition and by a specific moral lesson of each one.
Ancient Masonry knows three degrees: Apprentice, Fellow and Master Mason. However, over time, and due to the expansion of Freemasonry throughout the European continent during the 18th century, new degrees or new degree systems appeared.
Its principles are Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
Freedom of the person and of human groups, whether institutions, races or nations and in all its aspects, that is, freedom of thought and freedom of movement.
Equality of rights and obligations of individuals and human groups without distinction of religion, race, sex or nationality.
Fraternity among all men and among all peoples and nations, because all human beings are born free and equal in rights and dignity.
Yes, the Declaration of Principles approved at the time by a Masonic Assembly says:
“Freemasonry is an essentially philosophical, philanthropic and progressive institution. Its principles are: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”
“The investigation of the truth, the perfection of the individual and the progress of humanity is proposed”
“He considers that morality is both a rational art and an evolutionary phenomenon typical of collective life, which obeys natural laws. He recognizes the Great Architect of the Universe as a symbol of the supreme aspirations or concerns of men who yearn to capture the essence, the beginning and the cause of all things. For the clarification of the truth not recognize another limit than that of human reason. He demands from his followers the broadest tolerance and therefore respects the political opinions and beliefs of all men. ”
“It recognizes that all religious and political communions deserve equal respect and rejects any pretense of granting privileged situations to any of them in particular.”
“Freemasonry, an essentially human institution, works relentlessly to achieve its goals, seeking a more harmonious structure of life on the basis of love and social justice”
“Therefore, it has been acting, since the beginning of time, as the straight spring that accelerates evolution, having in each stage of history a determined purpose in accordance with the needs and aspirations of the environment. Spearhead of a yearning projected into the future, their efforts in the past have contributed to the progress enjoyed by the present. It aspires, through the evolution and organized effort of society, to the ever-increasing improvement of social institutions, transforming them into those that satisfy, within a regime of freedom, fair desires for improvement.”
“It seeks by all lawful means within its reach, to dignify man by training him, through a superior development of conscience, for the best and widest use of rights and freedoms.”
“It condemns intolerance, abhors fanaticism and declares its repudiation of regimes of force and violence as contrary to reason and degrading to the species. He recognizes in brotherhood the primordial condition of the human race, he is substantively pacifist and considers war a horrendous crime”.
“It considers that work is an essential duty of man and as such it dignifies and honors him, without establishing distinctions or categories, but it judges that rest is a right and strives so that old age, disability, childhood and motherhood enjoy of the benefits of the collective protection to which they are creditors”.
“The Supreme Council of the 33rd and last Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for Spain is sovereign and independent of any other body, but may enter into pacts and agreements with other regular Masonic bodies in the world and reserve for itself the exclusive right to legislate on the matter. philosophy of all its jurisdiction within the uses, customs and ceremonies transmitted from antiquity.
The morality of Freemasonry is not directly linked to any philosophical system, nor to any religious creed. It is constituted by the common fund of universal precepts that teach man to be better and to love those who are similar to him.
Freemasonry seeks the solidarity of moral, intellectual, ethical and aesthetic values to achieve the harmonious consistency of human behavior.
Those moral principles, are they unified in a Code?
Indeed, Freemasonry has its Moral Code, some of whose maxims we point out:
Love all men as if they were your own brothers.
Esteem the good, love the weak, flee from the bad, but hate no one.
Do not flatter your brother, because it is a betrayal, if your brother flatters you, fear that he will corrupt you.
Always listen to the voice of your conscience.
Avoid quarrels, anticipate insults, make sure that reason is always on your side.
Do not be quick to anger, because anger rests in the bosom of the fool.
The heart of the wise is where virtue is practiced and the heart of fools, where vanity is celebrated.
If you have a son, rejoice, but tremble at the trust entrusted to you. Make me admire you until I’m ten, love you until I’m twenty, and respect you until I die. Until he was ten years old he was his teacher, until he was twenty his father and until death his friend. Think of giving him good principles before beautiful manners, that he owes you enlightened rectitude and not frivolous elegance. Make an honest man, rather than a clever man.
Read and take advantage, go and imitate, reflect and work, always take care of the good of your brothers and you will work for yourself.
Be among the profane free without license, great without pride, humble without baseness and among the brothers, firm without being tenacious, severe without being inflexible and submissive without being servile.
Speak moderately with the great, prudently with your equals, sincerely with your friends, sweetly with the little ones, and eternally with the poor.
Just and courageous you will defend the oppressed, you will protect innocence, regardless of the services you render.
Accurate appreciator of men and things, you will only attend to personal merit, whatever the rank, status and fortune.
Freemasonry has no dogmas, it has principles and ideals, it cultivates virtues, but always with the widest range of criteria. The dogma, as revealed truth or undeniable principle, is at the antipodes of Freemasonry that does not recognize another limit than the reason to access knowledge.
If by culture we understand a wealth of knowledge harvested through the cultivation and exercise of the intellectual faculties, it is obvious that the intellectual work that is carried out in the Lodges, through time, makes its members be imbued with certain human values that, although in part they already belonged to the cultural baggage of each individual upon entering the Institution, they have been reinforced, polished and expanded with the mutual contribution of the work in the Lodge, which is manifested in the unmistakable conduct of the Freemason, both private and public. and in this sense, it is possible to speak of Masonic culture.
Masonic culture is within the reach of any good person with concerns that enable them to join a cultural movement in which the improvement of the individual is sought through the debate of philosophical or humanistic issues, etc., in this sense Freemasonry It is not limited to geniuses or gifted people, Masons are men of the street, workers in the most varied activities, what characterizes us is our desire for moral, spiritual and intellectual improvement, both individually and collectively.
We learn through symbols and the veil of allegories, the lodge being the microcosm and the macrocosm. Man is the microcosm and he participates in the macrocosm. Without macrocosm there is no man.
We tend to progress towards Oneness, from a dual methodology, with concrete intelligence in the profane world, with abstract intelligence and through symbols and allegories at the apprentice and partner levels, through the knowledge of silence or love, which we begin to learn when initiate ourselves, observing each other carefully, knowing each other, but without drawing conclusions or comparisons, typical of a dual system, but rather acting from harmony with everything and everyone, acting with wisdom, we arrive at mastery.
With a dual system of knowledge, which is usually the one developed at school or at the University, different morals are produced, depending on the cultures of the peoples.
Authentic freedom is not created, but subordinates, justifying the authority of command, not the authority of knowledge with wisdom.
Authentic freedom is obtained when we know, I don’t say we believe, I say we know what we really are and what we don’t love is not known.